What is the Best Kind of Blanket for Camping?

best camping blanket that's waterproof

With so many on the market, it’s often hard to decipher: “What are the best camping blankets and the best waterproof blankets to use in the Great Outdoors?”

Best Camping Blankets and Waterproof Blankets

If you love camping, you know how important a good camping blanket is. We know the importance of a good night’s sleep during your camp experience to ensure you’re ready to take on your next-day adventures. We also know that camping exposes us to harsh outdoor conditions, so having good blankets to take on the elements are a crucial way of staying dry and warm at night. Having the right camping blanket truly helps to give you a good camping experience. That being said, there are so many blankets that are good for camping, depending on the environment, weather, portability and other factors.

When you go camping, you often face elements that you don’t typically need to face in your ordinary life. The need to defend yourself from extreme weather is more necessary when you’re exposed, as it might be extremely cold or extremely hot, making it necessary to be prepared. Your camping gear should be effective in helping you deal with the varying temperatures of your camping environment. You can easily access a camping blanket online or from a store, but we’re here to help you determine which one is right for your adventure. As you purchase your blanket, it’s important to remember that you’ll typically want to pack lightly, especially when your adventures require you to carry your belongings along the way – like backpacking or day hiking. You also need to get a blanket that won’t take up a ton of space, as packing a lot of camping necessities can be tedious and exhausting. 

Types of Blankets used for Camping

Here are a number of different types of camping blankets sold that we recommend you look at:

Sleeping Bags

Sleeping bags are the most commonly used camping amenities, almost anywhere. They are easy to access and purchase. They are also the most reliable and safe route to go, especially since camping involves sleeping outdoors. Sleeping bags are especially recommended during cold or chilly weather. They are incredibly suitable as they often give you all you need for a good night’s sleep, in one sleeping bag.

So why are sleeping bags the true standard of camping blankets? The zippers are the main reason why sleeping bags are so common. Sleeping bag zippers completely cover you, meaning that they keep you safe from not only the cold, but pests and insects, too.

That being said, there are so many kinds of sleeping bags out there. There are sleeping bags of different sizes and types, with some being waterproof and durable, while some are lighter and more portable. Unless you’re camping in abominably freezing temperatures, we recommend utilizing lighter sleeping bags, as they’re far better for packing efficiently. When you go with a heavy camping bag, they’re far bulkier to carry around with you while you’re camping. 

Wool Blankets

Wool blankets are a viable option, especially if you are camping in an area with chilly weather. Wool blankets are also some of the most commonly used outdoor blankets on the market. They’re so durable that even the military uses them on missions. Because they’re so thick, these blankets cover you completely and keep you incredibly warm from during even cold storms. Wool blankets’ main selling point is how warm they are, but their biggest drawback can is their itchiness. Unless you’re buying incredibly high-quality wool (like alpaca or llama), often times these blankets can leave you feeling warm, but incredibly uncomfortable.

Puffy Down Blankets

The puffy down blanket is actually incredibly similar to a sleeping bag and can be considered a replacement in the right circumstance (both are made of the same down material). The puffy blanket does not need a lot of packing space and it typically provides a decent thermal rating. Puffy packable blankets are suitable not only for camping but also for a hiking, picnic use and any other outdoor activities. This type of camping blanket is long-lasting, warm and quite comfy, giving you a similar experience to that of a sleeping bag. For people who are looking for a more versatile version of a sleeping bag, the puffy packable blanket is the most recommended camping blanket.

Waterproof Fleece Blankets

These blankets are also commonly used for camping, picnics and hiking. They’re some of our most preferred blankets because they provide you with warmth, while also keeping you dry from a damp or wet campground during the night. The blankets are made using a waterproof polyester backing, and stitching them together with a soft polar fleece, making them nearly some of the most comfy and warm blankets on the market. 

The Oceas waterproof fleece blankets also utilize a durable Polyurethane coating that completely eliminates water seeping as well. Thus, making it one of the most versatile blankets on this list. You can literally lay it down in a puddle without water seeping through or cover your body with it during a rainstorm, while remaining totally dry. It’s not only the ideal camping blanket, but also works incredibly well as a picnic blanket or even beach blanket – as it’s totally sand proof as well.

Emergency Blankets

Emergency blankets are quite small, but maybe the most efficient – especially in a bind. While these blankets don’t typically last long, they’re necessary for anyone that’s adventuring in cold wilderness. If you want a light and easy way to ensure you’re protected while backpacking or even at camp, we highly recommend them. They are easy to carry, hardly require any packing space, and are incredibly light – like less than 4 oz, light – making them the perfect option to keep you protected during any emergency that might happen during an outdoor activity. Emergency blankets are also great wind barriers, and it’s highly advisable to carry more than one if you’re in a group. While they’re ideal for dire situations – and are even great as a sleeping bag liner in extra-cold weather – we don’t advise you to use an emergency blanket as a replacement for a camping blanket or sleeping bag. 

Thermal Blankets

Thermal blankets are like emergency blankets in terms of their use but are more durable and are better for multi-use. You can use thermal blankets more than once and they offer warmth especially when the conditions are quite extreme. Thermal blankets are, however, not as comfy as fleece or wool blankets.

What are typical blankets for camping made of?

It is important to understand the fabric that is used when picking the right camping blanket, especially if you have sensitivity or allergies to any materials. We also recommend doing a little digging, since a particular material may be reactive even when you are not aware of any allergies. Understanding the materials will help you in choosing the best blanket for your camping.

Cotton

Cotton is one of the most commonly used fabric in making blankets. It has been used for a long time and cotton-made blankets are warm and comfortable. Cotton is, however, not suitable in moist conditions as it sucks in moisture that can make the cotton-made blanket heavy and wet. Cotton also tufts together when it is wet and drying takes a significant amount of time. Cotton-made blankets are also highly flammable, which for obvious reasons, is an important factor to consider while camping.

100% Nylon

Wool is a good and completely natural material for making blankets. Blankets made of wool are among the warmest available. Wool has fibers that trap air between them making the blankets incredibly warm. Unlike cotton, wool doesn’t soak as much when they get wet, that being said, wool blankets do take a while to dry when they do absorb moisture, due to the dense wool fibers. Also unlike cotton, wool is quite resistant to fire, which help make woolen blankets a potentially more suitable option for camping. It is important to note that wool comes from sheep hair and blankets made from pure wool – with the exception of merino wool – may be rather itchy and can also cause irritation to some users. 

Nylon Ripstop

Nylon Ripstop is a type of nylon fabric that is tear resistant. It is woven in a crosshatch pattern that makes it far more durable that regular nylon. Blankets made using this fabric are highly waterproof and can be a good option for camping. The fabric is also durable and easy to clean.

Nylon

Nylon is among the most popular synthetic fibers for making blankets. The fabric has durable fibers that are not only used in making blankets but also in furnishing and manufacturing clothes. Nylon is resistant to heat but melts out quite fast when exposed to direct flame, so if you are camping and using a nylon blanket, you should be careful not to expose it to the campfire as it could shrink. Nylon is also a material that’s often used to make a waterproof blanket, a good choice for camping. 

Acrylic

Acrylic is made from mimic wool and synthetic fiber. It is first made into a filament before being turned into a wool-like effect. Acrylic can be made from different synthetics but is mainly made with acrylonitrile monomer. It is resistant to mildew and keeps off stains pretty well, but acrylic tends to be highly inflammable.

 

What materials do we recommend most?

Mylar

This is the material used in emergency and thermal blankets, as it does a phenomenal job at retaining body heat and is light or easy to carry. While, it doesn’t offer much comfort, especially when comparing mylar to other camping blankets materials, it’s incredibly light, easy to carry, and essential for emergency use.

Polar Fleece

Like wool, polar fleece is able to trap air and does not absorb moisture, but it tends to be significantly lighter and less itchy. That being said, fleece blankets are also pretty warm and are really comfortable to use. Fleece blankets also take less time to dry compared to wool blankets. Blankets made of fleece are also light and suitable for camping. It is, however, important to note that fleece blankets are highly flammable, and this is a great disadvantage, especially in camping. 

Sherpa

Sherpa is a warmer and softer version of fleece than the standard polar fleece. Also made from synthetic fibers, this material has been making sheep jealous for the past couple of decades, as it provides the same level of warmth as wool, but with a much softer and cozier feel. Truly the material of our generation, Sherpa is the ideal material for camping.

Polyester

This is a synthetic fiber that is incredibly light, yet ultra-durable. Blankets made from polyester are great, especially during the wet season, as they’re very highly water-resistant. Polyester are used as the waterproof backing on most waterproof blankets, as they do a great job at keeping you dry, especially during a stormy & wet camping trip.

 

Weather Conditions

In addition to the fabric used in making the camping blankets, you also need to plan for the weather that you’ll experience while camping. If the temperatures are cold, you need to ensure that your blanket’s thermal ratings are higher and that they’re using warmer materials. When the weather is warm, you should be focusing on packability and lightness.

Heat

If you are planning to camp during the warm season, make sure that you’re looking at some of the lighter, more breathable options. While typically we think that it’ll only be hot during the day, there isn’t any AC while camping (Surprise!), so you gotta ensure that you have a camping blanket that keeps you cool, while still shielding you from insects and wind. 

Rain

Having a waterproof blanket for camping is important especially during to rainy or snowy season. That being said, too often have we experienced the weather App telling us that there’s a 30% chance of rain when we pack, and have to endure a downpour that same evening, so make sure you’re always prepared. Getting wet is not only a frustrating nuisance, but in colder climates, it can even lead to hypothermia. We highly recommend a waterproof blanket, as they truly help you stay dry and are typically lightweight, too. 


Cold

Camping in cold weather is sucky, if you’re not prepared. Camping is an outdoor activity, and most campsites don’t have heaters (if you find a campsite with a heater though, please let us know!). To avoid a situation of night shivers or even hypothermia, get a camping blanket for cold weather. The ideal blanket should offer you tremendous warmth and should be weatherproof at the same time. 


Wind

When camping in dramatically windy areas, being bundled up under something that’s just warm, won’t necessarily do the trick. You need to have the appropriate camping blanket that stops wind penetration, so typically something that aren’t loosely woven fibers (like a wool blanket). Ensuring that your blanket has a weather proof barrier (like a ripstop polyester shell), can be the difference between a night of misery and a night of comfort. Water proof blankets are also suitable for windy weather as they stop the wind from penetrating to you.


Examples of Waterproof Blankets for Camping

Waterproof Sherpa Blanket

This is one of the warmest types of camping blanket. The blanket is super durable and also waterproof making it a good choice for camping, picnics, beach use (especially on wet sand) and are even great at cold/rainy stadiums. The Oceas waterproof Sherpa blanket is particularly cozy and versatile, making it useful for all different types of weather. The blanket is made from high quality polyester and with is layered with a durable PU coat that is waterproof, making it reliable and multi-purpose. It is well stitched, so it lasts long and is sturdy even when during intense winds.

Waterproof Fleece Blanket

This is a camping blanket that is not only highly durable, but also guarantees your comfort and safety. Similar to the waterproof Sherpa blanket, the Oceas fleece blanket is made of a soft interior, yet is waterproof, making it suitable for any type of weather. It has an elastic strap attached to it, making it easy to pack and carry. 

 

If you're new to camping, check out a list of necessities on What To Bring on a Camping Trip


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