The Coolest Pieces of Gear We Tested This Week
As chilly weather rolls in, it’s always a good idea to have some cozy blankets within reach—and if you’ll be spending time outside this fall, outdoor blankets are a must. At my house, there’s no such thing as too many. We have options for the couch, bed, and desk, and our van is equipped with a full stack for snuggling up when we’re adventuring outdoors.
Outdoor blankets are made from all sorts of materials, like wool, down, or synthetic fabrics, and each fabric comes with different benefits. Sizes vary from small enough to fit in your lap to gigantic enough to cover a king-sized bed. And the intended use also matters: Take note of which ones are meant for hardcore camping and which ones are better for staying inside your cabin.
These 11 picks—ranging from weather-resistant outdoor blankets to picnic blankets to ultra-plush premium options—will keep you warm no matter where you’re headed this fall.
We could pick multiple Rumpl blankets for this list—the brand has mastered the art of making lightweight and plush camping options—but this merino wool blanket is new and utterly amazing. Made of responsibly sourced Australian merino wool and organic cotton in a 50-50 blend, it’s perfect for nestling in your cabin or on your patio (you won’t want to get this one dirty). It features a modern striped pattern, and comes in throw, queen, and king sizes.
Forget sharing: With Poler’s wearable blanket, you can keep all the warmth to yourself. This fully reversible poncho comes with snap-closure sides for trapping heat and a roomy kangaroo pouch for warming your hands or storing camp essentials. The synthetic material is super soft and keeps its loft over time, even after lots of use. At 2.5 pounds, it’s a better pick for car camping than backpacking.
For a wallet-friendly option that’s still comfy and packable, consider Kelty’s Bestie Blanket. For just $25, you can wrap this twin-sized blanket around yourself while at camp or a music festival, or you can use it as an extra layer over your sleeping bag. It packs down to the size of a bread loaf for easy storage and carrying, and it’s available in four funky patterns and colorways.
Blankets can take up a lot of room, and the ones with the best warmth-to-weight ratio can be pricey—unless you opt for the Pocket Blanket, which is neither large nor expensive. Built from a lightweight nylon fabric with a waterproof coating, it’s best for covering the ground so you can sit, yet it’s small enough to pack as an extra “just-in-case” layer. Built-in ultralight stakes ensure it won’t blow away, and its stitching shows you how to pack it up so it fits into its mesh pouch.
For the most loft, warmth, and compressibility for use in the outdoors, the Dotsero Down Blanket is at the top of our list. The 650-fill DownTek insulation is wrapped in a quilted polyester taffeta shell that repels dew and is easy to clean. Measuring 80 by 88 inches, it’s the right size for sharing; you can also fold it in half to use as a one-person quilt. The blanket compresses down to the size of a basketball for bringing along on a pack-rafting, bikepacking, or camping trip.
There’s a certain type of blanket that’s only used for spreading out on the ground and never for cuddling up. The Tarpestry Tarp falls into that category. When you’re in the grass, dirt, or sand, it’ll keep butts dry and clean. The UV-resistant polyester fabric won’t fade after a day in the sun, and you can hose it off when it’s really dirty. It’s available in four-, six-, eight-, or 10-grommet options; the various layouts allow you to stake it down to the ground or tie it up to make a sun shade.
When the seasons change, reach for this plush layer. REI combined two of the warmest fabrics into one big, snug blanket. It’s fully flannel on one side and fully fleece on the other, and it measures 74 by 54 inches for full coverage. Better yet, for every blanket purchased, REI will donate 10 percent of the sale to the REI Cooperative Action Fund, which makes grants to nonprofits that promote justice, equity, and belonging in the outdoors.
Winter weather equals dicey road conditions, so it’s always a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car. With this set of four compact but effective emergency blankets—the reflective mylar material was originally designed by NASA for use in space—you and your passengers can maintain a healthy body temperature even if you’re stuck in your car. The blankets come rolled up in individual polyester bags and tucked together in a durable case that keeps them protected until you need them.
The natural thermoregulating properties of wool excel in this Pendleton blanket that you can wrap entirely around yourself. It won’t pill or shred even after extended use, but be sure to keep it out of the dryer (wool can shrink). The vintage striped colorways are a tribute to America’s National Parks: Perfect for decorating your camper or adding to your stack of campfire blankets.
Weighted blankets are like a giant hug, and they can improve sleep quality, too. When camping, bring one that’s easy to wash and doesn’t make that annoying swishing sound, like this Layla model. One side is cotton and the other is a polyester mink “fur,” and it’s full of high-density micro glass beads for added heft. Every blanket comes with a 120-day guarantee: If it doesn’t work for you in that timeframe, you can return for a full refund.
As if a blanket wasn’t relaxing enough, this one is infused with organic CBD extracted from hemp. Envelop yourself into this quilt—the CBD will help enhance relaxation, release tension, and improve sleep. (It also won’t wash out because it’s encapsulated into the fabric.) Instead of down, this one is puffed up with a Premeaire down alternative that’s just as lightweight and warm.