Whenever preparing for a camping trip, packing is one of the things you pay the most attention to. Especially if you plan to travel by foot to the camping spot – the last thing you want is something weighing you down.
While you might think that taking a sleeping bag is your ideal choice, I am here to tell you that there is another thing you should consider. That is the camping blanket!
Many campers have left their sleeping bags behind and replaced them with camping blankets. There are so many advantages to these blankets that you might find yourself baffled. You might even wonder why no one told you about them sooner.
Do not worry. It is still not too late to turn things around!
In today’s guide, I want to tell you everything you should know about camping blankets before getting one and using it for the first time.
So, if you are willing to switch things up and try these blankets out, you need to stay tuned. Trust me; you need to know more about these blankets!
Table of Contents
Is It Possible to Use a Camping Blanket Instead of a Sleeping Bag?
Many campers have chosen camping blankets over sleeping bags. Let me tell you this – the camping blanket is one of the most sought-after pieces of equipment in recent times. There is a reason why they are so popular, and you are about to find out what that reason is!
I know what you are wondering – can you replace the sleeping bag with a camping blanket, or is it better to use both? Many camping blankets do not require a sleeping bag. You can use the blanket only to keep you warm.
But will the camping blanket be warm enough? Yes! Some of the best blankets will not only keep you warm but also make you comfortable. The flexibility, versatility, comfort, and ease of use of these blankets are something that you will not find elsewhere.
If you are a beginner at backpacking and wonder if you should get a sleeping bag instead of a camping blanket, I would recommend that you go with the latter. It has all the features of the sleeping bag and even more flexibility. It is the perfect thing for any backpacking trip, no matter what season it is!
Now you might be wondering – can the camping blanket be too heavy? How can you take the blanket to the campsite without carrying too much weight?
If you are traveling by car to the campsite, carrying the blanket will not be a problem. If you are traveling by foot, it will not be a problem as well. The blankets have a special design that makes them suitable for this trip. I will tell you more about the features of these blankets as we move on!
Blankets or Sleeping Bags for Camping?
If you are still not sold on the idea of using a camping blanket, I can help you cross that bridge! Some people do not want to trust the sleeping bag alternatives, thinking that they will have no insulation or warmth during cold weather. I get that – no one wants to be cold all night long in freezing temperatures.
Let’s make one thing clear – there is no way you will have to endure freezing temperatures if you have one of the best camping blankets. They are even better than sleeping bags in three key areas. Those areas are versatileness, comfort, and ease of use. Allow me to elaborate!
Versatileness: blanket wins!
Many great sleeping bags are coming in all sizes and colors. Some of them are great, with many great features like insulation, warmth, and what else not. But I have to say that sleeping bags will never be as versatile as blankets.
These blankets can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be from various materials and can be in different colors. They will provide you with warmth and flexibility, with their only shortcoming being the limited insulation.
Still, the versatileness of the blanket allows you to find one large enough to fit around your body like a sleeping bag. That will give you a lot more warmth with the added insulation. So, it is clear that the blanket wins!
Comfort: blanket wins!
Blankets are also very comfortable, maybe even more comfortable than sleeping bags. If you plan to sleep on an uneven surface, you can always use an air mattress or foam mat under it. These might add to the weight you have to carry, but they will also add to the comfort you feel!
If you have more camping blankets available, you can take two or more. You can use one under your body to replace the air mattress or foam mat. The added layer will be keeping you warm all night long, making you feel like it is summer!
Ease of use: blanket wins!
As for ease of use, the blanket is a clear winner in this category. Sleeping bags, even those that come with a zipper, can be quite limiting. You need to go into the bag, use the zipper to zip yourself in there, and then stay in that position all night long.
When you think of it, sleeping bags are very limiting. Even if you have a quality bag that you can turn in, the chances are that you will not feel as comfortable. This is where the blanket comes in.
All you need to do is throw it over you with a blanket. You can snuggle with it, you can even wrap it around your body, and it will still not feel as limiting. It is also so much easier to use – you fold it and unfold it, and voila, it is ready!
Should I Bring a Blanket Camping?
If there is one thing that is clear from those mentioned above, you should always consider bringing a blanket on a camping trip. I do not recommend bringing it when it is too hot outside, and you know you will not need it.
Still, nights can get very cold in the mountains, even in summer. If you plan to sleep outdoors or in a tent, you can take a small blanket with you. It will not weigh you down, but it will be there in case you need it!
How Do You Make a Sleeping Bag out of a Blanket?
Let’s say you already have one or more camping blankets that you love. How can you turn them into sleeping bags in colder months? Is that even possible?
I can tell you that you can turn your camping blanket into a sleeping bag in two ways. The first one is to attach zippers to the blankets and turn them into a sleeping bag whenever needed. The second one is to use hang loops.
Sew in zippers
The first one is very simple, but you have to do it at home before heading off on your trip. On two opposite ends so the blanket, you can sew zippers that you can then zip together. These should be as long as the side of the blanket.
While doing this, you can also try to make a foot box on one end of the blanket. That way, your feet will stay warm all the time. You can even sew another piece to make a hood – like the one you would find on regular camping bags!
Use hang loops
Many campers use hang loops when they need to dry or air out their blanket. That might be their primary purpose, but you can also use these loops to turn the blanket into a camping bag. All you need is something to attach the loop to the opposite end of the blanket, and you are good to go!
Even though this is a good idea, I recommend going with it when camping in warm weather. Those loops might allow cold air to get to your body, so they will not provide you with enough insulation during winter. Keep that in mind for your future camping trips.
Are Camp Blankets Worth It?
I am positive that camping blankets are worth it. Even though it comes down to one’s preferences, most camping blankets will come with more positive features than negative ones compared to camping bags.
Depending on the type of blanket you need, you get to choose the size, design, quality, material, and so on. These blankets are more versatile, provide you with more comfort, and are much more convenient to use. Many camping blankets pack small, so you will not even notice that you are carrying one.
I recommend having several camp blankets that you can switch between depending on the season. That way, you will be set and ready whenever you decide to make a trip to the outdoors.
What Makes a Good Camping Blanket?
You do not need a good camping blanket; you need a great one – or even the best! To get one of the best camping blankets, you need to think about several things. I will break it down for you to know exactly what to look for when buying your new camping blanket.
One of the first things to worry about is the weight. You want the blanket to be as lightweight as possible. This is a must, especially if you plan hiking to the campsite.
The weight of the blanket can be different depending on the material. I would recommend going with a blanket made from nylon or polyester as these materials are lighter than natural ones. Synthetic blankets are also a choice to consider.
Regular and pack size
You can get a smaller blanket if you sleep alone or a big one if you have two people sleeping under it. The size can vary, but it will also affect the weight of the blanket.
Before buying one of these blankets, make sure you measure and look for the size that best fits your needs. When you find something close to what you are looking for, check the regular and pack sizes. If those are small, you have found the perfect blanket for the occasion!
Sleeping on the ground and all that dew can lead to your blanket becoming wet. If you have a waterproof blanket, you will not have to worry about this at all. So, save yourself the trouble and get a waterproof one!
A campfire, the blanket close to it – need I say more? A fire-resistant blanket is a must for all campers who plan on spending the night in the great outdoors.
Insulation and warmth
Insulation and warmth go hand in hand. While blankets are not the best insulation, you can wrap them around your body to stay warm. The heat will be undeniable!
If you are looking for something more insulated, then a bag for sleeping may be better for you. Still, consider the camping blanket and all its good features before you make your decision.