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Despite what airlines and those little air-condition ports positioned far above your seat might suggest, an airplane’s temperature lies pretty much beyond the passengers’ control — and it often fluctuates from freezing cold to Death Valley-hot, typically in 30-minute intervals. A travel blanket lets you take back control, offering an easy, comforting extra layer of warmth when you’re cold. And we’re not talking about those horrible, sometimes-gratis airline blanket awkwardly shoved in the overhead.
The best travel blankets are the ones you bring on the plane. They offer plush comfort, tech-forward fabrics to keep you at the optimal temperature and provide a bit of much-needed privacy from your encroaching seatmates. And naturally, the best travel blankets also provide utility beyond... flying, from waiting out long layovers to avoiding scratchy hotel comforters to being a much-needed additional layer of warmth when camping. Heck, we’ve even used them while enjoying an après drink on a porch after a long day on the mountain.
Finding the right blanket for your travel exploits can prove to be deceptively complex. Of course, they all need to provide warmth. But that’s where the similarities end. Some can be draped over your entire body — or unfurled to cover the entire floor of a tent, while others come with a space-saving smaller footprint to just protect your upper torso. Some travel blankets boast tech fabrics that wick away sweat and help regulate conditions to deliver the optimal temperature, while others can do double-duty as a neck rest or travel pillow. Some even come with integrated hoods and are shaped to fit the body while sitting, assuring you’re always covered and warm.
In evaluating the best travel blanket, consider your typical travel experience. Frequent fliers who stay in nice hotels should gravitate to those that are compact so they’re easy to pack or those that are specific to the seated position, while backpackers may want something with more square inches, so they can use them on trains, at a hostel, or at a bus station. Car-campers can go bigger, exploring blankets made of heavier, more durable fabrics and products that deliver more square footage, so they can also be used while picnicking or hitting a music festival. And those with allergies or sensitive skin can find products that cater to their needs.
With all those factors in mind, it can be hard to know which option is right for you. That's why we put together this list of the best travel blankets on market right now.
01 of 08
Constructed of 100 percent mid-weight CoolMax fabric, Cocoon’s Travel Blanket is soft and warm, breathable, dries extremely fast, and packs down to a compact size that’ll fit inside the stingiest of carry-on luggage. Unfurled it measures 180 by 140 centimeters, with a packed size of only 15 by 9 centimeters when folded and stashed in the included stuff sack. It comes in a variety of solid colors and is machine-wash-friendly, another boon for the frequent traveler. Most importantly, the CoolMax fabric employs four-channel fiber construction to wick moisture away from your skin, so you stay comfortable even if things start to heat up while sleeping, a welcome feature while flying, camping, and surviving a long layover.
02 of 08
The brand name may lean a bit heavily on superlatives, but the World’s Best Cozy Soft Microfleece Blanket does rank as one of Amazon’s Choice products, with a legion of five-star reviews. The price certainly helps that rating, but you get a lot of features for such a small price tag. The 50- by 60-inch blanket is constructed of plush polyester fleece knit, which is soft and comfortable against your skin.
It’s not the most compressible travel blanket out there, but at only 14.2 ounces, it should be easy to haul around. It’s also machine wash-friendly and comes in a host of color options, from traditional solids to funky, cool patterns such as polka dots, aqua-blue zig-zags, pink checkerboards, and a cheetah or zebra print — so if you’re en route to an African safari, you’ve got options.
03 of 08
Why settle for just a travel blanket when you can get one that doubles as lumbar support or as a neck pillow? The aptly-named Wrap 4-in-1 can be used to provide additional support for your back, neck, or head, or simply work as a blanket, offering copious coverage and warmth. It measures out to 36 by 60 inches and compresses to a relatively modest 10- by-13-inch package when folded into the integrated pouch, which also operates as a zippered kangaroo-style pocket that sits on your chest, where you can stash your eye mask, smartphone, headphones, and other travel essentials.
The machine wash-friendly microfleece blanket utilizes a poncho-style architecture so your shoulders stay covered, which also means the blanket won’t slip while in use. The carrying pouch also includes a strap, so you can clip it onto your backpack or rolling suitcase.
04 of 08
When Rumpl brought the puffy coat craze to blankets, it set off a new gear-centric arms race in outdoor-friendly blankets. And Rumpl still rules the roost. Take the Original Puffy Blanket, which uses the tech materials typically found in sleeping bags and puffies to make a blanket that’s durable enough for extensive outside use, and stylish (and comfortable) enough to be used at home.
The exterior is made of weather-resistant 20D ripstop nylon with DWR treatment to shrug off water, dirt, odor, pet hair, and other debris, while the internal baffles utilize synthetic down insulation for warmth and a bit of welcome padding from the hard surfaces of the Earth.
Better still (at least from an aesthetic perspective), the baffle stitching follows a very design-forward approach that takes its inspiration from the graphics of a topographical map. It comes with a stuff sack, and its smallest version (30 by 40 inches) weighs only 2.1 pounds. Sizes vary from a 30-inch-by-40-inch Junior all the way up... to a two-person blanket that measures out at a whopping 88 by 84 inches.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Marketed as an ultralight clean, dry place to sit, the Matador Pocket Blanket can also double as an airplane blanket in a pinch. You’ll certainly want something warmer in colder climates, but the HyperLyte Nylon fabric will add a bit of warmth, with a satin fabric finish to prevent sticking to the skin. And it’s also water and puncture resistant.
Folded out, it covers 63 by 44 inches, enough space for two to four adults, and comes with built-in rust-proof metal corner stakes that also serve as weights. Those stakes, paired with the sand pockets, help tie things down on windy days. The pattern on the unfolded blanket is designed to help you re-fold the blanket and stash it in the integrated carrying pouch.
Admittedly, it’s not going to deliver the cozy refuge you may desire to fight off aggressive air conditioning, but for outdoor travel activities — music festivals, picnics, camping and backpacking, the beach — it’s perfect. It won’t swallow up much space in your pack (or cargo pocket)... and weighs only 3.8 ounces.
06 of 08
Rather than using synthetic polyester, Silk Camel uses high-quality, long-strand Mulbury silk fill wrapped inside a 100 percent cotton outer layer to provide allergy-free comfort for you — or your baby. The fabrics keep sweat away from your body, thanks to their natural wicking properties, and it’s also naturally inhospitable for bed bugs, dust mites, mold, and mildew.
The blanket comes in two sizes: the Mini (47.2 by 35.4 inches) and Standard, which unfurls to provide 16.6 square feet of coverage. It comes in an array of colors, and while the outer shell is machine-washable, the silk inner lining should be hand washed. It also wins style points for its knotted purse-like handle.
07 of 08
At 5.3 pounds, this is decidedly not a pack-friendly blanket. But for car campers looking to add a bit of plush style (and wear their love of Glacier National Park on their sleeve), this 100 percent wool blanket from Pendleton may be the best travel blanket ever made. Sure it's expensive, but you get the highest-quality fabric, woven in Pendleton’s mills in the Pacific Northwest, overseen by a company that’s been a U.S. institution for decades.
Sizing follows traditional sheet size, including Twin, Full, and Queen. Pendleton has been honoring national parks by making commemorative blankets since the early 1900s, and the National Park Foundation receives a royalty from every blanket purchase. Other parks in the most recent series includes Olympic, Crater Lake, the Grand Canyon, Rainier, Yellowstone, the Badlands, and Acadia.
08 of 08
The Tucker Travel Cover has a “wearable” 100 percent cotton flannel cover that is plenty warm and boasts panels of four-way Lycra, which allows it to stretch and meet your needs without resistance. It also boasts an ergonomic design; the deep hood provides privacy, an elastic internal pouch cradles your arms, flaps at the legs let you tuck the fabric under you to keep it secure, and stretchy shoulders help secure the blanket under your back — basically, it hugs you, sealing off the outside world and providing ample, cozy insulation.
It also comes with a removable neck pillow for added comfort. Two pockets positioned onto the chest keep phones and other essentials within reach. What you don’t get? A traditional blanket that you can use when you’re not in a seated position (say on a bed or as a picnic blanket). As such, sizing aligns to body height rather than square inches: either small (for people from 4’9” to 5”9 under 170 pounds) and large (for folks over 5’9” and over 170 pounds.... It’s machine-washable, and includes a carrying case to secure to your luggage.