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Blanket for backpacking?
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Scotty Davis
(JRR) - F

Locale: Southeast USA
Blanket for backpacking? on 09/28/2006 09:20:17 MDT Print View

At what temperature can I sleep comfortably with just a blanket? I'm planning a 3 day trip and I might see overnight temps drop as low as 40 degrees farenheit. I could drop a few pounds by leaving my sleeping bag at home and just carrying a blanket, but I don't want to be miserable, though at 40 degrees, I'd hardly freeze to death. Has anyone done this? How did it work out?


Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Blanket on 09/28/2006 11:05:34 MDT Print View

I've taken fleece blankets when over night lows were no less than 55-60 F. They don't save any weight over a much warmer down or synthetic quilt with a loft of an inch or so, but are much easier to keep from overheating. But below 55 it seems insulation needs go up non-linearly. 1 inch top loft seems to be comfortable in the 45-50 range, and at 40 1.5 inches is probably about right. This is without other insulation. Your needs may vary. If you are a warm sleeper you might get by with less, but 40 F is definitely in the realm of hypothermia as soon as any wind or dampness comes into play. Also, don't forget head insulation.

William Wright
Re: Blanket for backpacking? on 10/01/2006 23:29:08 MDT Print View

I've slept under nothing but a 300 weight fleece blanket in summer and fall in the Pacific NW. I wouldn't recommend it, as most camping blankets are short a tad (I'm 6'0"), they aren't windproof (I sleep under a tarp), and they aren't that light.

Fleece blankets are warm, light, and comfortable, and I really enjoy the freedom of a blanket over a bag. But, there are better choices. I've since obtained an Integral Designs Prima Blanket, which is (off the top of my head) rated at about 50F, is 1-inch thick, is 28 oz, is filled with water-resistant Primaloft, is shelled (on the outside) with water-resistant Pertex, and, thanks to the zip-out hole in the middle, doubles as an insulated poncho. It's also black which facilitates drying in the morning sun. With a 5-oz rectangular silk liner bag (so I don't have to sleep directly on my sleeping pad) I'm comfy down to 45F.

This year I obtained a Jacks R Better Biker Quilt when I saw some offered at a great price. It's a 24-oz down blanket that's 1.5-inches thick. With the silk liner I've a comfortable 29-oz system good to 40F.

Both the Prima Blanket and Biker Quilt convert to bags if one opts for such a configuration. This option is nice for making a foot box when the temperatures are low enough to want to keep my radiating feet covered. These are both a lot pricier than a camping blanket, but I've found them to be worthwhile purchases.

My son has a poly-filled Fanatic Fringe quilt rated to 30F--very light and lots of loft, but it has a fixed and rather small footbox, which I find too confining.