Have you ever heard of a camping blanket? I am sure you have heard of a sleeping bag. But do you know which wins in the battle between camping blankets vs. sleeping bags?
When it comes to overnight camping, most campers’ default choice (including my own) is a sleeping bag.
While I generally prefer a sleeping bag, camping blankets certainly have their own advantages.
In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of camping blankets vs. sleeping bags.
A Quick Comparison – Camping Blankets Vs. Sleeping Bags
Features To Compare
|Sleeping Bag||Camping Blanket|
|Insulation & Warmth|
|Weight / Portability|
A sleeping bag will come in two design types: rectangular and mummy.
Both of these designs zip up to create a sack that closely surrounds your body, with just your head and shoulders exposed.
A camping blanket consists of a large square of insulated fabric that you can use for multiple purposes.
While a camping blanket can give you some added warmth, it is not designed to surround your body completely.
Camping blankets stand out as having a wide variety of colors and patterns to choose from, while sleeping bags may only have a handful of colors for each design.
The large majority of sleeping bags are designed for use by a single person, so they are generally a smaller size than camping blankets.
In comparison, camping blankets are larger than sleeping bags and have the ability to lay completely flat, so they can be used by multiple people at once.
Insulation & Warmth
A sleeping bag is designed to keep you warm, starting with its insulation.
The two most common types are authentic down and synthetic polyester fill.
Additionally, the design of sleeping bags keeps the insulation close to your body, so you’re less likely to lose valuable body heat.
While camping blankets can supply you with extra warmth, they are not nearly as effective in creating and retaining heat on a cold night.
There are two main reasons for this:
- They don’t employ authentic down in their designs and generally depend on synthetic fills or fleece to create warmth.
- Their open design is not as effective in trapping body heat.
These qualities make camping blankets a great option for warmer weather camping or for adding an additional layer over an already insulated sleeping bag.
Camping blankets really shine when it comes to durability.
This is because they incorporate more durable materials like fleece and synthetic insulation into their design.
Some brands even coat the outside of camping blankets with water and dirt resistant finishes to enhance their robustness.
This means that camping blankets are less likely to get damaged and are more resilient when they get wet.
In comparison, most sleeping bags – especially those made with down – sacrifice durability for insulation capabilities and are more vulnerable to damage from water and dirt.
Weight & Portability
Sleeping bags are usually lighter in weight than camping blankets and easier to compress down to a smaller size. Both of these features mean that sleeping bags are the more portable option.
Camping blankets are not designed to be packed down and can be heavier than sleeping bags so are not your best option for long treks.
How To Choose Between A Camping Blanket & A Sleeping Bag
Consider Your Needs
When choosing between bringing camping blankets vs. sleeping bags to your outdoor adventure, you have to keep in mind what you’re going to need for the journey.
Due to its lighter weight, a sleeping bag will be the best option for long treks, or situations when you’re required to carry all your own gear.
Conversely, a camping blanket will be a great option for car camping or situations where you will not need to carry that blanket on your back.
Pack For The Weather
Sleeping bags can be used in all weather conditions but are especially great for keeping you insulated and warm on colder nights.
On warmer nights, you can unzip the sleeping bag to offer more ventilation but might sacrifice the comfort or intended shape of the sleeping bag itself.
Camping blankets are not designed for colder weather and will not keep you as warm as a sleeping bag.
However, they are a great option for warm weather camping, since they can offer extra ventilation on hot nights.
Consider Your Budget
Sleeping bags are generally more expensive than camping blankets because they usually use more expensive materials, like down, and have a more intricate design.
These two features create an effective warmth barrier and will keep you toasty on colder nights.
Camping blankets are by far the more affordable option because they are generally made from less pricey materials and have simpler designs.
Consider Your Comfort
Comfort here really depends on your sleeping preferences and the weather.
While sleeping bags will keep you comfortable in cold weather, their zipper design means they can also be restrictive to movement while sleeping.
So, if you’re someone who tosses and turns, or likes to sleep on their side, a camping blanket may offer you more freedom of movement.
Additionally, if you’re someone who generally gets chilly at night, a sleeping bag will keep you warmer as you sleep.
The opposite is true of camping blankets, so they can be better for individuals who get too hot as they sleep.
What Is The Main Difference Between A Sleeping Bag & A Camping Blanket?
The main difference between a sleeping bag and a camping blanket lies in the design.
A sleeping bag is designed to keep you warm, so the sack will surround your body more closely, with just your head and neck exposed.
In comparison, a camping blanket is designed as a large square of fabric, which does not have the option of zipping up.
Which Is Warmer? – Camping Blankets Vs. Sleeping Bags
Due to its insulation and design, the sleeping bag is going to be the warmer option because it uses more warmth-focused materials and design.
However, even though a camping blanket is less insulated, it can still be a great option for car camping or summer camping.
Are Sleeping Bags Heavier Than Camping Blankets?
For the most part, sleeping bags will be lighter than camping blankets, which can be bulky and hard to pack down.
This is why camping blankets are an ideal option for car camping or overnight trips, where they don’t have to be carried long distances.
Which Is More Portable: A Sleeping Bag Or A Camping Blanket?
Due to its lighter size and compressibility, sleeping bags are generally more portable than camping blankets, which can be hard to pack down.
Can A Sleeping Bag Be Used As A Blanket?
Yes and no. You can unzip a rectangular sleeping bag completely to use as a blanket.
However, mummy-shaped sleeping bags will not do so and cannot be used as a fully flat blanket.
Which Is More Cost Effective: A Sleeping Bag Or A Camping Blanket?
This can depend on the brand, type of insulation, and size of each product.
However, in general, a sleeping bag is going to be more expensive than a camping blanket.
This is in part due to the sleeping bag’s more complicated design and compression capabilities.
The camping blanket’s simple design and durable materials make it a great pick for campers working on a budget.
Are Sleeping Bags Or Camping Blankets More Versatile For Different Situations?
Since sleeping bags are generally only used for sleeping, camping blankets definitely stand out as the more versatile choice.
Just like any other blanket, camping blankets can be used for multiple purposes, including a warm blanket on a cold night, a ground cover for a picnic, or an additional layer in a hammock.
While I recommend bringing a sleeping bag on every campout as your default sleeping gear, camping blankets can be a great add on to overnight or car camping trips – and a great way to express your personal style!
Camping blankets and sleeping bags each have their own positive uses.
Sleeping bags are great for cold nights and snuggle-sleepers, while camping blankets are great choices for the budget-minded and warm evenings.
When it comes to the battle of camping blankets vs. sleeping bags, one is not inherently better than the other, and there are many benefits to both.
Ultimately, if you are deciding between one or the other, the choice is up to your preference!
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