Spring is just around the corner. For most people (families), the camping season is officially about to start. It is that time of the year when you take out your camping gear to see what’s good and what needs to be changed. Have you planned a trip already?
Well, you don’t need to be a seasoned camper to know just how unpredictable weather can sometimes be, particularly during the night. And when you’re out there away from the comfort of your home, the last thing you want is to freeze! This is why the fleece blanket is one of the camping essentials. It keeps you warm, making you feel at home away from home. It is soft to touch and easy to store.
Here’s everything you need to know before you head out to buy a fleece blanket for your next camping trip.
Fleece Blanket Pros and Cons
Even as couch and bed throws, fleece blankets are usually preferred over other options. Kids and adults alike are likely to repeatedly return to them for comfort and warmth when it gets a little chilly.
Their biggest appeal is their texture and finish. Fleece blankets are soft to touch and their velvety finish can bring back some pleasant memories from your childhood, reminding you of your mother’s hugs and your loved one’s presence.
Besides this, fleece blankets are generally comfortable, not too warm and not too cold. It does depend on the quality and weight of the blanket but you can usually find your best mate with a little trial and error. It is like sticking a leg out of your blanket at night; it just feels right!
When compared to wool orother blankets, fleece is considered more affordable, offering a good value for money. They are versatile and light-weight, hence perfect for campers. You can even wear some fleece blankets like a shoulder wrap.
Their ability to block water and wind further adds to the benefits. Fleece generally doesn’t absorb more than 1% of its weight of water. So even if it starts raining quite unexpectedly, you can trust your blankie to keep you warm. Some fleece blankets are fire-resistant as well so you can use them near a bonfire without worrying about catching fire.
Possibly the only major downside to fleece is its tendency to develop pills if not maintained or washed properly. Some manufacturers have built the pill-resistant feature, but it usually adds a few dollars to the price. Also, depending on the material used in the making of fleece, some people may develop allergies to it.
Low-quality fleece tends to shed as well which creates a mess. Some variations may build a static, ending up attracting all kinds of small objects like hair and dust. Certain fleece blankets will shrink upon washing due to the material used in them. This can be pretty distressful if you get used to the size of your blanket.
Despite all this, fleece blankets are highly recommended for campers including both families and individuals. And if you’re lucky to get your hands on some fine quality fleece, you’ll be more than pleased with what it has to offer.
Fleece blankets are usually made out of two materials:
Synthetic fiber: this primarily includes polyester. Many companies have trademarked their versions of synthetic fleece, also referred to as micro fleece or polar fleece. These are extremely light-weight and soft. On the other hand, they offer remarkable warmth and are less expensive. However, synthetic fleece is more than likely to shed fiber, so you need to make sure you’re getting your hands on the absolute top-quality to avoid this. You can tackle the pills issue by looking for the “pill-resistant” fleece. If static doesn’t bother you, synthetic fleece is your best choice.
Cotton: fleece can also be made out of the cotton fiber. These are organic and natural, a little more expensive than synthetic fleece, but just as warm and comfy. Comparatively, these might feel a little heavier but they’re better at combating shedding and static. However, cotton fleece blankets are more likely to develop pills and may even shrink when they come in contact with water. For people who are allergic to synthetic fiber, the cotton fleece blanket is the best option.
You can’t really judge the thickness or weight of a fleece blanket merely by looking at it. You’ll have to rely on the grading offered by the manufacturer. Light fleece works best indoors when, for instance, you want to get comfortable watching TV or snuggle up with your loved one. For the most part, these won’t work while camping.
Heavy fleece, on the other hand, offers better protection from wind and cold when you are outdoors. They’re warmer and heavier, providing a heavenly feel on a cold night. They’re not visually different so make sure you’re checking for the manufacturer’s code to figure out whether the fleece blanket is built for outdoors or not.
Fleece blankets come in all shapes and sizes. If you’re uncomfortable sharing your accessories with fellow campers, the single-person fleece blankets will be ideal for you. But if you’re one of those families who love to snuggle together under the same blanket, you might want to look for the king-sized versions.
When you’re out there shopping for fleece blankets for your next camping trip, make sure you’re factoring in the number of people and their preferences. Moreover, consider the inches of skin the fleece blanket is required to cover. Kids can usually share a blanket without trouble but if you try stuffing more than two adults, everybody ends up cold. Make sure you understand the sizing requirements before buying a fleece blanket.
How to Wash and Store?
This is the most important part to prevent pilling. Washing fleece requires strategy more than skill. Unless your fleece blanket manufacturer recommends dry cleaning only, you can use the traditional method but with slight alterations.
Firstly, find a laundry detergent that does not contain bleach. Organic detergents work best in this case. Also, keep away from fabric conditioners as these tend to settle in fleece and damage them.
Make sure you’re using cold water to wash fleece. Hot water can damage the fiber, increasing the chances of pilling. On this note, use water softeners as well. Hard water can not only damage the fiber but also destroy the soft finish.
Do not wring the fleece blanket too tightly. As the fibers rub on each other, they’ll initiate pilling. As it is, fleece doesn’t hold a lot of water. Wring lightly and let it air dry completely before storing.
Do NOT iron fleece, ever! They’re not built to withstand such heat. Always air dry; it’ll keep your fleece blanket smelling nice and fresh.
This pretty much summarizes everything you should know about fleece blankets before you head out to purchase one. For camping, make sure you’re investing in high-quality fleece; this will keep you protected for years in the end. Take a piece of home with you on your trip. Stay warm and comfortable on your next trip while being prepared for sudden weather changes.