Welcome to AFAR Approved: a deep dive into the travel items we’re totally obsessed with, never leave behind, and can’t stop telling our friends about.
Consider me the Goldilocks of flying. If I wear too many bulky layers and board an airplane that’s been sitting in the sun without the AC on, I overheat faster than egg salad on a summer day. But once that AC starts cranking at 30,000 feet, I’m a cold, shivering mess. However, in all my struggles to find my “just right” airplane temperature, you’ll never catch me using one of those thin, sandpapery travel blankets airlines pass out on long-haul flights. For years, I relied on an oversize scarf to ward off chills on red-eyes. But even the softest cashmere wasn’t enough for those arctic airplane breezes.
When I realized Oregon-based Rumpl had scaled down its puffy “sleeping bag” blanket designed for camping to a travel-friendly size, I was excited to put it to the test. Having flown with the Rumpl NanoLoft Travel Blanket at least four times since I acquired it last summer, I’ll continue to pack it in my personal item on future flights. Here’s why I think you should BYOB—bring your own blanket—too.
Why the Rumpl NanoLoft Travel Blanket is worth it
- Weight: 0.7 lbs.
- Dimensions: 38 x 52 inches (flat); 3.5 x 11 inches (packed)
- Best for: Staying warm on airplanes or other chilly travel environments
- Buy now: $99, rumpl.com; rei.com; backcountry.com
The Rumpl NanoLoft Travel Blanket is the closest you can get to bringing a sleeping bag on an airplane—minus the bulk. When stuffed into its included carry sack—just like a packable jacket—the puffy blanket is the size of a Nalgene water bottle and weighs only 0.7 pounds. That’s less than two apples, for you serious airplane snackers.
When unfurled, it covers my entire seated body from my neck down to my toes. One of my favorite features is its “Cape Clip,” a simple loop and clasp on two corners that allows you to secure the blanket loosely around your neck so it doesn’t slip off your shoulders while you’re sleeping. This also means you’re free to use your hands to sip tiny bottles of airplane wine or adjust your seat-back movie screen without sacrificing any coziness.
Though $99 is a steep price for a travel blanket, consider this: The proprietary NanoLoft insulation used in the blanket is designed to mimic natural down using “tiny circular clusters of fiber” crafted from postconsumer recycled materials. That means you’ll get the same level of warmth as a down sleeping bag—for under $100
It’s machine washable, too
Like all Rumpl puffy blankets, the NanoLoft Travel Blanket is machine washable. When you get home, toss it into your washing machine on a warm setting and either hang dry or tumble dry on low. Better still: You won’t need to wash it that often. Rumpl originally designed its blankets for the outdoors, so you don’t have to worry about stains and spills since even this travel-size version is made with a durable water-repellent finish. Though it’s not fully waterproof, I’ve used my Rumpl blanket as a picnic blanket in parks the morning after big rain storms and walked away with dry pants. Simply brush off the dirt and let it air out a bit, and it’s ready to use again.
It comes in more than half a dozen colors and patterns
Whether you like your travel gear to blend in or stand out, there’s a Rumpl travel blanket for you. You can keep it simple with a basic black or “Deepwater” (navy blue with red piping on its border). Or have fun with patterns like “Glacier Rays” (pale blue with sunset-colored stripes) or “PDX Carpet” (inspired by the iconic airport carpet in Portland, Oregon, where Rumpl is headquartered).
Rumpl is a seriously sustainable brand
The Rumpl NanoLoft Travel Blanket is made from 20 recycled plastic water bottles. In fact, Rumpl uses upcycled plastic bottles in most of its blankets’ shells and synthetic insulation. (For its Down Puffy Blankets, Rumpl uses humanely sourced down feathers obtained as a by-product of the food industry.) But the brand’s ethical and environmental efforts don’t end there. Rumpl is a Climate Neutral Certified brand that offsets its full carbon footprint and also donates 1 percent of its annual sales via 1% for the Planet to support environmental nonprofits like Outdoor Afro, the National Parks Foundation, and more. Most recently, Rumpl became a certified B-Corporation, meaning it’s legally committed to consider the impact its decisions have on the environment, its workers, and beyond.
So whether you decide to upgrade your travel blanket or invest in something else from the brand—Rumpl also makes durable beach blankets as well as unscratchy merino wool throws—you can do it with peace of mind.