Planning a hiking getaway for the weekend? Be sure to pack your kit with essential survival items, such as a flashlight, a first aid kit, and a waterproof camping blanket. Whether or not you are going on a multi-day hike, it's important to pack a blanket as it is a multi-tool hiking essential.
Explore the different uses of waterproof camping blankets for hiking and why you should never leave without them.
Using Waterproof Camping Blankets for Hiking
Once touted as a luxury item for camping, a waterproof blanket is emerging as one of the must-have items for hiking enthusiasts. It does not matter how long or short the hike is, you’ll find a use for this blanket, so it’s wise to always pack one in your kit.
1. Use it to stay warm on unexpected cold snaps.
A good camping blanket that is of waterproof quality is a great item to pack when hiking. It can keep you warm and regulate body temperature during unexpected cold snaps. It's important to study the trail beforehand and be prepared for unexpected weather or climate changes.
A waterproof camping blanket is an ideal tool to pack because it is designed to be lightweight yet durable enough to keep you warm. You can easily reach for it in your bag when there is a sudden drop in temperature. Drape it over your shoulders to retain your body warmth and protect you against the cool wind.
2. Use it to stay dry during the rain on the trail.
Aside from a sudden drop in temperature, an unexpected downpour can make any hike more challenging (especially when navigating mountainous and sloped terrains). Therefore, staying warm should be the least of your worries when you pack a waterproof camping blanket. Some models are also big enough that you can share them with your hiking companion, and you can stay dry while you wait for the rain to pass.
3. Use it as a ground mat.
If you are embarking on a multi-day hike, it’s important to get as many stops along the way as possible. If you need to rest, you can use a waterproof camping blanket and set it on the ground as a mat. The camping blanket gives you something comfortable to sit on rather than sitting directly on the ground. You can also use it when you want to enjoy the scenery, or you've reached the summit of your hike.
Most camping blankets are made of durable materials that can withstand the rough texture of the ground. Hence, you don’t need to worry about causing damage to the blanket and you can rest comfortably.
4. Use it to protect yourself from the heat.
The heat from the sun is just as dangerous as the cold when you’re hiking. If you are hiking during the summer months, it’s important to pack a camping blanket.
Use the blanket to regulate your body temperature and prevent sunburn. The material prevents the sun’s UV rays from penetrating the blanket so that you are protected against the heat, which also prevents your body temperature from rising. It’s also important to find a shaded area to rest when you are exhausted from hiking, or you can feel your body temperature going up. As always, make sure you stay hydrated.
5. Use it as a pillow.
If you want to rest during your day’s hike, or at night when you’re on a multi-day hike, you can use your camping blanket as a pillow. Simply roll the blanket and prop it against your head just like you would a pillow. It could help you give a good quality sleep at night so you are rejuvenated for your hike the following day.
6. Use it as a towel.
Did you forget to bring a towel for the hike? Or do you need an extra towel to dry off your sweat? A camping blanket works well if you get wet during the hike (or after the rain). The waterproof material effectively absorbs excess moisture from your body, which makes it as effective as an absorbent towel.
Make sure to wring it out thoroughly after use so you can use it as a blanket again.
7. Use it for emergency purposes.
As much as you do your best to be careful when you’re hiking, accidents can happen when you least expect them. A waterproof camping blanket can be an essential item to pack when hiking, especially during survival situations.
There are endless possibilities with the use of a camping blanket, such as a temporary splint or a stretcher. If you’re resourceful enough, there are several uses for a camping blanket when you’re hiking.
8. Use it to keep your pet warm.
If you like hiking with your dog, then you can use a waterproof camping blanket to keep them warm. Like humans, dogs need warmth, too. Make sure to choose a material that can repel pet hair or ones that are easy to clean afterwards.
9. Use it to protect your gear and other hiking essentials.
Another practical use for a camping blanket when you’re hiking is to use it as a pack liner. Whether you are on the move or setting camp for the night, a waterproof blanket will help keep your gear dry and protected from the elements.
Use the blanket to line your backpack before you head out for the hike, especially if rain is forecast. The blanket will keep moisture out so you can keep your essential items dry, even when there is a sudden downpour.
10. Use it for rain shelter.
Aside from helping you stay warm when it rains during your hike, there is another use for a waterproof camping blanket – as a shelter. Use your blanket to build a tent or drape it over tree branches so you have a temporary shelter during the rain.
Place the blanket at an angle to allow the rain to run off so it won’t get soaked and to prevent the water from accumulating above your head. However, use this strategy only for a drizzle or temporary rain. You’ll need to build a bigger and more reliable tent for a huge downpour as the blanket won’t do much to keep you dry.
11. Use it to protect your food supply.
Packing food for your hiking adventure is a must. However, you need to ensure your food supply is not spoiled so you can enjoy it for as long as your hiking adventure.
You may use your waterproof camping blanket to protect your food supplies against the elements to prevent them from spoiling prematurely. In addition, covering your food with a blanket will keep bears and other wild animals from being attracted by the smell and infiltrating your food supplies while you’re asleep.
The Bottom Line
Every hiking trip is different. You can tweak the list of equipment to pack for your hiking excursion based on the number of days you're hiking, the difficulty of the hiking trail, and other relevant factors. Accordingly, a camping blanket (especially a waterproof one) is one of the items that should never be missing from your list. It's for your safety and comfort; it's also practical because there are several uses for one item.
Complete your hiking kit with a waterproof camping blanket. Its versatility adds value to your money since you can use it for various purposes. Most camping blankets are lightweight and won't add too much weight to your backpack. They are also compact enough that they won't take up much space in your bag. Therefore, a camping blanket is no longer a nice-to-have in your hiking equipment list but is now a must-have. There are different types and materials available, so choose the proper model that matches your hiking needs, as per the conditions in your hiking trail.