Comfortable Versatility

The new Versa Blanket from Klymit lives up to its name.

versa blanketKlymit has built a name for itself with sleeping bags and pads, but it is also constantly developing new products to keep customers comfortable in the outdoors.

I’ve been very impressed with the overall comfort and durability of their products so when Klymit contacted me to evaluate its new Versa Blanket, I was intrigued. The Versa Blanket is an emergency blanket on steroids. It is a small, lightweight package that performs a myriad of functions very well. Based on past experience with Klymit products, I expected a well-made and, as the name implied, versatile piece of equipment. I was not disappointed.

I received the Versa Blanket when temps in Arizona were in triple digits and would not cool down anytime soon. Needless to say, I was not inclined to wrap myself in a blanket designed to keep me warm, so I waited until I was in cooler climes to do my evaluation.

On a trip to northern Minnesota, I packed the Versa Blanket in my airline carry-on. Even in the stuff sack the Versa Blanket did not take up a lot of room and still left space for an extra set of clothes, toiletries, laptop and chargers. This “aha” moment made me realize that the Versa Blanket is an excellent traveling companion whether you are headed into the backcountry or flying or driving to a vacation destination.

The Versa Blanket is 58 x 80 inches and is constructed of 20D soft-touch polyester and what Klymit calls Klymalite synthetic loft insulation. It has a generous foot box to keep feet warm and to avoid kicking the blanket off during sleep. Corner snaps adjust the fit to wear or share.

Versatility also extends to the multiple uses of this blanket. The blanket folds into the foot box to create a comfortable travel pillow (in fact when flying, I would recommend this mode of packing instead of using the stuff sack) and is high visibility orange on one side and blue on the other.

My evaluation began on a very rainy and foggy morning. Temps were in the low 40s and I had gotten caught in an ominous thunderstorm on my way back from my morning walk. Once I was back at the house, I dug the Versa Blanket out of my bag and wrapped myself in it to warm up a bit before I changed out of my wet clothes. As expected, I warmed up right away — faster in fact than I thought I would.

Since it was still sprinkling and blustery outside, I gathered up the Versa Blanket and decided to see how water resistant and warm it would be in mildly inclement weather. While not waterproof, the Versa Blanket did repel the light rain pretty well. I wouldn’t expect to stay completely dry in a deluge, but it would suffice until you got to proper shelter. Using the hand pockets, I was able to wrap the blanket around me to retain warmth. I also decided to try something that wasn’t listed in the description and tried using the footbox as a hood to keep the rain off. Might not be pretty, but it worked pretty well and kept my head warm and dry.

versa blanket as wrapI used the Versa Blanket as a blanket and found it very warm (almost too warm) for late fall evening; it’s probably a perfect extra blanket layer in winter. And while I haven’t yet tried them I thought of a variety of other uses for the Versa Blanket. For example, the orange side up would be a great signal for aerial searchers, it makes into a pillow for camping, can be extra layer of warmth for a sleeping bag if temps drop unexpectedly, acts as an emergency blanket or sleeping bag — the list is practically endless.

A couple of uses I did think of and tried out on our flight back to Arizona include taking the Versa Blanket out of my carry-on (in pillow mode) and using it to catch a few winks on the plane. While a bit bigger than your standard travel pillow, the Versa Blanket was more comfortable and didn’t make it look like I had a serious case of whiplash.

I also wondered if the Versa Blanket could serve as an impromptu shelter, so I took it into the hundred-acre wood on my brother-in-law’s farm and created a serviceable lean-to with it using some paracord, a substantial rock and the trunk of a fallen tree. While I would not have wanted to spend the summer under that shelter, it would serve in a pinch if I found myself back of beyond without any other shelter options.

Overall, the Versa Blanket could be seen as a must have item for any camper, hiker or traveler. Its ability to perform so many tasks well make it the perfect item for your car, your camping equipment, bug out bag, day pack or carry-on. It is more useful than the standard emergency space blanket and definitely lives up to its name.–Randy Gibbs

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