Winter is the perfect time to cozy up outside. Beyond base layers, mid layers, outer layers and everything you need for a roaring campfire, the best gear item to bring on chilly outdoor adventures is a portable puffy blanket.

Down is a controversial material made from goose or duck plumage. According to PETA, workers often rip bird’s feathers out by the fistful from birds that are still alive, which can be painful and stressful for the birds. Furthermore, down has some setbacks in wilderness situations: when the plumage gets wet, it can clump together and take a long time to dry. Rumpl’s new NanoLoft® Puffy Blanket doesn’t use animal products—instead, the blanket is stuffed with high-quality synthetic down.

This unique synthetic down is Rumpl’s signature NanoLoft® insulation. The material is post-consumer recycled and is designed to replicate the properties of down. Tiny circular clusters of fibre trap heat efficiently. It also compresses quickly and easily, while quickly rebounding to its natural shape when unfolded.

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The 30D polyester ripstop nylon shell is made from recycled plastic bottles. It's coated with 90/10 DWR to repel water, debris and stains.

Extra cool features include a cape clip that allows you to wear the warmth like a superhero for hands-free adventures and a water-resistant stuff stack that allows you to roll the blanket and use the clip as a handle. Strong paracord corner loops make it easy to hang or stake down.

Rumpl has amassed rave reviews, including the designation of “Best Puffy Blanket” from the New York Times’ Wirecutter. But what’s it really like? I took the blanket out for a test-run in early January to see how it would perform on a cool, clear day in Vancouver.

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With the whole coronavirus pandemic thing still trudging on in 2021, I’m a bit limited to where I can explore. I took the blanket down to the Fraser River to see if it would keep me warm in just a base layer, crew sweater and leggings in January.

I can vouch for the high-quality feel of the blanket. The fabric feels a bit slick and slippery, which isn’t my favourite texture, but most outdoors down blankets are the same. I wrapped it around my shoulders (securing it with the handy, if slightly goofy looking, cape clip) and was surprised by the quick warmth it offered without bulk or heaviness.

The blanket soaked up some rainwater from the previous evening’s storm and mud from the ground. Shaking it off didn’t work, so I tossed it in my laundry machine with Tru Earth's eco-strips, since it’s machine-washable (Note: only in newer, top-loading machines).

Overall, I think this blanket is a good option for those looking to invest in an ethically made down blanket beyond what you can get at a generic outdoors store. Weighing 1.2 pounds, this one-person blanket would be a great addition to a front-country camping trip, a cozy alpine picnic or even a cool winter evening on your patio.

Learn more: rumpl.ca

Follow Rumpl on Instagram: instagram.com/gorumpl

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Disclaimer: Rumpl provided a blanket for Explore to test and review.