One of the biggest challenges when it comes to camping has to do with getting a good night’s rest after a long day outdoors. Whether it’s finding a comfortable sleeping bag and pad or making sure your temperature is properly regulated, sleep can make or break your entire trip.
Fortunately, there are a bunch of options to help you stay warm no matter the season or temperature at night. One of these is a battery powered heating blanket which can be used inside your tent for additional warmth.
So what is a battery powered blanket? A battery powered heating blanket is similar to an electric blanket in that it will provide heat but it is powered by batteries. This means it can be used in camping or any other location without a power supply and is extremely useful for nights that are colder than you were prepared for.
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Differences Between Electric and Battery Powered Blankets
Many people use electric blankets at home in their beds to keep warm in the winter or cooler months. These blankets plug directly into an outlet in the wall and usually have temperature settings and controls such as timers.
While an electric blanket could be an option for camping trips, it will be completely useless unless you have access to electric hookups. Many campsites do not provide electricity though and you will definitely be without it while backpacking or camping in the backcountry.
If your campsite does have access to electricity, you could use an electric blanket with an extension cord to make it reach to your tent. Or if you are camping in an RV, an electric blanket would be a good option because it can run off the RV’s coach batteries.
A battery powered blanket, on the other hand, is completely independent and can be taken anywhere. Depending on the design, you probably don’t have to worry about cords or other wiring which is used to plug in an electric blanket.
This makes battery-powered blankets a very attractive option for campers, especially those who enjoy camping in all four seasons. Those who will camp in extremely cold weather can also benefit from additional heat sources to keep them warm at night or help them survive a cold day.
One of the possible cons of a battery powered blanket is that the battery life may be quite short and, once the battery dies, the blanket will no longer generate heat. The amount of time it takes to charge the battery can be a downside because some will be quite slow to recharge.
If you do opt for a bigger battery to extend the life of the blanket, this could come with some extra weight, making it impractical to pack in your backpack. Packing the charging device if you anticipate having access to electricity at some point in your journey will be even heavier. There is also a possibility that the battery pack could be damaged which would also make the blanket much less effective.
Can you plug an electric blanket with a battery?
Yes, this can be done with a power inverter. This means you will have to haul a large battery at least the size of motorcycle battery for this to work but it is very doable.
The problem is a motorcycle battery will only run an electric blanket for about 20 minutes and a car battery will only last about a hour.
Popular Battery Powered Heating Blankets
Recently there have been some innovative technologies that have been used to develop new battery-powered blankets. Some of them are brand new and won’t be available until later in the year while another originated on Kickstarter.
The Cozee is a battery powered heating blanket which will be available in September 2019. It is completely cordless and features a 96 watt-hour battery that can be recharged. Not only does it keep you warm, but it has 2 USB ports which can be used to charge your phone or other electronic devices.
Its battery provides over 5 hours of continuous heating and the blanket itself is insulated with Mylar and features a weather-resistant shell to protect against wind, rain, and snow while the interior is plush and soft.
Each blanket is also quite large, measuring 72 inches wide and 60 inches long, making it large enough to wrap around yourself when sitting outside in chilly weather. It also features pockets to help keep hands warm and features a 5-year warranty.
The battery has three settings and can be charged by plugging it into a wall outlet or using the 12-volt input in your car. It’s also very safe and features a safety shut off and only uses 12 volts of electricity.
Another battery-powered heating blanket is the Rumpl Puffe which started with a Kickstarter campaign which successfully raised over $300,00. Although the campaign closed recently, the company is working on the second version of the blanket.
In this version, you can choose between either a down or synthetic fill and either blanket will be machine washable, weather resistant, and lightweight. The 12-volt battery provides instant warmth and, like the Cozee, it also acts as a power source to charge other devices.
Made from durable DWR Ripstop nylon, the material is very high-quality and, even without the heating feature, can be used at 45 degrees. The battery quickly charges in 90 minutes and the blanket can run for 10 hours on a low setting, 6 hours on medium, and 4 hours on high heat.
The battery is easily concealed in a zipper pocket so it can be tucked away when it is not in use. Each blanket measures 54 inches by 80 inches and is very lightweight and packable. The down version weighs 2.1 pounds and the synthetic is a little heavier at 3.4 pounds.
Another feature was a flashlight which is convenient for using around the campsite to locate things in the dark. Each blanket was available in either moss green or charcoal grey and this blanket looks like a very good option for a battery powered blanket. Based on these specifications, one can only imagine how much they will improve the next iteration.
Both of these blankets show just what is possible when it comes to battery powered blankets and the advancements which are being made regarding this kind of product. So it is definitely possible to find a great blanket that is safe, warm, and well-made.
What To Consider when Using a Battery Powered Heating Blanket
Anytime you use a heating blanket or other device which generates heat such as a heating pad, there are definitely safety considerations to take into account.
Heating blankets should not be used inside a sleeping bag though because they could overheat and cause it to catch on fire. A battery-powered or other heating blanket should never be used directly on top of an air mattress because it could melt through it.
It would also be beneficial if any blanket, either electric or battery powered, had a timer or automatic shutoff feature for additional safety. Although it may not be necessary, another feature to look for is whether or not the blanket is machine-washable which would make it much easier to clean after a camping trip.
Even when using a heated blanket, you should still use a sleeping pad underneath your sleeping bag to provide adequate insulation. Simply using a heated blanket may not be enough to keep you warm if body heat is lost through the ground.
Additionally, if you do use a heated blanket underneath you, it may be rendered ineffective if you are using an air pad because the heat will escape through the pad. A battery powered blanket is also not a substitute for a high-quality and properly rated sleeping bag which is essential, especially if the heating blanket malfunctions.
Accessories to Use with a Battery Powered Heating Blanket
In addition to a heated blanket, you can combine it with other sources of warmth to maximize comfort while sleeping. There are numerous ways to add heat to help your body maintain comfortable body temperature at night.
One of the ways to do this is with chemical heat packs which can be placed inside a sleeping bag or inside socks or gloves. A sleeping bag liner will also add some more insulation and increase the temperature rating of your sleeping bag.
If you do have electricity, in addition to a heated blanket, you could also use a heating pad which will be much warmer and have a more concentrated source of heat. Of course, heating pads are also great for using on sore muscles and preventing stiffness.
However, if you find yourself using a battery powered blanket but are still not warm enough, you may need a better sleeping bag. For winter camping, look for one that is specifically used in four seasons and has is filled with down for added warmth.
When you’ve tried all these tricks but your tent is still chilly inside, consider the location of the tent and whether it is getting too much wind. A more durable tent may also be needed depending on the nighttime temperatures and conditions where you will be camping.
You can also look into finding a portable heater to put inside your tent. A portable heater won’t be an option while backpacking or if you do not have access to electricity, but if you are able to use one, it might be a viable option.
Just make sure any heater is safe, will not melt the tent, and is designed for camping. It should also have a safety shut off mechanism and variable heat settings to prevent overheating.