Most drivers know that they should have a complete emergency kit in their vehicles. This is incredibly handy when something goes wrong and you find yourself stranded next to the road. But one object that many don’t think about is a blanket.
Depending on the conditions, it can be used to keep you warm, serve as ground cover, double up as a towel or for attracting attention. While there are plenty to choose from, we love the Arcturus Military Wool Blanket for its versatility in nearly any emergency situation.
What to know before you buy a blanket for a car emergency kit
Types of blankets
Fabric blanket: One of the best blanket options for a car emergency kit is a lightweight down, fleece or wool blanket that can keep you warm in cold weather. This is slightly different than a blanket you'd use on your bed because it should also be waterproof.
Thermal blanket: A thermal blanket has reflective mylar on the inside. This is used to direct your own body heat back toward you to help keep you warm in adverse conditions. These blankets can be very thin or tarp-like. Alternatively, some are constructed like a sleeping bag so you can slip inside to stay warm.
Electric blanket: An electric blanket plugs into your vehicle's auxiliary power outlet and heats up. Unfortunately, this type of blanket should only be used when your car is running so it doesn't drain the battery. An electric blanket with a rechargeable battery can be used without tapping into your car's electrical system. This type of blanket must be charged before use, and it has limited battery life.
Emergency blankets can range from a throw that just covers your lap to a large blanket that can keep two adults warm. If you can’t decide which is best for you, there’s nothing wrong with purchasing more than one blanket.
If you’re storing your blanket inside your vehicle's emergency kit, you want one that folds or compresses down to a small size. However, if you keep the blanket on the back seat or in the trunk, size isn’t as much of an issue.
The best blanket for a car emergency kit should serve several purposes. Besides keeping you warm, it may protect you from the elements, be used as a pillow or even function as a picnic blanket. Alternatively, an electric blanket does one thing very well: it keeps you warm. When shopping for a blanket, decide if you want a jack of all trades or a master of one.
Blanket for emergency car kit cost
Blankets for car emergency kits are relatively inexpensive. Between $20 and $50 affords you nearly anything you'd like, from a small electric blanket to a heavy-duty wool blanket. If you prefer to have a larger camping blanket to keep on hand, you still don't need to spend much more than $70.
Blanket for emergency car kit FAQ
Why do I need to keep a blanket in my car?
A. If you get a flat, run out of gas or have engine trouble, it's important to stay inside your vehicle while you wait for help. Without power, a car loses heat rapidly. A blanket can help keep you comfortable while you wait.
Besides reflecting my body heat back to me, what else can a thermal blanket do?
A. A thermal blanket has many uses. For example, it can protect you from the weather (including shielding you from the wind), it makes a good ground cover, and it can be used to fashion a makeshift emergency shelter. Additionally, a thermal blanket is designed so it can easily be seen by a search party.
Which blanket for a car emergency kit should I get?
Best of the best emergency blanket
Arcturus Military Wool Blanket: available at Amazon
Our take: If you want a heavy wool blanket that won't let you down no matter the situation, Arcturus is an outstanding choice.
What we like: This durable blanket is triple-washed during production to make sure it's soft. It has contrast lock-stitching on all sides to prevent fraying. It's hypoallergenic and can keep you warm even after it gets wet.
What we dislike: For this blanket to remain in top condition, it must be hand-washed in cold water.
Best bang for your buck emergency blanket
Don't Die In The Woods World's Toughest Emergency Blanket: available at Amazon
Our take: A potentially life-saving mylar blanket, this blanket can reflect up to 90% of your body heat back to you to help you stay warm.
What we like: Four-pack of individually packaged survival blankets. Each one can fold down to 5.5 by 4 inches, but open to a blanket over six feet long. The company donates 1% of profits to conservative efforts around the world.
What we dislike: While these emergency blankets are a solid option, they're manufactured using mylar, so they can feel a little flimsy.
Stalwart Heated Car Blanket: available at Amazon
Our take: As long as your car battery has power, you'll be warm with this heated fleece travel throw.
What we like: This lightweight blanket plugs into the auxiliary power outlet of your vehicle and stays warm until you unplug it. The long 96-inch power cord means you can use this blanket even when you're in the back seat.
What we dislike: Be careful with this model, as it doesn't feature an auto shut-off to save battery power.
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Charlie Fripp is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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