If you're perpetually cold on airplanes, or just want a lightweight picnic blanket for your spring staycation, the Gravel Layover, from the same folks that make one of our favorite toiletry bags, is a warm, cleverly designed blanket that you can literally take with you anywhere.
12 Ounces of Warmth
Weighing less than a pound, the Layover blanket is stuffed with a recycled PET plastic fill made from recycled water bottles, but if you didn't know it wasn't down, you might think it was down.
Just like your favorite puffer coat, the whole blanket can pack down into its own pocket, which lets it double as a pillow, and makes the whole thing so small that no gate agent would even consider it a personal item.
The exterior, like other packable blankets, is made of nylon, which is definitely more "crinkly" and technical than your favorite quilt at home, but it's a necessary compromise; no other material could pack down as small, let alone resist spills and stains when the passenger in front of you slams their seat into your beverage.
The Layover is hardly the only packable travel blanket you can buy, but its thoughtful design touches are what set it apart. For example, a set of snaps on the top corners let you loop the blanket around your neck so it doesn't slide off when you doze off; a frequent problem for slick, nylon blankets. Those snaps are also colored bright orange, making them easy to find against the blanket's silver exterior.
You'll find more snaps running down the sides of each Layover blanket, allowing you to attach multiple blankets together into a big blanket that you can share with your traveling companion, or lay out for a bigger gathering in the park.
And on the underside of the Layover, you'll find a zipper pocket to keep your gadgets and passport safe, a fleece-lined "kangaroo" pouch to keep your hands warm while you sleep, and even two large foot pockets to stop your feet from poking out from underneath the blanket. Those foot pockets, when combined with the neck snap, mean it's basically impossible to accidentally slide out from underneath the blanket, even if you're sleeping bolt-upright in an economy seat. You can't say the same about the blankets that the airlines pass out.
As Good On the Ground As In the Sky
Needless to say, it's a lot easier to take a 12 ounce blanket with you on a hike, or even to the park, than a "real" blanket. You can easily attach it to a picnic basket or backpack, lay it out for an outdoor lunch or midday nap, and then throw it straight into the washing machine to clean off any dirt.
It's only rated for temperatures as low as 60 degrees, so it's not a camping blanket that you'd want to rely on on a cold night, but it's still a great place to sit down if you don't want to get your clothes dirty.
Some people can sleep on a plane totally unassisted. Most of us at least need a good travel pillow, or maybe a little extra melatonin in our bloodstreams. But if you can't doze off unless you're physically under a blanket, the Gravel Layover might be worth the splurge, because you know that airline-provided blanket isn't going to cut it.