If given the choice between Wool or Fleece for a blanket, have you ever wondered which might be the warmest blanket for winter?
Maybe it’s simply a blanket for your bed at home, a throw for your favorite chair, or maybe to compliment your lifestyle be it camping or just relaxing at the cabin.
First, lets discover where the warmth of a blanket comes from:
Warmth does not originate from the blanket. It comes from the heat of your body.
To keep that warmth near your body the blanket needs to trap the air close. It does this by the gap spaces between the fabric threads.
A blanket that stays the warmest is directly related to its fabric capacity to hold warm air!
Is Wool The Warmest Blanket?
It’s widely considered that the best natural fabric to trap and hold warm air is wool.
If you look at wool fabric under magnification, the fibers do not lie flat against each other. They have a natural ‘crimp’ which keeps the wool fabric relentlessly curly or kinky.
This creates countless air gap spaces, even in the most tightly woven wool fabric, which makes it a leader in holding warmth.
Wool remains effective even when wet. Although it does not dry out very fast.
Wool repels water and also wicks away moisture. Water beads up on the surface because the overlapping scales of the fibers create a hard outer layer that liquid water does not penetrate. Water vapor, however, is absorbed into the wool fibers core (wicking away perspiration).
Wool is made from sheep hair and is naturally fire resistant.
What is Merino Wool?
Merino wool does not have the itchy feel of some wool. How is that possible?
Merino wool comes from Merino sheep, a unique breed refined in New Zealand and Australia. They have some of the finest and softest wool of any sheep.
So is it the warmest? (Read on…)
Is Fleece The Warmest Blanket For Winter?
Modern synthetic Polar Fleece comes very close to imitating the natural properties of wool, and is also very effective in trapping warm air. It’s a great alternative to natural wool!
It was originally developed (1979) by Polartec located in Massachusetts. The CEO intentionally declined to patent it, which allowed the material to be produced cheaply and widely by many vendors, leading to its quick and wide acceptance.
Polar Fleece provides similar warming characteristics as wool in its warmth retention and also has the capacity to wick away body moisture while holding heat in its many tiny air pockets.
Polar Fleece will keep warm when wet because it retains much of its insulating quality even when wet. Fleece will dry out very quickly (just wring it out).
It is very light weight compared to wool, making it a great choice for various articles of clothing. It comes in various thicknesses: micro, 100, 200, and 300.
Watch out, fleece readily holds a static electricity charge (zap in the winter!) and will attract lint, dust, pet hair.
Be very aware (cautious) that polar fleece is highly flammable! Don’t stand too close to the fire… It is also susceptible to damage from high temperature washing, drying, or ironing.
And the winner is…
So, which is the warmest blanket for winter? Is it Wool or Polar Fleece?
While both types and variations thereof can be quite warm, a factor that may sway the decision is weight. How many of you think that you’ll feel a little bit warmer underneath the heft of a wool blanket?
A fleece blanket is very light weight (which has its own advantages!) however in my opinion the more snug the blanket is against your body, the warmer you may feel.
So it seems to me that a nice Merino Wool blanket (no itch!) will be my own personal choice between the two for the warmest blanket.
If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned other fabric materials for a blanket, well, I just wanted to compare wool and fleece (very similar properties).
‘Down’ makes for a very good insulation too! A nice puffy down comforter sure is nice in the winter! There’s natural and synthetic too (some people may be allergic to certain natural fibers).
There are also blankets made of other manufactured fibers such as nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic yarns which imitate the fuzzy loft of woolen fibers, and they all compete in the market space.
So what do you think? Got a favorite warmest blanket for the winter?