Gear We Love: Insect Shield Outdoor Blanket

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Every so often I run into equipment or gear that I really like and use almost everyday. The Insect Shield Outdoor Blanket is one of the few pieces of gear that I use everyday whether or not I am on the water. Constantly being outdoors means following that tried but true motto of “be prepared.”

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First let’s look at the technical then we’ll tackle the practical. The blanket is 74″ × 56″ which is just big enough to picnic on. It’s made of light synthetic fibers that repel insects so another “+” mark for the picnic. It’s light and breathable but soft and warm when you need it and we will come back to that later. It comes in red, blue, and my favorite: Green.

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On the application side it’s uses are endless. First and foremost I use it in my Jeep as a gear cover / sunscreen. Nothing may be as hard on gear as sunlight. Working in the industry for years I have seen boots, waders, fly lines, tippet, leaders, wading jackets, flies, and yes even rods devastated by long term expose to sunlight. It’s not just the heat, it’s also ultra-violet (UV) light exposure which does damage to gear, specifically many of the adhesives uses to keep our gear together. This is half of the reason I always try to keep my gear covered in my Jeep.

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The other reason is security. Just like locks keep honest people honest, a good blanket keeps your gear out of sight and out of the minds of any honest soul having a weaker moment. It’s by no means a guarantee but it certainly helps if your gear is not laying out wide open for all to see.

Now up until this point I am sure you’re thinking: “That’s great, but my old wool army blanket does the same thing.” And you are right! Nothing about any of the aforementioned benefits are exclusive advantages of this blanket over any other. So here is where those technical aspects come into play to make this blanket clutch in a pinch.

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A few trips ago I was on my way back from a job and decided to stop at one of my favorite brook trout streams. I was wearing a bright blue shirt that was drenched in sweat and stank. Overbearing odor aside, the shirt did not blend in with my late spring/early summer surroundings, at the very least I would look like a Great Blue Heron that ate more than a few carp!

So there I was with a dilemma, go out with stank shirt and scare all the fish or go shirtless and get sunburnt and bit up by the swarms of bugs. It was at that moment while I was looking at my Sterilite container of fishing gear that I remembered the Insect Shield Outdoor Blanket I was using to cover my gear. I took off my shirt and wrapped myself up in the blanket toga-style and off I went. I ended up having a pretty great evening and stayed comfortable and unseen.

So there you have it, the multipurpose blanket that never leaves my Jeep unless it’s on my back. If you have any thoughts or uses for a good blanket share your comments below!

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