Travel Tips

This Compact Weighted Blanket Is a Dream Travel Companion—And No, It Won’t Weigh You Down

Erica Sloan

Courtesy of Bearaby
When you think of packing for a trip, bringing a weighted blanket—aka something that’s quite literally designed to be heavy—might not seem like the most sensible decision. But hear me out: The beloved weighted-blanket brand Bearaby just launched a new product precisely for that purpose, and it's called the Travel Napper. While you might understandably have some questions about this product (I did, too, before I took mine for a spin), I’m here to tell you that it’s basically the goldilocks of the weighted-blanket world. It packs enough heft to help calm your mind and ease you off to sleep, but not so much that it's a burden to tote along to your final destination.

First, let’s talk about the weight. I do not lift weights, and I can easily carry this travel-sized weighted blanket from Bearaby. It clocks in at 10 pounds, which is just enough to activate its deep-touch pressure benefits while still being totally manageable to bring with you wherever you're headed. (Not to mention, it rolls up easily and comes with its own canvas bag that could easily slide under the plane seat in front of you or into the overhead bin.)

With regards to the size, the Travel Napper is 40 by 64 inches long, which is roughly large enough to lay over your chest and lap—or you can fold it over once, if you’re pressed for space—applying a gentle, weighted sensation that feels something like a hug, if a blanket could hug you back.

And just like a squeeze from a loved one, the light pressure from a weighted blanket can have a deeply calming effect. "When someone's upset and you hug them, the hug not only offers emotional security, but research has also shown that contact of the physical sensory produces an effect that activates the parasympathetic nervous system,” psychotherapist Gin Love Thompson, PhD, previously told Well+Good.

That parasympathetic activation—which is essentially the opposite of a fight-or-flight response—lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. And if you’re like me, you’d welcome just about anything to keep your pulse from soaring while you’re waiting in line at the airport or preparing for takeoff—especially now, with an additional set of risks in play due to the pandemic, which can stoke feelings of flight anxiety.

What’s more, according to a small study of 31 participants, weighted blankets may also help you fall asleep more readily and wake up feeling more refreshed, all of which makes the Travel Napper a useful accessory for a road trip or any lengthier voyage during which you'll sleep in a new place or anticipate having difficulty getting quality shut-eye.

Like Bearaby’s classic full-size blankets, the Travel Napper is also hand-knit—just with more compact loops for its smaller size—and made of 100-percent organic cotton that’s sustainably sourced, in keeping with the Made in Green by Oeko-Tex certification. While its chunky woven texture is what gives it its helpful weight and chic look, it’s also surprisingly breathable, thanks to the spaces allowing airflow within the knit and the lack of any artificial fillers.

The Travel Napper comes in all the same colors as the brand’s Classic Napper, which include Asteroid Grey, Moonstone Grey, Evening Rose, Midnight Blue, and Cloud White—so you can happily cocoon yourself on-the-go in whatever style best suits your fancy.

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