Matador Blanket Review – 2023 Update
Matador blanket is a unique product in more ways than one.
It’s a nifty little sidekick for anybody looking to explore the great outdoors while minimizing the burden they carry and maximizing mobility.
When we say unique, we don’t mean that there are no similar products out there (some of them even at a lower price point) but this one, especially the newer versions – Matador 2.0 & 3.0 and its smaller version, the Mini, stand out – no question about it.
By the end of this review you should have all the answers that you need to make an informed decision on whether its worth your buck.
We’ve gathered a lot of data on it and “translated” that to ratings using our proprietary rating system.
It’s all based on first-hand experiences and tests. We talked to owners, asked about all the important quality aspects – you’ll see it all below.
Last updated: 2023
Matador pocket blanket
30-second video intro
an in depth review
In the analysis you’ll see below, we aim to answer a few burning questions like, “Is it worth the few extra bucks?”, by looking at all the major quality aspects that define it.
For the past 5 months, we’ve been gathering data to use for our statistical analysis and ratings from as many independent sources as we possibly could. We combined that with the experiences of people we reached out to to ask about the product and, finally, our in-house reviewer Mark, who is a high-altitude high care and trekker.
Our model of rating
Our statistical model of reviewing was developed and tweaked over the years. We wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s perfect, but we are proud of it since it’s not a mere opinion but a reflection of significant volume of data.
Finally, to keep it all fresh and relevant, we update this review on either bi or four-month basis (depending on the volume of new data).
Without much ado, let’s get to the analysis.
Pretty much every review of the Matador blanket that we looked through had a common theme in terms of the first impression.
Typically, it’s underwhelming because you pay a few dozen bucks for a package that can fit on the palm of your hand. It’s natural to be skeptic.
It’s only after using the product that most people change their minds about it and see its value .
In other words, when you first get it, it’s hard to believe that something so small can bdo a serious job of protecting you from the elements.
Therein lies the beauty of the Matador
The 2.0 folds down to about the size of an average smart phone and concoct really fit pretty much any pocket.
We are stressing that because it’s an important aspect of its value – with this type of products, the manufacturers usually brag about how little space it occupies in your backpack.
When unfolded it measures a hefty 63 inches in length and 44 inches in width, but packed down it measures 4 x 3 inches. It’s also only 1.2 inches thick and weighs under 4 ounces (3.84 to be exact).
The unfolded size is enough to sit four people or lay two. Having in mind the above listed measurements, we’d say that it’s pretty impressive.
The patent – what’s different about it
Here are some aspects that the inventor of the Matador, Christopher Aaron Clearman, listed as specific to the product in the patent:
- Flexible and light materials that fold extremely small and yet, are completely waterproof
- The folding, lines and marking materials – the legal lingo used in patents would be of much use to anybody reading this, but it’s fair to say that the patent explains in detail what’s different about the design that allows it to be packed and folded so small
- Storage pouch with a carrying handle and a cover flap directly attached to the material of the blanket
- Storage tray that includes molded plastic and a perimeter and floor wall
All these aspects combined are what allows the blankets to fold so small and yet to be so versatile in its use. The statistical analysis combined with subjective impressions brings us to the ratings of 94 and 90 in packability and versatility respectively.
- Packability 94% 94%
- Versatility 90% 90%
What this means for you?
That the ratings above go hand-in-hand to offer increased value.
In other words, when looking at blankets of this type, you’ll want a product that’s sturdy and element-resistant enough to offer solid protection and yet, light enough to be used for other purposes, like a tabletop or an improptu shelter.
There are products out there that do a better job than the Matador in either the first or the second aspect, which is beside the point. The point is the balance between the two, which is where this blanket truly shines.
Easy to handle and pack
When researching similar products we came across more than a few that are as tightly packed on arrival, but once they are out of the bag/pouch getting them back in becomes a conundrum.
That’s not the case here.
After each use, you can easily pack it back into the pouch to its original shape and size.
The most important factor here are the patterns and lines of the stitching that there are very intuitive and of great help, especially in the beginning, while you’re still getting used to the blanket.
When can folding be a pain?
One thing that might be worth mentioning is that, because the blanket is so light, wind might play a role in how efficiently you can fold it.
In this scenario, packing it might be more of a two-person job and it might be smarter to do it on the ground so there’s no flapping.
To be fair, this was more of an issue with the original. Iin the 2.0, the spikes/weights (see picture) that are added for stability also help when folding it in windy conditions.
Is it durable?
It’s made of Hyperlyte nylon, which is extremely durable and resistant to punctures and scratches. This means that not only will Matador last long, but you won’t see it changing much with prolonged use.
That goes both for lighter use on grass and sand and the more demanding circumstances a hiker or a tracker might find themselves in (dirt, stones, branches…).
In our opinion, it deserves a solid 90/100 in the durability category.
What this means for the potential owner?
Looking at how well the Matador pocket blanket fares against even the harshest trail circumstances and combining that with the fact that it’s completely waterproof, it’s fair to say that the value provided is, in our opinion, worst the few extra dollars.
However, it’s crucial to know what you need and what you’re getting and there’s one common point of confusion – the difference between the Mini and the 2.0 blanket – we’ll address it bellow.
- Durability 90% 90%
One common question, “Are the Mini blanket and the 2.0 the same product?”
No, they’re not.
The 2.0 indicates that the product is the successor of the original, with a few minor improvements that do make a difference nonetheless.
The Matador Mini blanket is a version of the product that’s even smaller (both in general and packing size). The Mini weighs only 38 grams and unfolds into a 44 x 28 inch surface (vs the 63 x 44 of the 2.0). It’s meant to lay one person and sit two.
We already mentioned that the classic or regular, however you want to call it, is meant to lay 2 people or sit four.
So, bottom line, the 2.0 is about double the size of the Mini.
Other important facts & FAQs about the Matador
Is it pet-friendly?
One comment that we kept seeing is the praise from pet owners were concerned about what the claws might do to the material. In the vast majority of cases, we saw nothing but praise about how well it fares in this aspect.
So, yes, if you like to take your dogs along for picnics or hikes, this blanket will absolutely serve the purpose.
Sturdiness vs. skin-feel
The design of the proprietary fabric specifically aims at delivering a product that can withstand the challenges and yet feel smooth against your skin.
This impressive combination is achieved by combining completely different surfaces for the two sides to the blanket. One side is a coated with polyurethane and has a ripstop quality to it. To put it differently, you might say that it’s made to mimic the toughness of a canvas at a much lower weight and thickness.
On the other hand, the second side feels smooth and gentle against the skin, which is a huge plus whether you’re laying on it, wearing it as an additional protective layer or getting creative by, say, improvising a tabletop on the trail.
Typically, similar products have a “plasticky” filling to them and the surface is often on even and crinkles underneath you. The two-sided design applied here eliminates the issue – again, a nice big plus for this baby.
We have seen nothing but good experiences with the customer service of the company. For the purposes of this review, we and sent them an email with a few questions about the product. We received a prompt response with clear answers to all our questions.
The evidence that we have indicates a very low percentage of on arrival issues with the product. However, when it does happen, it seems that their customer service is efficient about the issues.
We’ve seen the experiences of people who had some kind of a problem with the product they received and praised the company for the way the situations was handled. To put it simply, those who had a complaint or got a flawed product were promptly sent a new one.
We feel that this blanket reigns supreme in its niche. We already said that, naturally, there are more conventional blankets that would probably be more comfortable, but none of them close to the portability and ease of use.
We also did find a couple of products that pack just as small and (in most cases) cost less, but can’t really compete with the Matador in the majority of the most important quality categories, from water-resistance to durability.
The Matador 2.0 has surpassed what was already a well-rounded product, its predecessor.
The overall rating of 91/100 reflects that.
If you own it and have something to share about it or have a question, don’t hesitate to drop us a line either by commenting here or by contacting us directly. If we know the answer, we’ll share it right away and if we don’t, we’ll do our best to find out.
The Sleep Studies team