Curl up with a llama tonight.  The Cotopaxi Kusa blanket combines eco-friendly llama fleece with modern fabrics to create a comfortable companion for a wide range of outdoor activity.

Cotopaxi Kusa Blanket Features:

  • Weight: 14.7 oz (416g)
  • Dimensions: 52” x 70” (132cm x 178cm) open, 5” x 9.5” (11cm x 24cm) in stuff sack
  • Outer shell: 20D ripstop nylon with DWR finish
  • Insulation: 50% llama fiber, 50% polyester
  • Corner hang loop
  • Includes stuff sack
  • Two color options
  • MSRP $90

cotopaxi kusa blanket

Llama fleece… yes, please.

There’s been a sea change in the outdoor apparel industry in recent years towards natural fibers, which have inherent performance benefits for the user and allow more sustainable and responsible manufacturing practices for the company.  Merino wool is typically the most prominent natural fiber incorporated into performance wear, but sheep aren’t the only critters with high-tech fabrics on their backs.

Cotopaxi’s Kusa products feature llama fleece sourced from the Altiplano high plateau in the Andes Mountains of South America, a region where the company has a number of community development initiatives. Llama fleece has been used by indigenous people of the area for thousands of years – and it also happens to be a perfect brand match for Cotopaxi, who have a particular focus on the llama and even use its profile as their logo.

cotopaxi kusa blanket 1

Technical advantages of llama fleece include a broad comfort range, and full insulation even when wet.  The naturally soft fibers don’t need the extensive processing of merino wool, and require no coatings or chemical agents for use in fabric construction. The fibers are antimicrobial for odor resistance, and naturally hypoallergenic so there’s no risk of irritation for those with sensitive skin.  Insulating fibers maintain their shape and structure regardless of activity, whether it’s being stuffed in your pack or sent through the washing machine. Cotopaxi takes this naturally dynamic material and adds a few technical twists to enhance durability and performance in their Kusa products.

cotopaxi kusa blanket 2

Quilted nylon ripstop fabric with DWR coating; corner hang loop

The Kusa line currently consists of a unisex full zip jacket, a unisex pullover jacket, and the highly versatile blanket that we tested.  With each of the products, the insulating layer is quite thin, which makes them easy to stuff or stow; our blanket packs down to about the size of an ultralight sleeping pad – which is exactly what we paired it with for a couple of fastpack outings in the Sierras, and also for a couple nights of car camping. We’ve also used it as a general all-purpose blanket for picnics and that all-time classic activity … couch surfing.

Ledft to right: Big Agnes Q-Core sleep pad, Cotopaxi Kusa blanket in stuff sack, 32-oz Nalgene bottle

Size comparisons, left to right: Big Agnes Q-Core SL sleep pad, Cotopaxi Kusa blanket in stuff sack, 32-oz Nalgene bottle

Fortunately, despite its thinness, the Kusa blanket delivers an impressive amount of insulation by capturing body heat well. We especially like using it for sleeping on warm nights in lieu of a sleeping bag, because it’s easy to adjust or customize the amount of warmth without the overheating that can happen when you’re fully inside a down bag.  It also allows great freedom of mobility for your legs if you’re a restless sleeper. Our camp outings got down to the low 40s at night, and we stayed cozy sleeping in just shorts, t-shirts, and the Kusa on our inflatable pad.  The only drawback is that with a 70” length, anyone over 6’ tall will have a hard time covering their whole body when their legs are fully extended.

Keeping out the morning chill in Little Yosemite Valley

Keeping out the morning chill in Little Yosemite Valley

The Kusa’s ripstop nylon shell is durable enough to resist puncturing or tearing when used as ground cover, and it also feels very soft against your skin when using it as a wrapping to keep out the early morning chill.  Finally, here’s the ultimate testament to the combination of softness and warmth the Kusa blanket delivers: it’s become a favorite napping companion of our family cat, who always finds the most comfortable spot in the house.

Feline stamp of approval

Feline stamp of approval

The Good

  • Great warmth to thickness ratio
  • Excellent packability
  • Highly versatile

The Bad

  • Longer option not available for tall sleepers

Bottom Line: Cotopaxi Kusa blanket

Cotopaxi’s Kusa blanket combines old world materials with modern tech fabrics to provide soft lightweight comfort.  It’s a highly versatile piece that takes up minimal space in your pack or camp kit – so go ahead, take llama on your next adventure.

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About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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