Girl Guide Camp Blanket vs. Camp Poncho

For today’s Flahsback Friday installment, we’re re-posting one of our most viewed blog posts of all time. 

poncho_girl2In today’s post, we’re entering into some pretty turbulent waters, opening up a seriously contentious debate, if you will. No, I’m not talking about chocolatey mint vs. chocolate and vanilla classic cookies. And I’m not talking about ‘Fire’s Burning’ vs. ‘Taps’ as best ever campfire closing (man, that would be a good debate). No, I’m talking about what is the ULTIMATE crest storage device. Yes, it’s camp blank vs. camp poncho. Let the debate begin!

My daughter Ella is a super proud member of the 5th Kanata Brownies in Ottawa. In her four years as a Girl Guide, she’s had some amazing leaders who’ve organized week after week of fun activities. And in this time, Ella has amassed quite the collection of crests. She’s earned crests ranging from 2nd Year Spark, Crazy for Camping, Camp Woolsey 100 Steps Forward, Sing Ontario, Sing, Daughter of the World’s Best Mom, etc. (Okay, that last one I’m making up…)

Now, as the world’s best mom of the world’s awesomest Brownie, I’m trying to decide what to do with all the crests. Because, well, jamming them all into a ziplock bag labeled ‘Sew these somewhere someday’  just isn’t cutting it anymore. And, it seems, I have two choices for crest storage device – camp blanket or camp poncho. Each has its merits.

Camp blank:

  • It’s very blanket-y (i.e. it keeps you warm)
  • Works both at camp and while cuddling on the sofa at home
  • Blankets will always be in style

Camp poncho:

  • It’s very poncho-ey (i.e. you can wear it around the campfire, while debating whether to sing ‘ Fire’s Burning’  or ‘Taps’)
  • Works both as a poncho and – with a quick unfolding – as a blanket
  • Ponchos will also always be in style – at Girl Guide camp

Hmm, so it seems I haven’t really solved my dilemma. Dear bloggy friends, please help me – which should I order on the – the camp blanket or the camp poncho?

By Mary, GGC staff


Love our blog? Pitch us your idea! Prepare and submit a short paragraph explaining the main idea that you will present in your guest blog post. It could be about an ‘a ha!’ moment you’ve had as a member, a one-of-a-kind Guiding activity, a great tip or resource you want to share, or just what Guiding means to you. (Please do not send in a completed article before receiving approval for your pitch!)

Email us! GGCblog (at)

This entry was posted in Camping & Outdoors and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Girl Guide Camp Blanket vs. Camp Poncho

  1. Jo says:

    Love this post. I have a camp blanket. I live my blanket but at a camp fire I can’t get as wrapped up in it as the other leaders do with poncho’s. My dughterbis a Saprk and I have bought her the poncho. She loves it. It is perfect. She walks around in it on camp as a dressing gown. It goes down to her toes so I know it will last all way up to adult life. It is so good. I have to admit I was also a blanket girl but now after seeing my daughter in her poncho I am voting for poncho

  2. Bri A. says:

    I’m personally pro-blanket. Girls love to wear those ponchos to campfire… which they then bring, all nice and damp, into their sleeping situations to snuggle with… Brrr and yuck. Blankets stay on beds. I would also not prefer flowy ponchos OR blankets to be at campfire for flammability reasons!

    Also, blankets ‘grow with you’ better. The poncho I had as a child became too small for me to use as an adult, so I eventually took everything off and had them sewed onto a blanket – a HUGE undertaking. Ponchos are often too big for little girls, and we’ve had girls trip on them, and even fall down stairs wearing a poncho.

    Just some food for thought! Definitely a hot topic 😉

  3. Yvonne Thompson says:

    I love my poncho. Good while sitting at the campfire and if I’m cold at night I’ve often used it as a blanket. So a poncho is the best for your first crest keeper. Then when it’s full, make the blanket and you have te best of both worlds.

  4. Erin says:

    I did a poncho.. it can grow with my little sprouting spark. I cut a hole in the middle of a IKEA 5.99$ fleece blanket and sewed a casing in and put in a drawstring… All the night before she went to camp in true Guiding/Scouting fashion 😀

  5. JJ Leigh says:

    It’s a toughie. My Girl Guide daughter has a blanket, whereas my Cub son has a poncho. I like the ponchos because the girl can wear them, which keeps their hands free, keeps the poncho a bit cleaner (since it doesn’t drag, etc,) and lessens the likelihood of it being left or forgotten somewhere at camp. It’s also excellent to wear for Christmas parades or other events where you would like to be a bit warmer and show off your “Guide-ness” while still having your hands available. On the other hand, it’s not quite as large or proportioned as a blanket and doesn’t work as well in that capacity (after extensive personal testing), and for Guides, you can just sew the entire Spark, Brownie, Guide (etc) sashes directly onto the blanket at the end of each year. I spaced my daughter’s out evenly and put special crests, etc. in the open areas. I personally think the poncho’s maybe the better choice for young people or those still actively Guiding, but the blanket would be the better long term, usable item (for the rest of their life…). In summary: Good luck deciding!!!! :))

  6. Brown Owl Amanda says:

    Poncho Pro: Keeps your hands free for cooking, or song debates, while staying nicely on your shoulders keeping you warm! I’ve also seen ones with Velcro tabs on either side to make an ‘arm hole’ and keep it snug around the body.

  7. Tanya Rodger says:

    We took our blanket and sliced a hole in the middle to make it a blanket/poncho, seems to work for my daughter!

  8. I’ve had my blanket for a long time, but recently I had it made into a poncho. It’s so much more convenient, I’m finding. It doesn’t fall off when I dance around during action songs!

  9. Melanie Reichle says:

    Both 🙂 otherwise you end up with a poncho like my daughters that is no good for around the camp fire or cuddling on the couch at home. There are so many crests on her poncho that it is not very flexible/cuddly and weighs to much to take to or wear at camp.

  10. Nicole Devos says:

    I always called my camp poncho a “camp blanket” – I’d wear it at the camp fire (and it’d totally be useful at a friend’s campfire – similar to a snuggie but without arms?), then use it as a blanket in my tent. Right now its folded as a blanket over one of my chairs, so I totally vote making a poncho as it does double duty. (My personal preference is a hood on the poncho!)
    And make it too big for her, so she can have/wear her camp blanket for the rest of her life 🙂

  11. Karen Manning says:

    My daughter is a member of the 1st Kentville Brownies in Nova Scotia and I split the difference. I made my own blanket out of demin lined it with flannel , folded it in half and cut a hole for her head and made it big enough she can grow into it. Maria has them both..

  12. Elisa says:

    I recently ordered the blanket and just finished sewing all of my daughter’s crests on today. Whew! – what a job! I’ve never been a big fan of ponchos so the decision for me was easy, I think blankets are more versatile, and will never go out of style.

  13. paulaayn says:

    It was an easy decision based on safety and longevity. I’ve made my Ella a camp blanket. I know, we all survived wearing our ponchos around the fire, but I just don’t like the idea of a dangly blanket and fire. I’ll make her a great sweater to snuggle in by the fire, but badges and such will be going on a blanket. Also, Ella takes after her Daddy and grows like 4 inches a year most years. A blanket can be big now and still fit later. It’s hard to make a poncho last her whole life.

  14. Both!
    Just get sewing! I have 25 years worth of badges to do and it’s taking forever to sew them on
    I started a poncho, knowing I have more badges than can fit. I’ll be making a blanket after!

  15. I use a blanket that has the short end folded down about a foot, like an Inverness Cape. I have a toggle in front to keep it together and the folded flap makes a hood when flipped up. I can pull it around me, it keeps my back warm at campfire and leaves my hands free to deal with the fire.
    It also comes off with one sharp tug backwards. This came in handy with one of the girls who caught hers on fire. I would not have been able to pull a poncho over her head in the time it took to break the blanket free. I swear by blankets.

  16. Ally MJ says:

    I bought big fleece panels for my unit (Pathfinders) and gave them the choice of a blanket or poncho, it seemed to go 50/50 🙂

  17. Cheryl Barnes says:

    Blanket all the way. In my opinion a poncho can’t be used as a standard blanket since when you put it over your lap there is a hole in the middle… Right now my first blanket is almost full, of 18 years of guiding and traveling badges, and I am in the process of finding a new one. The blanket I have now I find is the perfect size its quite small only about 65×40 inches which is a great size for camp. I am finding that blankets that size are now hard to find so it’s off to Fabricland for me 🙂 Good luck with your choice your daughter will love it either way with all the badges on there 🙂

  18. Kacee says:

    I’m currently making a blanket! I’m going to be a first year Ranger next year and have tried to add my Pathfinders crests and sashes to my poncho…NOT ENOUGH ROOM! But, for Sparks and Brownies just getting their first badges, it works perfect, my cousin takes pride in hers!

  19. My daughter and I both have ponchos and we do like them. If I’d had the choice to design it, I would have made a slit cut for the head and not a big hole – hard to use as a blanket with the hole. so I take a separate blanket for sleeping with. Recently a friend found an old guide blanket – but it’s much more than a blanket. It can be worn more like a poncho, as it is slit from edge to the center. My next one I think I will design after this one, only add some toggles to close it with.

  20. Nina Mudry says:

    I know I’m coming in late on this discussion, however, when I was a Guide my grandma and I took an medium sized blanket and cut a slit in it for my camp blanket/poncho. it was a good size for me when I was younger so I wouldn’t trip over it while walking around at camp and although I did envy those who had hoods on their ponchos my blanket work well enough and also kept me warm at night. As I grew through guiding my blanket got its work out and last year while trying to sew on many badges obtained at SOAR a few years before I realized my blanket was looking a bit thread bear, a bit small for me, and didn’t keep me all that warm anymore at night. So I considered what it would take to remove all the badges and get a new blanket when I had a brainwave … With not too much effort I took two thin ikea special fleece blankets and with some scissors and my grandma’s old sewing machine (the very same one she taught me to sew on my first badges with) I transformed my small blanket with a slit into a large poncho with massive hood and hoodie style pocket on the inside perfect for a song book and a flashlight. I now have 2 extra feet of material around the edge of my blanket for more crests (although this SOAR has covered an impressive section of that). Now yes it is a little heavy but it is nice and warm so much so that added to my thin summer sleeping bag I can sleep at least 3 seasons (haven’t trying winter yet).

    So my vote is for something that is short enough it won’t cause a tripping hazard now but has potential to expand easily later.

Leave a Reply to Nina MudryCancel reply