Product Review: SmartPak Ultimate Turnout Blanket

Is there anything better than getting to the barn, seeing that your horse has almost tore the tail flap off of his new heavyweight blanket, shrugging, and getting a brand new one for free?

This is what greeted me when I got to the barn last night.

No, no there isn't.

Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of Rambo blankets, they fit Connor incredibly well, but I can't afford to replace them if they rip.  I'm also a huge fan of independent retailers like Riding Warehouse over SmartPak just on principle.  That's a long story.

But both those things said - enter the SmartPak Ultimate Turnout.  I've had the sheet for a year (used it with the Rambo liners all winter last year), and I've had the heavyweight for about a month.

Smartpak heavy with Amigo neck altered to fit the non-matching blanket cause I'm not made of money.  (It's on the list.  When there's a clearance sale.)

If you're not familiar with them, they're made of 1600 denier ballistic nylon, supposed to be indestructible (ah but nothing is), and the best part - SmartPak will replace them an unlimited number of times for ten years.  A DECADE.  It doesn't matter if it rips wide open or a tiny little tear, if the waterproofing wears out, if a strap breaks, whatever.  They'll replace it, literally no questions asked in my experience.

I've replaced one so far, the sheet.  It wasn't even the sheet's fault, I just ordered the wrong size and didn't come to terms with that decision until Connor had worn it 24/7 for a month.  SmartPak's answer?  "Sure, no problem!  Just get it reasonably clean and send it back."

The original too-big sheet that Smartpak exchanged for a smaller size - they fit true to size, which means size down 3" from what your horse wears in Rambo/Amigo.

When I said, "This is my horse's only blanket, is there any way you can send me the new one before I send the old one back?"  They said "Sure!  We'll send you a new one and put a temporary charge on your credit card which will be refunded in full when we get the old one back."

Erm, his blankets, uh, get put through a lot, and this is the first time I've had to replace one due to it ripping.

So let's do some math.  I paid $125 for the heavy.  Say he totally destroys it once a year for ten years, I've paid a total of $125 over ten years or $12.50 per year to blanket my horse, and on top of that, he pretty much always has a brand new blanket, so no re-waterproofing or anything.

Compare that 10 year price to a heavy Rambo - if he destroys a Rambo heavyweight once a winter for ten winters, and I find a really good deal on a Rambo at $200 per blanket every year, I would have paid $2,000 over ten years or $200 per year to blanket my horse!  $125 vs $2,000 - there is just no way I can say no when the math is that good and they fit him really well with no rubbing.

(I know Rambos typically last longer than one season, but in my hypothetical example, both the SmartPak blanket and the Rambo are getting shredded once per year - come on, we all know horses like that!)

Have any of you tried out the SmartPak Ultimate Turnout?

31 comments:

  1. I've been eyeing the SmartPak Ultimate Turnout for Roger, but was waiting for someone to review it first! I love SP for a large number of reasons, but the fact that they will replace blankets (and pretty much anything else) for free, no questions asked, is probably my favorite thing about SP. And, their customer service is amazing, as you've clearly experienced. I also love that you literally did the math on the cost of the SP blanket over 10 years vs a Rambo.

    Great review, it seems like the SP Ultimate Turnout is the winner for you and Connor :)

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    1. That's great, you'll have to report back on how you like them! It is definitely the winner. He's not a blanket shredder, but there's so much peace of mind in essentially not having to do blanket maintenance.

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  2. Nice!! Definitely can't argue with that math.

    (Also, how do they even do these thing to blankets???)

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    1. I have no idea. He's been turned out in a different/smaller paddock, still by himself, but I got a picture of him and his new "girlfriend" making eyes over the fence, I think that's it.

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  3. Fiction never really destroys his blankets unless he is turned out with another horse that likes to destroy blankets. So, I've owned him 3 years and I've never had to replace a blanket. And they are all in excellent condition. Recently the butt strap was ripped off of his nicest blanket (his heavy weight) but I'll just mend it and move on.

    In the future, if it starts becoming a problem, I may opt for a SmartPak blanket, but right now it doesn't make sense for me :)

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    1. You're really lucky. Connor isn't hard on his blankets himself, the worst he'll do is rub up against a wire fence every now and then, but his pasturemates and fencelinemates are a rotating cast of characters since we're a training barn too. I literally watched one of them shred Connor's Amigo two years ago, it was just a fun game for him. I was like "Nooooo that's so much moneyyyyyyyy."

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  4. I don't have the Ultimate, but the next step down, and I've been really happy with it so far this season. It's good to know the Ultimate lives up to the hype; I'm considering a new heavyweight for Tris next year, and it's on my short list.

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    1. Yeah, for whatever anyone's opinion about SmartPak is, they do seem to have done a lot of research in designing these blankets. I'm happy.

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  5. "come on, we all know horses like that!"

    This post needs a trigger warning. I think the above phrase just triggered some serious destroyed blanket ptsd. Shudder.

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  6. I had a Rambo last for 16 years, but I bought it before SmartPak even existed. So there's that. Glad you found a blanket for your little muddy piggy to love!

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    1. I have also heard the Rambos of 16 years ago are a LOT better constructed than the Rambos of today.

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  7. Ah I need a new Heavy next year and was considering this one. I have the other (non-ultimate) Smartpak turnout in medium and it fits well and has held up and I was trying to figure out if it was worth it to purchase the ultimate in the heavy. Did you get yours on super sale? I've been eyeing it for a while but it looks like 145 is the lowest I can get it!

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    1. Hey Lynn, I got it during one of their 20% off SmartPak turnout blanket sales plus my USEF discount. I had been stalking them for a while and had never seen them that low, so I pulled the trigger.

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  8. Yes. Emi and Roz are both wearing the sheet and I have had to send one back already. Smartpak was great about it!

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    1. I'm glad to hear that, since I'm doing my first legitimate exchange now!

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  9. Courage has two of these. I love them.

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  10. I switched to using Rambo blankets on stampede around 2008 after going through a blanket or more a year for several years. I now wouldn't buy anything else. The boys don't get blanket rubs and my blankets have lasted. My oldest sheet the interior lining was actually wearing out while the outside looked just fine when I sold it because stampede had "outgrown" it.
    Smartpak definitely makes a nice deal though for people who don't want to shell out the $$$ for Rambo.

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    1. That's awesome. If Rambo offered anything like this, even to reimburse the cost of repairs/waterproofing, I'd be all over it. They fit him better than anything. That said, this feels like insurance.

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    2. Rambo is amazing. I wish my horse would stop destroying them haha because omg $

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  11. I have it and bought it for the same reasons, Carlos was super hard on Blankets!
    http://suenostomanvuelo.blogspot.com/2014/11/viva-carlos-product-review-smartpak.html

    Good to know about the waterproofing, I have a sneaky suspicion mine is worn out. Maybe time for a new one :)

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    1. I remember your review. Time for a new one!

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  12. I haven't tried SmartPak, but I buy NorthWind from Dover which has a lifetime warranty and they are awesome. I bet SmartPak is similar.

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    1. Have you ever had to replace them? I've always been curious about it, I just get the feeling Dover won't make it as easy as SP does. They ARE good blankets.

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  13. I'd love to know the business case for this. It seems like they would lose money on free replacements! Wouldn't everyone just trade them out every year? That is pretty awesome for you, though! I love SP!

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    1. Me too! All I can think is that they take them and analyze the ways in which they broke in order to design an even better blanket. Or maybe they repair them and sell them for $50 in their retail store? IDK.

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  15. Cant argue with the math or customer service (LOVE Smartpak) but I really don't like the fit :( Sadly, due to owning a current expert blanket shredder...I need to probably purchase one from them, ugh

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  16. i love Rambos and have had lots of success with them in the past but when 2 of my sheets (that were NOT Rambos I might ad) weren't waterproof anymore I bought the SP Ultimates too- so far mine have held up! Glad you had great success returning your ripped one and that it was an easy process!

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  17. Currently we are doing good on blankets but my next one will definitely be this.

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