November 6, 2018

Product Review: Rambo Blanket Liners with Non-Rambo Blankets

Now that I'm into my fifth winter with my somewhat unusual and very thrifty blanketing setup, it's time for a proper review.

Back in 2014, money was tight, and I needed to make a decision on blankets since I was going to take the plunge on full clipping.  I spent a long time that summer trying to figure out the most cost-effective and durable way to blanket my naked pony in the upcoming winter.

I ended up buying a SmartPak Ultimate Turnout Sheet (review here), as well as a 100g, 200g and 300g Rambo blanket liner.  Because I deal hunted, I got his entire wardrobe for under $300.

Connor modeling the 300g liner

The main thing to take away from this is that with 4+ years of experience to back me up on this one, the Rambo blanket liners work GREAT with non-Rambo and non-Horseware blankets.  The Rambo blankets have a metal ring on either side of the neck that you run a Velcro tab on the liner through, but you do NOT need to use that to keep the liner stable.

Connor's liner attaches to his SmartPak sheet only at the back rings of the sheet, and has never shifted.  The only time a liner shifted and got destroyed was when a barn worker forgot to attach the liner clips to the leg strap rings.

The only attachment point, shown here with two liners ahead of a brutal cold snap a few winters ago.

Eventually I ended up buying the SP Ultimate Medium and Heavy in later years when they were on sale, because I thought both I and my BM would prefer legit blankets to my liner setup once I had the money to do it...but I was really surprised to find that that wasn't true. 

Pros of Blankets/Liners

  • The liners are very light and easy to store compared to blankets. 
  • The liners don't get muddy, so there's less dirt in my blanket bag, and I can wash them myself and not risk destroying my washing machine.
  • They're durable.  My set is entering it's fifth winter, minus the one I mentioned above that met an untimely and preventable death.
  • You always hear layering is more effective than one really heavy blanket, and that's super easy with these.
  • The SmartPak Ultimate Turnout has proven to be everything they advertise and more, so it's a great outer layer for this setup. 
  • It's one of the cheapest ways I've found to acquire a whole horse wardrobe that's still good quality and durable enough to last for the long haul.
This being a training barn, Connor's had all kinds of turnout buddies over the years and this is literally the worst thing that's ever happened to the sheet (and it's happened to the heavy as well, which I think is what he's wearing here).  And SP still sent me a new one anyway, overnighting it before I returned the old one since it was his only blanket at the time.

Cons of Blankets/Liners
  • Barn staff can't tell at-a-glance what weight Connor is wearing.  To make this easier, I've written "Connor is wearing his ______ liner" on his whiteboard in the past.  I also labeled all of my blankets and sheets with blanket tags from so they can reach into his neck for the tag and easily see what weight it is
  • ...that's pretty much it.

Anyone else taken this aprpoach to blanketing before?


  1. I love my Rambo stuff. I do use their 100g turnout blankets and turnout sheets (although Phoenix's pre-dates the liners) with a selection of 100 through 300g blanket liners. Seriously the best. The liners are so easy to throw in the washing machine too. Last winter I also expanded into neck rugs and they are great too. I think my only complaint might be that sometimes I get some static. Although honestly that would probably happen anyways.
    So I put tags (from smartpak) on Maestro's stuff since I don't go to the barn every day but sometimes Maestro (or a friend) remove them. I've just been using the things that are like mini key chain circles, do you think your kind of hooks would hold up to more pulling?

    1. I do think they'd hold up better yeah. offers both the split rings like you've got and the S hooks, but they recommend the S hooks for blanket tags. I've had them for years now and I've only lost one, and that was on the actual blanket itself, not the liner.

  2. Genius! Wish I would've thought of this - although I'm not sure if the Rambo makes something that would fit Crumble's weird, sorta-QH shape. I LOVE the Rockin' SP Ultimate blankets though - been slowly changing over to those.

    1. If you ever find one cheap you might try it. They have so much less structure than the actual blankets themselves, I don't think the fit is quite as important.

    2. They actually make a line for QHs for that type :)

  3. This is very close to my strategy as well! I use a Smartpak shell + various blanket liners. In medium weather (so like 40+), he gets a fleece cooler underneath. Down to about 15, he gets a blanket liner (medium) + shell. Below that, he gets the liner + a medium blanket shell. On the absolute most vicious days (so like -20) he does have an old heavyweight that can go on top of the medium weight.

    1. Yeah that's very similar! Glad I'm not alone. I've always thought about trying a cooler or stable blanket under it but I'm too chicken, and the liners work fine anyway.

  4. I don't use the liners, but similar, the Amigo insulators. I love those, and have them in 100g and 200g for all my girls, and 2 have 350g ones with necks for indoor too. When I dont have the right weight, I just throw a sheet over them. They really are great blankets. I prefer to just wear one blanket on them when I can though, but having three horses it gets crazy $$$ having blankets for them all.

  5. I have these exact liners and have also only ever used them (so far) with non-Rambo blankets. I agree with all of your points 100% and love how versatile this set up is. This year I did pick up a Rambo blanket with a neck but I certainly don’t plan to go replace the rest of my blankets with that much more expensive brand since this system has been working great for me for at least a few years now.

    I also have them tagged and love it! Now I just need to get tags for my other blankets :)

  6. Very close to what I do for Bridget. Our climate is pretty mild, so even when trace clipped she's in a rainsheet most of the time. I add in liner(s) anytime the weather dips below freezing. A lot of people here buy assorted weight turnouts, but I can't afford to replace the entire thing every time there is an 'incident' with a fence or another horse - I'd much rather spend $50-$75 on a new rainsheet/sheet and call it good. This is probably really cheap of me, but I keep and use her old, repaired or no longer waterproof shells as stable sheets for winter outings.

  7. We get by with just rain sheets for the most part. I have 2 I rotate; a Weatherbeeta (my favorite!) and a Jeffers (I'm actually quite please with the quality for the price).
    I have a medium weight Weatherbeeta with neck hood for extra cold days, which we only have a few every year. So yes if I had actually thought it through I should have just gotten a liner for the few cold days but I'm not that smart, lol.

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  9. Thank you so much for posting this -- I never would have tried blanket liners for fear of shifting & hassle for myself, but I saw this just as I was trying to decide what to do about a needed heavier blanket. I really couldn't afford another full blanket, so based on your review I ordered a 200g Rambo liner to go under a mid-weight SP Ultimate blanket.

    I love it! It fits perfectly, is insanely warm, nice & light, and um, $54 was way better than $150 or more for a heavy blanket. I'm so excited about this discovery & the way it attaches makes it so easy to take off without necessarily having to remove the top blanket. Thank you for the insight!!!

    1. I'm so glad it helped! The price is just amazing. I figured out with getting the SP Ultimate Sheet on clearance and good deals on the liners, it would cost me $30/year for 10 years for his entire blanketing system, assuming the liners don't get ripped (and five years in, so far so good!) That's just unheard of cheap!