A sherpa blanket is a type of blanket with a smooth fabric on one side and either a genuine or faux fur fabric on the opposite side. The basic design is similar to a shearling or sheepskin coat, but applied to an entire blanket instead of a piece of clothing.
Sherpa blankets are commonly made of a combination of microfiber and polyester fleece. The microfiber forms the flat, smooth side of the blanket, while the fleece is used for the textured, fuzzier side. Despite their different names, both polyester fleece and microfiber are usually made from the same polymer material. These materials require careful washing and drying, as they easily become rough and nappy if exposed to excessive heat.
While sherpa blankets typically feature synthetic materials, they can also be made of traditional leather and fur. In this case, the smooth side is a tanned, suede-like leather made from young sheep, while the other side is the animal's wool. Natural sherpa blankets are longer-lasting and warmer than their synthetic counterparts, but they are much rarer and more expensive.
Sherpa blankets derive their inspiration and name from the indigenous Sherpa people of the Himalayan mountains. The Sherpas' traditional clothing features a similar design to these blankets, which keeps them warm in frigid conditions.