9 Best Outdoor Picnic & Beach Blankets
Are you looking for an outdoor blanket for picnics at the park, beach days, and local travel excursions? Stop using the fleece from your couch! Your in-home blankets clearly aren’t designed for outdoor use and all you end up doing is bringing dirt, sand, and grass back into your home. In today’s post I’m going to showcase a few top rated outdoor blankets that are built for the occasion in regards to their fabric, size, and functionality. First I’ll teach you what to look for in an outdoor blanket and why not all blankets are created equal, and then I’ll help you choose one by showcasing the top outdoor blankets on the market. Just here for my recommendations? Skip past everything and view my list of Top 9 Best Outdoor Picnic & Beach Blankets.
What qualities to look for in an outdoor blanket
Not all outdoor blankets are created equal and just being labeled and marketed as an “outdoor blanket” doesn’t necessarily means it’ll rise to the occasion. Here are the most important qualities to consider before making a purchase.
- The material of the fabric. Some fabrics are going to hold up better than others and are better suited for particular environments like the beach. Fabric is so important that the entire next section of this post is dedicated to choosing the right one.
- Size / dimensions of the blanket. The #1 complaint customers have about small outdoor blankets are that they are too small. That’s why you’ve got to check the dimensions before you buy! There will probably be more than one person sharing the blanket along with other items you have with you like your bags, stereo, cooler, umbrella, etc, so take that into account before purchasing a tiny outdoor blanket that’s made for two.
- Weight of the blanket. Two blankets with the exact same dimensions can weigh twice as much as the other. If you’re going to be carrying your blanket on a hike along with other gear, every ounce counts.
- Are there pockets? Some blankets offer zippered compartments and can double as a small carrying bag. This dual function can save you from having to carry an extra bag for a few small items.
- Foldability. How compact does this blanket need to fold up? Will you be transporting it in your car for local excursions or hiking miles with it through the wilderness? How compact the blanket folds will make a difference in how much you enjoy using it.
- Is it machine washable? I’d imagine that you’d rather not dry clean your blanket or spot clean it by hand. There are plenty of machine washable blankets on the market so there’s little reason to choose otherwise.
What’s the best fabric material for outdoor picnic and beach blankets?
The blankets I’m profiling today are best for being used on a picnic, at the park, or on a beach. They are NOT designed for surviving extreme weather conditions or long camping trips. (You might be more interested in checking out extreme camping blankets if that’s what you’re looking for.) Therefore we don’t need overly expensive extreme condition aeronautical fabric that NASA astronauts take with them to Mars. However, we do want a material that’s suitable for the outdoors (ie: won’t cling to dirt, sand, and grass), moisture wicking (so it doesn’t become wet and soggy), durable (so it doesn’t rip while in use if it gets tossed around or pulled in opposite directions), and long lasting (because who wants to buy a new blanket every year).
Today we will be primarily looking at outdoor blankets made from POLYESTER and NYLON (or at least partly made). These are great materials for outdoor blankets because they’re durable, lightweight, and still allows the blanket to be machine washable. Better outdoor blankets are made from two different grades of polyester so that the top is more comfortable for skin contact and the bottom is water resistant and more durable.
Ultrasonic stitching is where the top and bottom fabrics of the blanket are fused together. This prevents slipping on the blanket which happens with cheaper blankets when the top and bottom aren’t fused together and slide against each other. Those types of blankets are often bulkier too because air creates space between the two layers. Not all of the blankets on this list have ultrasonic stitching (it’s a rare quality to find), so be sure to check my bullet points in the blanket reviews.
Be careful of blankets that are advertised as waterproof. Read the reviews because not all of them are actually waterproof. Water resistant is a more accurate description – and that’s fine for most people’s needs. Waterproof should mean that if you placed the blanket in a large puddle, no water should ever seep through, but that’s not the case with many outdoor blankets even though they say “waterproof”. For the most part, assume a blanket is just water resistant unless verified waterproof by user reviews. For your needs, water resistant is probably sufficient but don’t let an advertisement of waterproof steer you toward one particular blanket unless verified by user reviews.