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Published Sep. 28, 2021

There’s a timeless appeal to alfresco dining, but picnicking has increased in popularity in recent years due to social distancing measures in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A high-quality picnic blanket is a must-have for your outdoor dining experience, whether you’re having a romantic date in a local park, having a family day at the beach, or embarking on an adventurous hike.  

With so many picnic blankets on the market, choosing one can be overwhelming. We’ll break down what to look for when shopping for the best picnic blanket for your outdoor gatherings and discuss the key features to keep in mind as you consider your purchase. Keep reading for tips on choosing the best picnic blanket, and then explore our picks for the best options on the market:

How We Picked the Best Picnic Blankets

Methodology 

While it’s easy to assume that all picnic blankets offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Years of experience in the home goods market as well as extensive product research went into this curated selection. We reviewed over 25 products and weighed several practical considerations when making our recommendations. 

Durability: One of the chief qualities of a good picnic blanket is durability. Considering it might be placed on top of rocks, twigs, or pebbles and has to withstand kids and dogs running around, it should be made of a tough material that’s resistant to rips and tears. 

Waterproofing: The best picnic blankets feature two layers: a soft surface layer that’s comfortable to sit on and a waterproof backing to keep users dry when the ground is damp. We prioritized models with this design. 

Ease of Cleaning: Considering their intended use, picnic blankets will inevitably see their fair share of messes and spills. We sought out models that were machine washable or had durable surfaces that could simply be wiped down as needed. Due to their waterproof base layers, which feature plastic polymers, most high-quality picnic blankets can’t be tumble dried. 

Best Overall: PortableAnd Extra Large Picnic & Outdoor Blanket

Stylish and Functional

With a waterproof backing, faux leather straps, and a comfortable fleece surface, this picnic blanket is our top pick.

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Why It Made The Cut: This picnic blanket will look great in your Instagram photos but is just as functional as it is fashionable. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 59 x 69 inches 
  • Material: Polyester blend and polyethylene vinyl acetate
  • Machine Washable: No

Pros:

  • Comfortable fleece surface layer
  • Stylish faux leather straps
  • Waterproof backing

Cons:

  • May be too small for some families

This checkered picnic blanket is our top all-around pick because of its three-layer design. The top layer is made from cozy synthetic fleece material, the middle layer provides padding for added comfort, and the base layer is completely waterproof because of its polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) construction. The faux leather straps and handle are both stylish and convenient, holding the blanket in a compact roll when it’s not in use. 

With dimensions of 59 by 69 inches, this blanket is big enough for four people. When it’s rolled up, it measures 12 by 6 inches, and at just 1.6 pounds, it’s lightweight enough to carry with ease. 

There are three patterns to choose from: black and white buffalo check, black and white stripes, and blue and white stripes. Due to the waterproof backing, it’s not machine washable and should be shaken off and wiped down by hand instead. 

Best Value: Camco Classic Red & White Checkered Picnic Blanket

Cute and Comfortable

This affordable picnic blanket offers great value with waterproofing, an insulated foam layer, and a classic design.

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Why It Made The Cut: Camco’s picnic blanket features a classic checkered design and includes both a waterproof base and cushioned inner layer for added comfort. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 51 x59 inches 
  • Material: Acrylic fabric, PVA waterproof backing
  • Machine Washable: No

Pros:

  • Lightweight at 0.84 pounds
  • Cushioned for added comfort
  • Waterproof

Cons:

  • May be too small for families

This affordable picnic blanket is both cute and practical, with a classic red and white checkered design that will bring vintage charm to your next picnic. The surface is soft and comfy, while the base is completely waterproof. A layer of foam cushioning in the middle means you’ll be comfortable even if your blanket is placed on rocky or uneven terrain. The foam also provides added insulation, making this a great choice for dining outdoors in the colder months. 

One downside is the blanket’s size. At 51 by 59 inches, it’s large enough for couples but may be too small for families or larger groups. Luckily, however, it’s both compact and lightweight. It folds into a neat roll which measures 3 by 8.5 by 13 inches, and at only 0.84 pounds, it’s easy to carry using the included shoulder strap. 

Best Premium Pick: YETI Lowlands Blanket

Luxe Option

This high-end picnic blanket is made for both comfort and durability.

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Why It Made The Cut: YETI’s Lowlands Blanket is an excellent upgrade pick with an insulated, spill-proof surface and a waterproof underside. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 55 x 78 inches 
  • Machine Washable: Yes

Pros:

  • Incredibly soft texture
  • Spill-proof surface
  • Machine washable and dryer safe
  • Includes stake loops

Cons:

  • High price point

Those looking to upgrade their outdoor dining experience should consider the YETI Lowlands Blanket, which provides a truly luxe feel and a number of additional perks. The surface is padded for additional comfort and insulated to keep you warm when the ground is chilly, while the waterproof underside keeps users dry. 

Despite its ultrasoft texture, the surface is actually spill-proof, with liquids beading up as they hit the fabric, making them easy to quickly wipe away. It’s a great choice for pet owners because the surface’s material is designed to prevent dog hair from sticking, allowing you to shake it off quickly and easily. 

While it’s easy to wipe clean, it’s also both machine washable and dryer safe, setting it apart from most other picnic blankets on the market. The four stake loops allow you to secure the corners of the blanket to the ground so that they stay in place in windy conditions. It comes with a zippered carrying case and folds down to 19 by 9 by 5 inches. Choose from three colors based on your taste. 

Best for Families: MIU COLOR Extra Large Picnic Blanket

Family Friendly

This blanket is large and durable enough for a family of six and all their picnic supplies.

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Why It Made The Cut: MIU COLOR’s Extra-Large Picnic Blanket has a waterproof backing, and its surface layer can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 60 X 80 inches 
  • Material: Polyester with a PVC vinyl backing
  • Machine Washable: No

Pros:

  • Large size
  • Easy to clean
  • Ultra-durable

Cons:

  • Fabric isn’t particularly soft
  • Lacks padding

If you think your picnic blanket will see a lot of spills, consider the family-friendly design of this model. It measures 60 by 80 inches, making it big enough to hold six people and all their picnic supplies. The MIU COLOR Extra Large Picnic Blanket isn’t machine washable, but both its polyester top layer and waterproof PVC vinyl backing can be easily wiped down by hand with a damp cloth. 

Despite its large size, it folds up into a compact 13 by 8 inches, making it small enough to fit into a diaper bag, tote bag, or backpack. It’s easily portable due to the velcro straps that come with it. One downside is the texture and feel. Because of its focus on durability, the surface layer is a bit rough and the blanket lacks padding. It’s available in three prints: a blue plaid, a yellow pineapple print, and a multicolored stripe. 

Best for Travel: BEARZ Outdoor Pocket Blanket Picnic Mat

Terrific for Travel

With a compact design and waterproof construction, this pocket picnic blanket is perfect for outdoor adventures.

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Why It Made The Cut: This pocket picnic blanket folds up to fit in the palm of your hand, is completely waterproof, and includes loops for stakes.  

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 55 X 60 inches 
  • Material: Polyester
  • Machine Washable: No

Pros:

  • Folds into a compact size
  • Completely waterproof
  • Includes loops for stakes

Cons:

  • Small size

This BEARZ Outdoor Blanket measures 55 by 60 inches but folds up to fit in the palm of your hand, making it a convenient pick for camping, hiking, and traveling. It’s also a great choice for beach days because sand shakes off easily. It may not be quite as comfortable to sit on as a traditional picnic blanket, but it makes up for it with its compact design.  It’s waterproof and puncture-resistant for added durability and includes four corner loops that let you use stakes to secure the blanket to the ground. Additionally, each corner features a pocket that can be filled with sand, dirt, or stones to hold the blanket in place if you don’t have any stakes on hand. 

Choose from four colors: red, camouflage, green, and blue. Each blanket comes with a matching pouch as well as a carabiner to attach it to a bag or backpack. While it’s not machine washable, it can easily be wiped clean. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Picnic Blanket

Choosing a picnic blanket might seem like a simple decision, but there are actually a variety of details to consider before you make a purchase. 

Size 

One of the primary factors to keep in mind when shopping for a picnic blanket is size. Before you start shopping, consider how many people will be using the blanket to determine the size you need. Not only does it need to fit all the picnic-goers, but it also needs room for a picnic basket or cooler as well as a spread of food and drinks. Couples will enjoy a 60- by 60-inch blanket, while groups of four or more should consider models with surface areas of 60 by 80 inches or larger. 

Portability

If you plan to use your picnic blanket for camping or hiking trips, consider a model that’s easily portable. Models designed with portability in mind roll up into a compact cylinder and have a lightweight design. Some picnic blankets come with carrying straps, making it easy to attach them to a backpack for your outdoor adventures. Alternatively, some come with carrying cases to keep the blanket clean and dry when it’s not in use. Those prioritizing portability can also consider pocket blankets, which are incredibly thin and fold up in order to be small enough to fit in your pocket. While they may not be as comfortable as traditional picnic blankets, they are ideal for travel. 

FAQs

Q: Can I use a regular blanket for a picnic?

While there’s nothing stopping you from using a regular throw blanket as a picnic blanket, it won’t offer the same level of waterproofing or durability as a product that’s specifically designed to be used outdoors. 

Q: What should I look for when buying a picnic blanket?

When shopping for a picnic blanket, take the size of your group into consideration and choose a blanket that’s large enough to fit your guests as well as your food, drinks, and picnic supplies. Look for a model that has a waterproof backing that can be easily cleaned by hand or in a washing machine. 

Q: What’s the difference between a beach blanket and a picnic blanket?

These two terms are often used interchangeably in marketing materials but essentially refer to the same type of product. 

Final Thoughts

After reviewing our guide, you should feel well-informed when shopping for a picnic blanket for your family. We recommend PortableAnd Extra Large Picnic & Outdoor Blanket as our top pick because of its stylish design, waterproof backing, and convenient carrying system. We think those on a budget will appreciate the Camco Classic Red & White Checkered Picnic Blanket because of its outstanding performance and affordable price.

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