The 8 Best Picnic Blankets for Every Occasion, According to Our Testing

Our favorite is the Oniva Blanket Tote because it’s comfortable, water-resistant, easy to transport, and affordable.

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Outdoor Picnic Blanket
Photo: REAL SIMPLE/DERA BURRESON

Whether you're headed to the park or the beach with a picnic basket or to an outdoor party or event, a quality blanket can really elevate your experience. The best picnic blankets will provide a comfortable barrier between you and the ground, while also keeping you dry and shielded from the elements.

To compile this list of the best picnic blankets, we tested 30 picnic blankets in our Lab over two days, evaluating them on quality, comfort, ease of cleanup, durability, and overall value.

Our top pick, the Oniva Blanket Tote, has a soft fleece topside and waterproof backing. We were particularly impressed with how comfortable it was to sit on, even on bumpy ground. Plus, its long shoulder straps help to keep your hands free as you tote your belongings.

Below you'll find more of our picks for the best picnic blankets for the beach, camping, and more. You'll also find tips on how to choose the right picnic blanket for your needs.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Picnic Blanket: Oniva Blanket Tote

Outdoor Picnic Blanket
amazon.com

Also available at Target.

Who it's for: People or families who want a cozy picnic blanket that can accommodate groups.
Who it isn't for: People who want a picnic blanket to bring to the beach.

We were really impressed with the quality of the Oniva Blanket Tote, especially considering its affordable price point. Even with its extra-large size, it folds up nicely and weighs just over two pounds. Plus, the attached shoulder strap means you can free up your hands for carrying other items, such as sports equipment or a picnic basket.

When we laid the blanket over a small rock and sat on it, we could not feel the rock at all, a testament to the comfort and cushion of the blanket. It's large enough to allow one person to spread out or multiple people to sit. The fleece topside is warm enough to carry you into the cooler months, while the water-resistant backing will keep you protected from the elements.

In our stain testing, the grape juice did leave a faint stain, although this is to be expected with fleece. We did find this picnic blanket to shake out sand very easily, though. On the downside, its lightweight construction comes with a trade-off—we're doubtful that it will stay put in windy conditions, and it doesn't feature any way to keep it down, such as stake rings or weighted corners. For this reason, we don't recommend this towel for the beach, but for pretty much any other purpose—including camping, picnics, outdoor concerts, and sporting events—this easy-to-carry and comfortable picnic blanket is a steal.

Product Details:

  • Size: 80 x 70 inches
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Material: Polyester fleece topside with water-resistant backing
  • Extras: Zippered pocket, carry tote with shoulder strap
  • Machine Washable: No

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picnic blanket testing
Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Best Budget Picnic Blanket: Yodo Water-Resistant Picnic Blanket Tote

Outdoor Picnic Blanket
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want an inexpensive picnic blanket for casual outdoor activities.
Who it isn't for: People who want a picnic blanket with a lot of cushion.

This picnic blanket costs less than half the average of all those we tested, yet it was among the best in terms of performance. It's extremely lightweight at less than two pounds, and features a carrying tote for easy transport. But where it really stood out was in our spill test: The polyester fleece was surprisingly stain-resistant, and the grape juice mostly pooled rather than soaked into the fabric. Therefore, we think this makes an excellent choice for people looking to accommodate accident-prone kids or pets.

On the downside, this blanket doesn't feature as much cushion as our best overall pick, and it's much smaller, so spreading out is not an option for everyone. Additionally, the sand didn't shake out very easily in our testing and the blanket doesn't feature any mechanisms for securing it to the ground, so it's probably not ideal for use on the beach. Otherwise, it's very comparable to more expensive fleece picnic blankets on our list, and makes an affordable choice for casual outdoor activities.

Product Details:

  • Size: 59 x 53 inches/69 x 53 inches
  • Weight: 1.2/1.4 pounds
  • Material: Polyester fleece topside with vinyl backing
  • Extras: Carry tote
  • Machine Washable: No
  • picnic blanket testing
    Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Best Splurge Picnic Blanket: Yeti Lowlands Blanket

Outdoor Picnic Blanket
amazon.com

Also available at Yeti, REI, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Who it's for: People who want a durable picnic blanket for frequent use.
Who it isn't for: People who don't want to spend a lot on a picnic blanket.

We can't say enough about this premium, all-purpose picnic blanket. Typically with picnic blankets, you have to trade comfort for stain- and weather-resistance or vice versa—but this is not the case with the Lowlands Blanket.

One tester described the feel and comfort of this blanket as similar to that of a bed comforter. According to the manufacturer, the outer layer features a waterproof "hydrobarrier," which held up remarkably well in our testing: The grape juice pooled on the blanket and left no stain behind, and no water soaked through during our testing. "I'm amazed by this blanket," says one tester. "It felt like it would absorb the liquid, but it pooled on the blanket. I was able to blot it all up with a dry paper towel, and no stains were left."

But even if you do experience a little staining, this blanket is machine-washable for easy cleanup. The sand came out with little effort when we shook the blanket, too. We also love that this picnic blanket features loops on each corner so you can use stakes to keep it firm to the ground in case of windy conditions (although it's already the heaviest on our list).

The only thing we don't love about this blanket is the price—it's the most expensive out of all the picnic blankets we tested. However, if you want a durable and long-lasting blanket that can withstand frequent use, wet conditions, spills, sand, pet hair, and more, this blanket just might be worth the splurge.

Product Details:

  • Size: 78 x 55 inches
  • Weight: 5.8 pounds
  • Material: Polyester/rayon topside with polyester underside
  • Extras: Carry bag, stake loops
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • picnic blanket testing
    Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Best Multipurpose Picnic Blanket: Down Under Outdoors Picnic Blanket

Outdoor Picnic Blanket
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want a machine-washable picnic blanket for indoor and outdoor use.
Who it isn't for: People who want a picnic blanket that is compact enough to pack in a bag.

This reasonably priced picnic blanket comes with all the bells and whistles of a more expensive blanket: a soft fleece topside with a waterproof backing, a carry case with an extra-long strap, and a zipper pocket for holding onto small items. In our testing, we liked that it was large enough to stretch out on and that the soft fleece helped to soften the hard ground—although we could still feel the rocks just a bit.

The manufacturer also suggests placing the blanket on the couch or in the car with the water-proof polyester side up to protect your upholstery from pet hair or stains. The fleece side was not particularly stain-resistant in our testing, although the entire blanket is machine-washable.

Unfortunately, it traps a bit of sand on the fleece side, so we wouldn't recommend this blanket for the beach. And despite the fact that it rolls up into a convenient carrying bag, it's on the bulky side of those we tested. However, the soft fleece and polyester backing will carry you into the cooler months for sporting events, picnics, outdoor concerts, campfires, and even indoor use.

Product Details:

  • Size: 82 x 55 inches
  • Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Material: Fleece topside with polyester backing
  • Extras: Zipper pocket, carry bag with strap
  • Machine Washable: Yes

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picnic blanket testing
Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Best Large Picnic Blanket: Three Donkeys Extra Large Picnic Blanket

Outdoor Picnic Blanket
amazon.com

Who it's for: Large families or people who want to seat a lot of people on one blanket.
Who it isn't for: People who want a thicker picnic blanket.

This extra-large blanket features a classic gingham pattern that will inspire many family picnics to come. It's lightweight, yet large enough to comfortably seat six to eight adults, and the water-resistant taffeta fabric is extremely stain-resistant. During our testing, we were able to clean the grape juice spill with just a few wipes, and the sand shook out with ease: "This is a great option for those planning on eating and drinking on their blanket," says one tester. Plus, we found this blanket to be very water-resistant on both sides, so using it on damp grass will be no issue. And for folks with pets or kids, there's no need to be afraid of this blanket getting dirty—it's machine-washable for easy cleanup.

The taffeta fabric is much more breathable and lightweight than your traditional fleece blanket, making it a great pick for warm-weather picnics, camping, sporting events, and more. However, we do wish it provided a bit more cushion, and we found that folding it up for transport took a few tries to get it just right. But overall, this picnic blanket will accommodate large groups and stand up well to messes and spills.

Product Details:

  • Size: 79 x 79 inches
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Material: Polyester taffeta topside with oxford fabric backing
  • Extras: Carry handle
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • picnic blanket testing
    Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Best Small Picnic Blanket: Little Unicorn Outdoor Picnic/Beach Blanket

Outdoor Picnic Blanket
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want a picnic blanket for kids or pets.
Who it isn't for: People who want to be able to spread out on a picnic blanket.

Whether it's spills, sticky hands, pet hair, or crumbs, this tiny but mighty picnic blanket can handle any mess your baby (or fur baby) throws at it. It's made with a polyester fabric that wipes clean with little effort—in our testing, the grape juice didn't even leave a stain behind on the white portion of the fabric. But if you have a stain that proves to be a bit more tough, this blanket is machine-washable, too.

This picnic blanket is available in three different sizes, and the smallest size is ideal for accommodating kids, pets, or one to two seated adults (but don't expect to be able to spread out). We appreciated how easy it is to fold up and that it comes with a carry handle, shoulder strap, and zipper pocket. In our testing, we were impressed with the amount of cushion it provided. This not only makes it ideal for use outside, but it also provides a soft surface for indoor playtime as well. On top of all this, the blanket is available in six different appealing patterns. Considering its size, this blanket is a bit pricey, but parents looking for an indoor/outdoor playtime mat may find it worth the money.

Product Details:

  • Size: 60 x 60 inches
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Material: Polyester
  • Extras: Carry handle, shoulder strap, zipper pocket
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • picnic blanket testing
    Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Best Picnic Blanket for the Beach: Roebury Outdoor Picnic Blanket

Outdoor Picnic Blanket
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want a beach blanket that can fit the whole family.
Who it isn't for: People who want a picnic blanket with a thick cushion.

This lightweight polyester picnic blanket is a great alternative to a traditional beach towel, particularly if you need to accommodate multiple people. The whole thing can be zipped up into a small tote with a shoulder strap, so you can free up your hands on your way to and from the beach. Any sand comes off with a simple shake, but where it really impressed us was in its ability to repel water: In our testing, both the water and grape juice beaded up on the surface rather than soaking into the blanket, so you won't be hauling a sopping wet picnic blanket back to the car. However, it is machine-washable if you do have stubborn stains.

This is definitely a summertime blanket, as it's made with a lightweight and breathable polyester. The trade-off here is that it's not going to provide much warmth in the cooler months, and it doesn't provide much cushion, either. However, it will serve as a great basecamp for the whole family while at the beach.

Product Details:

  • Size: 70 x 55 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Material: Polyester
  • Extras: Zippered tote with pocket and shoulder strap
  • Machine Washable: Yes
  • picnic blanket testing
    Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Best Picnic Blanket for Camping: Grand Trunk Parasheet Blanket

Outdoor Picnic Blanket
amazon.com

Also available at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Who it's for: People who need a packable blanket for backpacking or camping.
Who it isn't for: People who prefer the softer feel of fleece or polyester.

Made with 100 percent parachute nylon, this blanket is the lightest and most portable of all those on our list. The built-in carry sack compresses the whole blanket down to less than the size of a water bottle. The blanket also features two security mechanisms to keep it from flying away in the wind: reinforced stake loops and corner sand pockets.

Overall, this blanket is pretty bareboned—it essentially acts as a ground cover between you and the dirt or sand. The water did soak through a bit in our testing, but the blanket dried quickly and the sand shook away easily, so you can pack it back up without worry of mold or mildew. Plus, it is machine-washable. Keep in mind that this will not provide cushion between you and the ground, but it will provide a clean, dry spot to sit when camping, backpacking, hiking, and more.

Product Details:

  • Size: 84 x 84 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Material: Parachute nylon
  • Extras: Anchor pockets, reinforced stake loops, carry sack
  • Machine Washable: Yes (hang to dry)

RELATED: The 9 Best Hammocks for Lounging Outside

picnic blanket testing
Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Oniva Blanket Tote because it's the ideal combination of comfort and functionality at a great value. It features a substantial cushion with a soft fleece topside and waterproof backing, making it an excellent choice for camping, picnics, outdoor concerts, sporting events, and more. Plus, it folds up into a tote with long shoulder straps for easy transport.

Our Testing Process

We acquired 30 of the best picnic blankets and tested them in our Lab over two days. Testers first examined the material and construction of each picnic blanket, considering its overall quality and look. We also took note of whether it included a carrying case, a storage pouch, or straps.

To evaluate the comfort of each picnic blanket, testers placed a small rock on the floor and covered it with the picnic blanket and then sat on it to see if they could still feel the rock. They also laid down on each blanket, noting whether there was room to spread out while still remaining entirely on the blanket.

Next, testers evaluated how easy it is to clean each picnic blanket by first sprinkling ¼ cup of sand on each and then shaking off the debris. We also tested how stain-resistant each blanket is by pouring 1 tablespoon of grape juice on the topside of each blanket and allowing it to stand for 30 seconds before wiping it up, noting whether it produced a stain or wiped up easily.

For our final test, we evaluated the durability of each picnic blanket, including its claim to water-resistance: Testers poured water over each blanket and allowed it to sit for 15 minutes, then wiped it up with a towel, taking note of how much moisture remained.

Afterwards, testers received the price of each product, and were asked to score its overall value, considering both its price and performance to help us compile our final list.

picnic blanket testing
Real Simple/Dera Burreson

How to Shop for Picnic Blankets

Material

Picnic blankets are most commonly made with fleece, nylon, polyester, or some combination of these materials. Fleece offers the most warmth and comfort out of the three, making it ideal for fall and winter camping, sporting events, etc. Picnic blankets made with fleece are usually constructed with a water-resistant backing to protect them from the elements. However, fleece isn't as stain-resistant as nylon or polyester and is known to hold on to dirt and debris.

For warm-weather picnics, camping, or beach trips, a nylon- or polyester-based picnic blanket is going to be more breathable, lightweight, and water-resistant. Plus, these materials are less likely to hold onto grass, sand, dirt, crumbs, etc.

Size

When deciding on the size for your picnic blanket, consider where your blanket will be used and by whom. Smaller picnic blankets (less than 60 inches long) can be used for kids or pets without taking up too much space when rolled up. But for most people, having a blanket that can accomodate a group is important for a picnic, beach day, camping trip, and more. We're of the opinion that it's better to have more space than not enough, but do keep in mind that a larger blanket will take up more storage space when not in use.

Portability

If you're planning a picnic or beach day, you may already be juggling a picnic basket, a cooler, chairs, and more—so the last thing you need is a blanket that will weigh you down even further. Classic picnic blankets are designed to be rolled up and carried with a built-in handle, while many space-saving blankets are designed to fold into a small pouch. Some feature a small handle, while others feature a long strap for hands-free transport.

Durability

Ideally, a picnic blanket will be both soft enough to comfortably lounge on yet durable enough to withstand anything from twigs to sand to pet paws. To keep your blanket in good condition, you should refer to the manufacturer's care instructions—some are machine-washable while others should only be spot treated.

Special Features

Security: Losing your picnic blanket to a strong gust of wind is a sure-fire way to ruin any outdoor experience. Look for a picnic blanket that is either heavy enough to lay flat without reinforcement, or one that comes with rings to put down stakes or corner pockets that can be filled with sand to keep it pinned down. The latter can be particularly useful if you're dealing with a lightweight picnic blanket, like those made of nylon.

Storage: Some picnic blankets even feature a zipper pocket for storing small items, a useful feature when you're trying to keep everything in one place.

picnic blanket testing
Real Simple/Dera Burreson

More Picnic Blankets to Consider

L.L. Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket: This blanket is very similar to our best overall pick in terms of construction and comfort, but unlike our best overall pick, it's machine-washable. However, we found it a bit difficult to roll up into the carrying case, and it doesn't come with a strap. We think it would be a great choice for the cooler months, so long as portability isn't your priority.

Oceas Outdoor Waterproof Blanket: If you live in a cold climate, we think this weatherproof blanket would be great for wrapping around your shoulders during outdoor concerts, sporting events, camping trips, and more. The waterproof backing will keep you dry even in the rain and the cozy fleece will keep you warm.

Questions You Might Ask

What's the difference between a picnic blanket and a regular blanket?

Unlike regular blankets and beach towels, picnic blankets are designed to accommodate multiple people. They're typically constructed out of either a sand-repellent and waterproof fabric or a fleece topside with a water-repellent backing, giving you ample protection from the sand and other elements. And unlike a beach towel, most picnic blankets are not designed to absorb water, and if they do, you may be left with a soggy blanket for quite some time.

How should you wash picnic blankets?

There is quite a variety of fabrics used to make picnic blankets, so you should always defer to the manufacturer's care instructions when washing. Many picnic blankets are machine-washable, while others may be spot-clean only. Because so many picnic blankets feature waterproof, stain-resistant fabrics, they're easy to wipe down between uses and spot-treat or machine wash only when needed.

picnic blanket testing
Real Simple/Dera Burreson

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with nearly three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To compile this list, we tested 30 of the best picnic blankets in our Lab over two days. Melanie spent hours evaluating testing insights, considering quality, comfort, ease of cleanup, durability, and overall value.

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