The Best Picnic Blankets and Beach Mats for Summer

Gear up for fun in the sun with these top-rated buys, from sand-free mats to foldable blankets that turn into a bag.

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July 23, 2020

There’s just something about eating outside that makes food taste better, even a simple picnic with PB&Js. Whether you’re planning a park visit, beach day or lunch in the backyard, you need a sturdy picnic blanket. We’ve rounded up the best styles for any summer activity, from waterproof to washable blankets. Take a look and shop our favorites below.

Best Sand-Free Blanket

The worst part about coming home after a day at the beach is the sand. It’s the glitter of nature. It gets everywhere. If you hate sandy car seats or a tote full of sand, you need CGear’s Sandlite beach mat. This blanket features interlocking, "one-way sift" technology that magically eliminates sand. It comes in three different sizes, from solo to family-sized, and in more than 10 cute prints and coastal colors.

Best Packable Blanket

Picnics with bottles of rosé, fresh fruit and cheese plates sound romantic in theory, but in reality, it’s a hassle to lug a heavy cooler around — especially if you parked far away. Free up a hand and lighten your load with this packable blanket. Not only does the blanket fold into itself, but it features straps that make it a backpack — genius.

Best Washable Blanket

If you spill a drink or accidentally place your blanket in mud, don’t worry. We found a machine-washable outdoor blanket. Yes, really. You just shove it in the washer like a towel. Meet the Rumpl. It’s like a puffy jacket but in blanket form. And unlike puffy jackets, The Original Rumpl is feather-free.

Most Instagrammable Blanket

If you’re going for an Insta-worthy picnic, this packable tapestry from Urban Outfitters is right on trend with a 60s-inspired floral print. The blanket comes with a matching fabric tote to carry it. Plus, it’s on sale for less than $30 right now.

Best Classic Gingham Blanket

When you think of a picnic, you probably imagine a red-and-white checkered blanket. This modern take on the iconic gingham features a waterproof backing and folds up into a packable square. While it does come in classic red, we love the preppy light blue.

Best Waterproof Blanket

Most outdoor blankets are treated with a water-resistant coating, but that won’t be enough to keep wet grass and mud from seeping through. Invest in a 100-percent waterproof blanket and you’ll never have to worry about wet or stained clothes. The YETI Lowlands Blanket is just shy of $200, a lot for a mat, but like other YETI products, it’s tough and will last. The bottom features a thick waterproof layer, and the quilted top is surprisingly soft and cozy for a sporty brand. Plus, the blanket comes with a carrying case that makes it perfect for travel.

Best Camping Blanket

While YETI’s outdoor blanket is perfect for camping, it’s fairly large and heavy; so, if you plan on doing backpacking, you’ll need a lighter, more pack-friendly option. The Fjallraven Ovik Blanket rolls up into a tight bundle that can clip on top or inside a backpack. It’s a pretty penny at $200, but you’re paying for quality that will last for years. Like other Fjallraven products, the blanket features the company's signature G-1000 fabric which can be waxed over and over again to keep it both water-resistant and windproof.

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