A comfortable, durable blanket is a must-have for the perfect picnic. To find the best option for your outdoor adventures, we purchased 31 outdoor blankets and thoroughly tested them, evaluating each blanket on its construction, comfort level, ease of cleaning, and durability.
For example: To test quality, we had each tester place a rock under their blanket and report whether you could feel it when sitting. To see how each cleaned up, we had each tester sprinkle sand on it and note how easy it was to shake off. To evaluate waterproofing, we poured water on each blanket and let it stand for 15 minutes, then checked to see if moisture remained.
After hours of this testing, and more, we determined that the L.L. Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket is our top choice, thanks to its soft yet substantial material, stain resistance, and overall ease of care.
Here are the best picnic blankets, according to our testing.
Best Overall: L.L.Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket
Soft, comfy material
Machine wash and dry
Tricky to get into case
Who else recommends it? Prevention also picked the LUCID 3-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper.
What do buyers say? 85% of 28,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
For a picnic blanket that’s soft, comfortable, and easy to care for, the L.L. Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket is our unbeatable top choice. Our tester loved that this blanket was made from cozy fleece, and even the waterproof backing is soft—unlike other blankets, which have a plasticky feel. The material offers enough cushioning to dull any rocks you might happen to sit on, and you also can wrap yourself up in this blanket on a chilly night.
This outdoor blanket measures 72 x 58 inches, and it’s available in a few colors and patterns. (There’s also an extra-large version that measures 80 x 72 inches, in case you need more room.) The front of the blanket is made from a polyester-fleece, and the reverse is polyurethane-coated nylon. Our tester found that despite its snuggle-upness, the blanket is fairly light, making it easy to shake out after use, and most sand and debris came off easily. In our testing, the material also resisted stains—liquids easily blotted up, leaving almost no trace. Plus, you can machine-wash and -dry the blanket, making maintenance even easier.
When you’re done with your picnic, this blanket is easy to pack up. Its seams provide visual guidance on which way to roll it, and elastic straps keep it bundled up. It can be a bit tricky to fit back into the carrying case, as it needs to be rolled quite tightly. But overall, we believe this outdoor blanket is a high-quality choice that serves you well on any outdoor excursion.
Best Budget: Oniva Blanket Tote XL Outdoor Picnic Blanket
Several color options
Not machine washable
The oversize ONIVA Picnic Blanket provides plenty of cushioning against the hard ground. Yet, it’s reasonably priced, making it our top pick for anyone shopping on a budget. Our tester found the fleece front soft to the touch, and its thick design extremely comfortable to sit on, masking the feeling of rocks underneath. The reverse side is made of a waterproof material that staved off dampness in our testing, and despite the blanket’s substantial size—80 x 70 inches—it’s lightweight and easy to transport.
This picnic blanket comes in several patterns, most of which are plaid or striped. It folds up easily into a compact 18 x 11 x 5-inch tote, which includes a zippered pouch where you could store items such as your keys, and you can adjust the shoulder strap for easy carrying. In our tests, dirt and sand fell off the blanket after just a few shakes, and though liquid does soak into the fleece fabric, it’s fairly easy to blot out. The one big downside of this picnic blanket is you can't machine wash it, so you have to spot-clean any stains. However, it’s a good value considering its large size and quality construction.
Best Splurge: Yeti Lowlands Blanket
Cozy, warm material
Tricky to fold into case
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, the Yeti Lowlands Blanket is top-tier in terms of quality—however, it comes with a price tag to match. Our tester said the blanket is cozy and feels similar to a bed comforter, thanks to its polyester-rayon front and thick layer of polyester insulation. Even though the picnic blanket feels soft and welcoming, liquids simply puddle up on the surface, allowing you to wipe spills away with no stain left behind. It’s even designed to repel dirt, burrs, and pet hair, so you can use it as a barrier in the back of your car.
The Yeti Blanket is on the smaller size, measuring 55 x 78 inches, and it’s available in three colors. Six utility loops around the edges of the blanket allow you to stake it down in windy conditions. And you can machine-wash and-dry the whole thing, making it effortless to clean after your picnic. The Yeti Lowlands Blanket comes with a sturdy carrying case you can clip onto a backpack for easy transport. But our tester did note that the blanket is somewhat bulky to fold and stuff back into the case.
Best Waterproof: Oceas Large Waterproof Outdoor Blanket
Cozy fleece material
Waterproof ripstop backing
The Oceas Outdoor Blanket has a truly waterproof backing—in testing, the top layer of fleece stayed nice and dry, even when the reverse side was wet. Plus, our tester noted that the blanket feels more high-quality than many others and is easy to fold up and secure with the included elastics. It's the perfect option for a picnic on wet grass or even at the beach. The blanket's included convenient carrying case lets you tote it around to different destinations.
This outdoor blanket is 79 x 58 inches, and you can choose from just a few plain colors. The soft, warm fleece makes it cozy to wrap up in by yourself or with a friend. Most dirt and sand comes off by shaking. Our main complaint is this blanket stains fairly easily and can’t be machine washed, but the black fleece does a good job of hiding any discoloration that may result from spills.
Best for Travel: Little Unicorn Outdoor Blanket
Multiple sizes and patterns
Soft, padded design
Carrying case includes zippered pouch
Thin fabric susceptible to rips
You can go just about anywhere with the Little Unicorn Indoor/Outdoor Blanket, which comes with a compact carrying case that includes a zippered pocket for storage. The case is just 15.5 x 12 x 5.5 inches and weighs just over three pounds, and thanks to its adjustable strap, you can sling it over your shoulder as you hike out to the perfect picnic spot. The blanket comes in several bright patterns, including floral, plaid, and botanical motifs, and you can choose from three sizes, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your family.
This blanket's padded feel pleased our tester on hard or rocky surfaces, and the bottom is made from a durable water-resistant material. Stains come out with just a few blots, even on the white fabric. And although some dirt and debris tend to linger on the surface, popping it into the washing machine gets it clean again. Our only major concern is the fabric on the front of the blanket is fairly thin and feels like it may rip over time.
Best to Clean: ISOPHO Waterproof Picnic Blanket
Thick and well-made
Includes ground stakes
Sand shakes off easily
If you regularly picnic on the beach or another spot where your blanket gets dirtier than usual, the ISOPHO Picnic Blanket is the blanket for you; our tester found it much easier to clean than other products we tested. Our tester got all the sand off with just a single shake—it doesn’t stick to the polyester fabric at all! There’s also the added bonus that the blanket is oversize, measuring 83 x 79 inches, allowing you to seat your whole family with room to spare.
Our tester described this blanket as more of a ground cover than a true picnic blanket. It lacks the cushioning you might expect, and it isn’t that soft to the touch. However, the thick material is durable enough to withstand being walked all over. Plus, it comes with ground stakes that keep it in place, even on windy days. It’s easy to clean up spills on this blanket, as the liquid just puddles up on top. But our tester found that the fabric dampens if exposed to moisture for too long.
Best for Kids: Chanodug Three Donkeys Picnic Blanket
Accommodates multiple people
Tricky to fold up
Kids should have a blast playing on the spacious Three Donkeys Picnic Blanket, and adults appreciate that despite expected food and drink spills, it's easy to clean. The reversible design is fairly spacious at 79 x 79 inches, and you can easily accommodate several children or a few adults. The blanket is waterproof and sand proof, and our tester found that most dirt fell off the fabric with just a few shakes. Plus, there's no crying over spilled milk, or any other beverage: You simply blot up the liquid without it staining.
This blanket comes in a few different colors and it rolls up compactly, complete with a handle, for easy transport. Our tester found, however, that it’s slightly confusing to fold up the blanket—you need to position the velcro in just the right spot, and it took a few tries to get right. Overall, though, this picnic blanket is an easy-to-clean option that should serve you well on family outings. And who can resist its budget-friendly price?
Best Extra Large: Down Under Outdoors Quilted Fleece Stadium Blanket
Large enough for several people
Zippered pocket on blanket
Fleece material attracts sand
Whether you picnic with a crowd or just want space to stretch out, the Down Under Outdoors Blanket offers plenty of room, thanks to its 82 x 55 inch shape. This oversize blanket is available in a few colors and patterns, including solids and plaids. Our tester noted the blanket is heavy enough that it won’t blow away on blustery days, and liked that it has a soft fleece on one side and a durable waterproof backing on the reverse. A zippered pocket right on the blanket enables you to stash your keys or other belongings for safe keeping.
Our tester found that liquids do soak into the material but can be blotted out with a paper towel; a few good shakes should remove most dirt and sand from the surface. If more cleaning is needed, you can throw it in the washing machine to remove stains. When you’re ready to pack up, roll up the Down Under and pack it away in its carrying case, which has an adjustable shoulder strap, as well as a top handle.
Best Lightweight: Benevolence LA Authentic Mexican Blanket
Soft, lightweight material
Made from recycled materials
Several color options
No carrying case
The Benevolence LA Authentic Mexican Blanket weighs just a few pounds, and its thin fabric is easy to fold up and carry in a tote bag. The woven design is crafted from a cotton-acrylic blend that’s made using recycled fiber, and each blanket is woven by local artisans in Tlaxcala, Mexico for a one-of-a-kind appearance. The blanket is soft enough to use as a wrap on a cold day, and our tester noted that you could seat a few people on it, even though it’s on the smaller side.
These blankets come in a variety of colorways, and many of the patterns are bright and vibrant. Unlike many other picnic blankets, this option doesn’t include a carrying case, but it’s thin enough that it folds into a compact, manageable form. Sand shakes off the blanket easily, but the material isn’t waterproof and stains soak in, so it may not be the best option for eating on. The good news, however, is you can machine-wash the blanket, and it’s small enough to fit into any machine.
Best Foldable: Red Camp Waterproof Picnic Blanket
Easy to fold up
Sand shakes off easily
Resists stains and water
Not the softest material
The Red Camp Picnic Blanket stood out from the rest thanks to its easy-to-fold design, which allows you to pack up your picnic in a flash. (Always beneficial if the forecast portends a chance of showers.) Our tester found that this budget-friendly blanket isn’t the softest, but its durable polyester / PVC construction easily resists dirt, water, and stains, making it ideal for eating with your family or lounging on the beach. Our tester noted that both sides of the blanket are waterproof, and we like the blanket’s vintage aesthetic, which features unique color combinations and patterns.
This picnic blanket comes in six colors, and it measures 79 x 59 inches—large enough to seat two adults comfortably. Once folded up, the blanket measures just 13.5 x 8.5 inches, and it has a built-in handle as well as a carrying case. It’s easy to wipe spills off the waterproof fabric—a good thing since the blanket isn’t supposed to be washed, ether by machine or hand. However, we believe it’s a good choice for small picnics, especially if you desire a blanket you can easily transport.
Best for the Beach: Miu Color Picnic Blanket
Debris and sand comes off easily
Fairly large size
Not the softest material
The MIU Color Picnic Blanket is a top choice for the beach, as debris and sand come off its surface easily—just give it a few good shakes, and it's clean and ready to pack up. Measuring 80 x 60 inches, this blanket is spacious enough for the whole family to camp out on, and its waterproof backing keeps your belongings (and your backside) dry. It also comes in four fun patterns, which make it easier to spot as you’re making your way back from a dip in the ocean.
During testing, we liked that this blanket folds up into a compact form you can tuck inside the included carrying case to stash inside your beach tote. However, while it feels sturdy, our tester acknowledged that it isn’t the most comfortable. The material feels somewhat plasticky, and there’s limited cushioning, so avoid setting it over any rocks. Also, you need to hand-wash the fabric if it's stained.
After hours of testing, our top pick is the L.L. Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket. Not only is this blanket soft and cozy, it also resists stains and has an effective waterproof backing to keep you comfortable in any conditions. For a more budget-friendly picnic blanket, consider the ONIVA Picnic Blanket Tote, which is spacious and well-cushioned, even when placed on hard ground.
How We Tested the Picnic Blankets
After buying 31 highly rated picnic blankets from several merchants, we constructed a sand beach at our testing lab in Des Moines, Iowa, and subjected each picnic blanket to a number of tests. To assess comfort, testers dumped a rock on the sand, then spread their picnic blankets over it. To test how easy they were to clean, our testers sprinkled sand on each blanket, then tried to shake it off to see how thoroughly and quickly the sand came off. Then, we determined how well blankets resisted staining by subjecting each to the grape-juice test, letting the super-stainer liquid stand for 30 seconds before attempting to blot it up.
We also evaluated simple water resistance. Testers poured a quarter cup of water onto their blankets, let it stand 15 minutes, then wiped up the moisture with a towel and turned the blankets over to see how much the water soaked through. Finally, to further test the quality, our testers tromped around on each blanket to see how it kept its shape. To determine portability, each tester folded up their blanket and noted how well doing so adhered to the manufacturer's instructions. If the blanket included a carrying case, was it simple to fold into a neat bundle to put back into the case? Was the blanket bulky or heavy to carry?
Finally, every tester assessed their picnic blanket for overall value, looking not only at the price but whether it was worth it. They let us know whether they would have paid the listed price, more for it, or waited until it was on sale to buy it. After testing all 31 blankets, we selected the best 11 to bring you this list.
What to Look for in a Picnic Blanket
A picnic blanket's material impacts the comfort, durability, and resistance to moisture. The most traditional options for a warm, soft picnic blanket include fleece and wool. But cotton and acrylic picnic blankets offer a soft feel as well, without being too hot for warm-weather picnics. Picnic blankets for the beach also are frequently seen in nylon or polypropylene, since both materials are lightweight and make it easy to shake off sand and debris.
Since wet or damp ground can quickly lead to a soggy sitting spot, many picnic blankets include a waterproof backing material. This is a must-have if you want the flexibility of using your picnic blanket in all types of conditions. However, a waterproof backing generally results in a thicker, slightly more bulky picnic blanket that may not be machine washable.
Choose a picnic blanket that is spacious enough for everyone in your group to sit on, including any children or pets. Keep in mind that ultra-portable picnic blankets, such as those that fold up into a small pouch or pocket, may not offer as much room to spread out. On the other hand, a very large picnic blanket takes up more storage space. In general, though, it's better to have a picnic blanket that is too large instead of one that is too small to accommodate you and your alfresco spread.
Anytime you plan an outdoor activity, the required gear can add up quickly. Keep things light and easy by choosing a picnic blanket that is portable.
"Make sure it's lightweight and easy to carry (get one with a shoulder strap), because picnics can be cumbersome," recommends Lauren Kimmons, owner of Pop Up Picnic Co. "The lighter you travel, the more likely you are to get out there and not get burnt out on the prep! Plus, you'll be able to navigate more varied terrain and find the best picnic spots."
A classic option is a rolled-up picnic blanket with a carrying handle, or straps that encircle the blanket. Many space-saving picnic blankets are designed to fold into a small pocket on the blanket, or an included pouch or case.
A picnic blanket getting regular use needs occasional cleaning. Dirt, grass, leaves, and mud all can soil your blanket, in addition to spills or crumbs from your food and beverages. Some picnic blankets are machine washable. Others, such as some wool picnic blankets, may be spot-clean only or require dry-cleaning. Plastic mats, such as polypropylene picnic blankets, may not be machine washable, but they can easily be wiped clean or even rinsed with a garden hose.
In general, how long are picnic blankets?
Picnic blankets are usually 60 to 70 inches long. Some compact options measure a few inches shorter, while other picnic blankets for large groups may measure 80 inches or more in length.
Why are picnic blankets plaid?
The Gaelic word plaide meant blanket or wrap. Today, we use "plaid" to describe a pattern of one or more intersecting lines of color. However, it's no surprise that the makers of picnic blankets use a plaid design since the name gives a nod to the word's original meaning.
What are picnic blankets made of?
Many different materials have been used for picnic blankets, ranging from wool to cotton and nylon to plastic. Many, but not all, have waterproof backings or membranes to resist moisture.
How long can you use a picnic blanket before you have to replace it?
The lifespan of your picnic blanket depends on its construction, how often you use it, and how easy it is to clean. Inexpensive blankets may only last a season or two before developing rips or stains. But often, you can use high-quality picnic blankets for many years when you properly care for them.
How do you choose the right-size picnic blanket?
When calculating seating, it’s customary to give each adult 18 to 24 inches of space. But when you’re having a picnic, you need extra room for food and plates. “For two to four people, I recommend at least 48 x 72 inches,” Kimmons says. “You want people to be able to stretch out.”
What should you consider when deciding on a picnic blanket’s material?
Most picnic blankets are made from cotton, polyester, or a blend, and you should take into account several factors as you compare different options. “Look for two things,” Kimmons says, “water resistance and a material that won't attract grass and leaves.” You also should consider a blanket that resists stains and/or can be machine washed, as this ensures you can use it for many picnics to come.
Can you use a regular blanket as a picnic blanket?
Yes, you can use a regular blanket as a picnic blanket. However, keep in mind that regular blankets likely won't have the same insulation or water-resistant/waterproof materials as a picnic blanket so they won't be as durable.
Can you wash a picnic blanket?
Yes, you can wash your picnic blanket. Ideally, you will wipe down your picnic blanket immediately if there are any spills and accidents that occur during the picnic. If this isn't enough, you'll have to check the care instructions for your particular blanket. Some picnic blankets can be machine-washable, while others may need to be hand-washed.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester who has been contributing to The Spruce since 2017. The Spruce tested firsthand all the picnic blankets included in this article. Testers evaluated each blanket on quality, comfort level, ease of cleaning, durability, and overall value, prioritizing options that are easy to transport and that should hold up well for years to come.
Camryn used those insights to select the best product for each category. She also spoke with Lauren Kimmons, owner of Pop Up Picnic Co., for expert tips on selecting the best blanket for outdoor activities.