best in class

The 13 Very Best Picnic Blankets

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy 20th Century Fox

In this article

Spring picnic season is coming, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. And whether you’re meeting friends in Astoria Park or heading to the Rockaways, a smooth and preferably waterproof surface to sit on is fundamental. To find the best picnic rugs and blankets for all occasions (from casual hangs to hiking pit stops), I asked outdoorsy types and professional picnic planners for their favorites. Then I tested out those recommendations for myself, while also consulting with fellow Strategist staffers (and their dogs) about what brands they use. Once you’ve picked out your blanket, I’ve also written about the best picnic accessories, outdoor games, and outdoor chairs.

What we’re looking for

Size

When buying a picnic blanket, says Perfect Picnic NYC founder Wendy Weston, “the biggest thing to consider is size.” A blanket or rug that measures just 40” by 60” is really only suitable for one to two people — then again, at most group picnics, everyone usually brings their own blanket. For families, you’ll want to consider blankets that measure at least 60” by 70”. To help you plan, we’ve noted the dimensions of all our picks, as well as which of them are sold in multiple sizes.

Fabric

Whether it’s made from polyester, nylon, or cotton, a good picnic blanket “should be durable and able to be put down on any outdoor surface,” says Annie Seddington, president and coordinator of PikNYC Luxury Events. “You don’t want to worry about it ripping or getting holes in it.” While the term “picnic blanket” might recall the heavy wool plaid of yore, these days we tend to prefer washable and wipe-down rugs that are better suited to the great outdoors — especially if food, kids, or dogs are involved.

Best use

I’ve also taken note of where each blanket will work best. “If it’s going to be a windy location, a picnic blanket with loops in the corners so it can stay firm in the ground is very helpful,” says Seddington. “For beach picnics, there are special picnic blankets where you can put sand in the pockets and the sand acts as a weight.” If you’re on soft grass or sand, you can get away with a thinner (and therefore more compact) blanket, but on most other terrain you’re going to want a thicker weave or some form of cushioning. While all these picks are relatively easy to clean, experts advised to stay away from light colors if you’re planning on taking your blanket to places other than the beach. “It’s a pain, once the dirt does get in, you can wash them nine million times and it’s not coming out. Someone’s footprint will never come off.”

Best picnic blanket overall

From $23

Size: Eight sizes, from 60” by 60” to 61” by 77” | Fabric: Acrylic | Best use: Park picnics

This classic striped Scuddles blanket is exactly what comes to mind when I hear the word “picnic.” I ordered one after receiving a recommendation from picnic expert Ali Rosen, author of the cookbook Bring It!, and was pleased to find that it’s more substantial and durable than comparably priced picnic blankets from Amazon or big-box stores. It has wipe-down waterproof plastic on the bottom and soft acrylic on top, with a layer of padding in between, which makes it ideal for both grass and sand. There are numerous size options that’ll suit singles, couples, and groups; the blanket also rolls up easily and comes with an unusually sturdy carry handle. Best of all? This blanket is affordable enough that you can keep a couple different sizes around, or keep one in your car and have another stored indoors.

Best padded picnic blanket

Size: 72” by 60” | Fabric: Polyester | Best use: Park picnics

This packable (and surprisingly affordable) Pendleton blanket has a similar tote design to the Scuddles rug but just a little more padded comfort. It also has a water resistant polyester shell on both sides. It’s available in the brand’s familiar prints, which are inspired by the National Parks system. The blanket has two large storage pockets for stashing away your stuff while you lounge around, and it’s plenty durable, even if you have pets of the chewing or slobbering kind: Arizona-based outdoor enthusiast and mom to three dogs Dulce Randall, a.k.a. @chaosinthedesert, has found it to be “perfect for all our adventures.”

Best puffy picnic blanket

Size: 75” by 52” | Fabric: Recycled polyester | Best use: Park picnics, camping, hiking

After testing this sleeping-bag-like puffy blanket for two years now, I am basically unable to picnic on a non-puffy surface. It feels luxuriously comfortable; the moderate extra bulk is totally worth it. While designed to keep campers warm on chilly nights, it’s great for picnicking — it even has corner loops for staking out (as well as a clip feature that turns it into a cape). I’ve taken mine to friend hangs and on a picnic Hinge date; it was made to sprawl out on. The blanket stuffs down surprisingly small; the Whimsical Woman founder Jennifer Mabus used hers on a summer hiking trip with her husband, son, and dog. “We carried it on the hike and once we were done we had a picnic,” she says. “It’s very light to carry and is so comfortable for even my baby to crawl around on. Even the dog can walk over the blanket and we don’t worry that her nails will tear the material.” The fabric is treated with a durable water repellent finish, and it’s machine washable.

Best (less-expensive) puffy picnic blanket

Size: 72” by 54” | Fabric: Recycled nylon and polyester | Best use: Park picnics, camping

I’m currently testing out Baggu’s new puffy picnic blanket, which is a little more affordable than Rumpl’s option above, though slightly smaller. It has an attached carry handle and rolls up rather than stuffing into a sack; it’s also a little flatter to the ground. As with all Baggu’s products, from our favorite laptop case to the brand’s beloved travel tote bags, the blanket is available in a number of cheery designs that are updated seasonally. I’ll update this post soon to let you know how it compares to the other blankets on this list.

Best beach blanket

Size: 80” by 50” | Fabric: Nylon | Best use: Beach days, camping

If you’re going to the beach a lot, I recommend investing in a lightweight, waterproof, and sand-resistant beach blanket rather than a padded or puffy one. Seddington likes this affordable one, with a ripstop nylon surface provides the perfect defense against beach elements. It comes with both sand pockets and stakes, packs into a small drawstring carabiner pouch, and weighs just ten ounces.

Best hiking blanket

Size: 63” by 44” | Fabric: Nylon | Best use: Hiking and backpacking

I’ve owned this wallet-size blanket for four years, and it has yet to develop holes or show any other noticeable signs of wear. It’s similar to the beach-friendly one above, but even smaller and lighter, making it ideal for taking along on hiking and backpacking trips. I’m a fan of the tiny but mighty built-in corner stakes, which make it easy to stretch the fabric into a taut, waterproof surface when you’re on the trail. Lines of stitching on one side show you where to fold the blanket so it fits into the small included pouch, though I tend to just scrunch up and stash mine. A note: While I do take this blanket on park hangs because I love its packability, it’s nowhere near as comfortable as the Rumpl. You’ll want to clear the ground of rocks and sticks first, and ideally lay it somewhere flat.

Best all-terrain blanket

Size: 60” by 70” | Fabric: Recycled polyester | Best use: Park picnics, beach days, festivals, camping and van life

Nomadix sent me this blanket to test out at the beginning of summer 2022, and it is my go-to for camping and beach trips. Pleasingly thick but easy to fold or roll for storage, it has a unique (slightly towel-like) microsuede surface that is pleasant to lie out on as well as a water-resistant base. It feels extremely durable and doesn’t stain easily. Although I haven’t used it yet for this purpose, I think it would make a perfect tent doormat to glamp up a campsite. One note: Though this blanket has corner loops for anchoring, it does not include stakes. I have occasionally brought along my own, but the fabric is usually heavy enough to hold its own against wind. If you’re looking for just one blanket for a variety of outdoor activities, this is the one.

Best XL picnic blanket

Size: XL 114” by 114,” XXL 95” by 95” | Fabric: Acrylic | Best use: Park picnics, beach days, festivals, camping and van life

Never compete for blanket space at the birthday picnic again with this huge square blanket from outdoor brand Nemo, available in two fairly gigantic sizes. It has a similar all-terrain design to the Nomadix above, with a waterproof base and soft fabric top, but is slightly firmer in feel and designed to be rolled rather than folded up for storage. There’s a secret stash pocket for keeping valuables out of sight should you stray from the blanket for a swim or stroll, and the corners have grommets that slot into the poles of Nemo’s two compatible sun shelters in order to create a carpeted area inside. My fellow Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa is a happy Nemo Victory owner, saying this investment blanket “works well for parks and also the beach,” because sand doesn’t stick to it easily.

Best picnic blanket for dog owners

Size: 55” by 79” | Fabric: Polyester | Best use: Park picnics and beach days

Yeti’s outdoor products, while expensive, are known for their durability and thoughtful design. As well as of its iconic coolers, we’re big fans of the brand’s memory-foam dog bed, which Strategist writer Arielle Avila calls “indestructible,” adding that it has far outlasted any other bed that she has purchased for her pooch in the past. Avila says that Yeti’s padded waterproof picnic blanket is similarly durable, and has lasted for two seasons of park picnics and beach hangs so far without so much as a loose thread. “It’s expensive, but has withstood lots of spills without staining,” she says. “And our dog loves it — she rolls around and is pretty rough on it and it hasn’t torn at all.” Cook Dan Pelosi, who doesn’t own a dog but is something of a beach-picnic expert, also raved about this blanket to me, admitting that while it’s “not the cutest,” it’s extremely waterproof and easy to carry. “I’ll use it as the base of my picnic and then I’ll layer a cheap cute beach towel on top of it,” he adds.

Best throw blanket

Size: 50” by 60” | Fabric: Cotton | Best use: Park picnics

If you prefer the aesthetic of a cotton throw blanket, the picnic planner experts I spoke with recommended layering these with a plastic or canvas tarp underneath to avoid stains and that uncomfortable wet grass feeling. This patterned throw, a favorite of Seddington’s, is available in eight muted colors, and the decorative tassels are surprisingly luxe for this price point.

Best luxury throw blanket

Size: 60” by 78” | Fabric: Cotton | Best use: Park picnics, outdoor events

If you’re styling an outdoor event, Weston suggests adding pops of color with Annie Selke’s soft cotton throws. “They’ll elevate any picnic,” she promises. “They’re just a high-quality blanket that’s made from natural fibers and really fits with any environment.” The throws are generously sized and are available in all sorts of bold and subtle striped shades. They’re machine-washable and ethically crafted in India.

Best (less-expensive) throw blanket

Size: 47” by 63” | Fabric: Recycled polyester | Best use: Park picnics

Picnic & Peonies founder Michelle Ison, meanwhile, stocks up on these simple Ikea throw blankets, because they’re “relatively large, soft, and come in a beautiful green color.” Not to mention the fact that they’re extremely affordable, “so you don’t feel guilty if they get dirt or grass stains.” If that is a concern, though, they’re machine washable.

Best durable picnic blanket

Size: 36” by 60” | Fabric: Cotton | Best use: Park picnics, beach days

Thicker and more durable than the picks above, trendy glamping brand the Get Out’s picnic blanket is an investment piece that will — true to its name — look great against any backdrop. Recommended to us by Chelsea Rizzo and Allison Levy, the stylish co-founders of women’s outdoor-gear brand and New York City–based hiking club Hikerkind, the rug is something of a hybrid between a beach towel and picnic blanket, and would look right at home laid out next to a swimming hole upstate. It’s machine washable; aside from picnicking, the brand also recommends using it as a tent-area rug.

Some Strategist-approved picnic accessories

Our experts

Arielle Avila, writer, the Strategist
Michelle Ison, founder, Picnic & Peonies
Jennifer Mabus, founder, The Whimsical Woman
• Dan Pelosi, cookbook author
• Dulce Randall, founder, Chaos in the Desert
• Jeremy Rellosa, writer, the Strategist
• Allison Levy and Chelsea Rizzo, co-founders, Hikerkind
Ali Rosen, food journalist
Annie Seddington, president and coordinator, PikNYC Luxury Events
Wendy Weston, founder, Perfect Picnic NYC

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatmentsrolling luggagepillows for side sleepersnatural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

The 13 Very Best Picnic Blankets