You’ve scouted a location; packed splatter-paint Tupperware and a retro lawn chair; and created a tableau of wine, cheese, and crudités. The only thing missing? The perfect picnic blanket. Sure, you could grab an oversize beach towel and be on your way, but a proper blanket protects you from the elements—no grass stains here—and provides a soft cushion, no matter the terrain. Yet all are not created equal, and it’s important to consider where you’re headed before committing to a style.
“If you’re going somewhere with grass that may be wet from rain or dew, pick something that’s water wicking,” says Emily Hecht, cofounder of Atlanta’s Gather Picnic Co., which specializes in themed outdoor gatherings. For the beach, however, “thin blankets work great, but you’ll want to have more coverage than normal to create a big area that doesn’t get sandy,” she notes. Either way the right pick lays the groundwork for the ultimate alfresco feast. Read on for our guide to the best picnic blankets.
- Best overall: Sunnylife Wash Me Beach & Picnic Blanket
- Best value: Target Sun Squad Picnic Blanket
- Best modern design: Nipomo Blanket Roll
- Best compact: Matador Pocket Blanket
- Best padded: Scuddles Roll-Up Blanket
- Best cotton: Crate & Barrel Vinson Outdoor Picnic Blanket
- Best oversize: Kollab Picnic Mat Ladies
- Best classic check: Picnic Time Outdoor Zip-Up Picnic Blanket Tote
- Best plaid: Pendleton Roll-Up Blanket
- Best vintage-inspired print: Anthropologie Sunny Florals Picnic Blanket
- Best striped: Business & Pleasure Lauren’s Sage Stripe
- Best reversible: Forget Me Not Paris Geometric Throw
Features to Keep in Mind
Material: Picking the right fabric depends on where you’ll be picnicking and your personal preferences. Man-made and recycled materials such as polyester are low-maintenance and easy to clean—you can throw them right into the washing machine; ditto for 100 percent cotton. Wool, while naturally water- and stain-repellent, should be avoided on the hottest days due to heat absorption; they’ll also likely need to be dry cleaned. The two fabrics to absolutely stay away from? Silk and anything that’s crocheted with holes—they both have a high probability of snagging, says Hecht.
Portability: You’ll already be carrying food, so look for a picnic blanket that’s easy to transport. “You want something that’s thick enough to be a barrier between you and the ground, but light enough that you can fold it up and throw it in a bag to carry to your destination,” says Hecht. Many come with roll-up straps or turn into cool totes for the ultimate convenience.
Design: Like the rugs in your home, the best picnic blankets should reflect your personal style. Don’t be afraid of color, bold designs, or light hues. “People get intimidated by white or light colors in a picnic blanket, but I haven’t found any stain that a little spot cleaner and a wash can’t fix,” says Liz Clark, cofounder of Nipomo, which makes vibrant handwoven blankets and baskets. “Let your gut guide you!”
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Sunnylife Wash Me Beach & Picnic Blanket
Best Value: Target Sun Squad Picnic Blanket
Best Modern Design: Nipomo Blanket Roll
Best Compact: Matador Pocket Blanket
Best Padded: Scuddles Roll-Up Blanket
Best Cotton: Crate & Barrel Vinson Outdoor Picnic Blanket
Best Oversize: Kollab Picnic Mat Ladies
Best Classic Check: Food52 Picnic Time Outdoor Zip-Up Picnic Blanket Tote
Best Plaid: Pendleton Roll-Up Blanket
Best Vintage-Inspired Print: Anthropologie Sunny Florals Picnic Blanket
Best Striped: Business & Pleasure Lauren’s Sage Stripe
Best Reversible: Forget Me Not Paris Geometric Throw
Can I machine wash picnic blankets?
You always want to read and follow the care instructions on any garment, but most picnic blankets can be washed on a cold cycle and then laid flat to dry. Wool options, however, usually require dry cleaning, but because they’re naturally odor- and stain-resistant, once a year should suffice.
What is a good size for a standard picnic blanket?
According to Amanda Coppa, Pendleton’s senior merchandise manager, a 60-by-70-inch blanket will fit a couple and ample snacks perfectly. But if your party is greater than two, don’t fret. Gather Picnic Co.’s Hecht loves to layer multiple blankets: “We usually have one large durable blanket in the center, with three to four rugs of varying sizes and textures around it.”
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.
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