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Here are two truths: not all outdoor picnic blankets are red and white gingham fabric, and not all of them are created equal.Today’s best picnic blankets, beach blankets, and all around traveling blankets are also waterproof blankets, and they skew more towards performance gear that's water resistant, windproof, sandproof, dirtproof, with serious durability. These unassuming items can and should be able to handle the wear and tear that inevitably happens to an object meant to be laid on the ground—and sat on and spilled on—and still look great when it’s time to decamp. To put it this way: if your waterproof blanket doesn’t hold up after a stampede of golden retrievers crash your beach picnic, then you don’t have the right one (speaking from experience here).
Once that baseline is met, another qualifier is versatility—can your waterproof blanket convert into a poncho or function well on a variety of natural, uneven surfaces? These are important questions to ask when searching for the best waterproof blankets for picnics and the beach. But at the end of the day, this outdoor essential is a vehicle for having fun and making memories, so simplicity isn't something to shy away from.
To make things even simpler, we rounded up a wishlist of the best waterproof blankets for wherever your outdoor lounging takes you.
[PS - check out our top picks for the best insulated blankets]
12 Great Waterproof & Water Resistant Blankets
A cozy flannel top layer and durable waterproof backing plus a little padding for protection invites you to sprawl out and unwind on this extra-large picnic blanket. Perfect for squeezing in your whole crew or creating a luxurious wall-to-wall carpet in your tent, this portable blanket has corner loops to stake it down, a pocket to stash small items, and integrated straps with a handle to make it easy to pack it up and go. It comes in two sizes, both large blankets that can accommodate a group, and is made of acrylic with polyurethane (PU) and EVA. Also, it's backed by Nemo's lifetime warranty.
From the beach mat to campground mat, Nomadix’s Festival Blanket has a sturdy water-resistant base and a soft microsuede top that lets dirt, sand, and even pet hair slide right off. Four anchor points keep it secured in place when an offshore breeze blows in, plus it’s almost entirely made from post-consumer recycled materials. Sure, festival is in the name, but this is a great blanket for any outdoor hang and has room for two people or more.
Yeti’s two-layer outdoor blanket combines a durable, waterproof backing exterior with a quilted and cushioned interior that provides warmth and comfort outdoors. Besides being versatile enough to be a clean surface, camp blanket, or shade cover, a big selling point is that it's machine washable with long-lasting waterproofing. Instead of opting for a standard set of roll-up straps, Yeti includes a clean soft-sided zip-up travel case for easy travel to sporting events or outdoor camping applications.
We’re big advocates for merino wool in base layers and cool-weather garments, so we’re definitely into this merino wool camping blanket in a classic buffalo plaid. A nylon underside provides durability when used on a variety of outdoor surfaces, but we’d happily pop off the removable carry straps once at home and use it as a bed cover to bring a little cabin style to our modest urban dwellings.
A thick, cushy blanket might provide heaps of comfort under your bum, but they’re typically too bulky carrying carry on approaches to more secluded/scenic locales. Ingenuitive outdoor accessory brand Matador’s pocket blanket packs a waterproof picnic blanket sized for two-to-four persons into an impressive palm-sized package. Solo sitters (or close quarters couples) can save even more space with the brand’s Pocket Blanket Mini ($25).
Lightweight and soft with so many uses, the Kachula works great on its own as a waterproof outdoor blanket and can also be snapped together with other Kachula Blankets to create a modular system. Made from 100% recycled materials, this blanket has a removable hood so you can wear it as a poncho around camp or a stadium blanket at home, and you can use it as a superlight sleeping bag or pack it into the stuff sack for a convenient travel pillow. You can machine wash this one too, but follow the instructions.
The makers of the modern camp blanket created yet another piece of outdoor gear worth taking with you: a stain-resistant, waterproof blanket with a comfy microsuede top layer that’s soft to the touch and durable waterproof underside capable of handling any rugged surface. It also has corner loops if you want to stake it down, and it packs down into a small bag so you can travel light. It's somewhat small at 52x75 inches, with enough space for two.
Pendleton’s water-resistant Roll-Up Blanket strikes just the right balance between vintage nostalgia with earth-toned tartan plaid colors and high-performance, thanks to a wipe-clean nylon backing. Simply roll it up and tote it around with a great-looking leather handle and strap and lay it down anywhere you're in need of a picnic mat or camping blanket.
Durable and versatile, Tarpestry's high-quality water-repellent throw blanket is a multi-purpose all-star that’s designed to keep you dry while sitting on the ground, and is reversible to protect you from the elements when hung as a colorful tarp overhead. With five different types of grommet ring options, you can string it up anywhere you need to create an eye-catching shelter on-the-go. You could even use it as a couch cover to keep your wet dog from ruining the furniture.
This iconic New England outdoor brand made the unlikely pairing of a fleece blanket with a polyurethane-coated nylon baker for waterproof versatility. The polar fleece layer can help you fend off a chill in the air while picnicking al fresco, or protect you from the salty ocean spray on land and sea. Complete with a stuff sack to keep it packable, it’s easy to clean and machine washable at a great price.
A weather-resistant outdoor picnic blanket that’s extra pretty, this sherbert-colored blanket brightens up your fresh air hangs with a soft wool top layer but it has a waterproof bottom to back it up. The makers source their wool from cruelty-free producers and the entire blanket is ethically made in the UK, too.
A fun twist on the typical outdoor blanket, Kama’s clever origami-style mat is a great alternative when you need a more substantial option with plenty of padding. A rigid bottom creates a stable surface on uneven ground and an inventive folding pattern ensures packability as well as an easy way to keep the debris underneath separate from the clean and comfy layer on top. Use it for picnics or beach days, or as a yoga or exercise mat if you just can't bear to be indoors.