Food might be the main event at a picnic, but the blanket shouldn't be overlooked. Whether the grass is dewy or the ground is slightly mushy with mud, a waterproof barrier will help keep you dry while you eat. Beyond weather-ready materials, you'll want something sturdy and tear-resistant that shakes clean from dirt, sand, or crumbs. It should also hold up against inevitable spilled drinks, like juice or wine.
To help you find the perfect surface for your next al fresco meal, we tried out 30 of the most popular picnic blankets in our PEOPLE Tested lab. Each blanket was tested in a real-life setting to see which stood out in terms of durability, quality, care, portability, and comfort. Four performed better than the rest, but L.L.Bean's Waterproof Outdoor Blanket was a clear winner.
Here are the best picnic blankets that PEOPLE Tested.
Pros: The L.L.Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket is comfy-cozy yet durable and weather-resistant.
Cons: You have to roll it super tight to fit it in the carrying bag.
If you're looking for a weather-resistant yet cozy surface to sit on while enjoying lunch in the great outdoors, you can't go wrong with L.L.Bean. The brand's Waterproof Outdoor Blanket earned perfect scores for both quality and comfort. Made of polyester fleece with a slick nylon backing, it's snuggly soft on one side and waterproof on the other. Our tester noted that the nylon is sleek and smooth but not crinkly like many other water-resistant options tried.
We didn't notice any loose threads or defective seams throughout any of the stitching, and the vertical seams offer a visual guide for folding it up. Thanks to the attached elastic straps, this picnic blanket easily rolls up into a portable bundle. It even comes with its own carrying bag, though our tester said you have to get it super tight to fit it in.
Measuring 72 x 58 inches, the sizable blanket can easily seat four people, plus a picnic basket and other outdoor eating essentials. While it doesn't come with any stakes, our tester said it's heavy enough that it probably won't blow away — but not so heavy that you won't want to carry it.
Water wipes away effortlessly from the nylon backing and doesn't soak through to the fleece side. We also spilled juice on it and were pleasantly surprised by how well it blotted out of the material. It took several paper towels, but no trace of a stain was left. Crumbs also came off with a few good shakes, and the machine-washable, dryer-friendly design makes post-picnic cleaning a breeze.
Though the price is somewhat steep, the standout quality, cozy comfort, and low-maintenance design make it a worthwhile purchase. We'd recommend this product to anyone in the market for a picnic blanket or weather-resistant camping blanket.
Pros: This affordable blanket boasts soft cushioning, spill resistance, and a conveniently portable design.
Cons: The velcro catches on the fleece, and it's not machine-washable.
Looking for something a bit more budget-friendly? The Yodo Picnic Blanket is a solid choice. Thick foam cushioning is sandwiched between polyester fleece and a waterproof vinyl backing. Our tester said the surface is soft and cozy, and although they could feel a rock underneath when sitting down, the foam layer made it not so uncomfortable.
At 59 x 53 inches, it might be too small for a tall person when lying down, but this is a nice mid-size blanket for a few seated picnickers. We like that it rolls up compactly, secures with velcro, and even has a convenient carrying handle for easy transport. The velcro catches slightly on the fleece, though it doesn't seem to affect the material.
While the blanket isn't machine-washable, our tester was surprised by how well it repelled liquid spills. A few dabs from a wet and dry paper towel were all it took to take care of the mess. Sand sticks to the fabric, but it comes off with a couple of hard shakes.
Another thing to note is that it doesn't come with any stakes and may blow away on a windy day if you don't weigh it down. Still, this weather-ready, packable product is impressive considering the affordable price point.
Also available at REI, Dick's Sporting Goods, Lowe's
Pros: Big enough for a family, this blanket offers comfy cushioning, repels liquids, and comes with a sturdy carrying bag.
Cons: It's slightly bulky and hard to get into the included carrier.
If you're open to spending a little more on high-quality picnic supplies, Yeti won't disappoint. Featuring a quilted waterproof exterior and a layer of padded insulation, the brand's Lowlands Blanket earned perfect scores for comfort and durability. Our tester said it provided enough cushioning to minimize pokes from rocks and sticks underneath.
They also liked the cozy outer fabric, noting that it feels like it could block wind and double as a wrap-around blanket on chilly excursions. Weighing just over 6 pounds, it's heavy enough to stay put on breezy days, and there are corner loops if you ever want to stake it down.
At nearly 7 feet in length, this picnic blanket easily seats multiple people in a cross-legged position and is plenty long for one or two people lying down. When it gets wet, water doesn't soak through to the other side, and it's super easy to dry off with a towel. Spilled juice also pools up and blots away with a paper towel — no stains left behind. Not only that, but dry debris shakes off without a fuss, and you can toss the whole thing in your washing machine to freshen it up between outings.
As far as cons, it's slightly bulky and somewhat of a struggle to get into the included carrying case. However, the bag is well made with a sturdy zipper, and the straps make it easy to tote around like a backpack. If you're looking for a dependable picnic blanket that'll hold up against heavy use and kids' messes, this one is worth a splurge.
Pros: This sizeable blanket boasts a waterproof exterior that repels rain and liquid spills, plus a machine-washable, dryer-friendly design.
Cons: It's hard to get the velcro to line up when folding the blanket.
Need something even bigger? Check out this extra-large outdoor blanket from Three Donkeys. Measuring 79 x 79 inches, it's roomy enough to seat several people for a picnic or two adults lying down. Despite the oversized design, it's easy to fold up into a compact roll, though our tester said getting the velcro to match up was tricky.
This blanket has a waterproof Oxford polyester exterior with a layer of cotton padding in the middle. Though it wasn't the thickest or plushest option we tried, it's definitely comfortable enough to sit on. The exterior proved its moisture resistance when we got it wet and was super easy to dry off with a towel. Though it's fairly lightweight, our tester said the large size should help it stay in place on a windy day.
We gave it a perfect score for debris removal, as sand came off with a couple of shakes. Liquids were slightly trickier, but our tester was able to blot up spilled juice with just a few wipes. This picnic blanket is machine-washable and dryer-friendly, too, so any remaining residues should come out in the wash.
This is one of the more affordable options we tried. Considering its weather-resistant, low-maintenance design, we'd recommend it to families with kids or couples looking for a date night picnic blanket.
Oxford polyester exterior, cotton padding
Pay attention to the material when shopping around, as this will impact durability, comfort, weight, and weather resistance. Picnic blankets often have soft fabric on top (such as polyester fleece) and some sort of moisture-repellent backing, like nylon or vinyl.
In addition to keeping you dry while sitting on the ground, these weather-ready materials help prevent wine, juice, and other spilled drinks from soaking through and won't harbor dirt, crumbs, and other dry debris. Some options are reversible, meaning the entire exterior is water-resistant.
You'll also want to think about the size. Smaller blankets can usually accommodate two adults in a cross-legged position, plus a picnic basket. But if you want to be able to lie down or fit more than a few people, look for a larger option. Bigger blankets may not fold up as compactly, though it depends on the material.
Some picnic blankets are more portable than others. Many options come with their own carrying bags, while others have velcro strips and attached straps — no bag needed. As mentioned, larger blankets often don't fold up as compactly, so keep this in mind if yours doesn't come with a carrying bag.
The best picnic blankets feature moisture-repellent materials that make it easy to blot up spills and dry them off when they get wet. Dirt, small rocks, crumbs, and other debris should also come off with a few good shakes. All that said, machine-washable designs are ideal, as you can toss them in the wash to remove all debris and freshen them up in between outings.
Like tents and sleeping bags, top-rated picnic blankets may sell out quickly in the summer. If you're looking to get a high-quality option, you might want to buy one in the spring to beat the rush. However, you should be able to order a decent outdoor blanket online year-round. Interested in a deal? Look for close-out sales in the later summer or early fall.
Our testers tried out 30 picnic blankets in the PEOPLE Tested lab. We inspected the materials, sat on the blankets, folded them up, and got them wet to evaluate quality, comfort, durability, portability, and water resistance. We also poured a little sand and grape juice on top to see how well the materials held up against both dry and liquid spills. All insights were considered with the price to determine each blanket's overall value, then we narrowed it down to our top picks.
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
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In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
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