Updated February 25, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

The 10 Best Picnic Blankets

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This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Don't get ants in your pants when you're trying to enjoy a nice afternoon in the great outdoors. Protect your derrière from moisture, sand, and creepy crawlies with one of these stylish and functional picnic blankets. There are tons of patterns and fabrics available, so you're certain to find an option that suits you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best picnic blanket on Amazon.

10. Yodo Summer Tote

9. Tuffo Water-Resistant Outdoor

8. Skip Hop Central Park

7. Pratico Outdoors Extra Large

6. Andway Beach Mat

5. Monstar Classic Plaid

4. Nikiani Palm Beach Crew Brilliant

3. Mambe Extreme

2. Scuddles Tote

1. Teton Indoor/Outdoor

What Do I Need to Know Before Purchasing a Picnic Blanket?

If the blanket is for two people, the size isn't really a factor.

The first thing anyone needs to know before considering a picnic blanket is how many people they plan on using that blanket for. If the blanket is for two people, the size isn't really a factor. If, however, a picnic blanket is meant to accommodate an entire family, or several friends, it's best to confirm that the blanket measures at least 5'x8' across.

The next thing you'll want to consider is the climate. Polyester blankets are ideal for sun-drenched picnics, while fleece and flannel are custom-made for breezy nights. Along those same lines, you'll want to consider what type of terrain you plan on using the blanket for.

Sand provides its own cushion, which means the blanket doesn't need to have much padding, while dirt and grass require a blanket to have some extra padding inside. Either way, you'll want to confirm that a picnic blanket is machine-washable and stain-resistant. Buying a picnic blanket that isn't machine-washable is like buying a pot that you can't put near a fire.

Once you've narrowed your list down to a handful of blankets, take a few minutes to read some of each blanket's customer reviews. Customers will be able to tell you whether a blanket's fabric tends to fray, or whether that blanket's threading has a tendency to unravel. Be mindful not to let one negative review deter you. What you're looking for here is patterns - several people who have shared the same experience, regardless of whether that experience happens to be extremely positive or less than good.

Several Not-So-Obvious Uses For a Picnic Blanket

When is a picnic blanket more than a picnic blanket? When it is being used for a dozen different purposes, year-round. Most people are aware that they can repurpose their picnic blankets as a seat for any outdoor concert, or a spread for any day at the beach. But a picnic blanket can also be used as a yoga mat, or a cushioned surface for calisthenics. A yoga mat can be used for meditation; it can be used for stargazing or watching fireworks, as well.

When it is being used for a dozen different purposes, year-round.

If you have kids, you can hang a picnic blanket over the clothes line, thereby creating a tent that the kids can play inside. Either that or use the blanket during the winter months to create living-room forts indoors.

If a picnic blanket is stain-resistant, you can lay it down beneath a toddler's high chair, thereby avoiding any set-in spills along the floor. The same goes for toddlers who are playing with markers or crayons.

Picnic blankets that are starting to fray can be used as a throw mat for painting, or sanding, or peeling paper off the wall. Seasoned blankets can be used for gardening. And - assuming those seasoned blankets are waterproof - they can be used to create a temporary shower curtain (fastened with clothespins), or to create a dividing curtain for sectioning off one part of a studio, or room.

How The Picnic Went From a French Curiosity To an American Pastime

The word picnic is derived from the French roots pique-, which means to peck, and nique-, which means to take part in something of little importance. The earliest known reference to a picnic was in a 17th-Century book of French euphemisms. Throughout the final third of France's Bourbon Period, the word pique-nique was commonly used to describe any type of outing where the guests were encouraged to bring their own food.

Such occasions became associated with relaxation and wholesome values and being outdoors.

Picnics emerged as a significant part of French culture during the early 1800s. In the wake of the French Revolution, several of that country's royal parks became open to the public. The French citizens, who had never been afforded access to these parks, took to packing a lunch, and very often some wine, to enjoy an entire day in these exclusive settings, free of charge.

The idea of a picnic was Americanized during the 19th Century to include activities like card-playing and music-playing. Outdoorsmen would throw elaborate picnics after an all-day hunt. These events, which were centered around preparing - and eating - large game, would later morph into what we now refer to as roasts. Family picnics, on the other hand, tended to remain almost sanctified. Such occasions became associated with relaxation and wholesome values and being outdoors.

Picnics became idealized in America after World War II. It was during this period that wicker baskets and checkered blankets became the norm. In 1955, the romanticized culture was celebrated in a movie called Picnic. Three years later, Yogi Bear appeared on the scene, prowling for "pic-a-nic baskets" throughout Jellystone Park.

Today, picnics continue to be an undying part of the American experience. Picnics represent a lack of distraction, along with an opportunity to commune with mother nature. While picnic baskets have largely been replaced by plastic coolers, the picnic blanket remains an indispensable part of being outdoors.

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Gabrielle Taylor
Last updated on February 25, 2018 by Gabrielle Taylor

Originally from a tiny town in Virginia, Gabrielle moved to Los Angeles for a marketing internship at a well-known Hollywood public relations firm and was shocked to find that she loves the West Coast. She spent two years as a writer and editor for a large DIY/tutorial startup, where she wrote extensively about technology, security, lifestyle, and home improvement. A self-professed skincare nerd, she’s well-versed in numerous ingredients and methods, including both Western and Asian products. She is an avid home cook who has whiled away thousands of hours cooking and obsessively researching all things related to food and food science. Her time in the kitchen has also had the curious side effect of making her an expert at fending off attempted food thievery by her lazy boxer dog.

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