Choosing a picnic blanket for your next adventure
There's nothing like spreading a picnic blanket outdoors and enjoying snacks and drinks with family and friends. Unfortunately, a picnic blanket is often an afterthought for many people. It’s only when they're out on the cold ground that they realise they should have brought one. Whether the ground is slightly mushy with mud or the grass has some dew, a waterproof picnic blanket will come in handy in keeping you dry as you enjoy the outdoors.
Aside from being weather-resistant, you need a picnic blanket that is tear-resistant and shakes clean from dirt and debris. It should also be easy to clean up spills like wine and juice. There's a wide range of picnic blankets on the market, making it difficult to find the right option for your picnic. Luckily, we've created this guide to help you find the right surface for your next alfresco feast.
What material should you choose for your picnic blanket?
The material used to make a picnic blanket is one of the most important points to keep in mind. The look and quality of the material will be determined by the material you choose. Here are the most common materials for picnic blankets.
Nylon picnic blanket
Nylon or polypropylene is one of the most popular choices for picnic blankets – it’s water-resistant, breathable, durable, and dries fast. It's also an excellent choice for the beach because the sand will easily fall off it. Nylon is also lightweight and takes up less space, making it easier to transport to any camping site. In addition, nylon picnic blankets are inexpensive. Part of what makes this material almost indestructible is the synthetic nature of the chemicals and fibres used in the production. For this reason, nylon picnic blankets usually have a temporary chemical smell.
Wool picnic blanket
Wool is a natural fibre made from fleece or hair of sheep and other animals like rabbits, camels, and goats. The main advantage of wool is that it retains its insulating properties even when the fabric becomes a bit damp. In addition, a wool picnic blanket is fire-resistant, so you don't need to worry about your picnic blanket catching fire when enjoying outdoors around a fire pit table. However, picnic blankets made from wool are heavy. So, they may not be the best option for warmer months.
Fleece picnic blanket
Fleece is a synthetic material that offers the natural properties of wool while providing the comfort needed to enjoy the outdoors. Picnic blankets made from fleece provide excellent insulation with the advantage of being lightweight. They are breathable, dry quickly, and machine washable. The main downside is that fleece is highly flammable.
How big should your picnic blanket be?
Another essential feature to look out for when shopping for a picnic blanket is the size of the product. Think about how you want to use the blanket to determine the right size. Your choice is mainly dependent on your needs. For example, are you camping solo or with friends and family? Do you need space to accommodate your food? Here are standard measures of picnic blankets depending on the number of people they can accommodate.
A couple or two people – 1.3m by 1.5m and up
Three to four people – 1.3m by 2m and up
Four to five people – 1.5m by 2m and up
Five people and more – 2m by 2m and up
Needless to say, smaller picnic blankets can be used for kids or pets. However, most people prefer a blanket that can accommodate several people for a beach day, picnic, or any other event. Bigger is always better, but always remember that a large picnic blanket takes up more storage space.
Other important features to look out for
Aside from material and size, there are a few important features to look out for when choosing a picnic blanket. In the end, you want to choose a picnic blanket that is comfortable, easy to store, and multipurpose. It should also be durable and easy to clean. Below, we look at the crucial qualities to look for when choosing a picnic blanket.
How you intend to use it
A picnic blanket should make your outdoor dining experience as comfortable as possible. Think of it as the foundation of a great picnic experience. It’s where you sit and the table on which you place your meal. The right picnic blanket should be comfortable to sit on without cushions. However, it should also provide a stable top for your food.
The top layer, also known as the insulating layer, of your picnic blanket should be comfortable enough to sit on for longer periods. Choose a thick blanket so you can get cosy while enjoying the outdoors. Most picnic blankets are multipurpose, so you may find yourself in a situation where it gets really cold when camping, and you use it as an actual blanket to protect you from the cold.
Your ideal picnic blanket should protect you against moisture. A picnic blanket with moisture-proofing properties will act like a barrier between you and the ground, shielding you from residual rainwater, dew, and mud that could soak your clothes. Choose a picnic blanket with an underside waterproof treatment to keep you dry. You can also use a waterproof picnic blanket as an improvised rain cover when you're caught up in the rain. Pick a blanket with a water-resistant coating to ensure you remain dry when you’re out there.
When going for a picnic, you have more than enough luggage to carry – cups, plates, cutlery, food, and other items. Some people may bring along music equipment, basketballs, and other items. With so much to carry, you want to be able to transport your picnic blanket in the most convenient way possible. Luckily, most picnic blankets can be easily folded into a more compact shape for easy transportation. It's even easier to carry the blanket if it has a handle or strap. Some stuff sacks come with drawstrings that also work as handles. If possible, attach a carabiner to the handle and clip the picnic blanket to your bag so you have one less separate item to carry.
When it comes to colour, we all have our preferences and tastes. However, some colours are better suited to the outdoors than others. Bright colours are great for the outdoors as they make the experience more attractive and lively. On the other hand, dull colours dampen the mood. You may also want to choose colours that go with your surroundings. For instance, if you're going for a picnic in the park, choose a green or brown blanket to match the colour of the grass. If you're picnicking on the beach, go for a brighter-coloured blanket.
Ease of cleaning
The importance of choosing a picnic blanket that is easy to clean can never be emphasised enough. We all want to eat on a clean surface. Fortunately, most waterproof picnic blankets are designed to be easy to clean. You simply need to shake off the sand or brush off the leaves and grass, and you're good to go. However, for fabric blankets, you may need to wash them. Check the manufacturer's instructions to see whether it's hand-washed or machine-washed. Carefully read the washing instructions for picnic blankets with waterproof coating. Machine-washing them can damage their moisture-proofing qualities.
Tips on picnic blanket care
While picnic blankets are designed for outdoor use, they will not last long if they are not taken care of. Here are a few care tips to help you keep your picnic blanket in top condition.
Don’t store when damp
Storing your picnic blanket when damp will promote the growth of mould. So, if you hastily pack up a wet blanket and leave it for a few hours, you may return to an unpleasant sight. This may lead to stains that may not go away even after washing thoroughly, which diminishes the quality of your picnic blanket. A damp blanket will also have a pesky smell that may not go away for a few days. The best way to keep your blanket in good condition is to dry it in the open air after every outdoor adventure. Once it's completely dry, fold it and store it in a dry place until next time.
Remove stains or spots from your blanket
Many people tend to ignore stains when they spot them, thinking they’ll be able to remove them when washing the blanket later. However, some stains are stubborn and can easily make a home in your blanket when not cleaned on time. So, if you notice a small stain, remove it as soon as possible. For larger areas, clean it out when you get home by soaking it in a detergent.
Follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions
As previously mentioned, manufacturers have specific guidelines for washing their picnic blankets. This depends on the material the blanket is made from. Some picnic blankets cannot be hand-washed, while others cannot be air-dried on the washing line. Following the manufacturer's instructions on cleaning is the best way to keep the blanket in good condition for years.
Don’t expose your picnic blanket to too much sun
While it’s a good idea to hang your blanket to dry before storing it, you must take it off the line on time so that it doesn't get a heat stroke due to too much sun exposure. In addition, some materials tend to fade when exposed to the sun for extended periods.
Shop waterproof picnic blankets at vidaXL
Here at vidaXL, we boast a wide range of superior quality picnic blankets in different materials, shapes, sizes, and colours. Our collection features the best picnic blankets from leading brands in the industry, so you're guaranteed top-quality blankets that will last long. Browse our extensive selection today to find picnic blankets that are water-resistant and easy to clean, making them perfect for all weather conditions.