Courtesy of ENO
Courtesy of Matador
The Matador Pocket Blanket weighs less than half a pound and folds up into an integrated storage pouch for easy packing.
Whether you’re looking for a sand-proof beach blanket or an extra large one that fits the entire family, we’ve found something that deserves a spot on your packing list.
When you’re heading out on a beach getaway to the coast or your favorite lake, don’t assume your beach house rental will have all the essentials you’ll need to stake out your own spot on the sand. In addition to sunscreen and a swimsuit, you’ll want to bring your own beach blanket to keep your feet and bottom protected from the hot sand.
Sure, you can always repurpose the top sheet of a bed set you’re ready to get rid of. But these beach blankets include clever features like integrated carrying cases, water-resistant bottoms, sand-proof materials, and weighted corners that will make your day at the beach way less of a hassle. Here are the 12 best beach blankets that you’ll want to pack the next time you head to the coast.
Known for minimalistic sweaters and travel wraps, Mer Sea translated its simple aesthetic to its Turkish cotton beach blankets. Though these extra large blankets—also available in navy blue—may look plain, they come with several clever elements, including corner pockets you can fill with sand so the blanket doesn’t blow away and a matching carry tote that makes it easy to travel with.
Asheville-based Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) began as a hammock company in 1999, and it has since expanded to make durable, ripstop nylon beach blankets as well. The ENO Islander Deluxe blanket is large enough to fit up to six adults sitting and has a nylon stuff sack to carry it in once your beach day ends. The ultra lightweight blanket comes with aluminum tent stakes that allow you to anchor it in the sand (or grass or dirt if you’re taking it camping). In addition to planting two trees for every hammock sold, ENO gives 1 percent of its annual sales to nonprofit environmental organizations as a member of the 1% for the Planet group.
Made with staggered layers of polyester, CJGear’s Sandlite beach mats allow particles of sand to fall through the patented fabric instead of sitting on top of it or sticking to it. The mats also come with a carrying handle and elastic closure loop for easy portability. The price and dimensions listed above are for its small one-person beach mat, but it also comes in medium (up to two people) and large (up to four people).
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From the makers of one of our favorite packable camping blankets, this ground cover works just as well as a beach blanket as it does on muddy surfaces in the park. Built with a 5K laminated waterproof underside and a soft faux suede top that repels sand, the Rumpl Stash Mat also comes with an attached carrying case and paracord edge loops so you can stake it into the sand or dirt. If you’re planning on using it as a beach blanket to lie down on, it fits two people comfortably, but four people can sit on it at a time.
Fans of lightweight Turkish cotton towels will love this oversized version to use as a beach blanket for trips to the shore. The Slowtide Dylan beach blanket doesn’t just look good—it’s also made with 100 percent Turkish chambray cotton sourced through Cotton LEADS, a program dedicated to responsible cotton production.
In 2020, I ended up on more than a few impromptu picnics, so I began carrying the original Matador Pocket Blanket pretty much everywhere I went. And while I liked its durability, size, and built-in stakes, the original wasn’t exactly waterproof—leaving me with more than a few wet butts. Fortunately, a 2021 update of the Matador Pocket Blanket has kept the best features of the original while integrating one important improvement: water-resistant fabric. Since swapping out the original for the updated version, I’ve tested this feature on wet ground many times, with success. It’s been enough to take me from liking to loving this outdoor blanket.
As with the original, the latest Matador Pocket Blanket is a petite 3.8 ounces and 4.5 x 2.7 inches when packed into its dedicated bag, and when open, large enough to stretch out on or sit two people comfortably. The new version also has built-in stakes to keep it from blowing away and an attached bag for folding it into a compact bundle. The only downside is that on the original, two AFAR testers found that the stakes would rip off the blanket if you pulled it out of the ground too aggressively. Based on that experience, I’ve always been gentle when pulling the new version out of the ground to avoid a repeat.
Both the nylon flannel top and ripstop nylon bottom of the Coalatree Kachula Adventure blanket are made with recycled materials, making this an ecofriendly choice. Thanks to several clever features, it can be used as much more than a ground cover for a day at the beach or the park. If you stuff it into itself, it can be used as a travel pillow, and it also comes with a snap-attached hood so you can wear it as a poncho. The reinforced snaps on its sides allow you to connect multiple blankets together to use as a light sleeping bag.
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Designed by Johanna Howard, a former clothing designer, this 100 percent cotton throw is beautiful enough to drape over your couch and cozy up with during Netflix sessions. But since it’s machine washable, you can also toss it in your tote bag to use as a beach blanket or for a picnic in the park without worrying about ruining it.
Founded by Taib Lotfi, who was born and raised in Morocco, and Hollywood-native Kenya Knight, Palm Springs’s Soukie Modern is known for its vintage Moroccan rug collection. But it also sells other home decor—including this oversized beach towel designed to look like a Moroccan rug (it even has tassels!). It’s large enough to use as a beach blanket for two people but is made with ultra-absorbent velour/terry cotton so it doubles as a towel, too. If you can’t get enough of Soukie Modern’s design aesthetic, bookmark the Palm Springs Airbnb Knight operates for your next trip.
Chicago-based Grand Trunk started off by making parachute nylon travel hammocks back in 2001. Since then it has expanded to a variety of outdoor travel gear, including the Parasheet beach blanket, which is made from water-resistant parachute nylon that sand won’t stick to. Despite its extra-large size that can fit approximately five people, it packs up into a stuff sack that is roughly the size of a water bottle. In addition to reinforced stake loops on all corners, it also includes corner sand pockets so you can weigh down the blanket without having to bring along stakes.
Made in several Instagram-friendly colors and patterns, the Nomadix Festival blanket has a water-resistant base and soft sand-proof top to keep you dry and comfortable when you’re at the beach. It comes with anchoring corners so you can use your own tent stakes to keep it pinned down on windy days. In addition to making all products with postconsumer recycled plastic, Nomadix is also a member of the 1% for the Planet group.
At nearly six pounds, the Yeti Lowlands blanket is the heftiest option on this list. But its waterproof bottom and padded and insulated upper mean you can use it for much more than a day at the beach. It can repel both dirt and pet hair, so bring it along on camping trips or use it on road trips for your pup to sit on. When you’re done using it, it conveniently packs away into its own carrying case.
This article was originally published on August 7, 2020; it was updated on July 23, 2021, with current information.
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