Best Outdoor Blankets

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
192 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best outdoor blankets

Last Updated August 2019

Many of life’s simplest pleasures are found outdoors. But sometimes, they would be even more pleasurable if the outdoors were a little more comfortable.

Enter the outdoor blanket. Made from durable materials that make them tougher than indoor throws, outdoor blankets can help protect you against the elements, so you can get back to enjoying the football game, picnic, or campfire. Some protect against the cold, while others are meant to guard against water or wind. Many are highly packable, so they can be easily tossed in a bag with other supplies.

Your perfect blanket is indeed out there. But finding the best one will depend upon your needs and destination. Keep reading to learn more. When you’re ready to buy, check our recommendations for the best outdoors blankets on the market.

If you’re a birder or hunter, avoid blankets made with synthetic materials. Many are noisy when moved and may scare animals away.

Key considerations

Where do you plan to use your outdoor blanket?

When you’re looking at outdoor blankets, you need to think about whether you’re primarily looking for a blanket that will keep you warm or a blanket that will protect you against the elements.

For warmth

If you’re looking for a blanket to keep you comfortable during evening football games or preseason baseball practice, you should make warmth your priority. They’re the kind you want to top your air mattress or to keep you warm as the campfire burns itself out.

Outdoor blankets designed for warmth will be made from materials like fleece or wool. They may also be filled with down or other insulation. This extra bulk means they usually won’t fold as easily as thinner blankets — and most will not come with carrying bags. Some may have a water-resistant lining, but combining warmth and weather-resistance usually results in a blanket that’s stiffer, heavier, and bulkier.

For weather-resistance

Weather-resistant outdoor blankets, which are usually made from tough synthetic material with special water-resistant fibers woven in or coatings, are handy for a wide variety of reasons. For instance, sometimes you may need a dry place to sit at the beach or a picnic blanket with a moisture barrier. If you like to go hiking, some blankets can fit into a backpack and be used for protection in case of a sudden downpour. A few blankets combine a weather-resistant top layer with a comfortable fleece underside. This style gives you more flexibility but will be bulkier to pack.

Size

When it comes to blankets, size matters. Whether you’re huddling under it or sitting on top of it, your blanket needs to fit everyone. If you’re looking for warm blankets, think about whether you plan to wrap it around yourself or place it across several people. A standard-size throw blanket measures roughly 50 inches by 65 inches and can be tossed over a lap or two. If you’re an adult hoping to wrap in one on the sidelines, look for something roughly 80 inches long by 54 inches wide. Blankets for two adults should be in the ballpark of 80 inches wide.

If you’re using your blanket as a ground cover, you’ll want it to be at least 60 inches long so that the average adult can lay on it with most of their body protected. A blanket that measures at least 60 to 70 inches long and 45 to 55 inches wide can seat four adults or accommodate two who are lying down.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Liquids can soak through weather-resistant blankets with woven polyester backing, so be sure to clean up spills and puddles as quickly as possible.

Features

Moisture-resistance

Both blankets intended for weather resistance and warmth should be moisture-resistant. Obviously, you’ll want a ground cover blanket to prevent dew or other water from seeping through. But it’s important in insulatory blankets, too — otherwise they won’t do a good job keeping you warm in case of unexpected showers or spilled drinks. At least one side of the blanket should be made from water-resistant polyester, PVC, or PEVA.

Tear-resistance

No matter what their use, outdoor blankets need to be tough. They may come into contact with metal bleacher seats as well as stones and tree limbs. Thick or thin, the material must be made so that it doesn’t easily puncture, catch, or tear. This is especially important with thinner synthetic materials, which are more likely to get blown and whipped by the wind. Construction that includes nylon and polyester decreases a blanket’s likelihood of tearing.

Portability

You need a way to get your blanket to its destination — one that does not involve a sloppily folded mess that easily slides out of your arms. Many blankets come with accessories that make them easy to get them to the big game. Thinner blankets commonly fold into a “stuff sack” that can easily be packed in a pocket or clipped to a bag. Quality thicker blankets often fold up into a manageable size, held in place with snaps or a hook-and-loop closure and feature carry handles that make them convenient to tote.

Stay-in-place

Lightweight materials can be a blessing and a curse. Fabric that’s easy to carry can also blow away in the breeze. If you plan to use your blanket in an open field or at the beach, look for models with options to keep them in place. Some designs have loops for staking the corners, but this requires you to carry stakes and possibly something to use to drive them in. Others have pockets that allow you to insert sand, rocks, or other objects to keep them in place. A few have weighted corners, but this adds to the total weight of your bag.

  • Carefully check your blanket’s care instructions. A handful of blankets made from synthetic materials cannot be cleaned in a washing machine, and many cannot go in the dryer.

  • If your blanket is likely to end up around a campfire, look for one made with wool or other flame-retardant material.

  • Many water-resistant blankets may protect against mold or mildew. Check your blanket’s specific materials.

  • Finished edges can help prevent woven blankets from fraying.

  • Check whether your blanket’s water-resistant material will also serve as a windbreaker.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many dog owners use weather-resistant blankets to help prevent and contain pet messes.

Outdoor blanket prices

Inexpensive: You can find well-made outdoor blankets for $25 or less.  At this price, blankets will be geared more toward weather-resistance than warmth. Most will be made of tough, durable synthetic material. They are usually extremely packable — often because they lack a warm lining.

Mid-range: Blankets that combine weather-resistance and warmth often cost $25 to $40. These blankets typically feature a cozy fleece lining and weather-resistant backing. They are not as packable as their single-purpose counterparts, but they often are outfitted with a handle and fasteners that improve their portability.

Expensive: The most expensive outdoor blankets will cost $40 or more. Most blankets in this price range will be more focused on warmth than weather-resistance. Many will be made of wool, down or other insulatory fibers. They will be high in material quality, but may or may not include weatherproof linings or treatments.

EXPERT TIP

Some outdoor blankets only fold and fasten one way. Pay close attention to the instructions to avoid frustration and wasted time, especially after an evening game.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • If you need serious warmth and moisture protection, use a cozy blanket underneath your weather-resistant blanket.

  • Blankets made from stain-resistant materials are best if you’ll be eating on your blanket. Otherwise, look for darker colors that can hide stains made by soda or jelly.

  • Make sure your blanket is fully dry before storing. Even waterproof blankets can harbor mold, mildew, or bacteria if they’re put away damp.

Other products we considered

We love the versatility of Voited’s Ripstop Outdoor Pillow Blanket. Made with tough ripstop fabric and incredibly light insulation, this blanket can also serve as a pillow, a poncho, and a sleeping bag. It’s partially made from recycled water bottles, so it has some degree of water-resistance. It’s not fully waterproof though, and its flexibility comes with a hefty price tag.

The Oceas Outdoor Waterproof Blanket blocks wind and water while keeping you warm. The blanket’s polyurethane coating gives its polyester backing an extra level of waterproofing. Generously sized, it can cover three adults and seats at least as many.

Outdoor blankets made with wool are not only fire-retardant, but they can also provide warmth and insulation even when wet.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best way to clean an outdoor blanket?
A.
It depends upon the material but, in many cases, the dryer and even the washing machine are off limits. The safest way to clean any blanket with a synthetic weather-resistant backing is to wipe it down by hand and allow it to air dry. Materials like PVC and PEVA should never go in the dryer and could even be damaged by the washer. It’s possible to dry some blankets with polyester backings in the dryer on lower settings. Blankets filled with down or other insulation may be washed on a gentle cycle and dried on low, depending upon the construction. Even all natural wool blankets should never go in the dryer because of the risk of shrinking. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and, when in doubt, always air dry.

Q. What kind of blanket is the most versatile?
A.
Buying different blankets for different seasons is a hassle — an expensive hassle. We think you’ll get the most mileage out of a fleece blanket with a water-resistant polyester backing. In the summer, you can place the fleece side down on the grass and sit on the smooth side at concerts and picnics. When fall football rolls around, huddle under the fleece while the polyester keeps out any water or wind. Of course, you’ll need to carefully remove any twigs or grass that get caught in the fleece. Either pick them off or use a stiff, bristly brush to flush out the debris. Most dirt should come out in the wash, so look for a blanket that can handle the washing machine.

Q. What kind of blanket is best for the beach?
A.
The beach is the one place we wouldn’t recommend that versatile, all-purpose blanket. The weather-resistant backing is good for sitting, but the fabric side is a problem. Once it’s wet, sand is challenging to remove from fibers like fleece. If you can wash it in the machine, most will come out eventually, but many weather-resistant materials can’t go in the washer. Instead, we recommend a lightweight polyester blanket. You can easily shake or wipe sand off this water-resistant material, so it’s ideal for sitting or lying at the shore. It won’t provide much padding or warmth, so if that’s a problem, bring a washable blanket to keep yourself warm and a yoga mat or other base to cushion the blanket.

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