Almost everyone uses blankets in one form or another. However, not all blankets are created equal! The best camping blankets are different than the blankets you would want to put on your bed. For outdoor use and camping, your sleeping bag is the primary thing that keeps you warm at night.
For that reason, the blankets we have reviewed here are not your classic cuddly, warm blankets; instead, they serve other purposes that will keep you dry and clean in the outdoors. Outdoor and camping blankets are generally easily packable and portable so they are convenient to have on hand when you need them. You can use them to spread on the ground to keep yourself dry or clean and out of the sand or mud, or use them as a makeshift shelter for when it is raining or windy.
Camping blankets can be used when it is too warm for a sleeping bag but you still want a light cover on while you’re sleeping, or an extra layer to protect against wind. Another great use for ultralight camping blankets is as a pack cover to keep all of your gear dry in the rain. Check out the list we have compiled of some great options for outdoor use blankets, but first, it is good to know about some of the qualities to look for when choosing an outdoor blanket.
|Matador Pocket Picnic/Beach Blanket||Nylon||63” x 44”||Check price on Amazon|
|American Recreation Products Campers Emergency Blanket||Aluminum-laminated polyethylene||84” x 52”||Check price on Amazon|
|Praktikal Life Compact Picnic, Beach or Outdoor Blanket||Polyester||66” x 55”||Check price on Amazon|
|ZOMAKE Pocket Picnic/Beach Blanket||Nylon||73” x 56”||Check price on Amazon|
|Reid Retail Picnic Blanket||Nylon||60” x 56”||Check price on Amazon|
|Reliable Outdoor Gear Travelers Ground Sheet||Nylon||75” x 50”||Check price on Amazon|
|Wild Life Outfitters Kanga Pocket Blanket||Polyester||55” x 44”||Check price on Amazon|
|Kahuna Extra Large Beach Blanket||Nylon||96” x 96”||Check price on Amazon|
Features to Consider
Make sure that you take a look at the following factors before spending money on a camping blanket.
The first consideration when choosing an outdoor blanket is its size. If you intend to use your blanket for a picnic or a situation where you want a lot of people to be able to sit on it, obviously you will want a bigger blanket. But if it’s just you and you are intending on using your blanket as a pack cover or sitting mat for yourself, you would be able to get away with using a much smaller blanket which will help keep weight down in your pack.
Many blankets are made of some combination of nylon and another material, and these materials cover a wide range of how waterproof and breathable they are.
Generally, it is important that your ground cover blanket be waterproof because nobody wants a wet butt when they’re trying to sit down and enjoy themselves. These nylon materials are also excellent because they are easy to rid of sand, a quality that beach towels lack.
Another feature that a good outdoor blanket should have is a way to keep the corners pinned to the ground. Some blankets accomplish this by incorporating holes on the corners for stakes. Other designs utilize built in pockets along the edges or in the corners for the user to fill with sand, rocks or other heavy material to keep those pockets on the ground.
This type of design is convenient because it allows you to fill up the pockets and then empty them when you’re done using it, which saves weight because you essentially leave the weight on the ground when you leave!
The other common design for weighing down blankets is having built-in weights in the corners, such as washers, which can be removable or permanent depending upon the blanket.
Outdoor blankets should also be relatively portable. Most of the ones reviewed here come with a small stuff sack for easy storage of the blanket. Because they’re so affordable, you can keep a blanket in your car and your backpack for spontaneous use without them taking up too much room.
In addition to the storage sack, some blankets come with a sewn-on external pocket with a zipper that allows you to store keys and other items inside, which is especially useful in case you pick up the blanket to move in case of tide changes or other reasons and leave behind your belongings or they slide off the blanket at the spot where you’re moving it from. One of the blankets we reviewed here is unique from the others in that it is classified as an emergency blanket rather than an outdoor ground cover.
Instead of the classic nylon material that most outdoor ground covers are made from, the emergency blanket is made of laminated aluminum polyethylene which lends itself to excellent insulation. It is commonly used as an emergency cover up for shock victims to help prevent them from losing body heat.
These emergency blankets are very inexpensive and could potentially save a life, so it’s a great product to keep on hand. While the blankets reviewed here are great for casual use such as picnics, concerts or festivals, they can also be used for very practical things to keep you dry and comfortable while you’re enjoying the outdoors. Here is a list of 8 of our favorite outdoor ground covers and camping blankets.
We have compiled a number of products that you might want to keep you warm and comfortable while camping or backpacking. Please take a look.
Price: approx. $25-30
Weight: 0.2 pounds
Dimensions: 44 x 63 inches
Special Features: Water repellent side, weighted corners, foldable, attached storage pouch
Best for: General use; picnics, concerts, hiking, beach use
The Matador Picnic/Beach Blanket is a compact, lightweight blanket that includes an attached pouch for folding and storage which makes it portable and easy to pack and keep in a pocket or a pack. One of the sides of the blanket is waterproof, and the blanket itself is resistant to punctures.
Another great feature of this blanket is that it includes washers in the corners to keep them in place and weighted down. However, they are not removable, so that adds to the weight of the blanket when carrying it and it would be convenient to be able to remove the washers.
At 44 by 63 inches, it is large enough to fit a couple of adults but not a whole family. This blanket is useful to carry along on camping trips because it can be used instead of a sleeping bag when it is too warm for a sleeping bag or it can be used in addition to a sleeping bag as a little bit of additional insulation from wind and water. $25.
- Highly portable
- Weighted corners
- Difficult to fit back into pouch
- Only large enough for one person
Related: The Golyte Beach Blanket is another good choice for those who like the look and style of the Matador blanket. The Golyte includes a loop at each corner as well as sand pouches for double anchoring capabilities. This blanket is available for approximately $20-40 depending on size.
Price: approx. $3-120 for bulk
Weight: 1.6 ounces
Dimensions: 84 x 52 inches
Special Features: Aluminum laminated polyethylene, folds to pocket size
Best for: Emergency use
The American Recreation Products Campers’ Emergency Blanket is very unique from the other blankets here in that it serves a different purpose altogether; for only a few dollars it would be smart to have both this emergency blanket and one of the other ground cover style blankets we have covered here.
While most of the ground covers we have reviewed here are made of various components of nylon, this emergency blanket is manufactured from aluminum laminated polyethylene. This material is an excellent insulator and is used in emergency situations to help shock victims conserve their body heat. Even if you aren’t in a dire situation, having such a lightweight insulator could help you stay comfortable and safe, so it’s a great thing to have along in case of emergency regardless.
The aluminum laminated polyethylene material is similar to the material used in insulation and gear for astronauts and firefighters. Since this blanket is only 1.6 ounces, it is an excellent product to have on hand in case of emergency.
- Simple to use
- Pricey per individual blanket
Related: The SOL Emergency Blanket is available for approximately $4 and it is similar to the American Recreation Products blanket. It, however, is not available in a 24 pack.
Price: approx. $19-31
Weight: 8 ounces
Dimensions: 66 x 55 inches
Special Features: Includes a detachable pouch and carabiner, corner loops
Best for: General outdoor use; picnics
This Praktikal Life Outdoor Blanket is very versatile and compact. While it is thin, that’s all you need to keep yourself separate from the dirt or dew on the ground. One benefit of its thinness is that it folds into a 4.7 x 3.6 inch pouch for portability. It dries very quickly and is a durable material for light outdoor use.
This blanket incorporates corner loops into its design rather than the pockets for sand or washers like some of the other blankets reviewed here. While stakes are not included, these loops are intended for you to be able to stake down the blanket if needed. This is important for breezy conditions or if you have kids or dogs running around and are likely to mess up the corners of the blanket.
For $22, it’s a good addition to your outdoor adventures, and a great thing to keep in the car for spontaneous picnics or sunset watching.
- Highly portable
- No middle weight
- Doesn’t include anchors for corner loops
Related: The Montem Pocket Blanket is a bit smaller than the Praktikal Life blanket but it is also includes sand pockets for weighing down the corners. You can get this pocket blanket for approximately $19.
Price: approx. $15-35
Weight: 0.85 pounds
Dimensions: 73 x 56 inches
Special Features: Includes sand pockets and extra ground stakes, made from Oxford Fabric nylon
Best for: Beach use
At $15, the ZOMAKE Pocket Picnic/Beach Blanket is one of the less expensive options that we have reviewed here. While it can be used on grass or other ground cover types just like the other blankets, this one is specially designed for use at the beach. Instead of using weights in the corners, it includes pockets that you can fill with sand for weighing the blanket corners down.
If you happen to use it in an area where there is no sand, it also comes with corner loops so it can be staked down. It’s made of nylon and is very durable and light, and also dries quickly.
The corner pockets can also be used for storing items like keys that you don’t want to lose in the sand or surrounding grass, and the blanket can be turned so that the pockets face down when you want to avoid sand spilling out and onto your blanket.
- Includes sand pockets for beach use
- Carry handle
- Not windproof
- Somewhat thin
Related: The KINGA Camping/Beach/Picnic Blanket is another affordable blanket that is perfect for outdoor use including on the beach and on the grass during a picnic. It is constructed with high quality polyester fabric and is available for approximately $13-30.
Price: approx. $20
Dimensions: 60 x 56 inches
Special Features: 4 corner pockets, 4 stake loops
Best for: Festivals, concerts
The Reid Retail Picnic Blanket is another multi-use blanket, and at $20 it is a decent price, while not the cheapest we have included in our reviews. It is made of lightweight nylon and is very lightweight and dries quickly. Quick drying is important because you don’t want to fold up a wet blanket to put back in its pouch and risk molding or mildew.
If you are forced to store a wet blanket or tent, unfold it later when you get the chance in a dry area to help air it out and avoid mold and mildew. It also features four corner pockets as well as stake loops for the corners of the blanket to help keep it in place. One advantage of this product is that the storage bag is sewn onto the blanket so it will not be lost.
The blanket itself folds down very small, to 4 x 1.8 x 3.7 inches dimensions; perfect for keeping in a pocket if need be. This is great for activities like concerts or festivals where you might not want to carry a bag into the facility.
- Quick drying
- Storage bag
- Highly portable
- Not waterproof
- Doesn’t entirely fit in pouch
Related: The Bundle Monster Outdoor Picnic and Beach Blanket is another great choice for a comfortable and affordable outdoor tarp to set up a picnic and relax on. It is available for approximately $11-32.
Price: approx. $23-30
Weight: 5 ounces
Dimensions: 75 x 50 inches
Special Features: Water repellant, windproof, puncture resistant, made of silnylon
Best for: Ultralight backpacking needs
The Traveler’s Ground Sheet compares very well to some of the better known brands in the outdoor industry. This particular ground cloth is manufactured from silnylon, which is nylon material that is made in conjunction with liquid silicone. This makes for a waterproof and lightweight material that is common in backpacking gear.
At only 5 ounces, this ground sheet is great for those looking for ultralight gear. It does include washers in the four corners to help weigh them down, which adds to the weight. However, it does fold down into a small and compact product of 3.9 x 1.4 x 2.8 inches.
The Traveler’s Ground Sheet also includes a stretchy storage bag for keeping the sheet together when not in use. The ground sheet has many uses, including as a cover for rain or use as a quick shelter or ground cloth to keep gear clean. It can also be used as a footprint for tents to keep them dry.
- Highly portable
- No weighted corners
- Not waterproof
Related: The Matador Mini Pocket Blanket is a miniature version of the first item on our list. For approximately $20, this blanket acts as a perfect protector from the ground. The tiny size it compacts to is incredibly impressive.
Price: approx. $25-35
Weight: 3 ounces
Dimensions: 55 x 44 inches
Special Features: Corner loops, weights, carabiners, carry bag included
Best for: Ultralight backpacking, use as a rain shelter, use as a pack cover
The Kanga Pocket Blanket is another very lightweight option for backpackers looking for a makeshift ground cover and rain shelter. At only 3 ounces, this blanket is super lightweight, although the lighter weight means you are sacrificing for a smaller blanket.
Despite its relatively small size, it is large enough to use as a rain cover for yourself or your pack when need be. Like some of the other blankets we covered here, the Kanga includes both corner loops and weighted corners. It can also be used as a quick and dirty shelter when used in conjunction with rope to shelter you from rain or wind.
The Kanga is made of parasheet nylon, which is lightweight and resistant to punctures and mildew for maximum comfort. In addition to use on the trail, this pocket blanket can also be used for other outdoor activities such as picnics, camping, fishing or travel. $25.
- Protective against dust
- Stuffs into pouch
- Not waterproof
Related: The Sand Escape Compact Outdoor Beach Blanket is an awesome pick if you don’t mind spending a little more money on a platform with lots of space. At 7 x 9 feet, you can comfortably sit or lay on this blanket while enjoying the beach. It is available for approximately $30-40.
Price: approx. $35-55
Weight: 1.2 pounds
Dimensions: 96 x 96 inches
Special Features: 12 sand pockets for weight, zippered pocket, nylon corner loops, extra ground stakes
Best for: Beach use
The Kahuna Extra-Large Beach Blanket advertises itself as a beach blanket, and its design incorporates a lot of features that make it an excellent choice for oceanfront use. At $30, the Kahuna is one of the more expensive options we have reviewed here, but it is unique in that it is very large and includes twelve sand pockets around the edges of the blanket to help keep it weighed down.
In addition to the sand pockets, it features nylon loops on the corners as well as extra stakes to keep it on the ground on windy beach days or when people are running around. Because blankets can be moved easily, another great feature of the Kahuna is its zippered pocket which is great for storing keys and other objects you don’t want to lose in the sand.
It is different from beach towels in that sand easily slides off of the blanket and can be shaken out much more efficiently than sand on a towel. This is definitely a quality beach ground cover that can also be used for picnics and other outdoors activities.
- Highly portable
- Quick drying
- Lots of anchors
- Weak stakes
Related: The Eno Islander Travel Blanket is similar to the Kahuna blanket in that it is high quality, large, but also more expensive than others on our list. They are both excellent picks if you are looking for a portable, lightweight blanket that won’t leave you wishing you had more room. This blanket is available for approximately $50.
Camping blankets can be an extremely useful piece of gear to keep on hand in your pack, car, purse or home. They’re lightweight, portable and waterproof to help keep you and your gear dry or out of the sand. Since they are so compact and lightweight, they are super easy to have on hand but can make any outdoor experience a lot more enjoyable.
In addition to the classic ground cover design of camping blanket, you can also pick up a couple of emergency blankets to stash away in case you need their excellent insulating properties. We’ve included our favorite camping blankets here, but we want to know which ones are your favorite. What camping blanket do you take with you anywhere?