With National Picnic Week approaching (11-19 June), and with the British weather as temperamental as ever, it’s essential to have just the right picnic rug ready to roll when the sun does shine. Our selection of outdoor rugs and blankets compares size, cost, style, waterproofness, ease of carrying and durability. We’ve also tried out how easily your rug folds up when it’s time to pack the picnic away.
1. Easycamp Picnic Rug: £15, Blacks
A sizeable 175x135cm rug that packs down to an impressive 33x22cm, Easy Camp’s offering is compact and fastens with no-faff Velcro. The acrylic surface is thin, but the waterproof backing has an aluminium-coated finish that acts as insulation, helping the top surface stay comfortable. The colourful checks should spread some cheer, even if the sun doesn’t shine.
2. Rigby and Mac Luxury Waterproof Wool Picnic Blanket: £75, Trouva
This blanket makes for a colourful spread and is a good size: 145x183cm. In 100% wool, it performs well on comfort (although you’ll want to avoid washing it too much). Nylon webbing straps and buckles mean it can be rolled up securely, and it has a waterproof polyester backing. The fringed edge is a nice traditional touch.
3. Marks and Spencer Spring Bloom Picnic Rug: £15, Marks and Spencer
This duck-egg blue number from Marks and Spencer is a standard 135x150cm, so perhaps suited more to intimate picnics. It has a side of comfortable fleece and a side of waterproof plastic to protect damp ground beneath from spoiling your festivities. The rug is wipe-clean rather than machine-washable.
4. Laura Ashley Ahoy Picnic Rug: £18, Laura Ashley
Laura Ashley’s quintessentially British rug is decked out with sailing boats, making for a jolly rug that’s ideal for holidays on the beach. Its size is fairly standard (135x150cm) but the rug packs up easily with an elastic handle and ties. The blanket is made of polyester and has a waterproof backing but is wipe-clean only.
5. Joules Picnic Rug: £30, Joules
A good one to stash in the car boot for when a picnic opportunity arises, this striped rug from Joules (a larger-than-average 146x132cm) folds up square (rather than rolls) and is secured with Velcro. Made of 100% polyester it is light to carry but feels substantial; a quilted finish adds a level of comfort. The rug is wipe-clean only.
6. Tweedmill Leisure Herringbone Wool Rug: £50, Selfridges
This stylish folding rug by British textile masters Tweedmill, contrasts herringbone wool with a fleecy finish. There’s a waterproof backing, and the added bonus of a large pocket for carrying snacks or a bottle of wine. The rug fastens with a button and has longer carrying straps for easy transport. Its size is 137x137cm.
7. Halfords XL Waterproof Tartan Rug: £10, Halfords
A fairly basic option compared with most on our list, but still handy for day trips and camping. The waterproof backing makes it practical, and, while it’s not as thick on the rug side as more expensive versions, it’s roomy at 200cmx 170cm, with space to fit all the family. The separate carrying strap has an adjustable handle.
8. Urbanara Saldanha Picnic Blanket: £65, Urbanara
Made in South Africa, the Saldhana blanket is designed with sunnier climes in mind, although it does have a waterproof backing. It’s comfortably thick: made with a polyester filling and covered in a cotton-linen mix. Probably more suited to garden dining than adventurous holidays, the blanket holds together when not in use with cotton ties. Unlike others this one is machine-washable.
9. National Trust Waterproof Fleeced Rug: £35, National Trust
Hosting millions of picnics a year, you can count on the National Trust to provide a practical rug. This waterproof fleece rug has adjustable straps which mean it can be rolled tightly. It’s a decent size (200x145cm) but a little on the bulky side when rolled. The blanket can be machine washed cold.
10. Cotswold Outdoor Family Picnic Rug: £15, Cotswold Outdoor
This rug is good value, with a fleecy finish, a traditional tartan design and a generous size (195x150cm). There’s a separate carrying strap and fasteners, which you may find harder to put away than a sturdier Velcro or button solution. The waterproof backing is thinner than some, but the whole thing’s decent for the price.
Good on value, size and ease of packing, the EasyCamp picnic rug is a good summer companion that will prove handy for family picnics, BBQs, camping and holidays. If you’re looking for something that can last a bit longer, has a luxurious feel and set your picnic off in style, Rigby and Mac's 100% wool blanket is a nice investment that you can bring out year after year.
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