In Search of the Perfect Family Beach Blanket

The Parasheet can easily fit 3 lounging children--and my 8 year old son is tall for his age.

The Parasheet can easily fit 3 lounging children–and my 8 year old son is tall for his age.

After many trials with beach blankets, I finally found 2 light, packable blankets for the beach, park, hikes, or pool: The Grand Trunk Double Parasheet and The Tuffo Water-Resistant Outdoor Blanket. If you saw us walking out to the beach or pool, you would think we were moving in. So anything that makes this struggle easier is welcome!

I narrowed it down to these 2 and have been using them throughout the summer. Several of the blankets I found on my search were not machine-washable; manufacturers suggested spot cleaning. Our family of 5 doesn’t last a day without several spills at the beach. A few were considered “durable” but many of those were not easy to fold and were made of scratchy material. I could envision sand sticking to them and having to pack them wet into the car. I easily knocked all of these off my list.

Here's a size comparison of the bag next to my phone.

Here’s a size comparison of the bag next to my phone.

Of the two, I prefer The Grand Trunk Double Parasheet. While at the beach, it dried quickly; it didn’t absorb heat from the sand beneath us; and the sand didn’t stick or get caught in the fibers. The corners have attached pockets that can be filled with sand or rocks to weight it down. Or there are also small loopholes to stake it down. It has and and only weighs 16 oz. It’s compact enough that I plan on take it with us to Mexico this year. And it is machine-washable–a necessity for my family since we never survive an outing without several spills on our blanket. And it’s mildew-free!

The blanket is 7′ x 7′ making it big enough for my 3 children to hang out and lounge on or for the 5 of us to sit on. I plan to get another so we can all lounge on the beach though! It retails for $39.95 at Lands End.

TuffoBlanket

Tuffo Water-Resistant Outdoor Blanket comes with it’s own carrying case.

I also purchased the Tuffo Water-Resistant Outdoor Blanket. This is my 2nd favorite beach blanket. The blanket is Polyester 80% and Cotton 20%. The backing is made of water-resistant nylon and dries very quickly, though not as quickly as the Parasheet. The top side is a soft, quilted cotton making it more comfortable to sit on than the Parasheet. The Tuffo can easily be folded and packed into a bag though it isn’t nearly as squishable as The Grand Trunk Parasheet.

The Tuffo.

The Tuffo.

It comes with a carrying case that has two small pockets but it never seems to fit neatly inside of it.  Since it is light, it needs to be secured down somehow; it doesn’t have loops or attached pockets to do this. It’s slightly more narrow (7’ x 41/2’) and with our family, I’ll take the extra 21/2’ that the Parasheet offers. We used our beach bags to keep the Tuffo from blowing away but doing so took up some of the available space. It’s also machine-washable and dryable—a must. It also retails for $39.95 and is available on Amazon.

 

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."

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