A few weeks ago I shared on here a bit of a spendy list of things I’d buy tomorrow if I had the money (and time to use them). One of the less expensive things that made it onto that list was one of the new Pacmat waterproof picnic blankets with the Ordnance Survey map fabric. The only reason I hadn’t bought one the second I saw they existed was because they’re not cheap enough for that kind of impulse purchase. £40 is almost a whole tank of fuel for the car…
You’ll have realised by now that I did eventually give into temptation. Just a few days before we headed up to Scotland for our NC500 road trip I decided that yes, I absolutely do need one. I can’t fit my chair on the back of my motorbike, I hate those little three legged stool things, so what I needed was a picnic blanket that packs down small and is lightweight to go anywhere with me. An excuse, for sure, but it did the job.
I chose the Dartmoor National Park map fabric in the standard size. I felt the design was apt as it was probably the place where I first learnt to read an OS Map properly thanks to my parents and my teachers encouraging me to understand where I should and shouldn’t be walking across the moors. Oh the memories of avoiding bog and danger zones walking to Vixen Tor and over to Yes Tor! And while I wanted – still want – the larger sized blanket, just because it’s bigger and better for beach days, the 140 x 140cm sized blanket is actually plenty big enough to seat two people and a lunch comfortably, or four people with legs out to the side.
Since it arrived I have already had so much use from this blanket. It was absolutely ideal for the NC500 road trip, fitting into my motorcycle pannier with ease, providing me with a large and comfortable place to sit in the mornings and evenings. I don’t think I’ll go camping – car, motorbike or otherwise – without it again, it is just so easy to chuck in with my other sleeping gear to have outside my tent. The small pack-size means it also goes in my hiking day pack, so I no longer have to sit on my coat (or stand!). And the 485g weight (including the little bag it comes in) makes it light enough to add to my day hike kit without too much bother; I mean, my portable charger weighs more than that and I always carry that!
Being quite pricey at just shy of £40, I have been considering how it has performed very carefully. First up, is it really waterproof? Well, yes, it is. I can put this down on damp grass, sit down, and be very happy that I’m not going to get a wet backside. Second, is the material good quality? Again, yes, I reckon so. I’ve used mine at least 15 times since purchase for picnics and camping and barbecues in the back garden, and it’s still looking brand new. I’ve had it in the washing machine once (cool wash, using outdoors gear wash from Grangers), and it has kept its brightness and waterproof properties. Just feeling the material you can tell it’s durable and is going to last – I’ll certainly let you know if it doesn’t!
I should also give a special mention to the very nicely made button hole in each corner so you can peg the Pacmat to the ground – super useful on windy days or even just to stop the blanket moving around when you get on/off it, a nice touch.
It’s probably very clear that I love my Dartmoor picnic blanket. I’m very happy that I gave into temptation and found a reason or two that I needed to part with the cash. I’ve had so many great comments about it, and am genuinely very pleased with how it works as a bit of everyday outdoor kit. I can honestly say that I recommend the Pacmat picnic blanket, not just because it looks good and is a cool reminder of childhood hiking trips, but because it works well.
You can certainly get something cheaper from your local supermarket or department store (I have a John Lewis blanket that is waterproof and fleecy and big and lovely), but I would be surprised if any of those are as small and light as this one. The quality and spec is definitely worth the extra money in my opinion.
The Pacmat waterproof picnic blankets come in an absolutely massive range of materials – head over to the Rubbastuff website for some amazing geometric patterns and bright colours, or to the Ordnance Survey website for the map designs.
I purchased the PACMAT picnic blanket myself because I wanted it. You will find some affiliate links on this page. Purchasing via my link means that I receive a very small commission; it does not cost you any more but means I can fuel my outdoor gear addiction!