The "Parachute Blanket" - Pros and Cons of dropping in on the beach with one
It’s beach time
... And nylon beach blankets are sure to enhance your sand lounging experience. Commonly referred to as "parachute blankets" here’s a quick PROs and CONs break down of what you can expect from these versatile blankets.
"Sand Free" – Commonly coined as being "sand free", I prefer the term “sand resistant”, as sand will still definitely get on the blanket (this is unavoidable with all blankets). What makes nylon blankets superior is that the sand will slide right off at the lightest brush with your hand or subtlest tilt of the blanket. There is no need to stand up and shake it frantically, showering your beach neighbors like a jack ass.
(for more info on how to not be a jack ass at the beach, check out my article on beach etiquette)
“Travel size” – Nylon blankets make an excellent travel companion for your beach vacations, as they roll up and pack into their squishy little nylon case when not in use. The case is around 5x5x7 inches, so it won’t take up any room in your suitcase than your bathing suits will.
“Quick Dry” – On a hot day you can actually watch the water evaporate before your very eyes. No Joke. The fastest dry time of any blanket I've ever seen.
“Durable and easy to maintain” – Nylon is one of the strongest fabrics available (part of the reason it’s used to make parachutes). It’s also water resistant, wrinkle resistant, mold resistant, and machine washable.
“Wind Resistant” – no need to pin down this blanket with your coolers, beach bags, or friend's baby. Your nylon blanket should come with corner pockets that you can fill with sand or rocks to weigh them down. If you find yourself on the grass instead of sand, they also have handy stake loops and stakes to help keep your parachute blanket grounded.
"Stays Cool" – Reflecting most of the sun’s heat, nylon tends to stay relatively cool during the hot summer months.
Lack of cushioning - The thin nylon material will let through any imperfections of the ground below. This is not exactly the blanket you want to use to lay on top of sharp rocks (but then again, show me one that is).
Conducts sand heat - Although they don’t absorb the heat directly from the sun, like all thin blankets they will still let most of the heat from the sand through when you first lay them down. I suggest you lay your towel down over top of the blanket for some extra insulation, or better yet, after you first lay the blanket down to claim your beach spot, go for a dip while it cools off the sand below.
Not exactly pretty – The very definition of utilitarian, most nylon blankets are not exactly winning any blanket beauty pageants. They just can’t compete with the beautiful and intricate designs we see on natural fiber blankets.
There is an unreal amount of blanket options available to today's consumer. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks, and each have their own price. In my humble opinion a nylon beach blanket, which usually sells for around $25 or less like this one here, is an easy win for it's light weight portability alone. Take it with you on vacation, stash one away in the corner of your trunk, or keep one in your purse (without getting sand in it). Impromptu picnics are now always an option.