Product: Central Park Outdoor Blanket and Cooler Bag by Skip Hop
I've noticed that some people are happy to plunk themselves and their kids down on any old patch of ground when out for a picnic or an afternoon at the park. I admire this carefree attitude, but will admit to scouting around for the cleanest, driest, softest patch I can find. I recently tried out the Central Park outdoor blanket with cooler bag made by Skip Hop and think my scouting days may be over.
Before I had a bunch of toddler gear to carry around I would have toted a thick blanket with me on outings, but I no longer have the space or energy for it. Although I didn't weigh it, the Central Park blanket felt very lightweight and could be easily hung over the back of my stroller. If you're without a stroller you can carry it two ways - messenger bag style or as a backpack.
The blanket zips up compactly to form the bag and I worried when I initially unzipped it that I'd never get it back to its original shape (anyone who's struggled stuffing a sleeping bag into its sack will understand my apprehension), but with the help of a few arrows sewn onto the blanket itself, it was a breeze (there are also written instructions included, but I doubt you'll need them). When the blanket is zipped up it can act as a comfy cushion to use at an outdoor concert or sporting event.
The small, insulated cooler bag zips on and off and can hold a few snacks and drinks. It kept mine cold for a few hours and I would throw in an ice pack if I were out for the whole day. My one grievance is that the cooler bag is small and wouldn't suffice for a true picnic. But I might prefer to use it as a wet bag to carry my son's swim trunks after a trip to the beach anyway.
Overall, I found the Central Park blanket to be a well-designed, good looking and useful product.
Product details: blanket size =5'x5', cooler bag size = 11.5"x11.5"x 2", BPA-Free, Phthalate-Free, PVC-Free, available in two styles: wave/dot and chocolate/uptown stripe.
Pros: Lightweight, compact, machine washable, wipes clean, water-resistant, attractive, affordable,
Cons: cooler bag is small; not good for wrapping around yourself for warmth
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images 1& 2: Carrie McBride; Images 3-5 Skip Hop)