Beach picnic in Discovery Park with the JJ Cole Outdoor blanket

 In Packing, Travel Essentials and Gear

I love the beach. Yes, it’s true, but the one thing I hate is sand. I know, I know. You are thinking “Keryn, there is sand everywhere at the beach!” My defense is yes (well, unless you are at a rocky beach in France or Maine), but I don’t hate sand in all situations, just when I am trying to sit and relax, and possibly eat a sandwich without getting actual sand in my deli meat.

When my boys were born they became the things I carried down to the beach, not a nice cozy beach chair that could keep my hands clean and my sandwich free of grit. I needed to come up with a better way, and it had to be hands free. When JJ Cole asked me to try out their new Stone Arbor Outdoor Blanket on the beaches of the Pacific Northwest, I was happy to oblige.

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Nicole and her daughter unpack our JJ Cole Outdoor Blanket in a matter of seconds

Our test ground was Discovery Park, the largest park in Seattle with forests, meadows and a nice sandy beach. We hiked down, Ty on my back, Dek running ahead with his friends. My friend Nicole carried our backpack of food, while I had the JJ Cole blanket slug over a shoulder next to Ty. The blanket was light enough not to cause much more damage to my back than Ty was already doing with his increasingly heavy 2-year-old self.

The hike took over an hour (little legs do not make short work of 2 miles), and we were all relieved to have a dry blanket to put over the wet sand. The blanket unfolded quickly so the kids could dive into their snacks that they had been whining about for the last 20 minutes of our hike.

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Sand did get on the blanket. There was no stopping it. Inevitably one kid walked on the blanket and then another. The beauty of this water-resistant blanket is that all we had to do was shake it out or brush off the sand to make a clean eating surface again. The sand didn’t stick and I was able to sit on my new blanket with sandwich and veggies in hand without an ounce of sandy grit getting into my mouth. It really is the little things people.

Packing up was a breeze. All of our trash went into the backpack, and within 1-2 minutes we had the blanket folded back up. The kids were ready to head back up the trail and a very tired Ty was ready to head home for a nap. Next time I’ll have to see if the blanket can double as a pillow. Not sure how that would fit behind my neck in front of Ty to lean on, but every piece of travel gear does double duty in my house. I’m sure I could figure something out.

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Packing up was never so easy

Many thanks to JJ Cole for providing the newest color selection for the purposes of this review. As always, my opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know. 

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