What We Like
Waterproof backing provides slight cushion
Built-in handle makes it easy to transport
Comfortable fleece fabric
Large enough for a family
What We Don't Like
Top fabric snags easily
Folding to original shape is challenging
Seasoned beach-goers know that not all sand is dry and soft. Some shores can be wet, rocky, or hard. A regular beach towel or large blanket might not cut it on vacations when you need to keep dry while soaking up some rays or building magnificent sandcastles. We wanted to see if the Scuddles Handy Mat was up to the task, so we spent two days on the beach—one sunny and dry, one rainy and overcast—to determine if the tote blanket’s waterproof backing held up under all conditions. Is this what you should keep in your car for impromptu beach days? And does its size and handle design travel well? Read on to find out.
Material and Weave: Cushioned backing, but top fabric pulls
The bottom layer of the blanket is made from waterproof PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate). We can confirm that the material resists moisture from sand and spilled drinks. It also keeps water away from the blanket to resist mold or mildew growth in storage. We like that the backing provides a thin cushion, which helps soften the surface if we happen to spread the mat on a spot with a few rocks or shells.
The top layer is 100 percent woven polyester fleece with a decorative print. It doesn’t have a thick pile like an absorbent towel, and it doesn’t wick moisture off skin easily; you’ll still need a towel for that. We found in our tests that the material can snag easily if you have keys or items with sharp edges; it happened to us once.
According to other reviewers, those snags can then grow to develop large holes, especially after multiple washes. Considering the loose weave pattern, we can see how this could be a problem. It just hasn't been yet.
Texture: Comfortable but not plush
The fabric on the top layer (the part you’ll be lying on), is soft and comfortable to the touch, but it is not a plush material. If you’re looking for a moisture-wicking blanket-towel hybrid, this product is not that. However, we found this blanket stayed cool under the sun because the fabric doesn’t seem to retain heat the way some other synthetic materials do.
This blanket stayed cool under the sun because the fabric doesn’t seem to retain heat the way some other synthetic materials do.
Washing: Easy, but could be problematic
We washed the blanket-mat twice and air-dried each time to protect the waterproof backing. During our tests, we didn’t see any major problems with its integrity, but some reviewers have reported bindings coming unraveled and snags in the material.
We noticed a small bit of thread unraveling on one end after the first use, but nothing we think is going to be a problem. This could just be a loose thread that's stuck in some of the hem.
Design: Simple but sophisticated
The top layer features a brown, blue, and cream stripe pattern. The brown flap and handle match the brown in the blanket. It’s a simple pattern but quite timeless.
When folded, the blanket is about 10.5 x 14 inches. It’s compact enough to tuck into a larger bag but lightweight enough for a helpful kid to grab once you get out of the car. Fully deployed, the blanket is 55 x 60 inches—plenty big for a family of four.
The backing provides a thin cushion, which helps soften the surface if we happen to spread the mat on a spot with a few rocks or shells.
Helpful Features: Built-in strap for easy carrying
No more fussing with a bag destined to carry a beach blanket only. We appreciated that this blanket folds into itself and becomes its own carrying case thanks to a built-in handle and hook-and-loop fastener strips. (Watch out for hair getting stuck in the strips when you’re lying on the blanket, though!) Beach vacations just got easier.
Price: Very affordable
This blanket features high-quality construction and a sturdy waterproof backing, which makes the price point (around $30) seem more than reasonable. As long as the top fabric holds up through uses (no snags or tears), you could have this beach blanket for many trips to the shore.
Competition: Scuddles Handy Mat vs. WildHorn Outfitters Sand Escape Beach Blanket
The Scuddles Handy Mat is designed for a variety of outdoor uses. Indeed, it could be used at a park as easily as it could a sandy beach. To the contrary, the WildHorn Outfitters Sand Escape Beach Blanket is designed to be used with the one thing most beaches have in abundance: sand.
Each corner of the WildHorn Outfitters blanket (which we also tested) has a sand pouch, a small envelope you can fill with sand to keep the lightweight blanket from flying away—and fly away it will if a bit of wind kicks up.
It’s compact enough to tuck into a larger bag but lightweight enough for a helpful kid to grab once you get out of the car.
The WildHorn Outfitters blanket is made from parachute nylon, so it is thin and provides no cushion against the sand’s surface, while the Scuddles Handy Mat boasts a bit of softness because of the dual-layer construction. Additionally, the WildHorn Outfitters blanket is available in multiple colors, and Scuddle offers just one. Both fold for easy storage and transport, but the WildHorn Outfitters blanket is slightly bigger, measuring 9 x 7 feet when fully deployed.
- Product Name Handy Mat
- Product Brand Scuddles
- UPC 068888768047
- Price $29.99
- Product Dimensions 55 x 60 in.
- What's Included One outdoor blanket with built-in handle