One of the reasons that picnics are fun is that you are taking your party on the road, away from your home. The tricky thing about picnics is that you are taking your party on the road away from your home! This means that you won't be able to dash into your house to get the corkscrew you need to open that bottle of wine or the knife for cutting that wedge of cheese. But if you're organised and have a checklist, your picnic will become all the best things about eating in the great outdoors, including the change of scenery from your backyard. Here are suggestions for items you'll want to pack for your next picnic.
A Picnic Basket, Hamper, Tote, Cooler, or Backpack
Whichever style you choose, whatever you call it, you need something to transport the food, the drinks, and the place settings. If your picnic food isn't perishable, and you will be driving your car close to the picnic location, a traditional picnic hamper will be charming. If you plan to hike deep into the woods, a backpack style picnic carrier may be more appropriate. And if you're bringing along a lot of food and beverages that should remain cold until served, a cooler, even on wheels, may be best suited for your needs.
A Picnic Blanket
Unless you're planning your picnic in a location that has picnic tables waiting for you, you'll want to bring along a blanket to sit on and to spread out the contents of your picnic basket. Any blanket will do, as well as an old comforter, tablecloth, or even flat bed sheet in a pinch. But some real picnic blankets have a waterproof lining on one side which will come in handy to keep you dry when the grass or sand is damp.
Portable Folding Picnic Table
No gathering is complete without snacks and some wine to make the mood a little more festive. But if you’re worried about making a mess, we have just the thing. Never knock over a bottle again with the help of this portable picnic table! It features a built-in bottle holder for your champagne, plus four handy slots for wine glasses. Measuring 17.3” x 15.7” x 9.4" (44cm x 40cm x 24cm), this table has more than enough room for your sandwiches, salads, and any other food that you want to keep off the ground and away from insects. Voted #1 on Ode Magazine.
Plates, Glasses, Utensils, and Napkins
Yes, you could just eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwich straight from the little plastic bag in which you packed it and wipe your hands on your shorts. But if you'd like to make your picnic feel more special, you'll want to bring along a proper table setting. Depending on the occasion and location of your picnic, your place settings could be as casual as disposable plates, cups, utensils and paper napkins, or you could bring along your best china, crystal, silver, and table linens. Just remember to pack things carefully to avoid breakage.
Corkscrew or Bottle Opener
These are the kind of items that will make you curse the day you took your picnic away from the backyard if you forget to bring them along. If your picnic includes a bottle of wine, imported sparkling water, or any other beverage that requires more than your bare hands to open, remember to pack the appropriate gadget for opening them.
Cutting Board and Knife
As mentioned above, you could bring along sandwiches in little plastic bags for your picnic. But a much nicer fresh approach would be to prepare your sandwiches on site. This way, you will avoid soggy bread, and you'll only need to chill the perishable ingredients instead of the entire sandwich.
Ice Packs or Thermos
Remember to keep your food safe by packing ingredients with enough ice to keep it chilled until served. Likewise, if you bring hot food to your picnic, use a thermos to keep it at a safe temperature.
You enjoy the outdoors, but leaving your trash behind is a bad idea. However, in addition to the bags, you'll bring for your trash, you may also want to pack a few plastic bags to bring home the dirty dishes and glasses to keep your lovely picnic basket from getting soiled.
Paper Towels or Wipes
While we're on the subject of cleaning up, you may want to pack paper towels or wipes to clean the picnic table if you're using one, or your hands before and after you eat.
Your picnic site may have enough atmosphere to create the picnic mood you desire. But if you want to make it extra romantic, you might want to bring along flowers, candles, and a lighter. If you do light candles, be very careful to keep the flame contained and put it out completely before you pack up to go home.