Despite bees, pollen, and untrained squirrels who lack social grace, eating outside is the new eating inside. And for very good reason: Your friends are probably planning a few picnics right now, and when you decide to host your first one, it’s important that you’re better at it than everyone else.
So here are all the best picnic-friendly items to buy online right now. Besides the obvious food and booze, you will, of course, require something to carry everything in. Add to that the proper drinkware for your wine and cocktails, as well as an attractive growler to hold 64 ounces of beer, apple juice, or whatever it is you’re dinking. (Cocktails could work.) And if you’re tired of listening to birds and people playing kickball, might we suggest a nice speaker.
Read on for our complete list of everything you need to pack for a successful picnic this summer.
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Plates To Carry Around All Summer
There are a lot of plastic plates out there, and most of them probably work well. We’re partial to these ones, however, because they’re reusable, microwave-safe, and seem pretty indestructible. The pastel colors are another big plus, especially if you enjoy documenting your outdoor-eating exploits. We’re also about 90% sure you could use one of these as a frisbee.
Dishes For The Discerning
Just because you’re having an outdoor meal doesn’t mean you have to make sacrifices when it comes to your overall aesthetic. Case in point, these lovely geometric salad plates from Poketo.
For something a little more heavy-duty, try these attractive enamel plates from Bornn. Take them to the park, bring them camping, or maybe just use them on your dinner table at home. They’re versatile (and nice) enough for any situation.
Utensils For The Outside World
Packing metal utensils for a picnic feels sort of like taking a kayak to your neighborhood pool. It’s inappropriate and unnecessary. That’s why you should use these bamboo forks, knives, and spoons. They’re lightweight and reusable.
Utensils With Flair
If you need colorful utensils because that’s just how your personality works, here’s another great reusable option. These bamboo/sugarcane forks and spoons come in a few different shades, and they’re biodegradable too.
Your Cocktail Vessels
Avoid bringing actual glasses to the park. They might break and temporarily delay an ultimate frisbee game - and you don’t want that on conscience. Take these plastic Tossware rocks glasses instead. They’re sturdy, reusable, and perfect for cocktails.
A Park-Ready Wine Glass
Could you drink your wine out of a red solo cup? Sure. But that’s not really eco-friendly, and it might give you flashbacks to the last time you decided to sleep on the floor of a bathroom. These stemless, reusable glasses are a much classier choice.
If your picnic involves sparkling wine, you not only need some outdoor flutes. More specifically, you need pink outdoor flutes. Fortunately, you can find a pair right here.
The Serious Cooler
When you roll up to the park with this Yeti cooler over your shoulder, it’s important that you act casual. Yes, this a top-of-the-line, leak-proof insulated tote bag, but what else would own? Something less luxurious? It’s doubtful.
A Classic Hard Cooler
You could make the argument that Yeti coolers are overkill, but that argument would be premised on the assumption that coolers don’t need to work that well. And that is not a compelling argument. Yeti coolers mean business, and if you want to hang out all day in the sun with cold drinks, go for this classic one.
Your Casual Picnic Bag
It isn’t as spacious or heavy-duty as the Yeti soft cooler, but this little Carhartt bag is still a great (and cost-efficient) way to bring your individual contribution to a picnic. A container of potato salad, say, or a large ziplock bag full of wine.
A Very Nice Starter Kit
In case you’re new around here, you should know that wicker baskets are the customary choice when eating outdoors on a blanket. This one has everything you need, including cups, silverware, and bamboo plates.
Your Classic Basket
Already set on cups, plates, and flatware? Here’s a big basket to throw everything in. Its classic aesthetic will make you want to pick some blueberries, chase a few butterflies, and bring an entire pie to the park.
An Updated Basket Option
If nostalgia isn’t your thing, here’s a spacious, modern take on the picnic basket. Woven from veta vera grass with a decidedly non-kitschy design, this would be the official choice of picnic professionals (if there were such a thing).
How To Get Your Salad To The Picnic
Unless you plan on foraging or ordering pizza, you’ll need a way to get your food to your picnic. And, in the past, you’ve probably experienced containers that burst open immediately upon entering your bag. That’s why you need these formidable glass ones that snap shut in four places.
A Handy Serving Set
Don’t scoop your potato salad with your hands. That’s how you get mayo everywhere. Use this bamboo/melamine serving set with a terrazzo finish. It should work for just about everything you plan on eating.
A Board For The Outside World
Expertly curated cheese boards aren’t just for your home. Picnics deserve them too, and this thick acacia wood board that looks like a cross-section of a tree is exactly what you need to display your dairy and charcuterie.
A (Very) Nice Looking Growler
Perhaps the most stylish growler out there, this 64oz jug from MiiR is ideal for when you need to haul a half-gallon of beer to an outdoor gathering. It also works for hot drinks, lukewarm drinks, and batched cocktails.
How To Keep That Wine Cold
Bringing a whole bottle of rosé to your picnic? If so, your friends appreciate you. Just be sure to pour your wine into one of these insulated canteens in order to keep it cold enough to drink. (Warm rosé is a very sad thing.)
For The Hydro Flask Devotees
Yes, Hydro Flask makes wine bottles too. Because they know that you like wine, and they want you to be happy. This can fit an entire bottle of wine and will pair well with your Hydro Flask Tumbler.
An Outfit For Your Beer
When you’re having a picnic in the park at 11am and there are a bunch of kids playing soccer, you might feel awkward about shotgunning a beer. So grab this collapsible can cooler to house your fine microbrew. Shotgunning is, of course, out of the question, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well this thing works.
The Mood Setter
The proper vibe won’t just establish itself. You need some music - and that doesn’t mean a good friend on acoustic guitar playing a Phoebe Bridgers cover. Find yourself a bluetooth speaker, preferably a loud, durable, waterproof one such as this.
A Compact Alternative
Cheaper and more compact, but still louder than you think.
An Outdoor Staple
This grill is, in a word, iconic. Portable, practical, and relatively inexpensive, it’ll help you turn your modest outdoor gathering into a true picnic. Awards will certainly be given.
A Better Way To Carry Beer
This might look like it’s intended to house a tent, a yoga, or maybe even a priceless work of art, but it is, in fact, a beer caddy. This sleeve is insulated and can fit up to six cans, and it’s a lot more fun to carry than an actual six pack.
A Refuge From The Damp Grass
In parks, blankets are a currency. They keep you dry, and allow you to avoid looking like a child by saving you from grass stains. This one right here is less than $30 and is particularly well-reviewed on Amazon.
A Blanket For Pros
Is picnicking currently one of your most pronounced personality traits? There’s no shame in that. Lean into your chosen lifestyle and buy a waxed cotton blanket from Best Made.
A Two-In-One Blanket
It’s a blanket. It’s a tote bag. It’s both of these things. Throw this over your shoulder, then unzip it at the park once you’re ready to claim your patch of grass.
A Tool For Any Wine/Cheese Scenarios
Opinel is a classic French knife maker, and their foldable knives are especially handy for picnics. They can open packages and slice cheese, and you can sit around and cut grapes in half if you ever get bored. This version also has a corkscrew, which will make you the most popular person in any given park.
Picnics can, on rare occasions, get a little boring - in part because most parks don’t have wifi, television, or gaming consoles. But there’s a workaround for that. Pick up a travel corn hole set, and spend a few hours trying to beat all your friends at this game.
Arguably The Best Picnic Game
We’d like to go on record saying that croquet is a heavily underrated game. First off, you get to you use a mallet, and you use that mallet to whack balls. Also, it only takes a minute or two to set up, and you really don’t have to be that coordinated in order to achieve success.