Here’s what to bring to a picnic: 22 essentials
3rd March 2021

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Sun’s out, masks on; it’s time for a picnic.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, one of the most fun (and pandemic-friendly) spring activities can be done right in your own backyard: Picnics are one of the best ways to get outside and enjoy some snacks when the sun is out.

And just packing for a picnic can be a blast in and of itself. Step one? Find yourself the picture perfect basket for all those treats. Next: pack a blanket for your spread. Then comes the actual food and drinks, whether it’s sandwiches or the always-popular charcuterie.

With picnicking expected to be this season’s go-to activity, we made a handy list of the most important outdoor eating essentials. Take a look below for the best baskets, blankets, easily-packable treats and more to make your life, well, a picnic.

Best picnic baskets

Food52 Blue & White Stripe Picnic Basket, $61

This truly is the picture-perfect picnic basket.

From Food52, this woven basket screams day at the park, complete with blue and white fabric trim and an adorable boat-like shape. The wood is made of willow, and the fabric lines the entire interior, providing protection for your plates, cups and of course precious snacks. Once your picnic is through, remove the fabric and toss it in the wash to prevent any ants from eating the crumbs at your next outdoor lunch.

Piccadilly Picnic Basket, $98.95

This basket looks sweet on the outside, but is really heavy duty once opened.

Sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, this basket has almost everything you need for a perfect picnic meal — just add the food and drink. The set not only has the woven basket with super cute red and white checkered lining, but it also comes with wine glasses, teaspoons, knives, forks, a corkscrew, plates and even cotton napkins for an eco-friendly lunch.

Westport 2 Person Picnic Basket with Insulated Cooler, $82.99

Keep your cool, now: This picnic basket really does have it all.

If you like your wine chilled and your fruits and cheese fresh, this basket is for you. From Wayfair, this trunk-like basket is actually an insulated cooler, keeping all your picnic essentials nicely preserved and safe inside. As an added bonus, the set for two comes fully stocked with pairs of acrylic wine goblets, plates, cotton napkins, flatware, a corkscrew and salt/pepper shakers.

California Picnic Basket Set for 4 Person, $69.99

If your picnic is for more than just two, you’re gonna need a bigger basket.

This set, sold at Walmart, is made for a group of four, great for a group of friends, a double date or a family picnic in the backyard. If you opt for this set, you may not need to look at some of the other categories in this article — it not only comes with plates and other utensils, but it also a picnic blanket, too.

Best picnic blankets

Insulated Picnic Blanket, $32.99

Sitting in the grass and enjoying a meal is great. A wet bottom isn’t.

Prevent that with this insulated and water-resistant blanket, sold at Wayfair. The blanket’s top is plush and soft to sit on, while the underside is water-resistant and has a water-proof liner, keeping you and your food clean and dry. The brown leather straps also make this a worthy investment, as it makes carrying everything so much easier, especially if you have coolers and kids to take to the picnic, too.

Food52 Outdoor Zip-Up Picnic Blanket Tote, $31

What’s more classic than a red gingham blanket for a picnic?

Food52’s outdoor blanket actually starts off as a tote, meaning you can pack your picnic, take it out to the perfect spot, and then once you unload the goods, all you need to do is unzip the tote and you’ve got a brand new blanket to sit on. It’s also fully machine washable in case of rain, mud or stains.

Grand Trunk Parasheet Beach Blanket, $39.99

A picnic at the park is fun, but what about a picnic on the beach?

Keeping the sand out of your sandwiches can be tricky, but it’s a lot easier with the right blanket. Sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods, this parasheet blanket takes sand into consideration, designing corner sand pockets and stake loops to keep the blanket in place in the sand. It’s insanely lightweight, and has room for two, so if your picnic is larger than that, get one of each color and combine them into the ultimate beach blanket.

Waterproof Outdoor Blanket, Extra-Large, $79

The bigger the blanket the better the picnic.

This extra large blanket from L.L. Bean gives you and the crew more room to lay back, relax and pack more food, too. The top is made of a cozy fleece that is soft for sitting, while the bottom of the blanket is lined with polyurethane-coated nylon backing to keep moisture out and keep you nice and dry.

Best picnic plates, cups and flatware

Final, $29.95

Make your last picnic the final time you threw away a plastic fork or spoon.

Final is a company on a mission to eliminate single-use plastic silverware, straws and more. Plus, they are super cute and portable, perfect for a picnic. The FinalCutlery set contains a foldable spork (yes, a spoon and a fork) and a carrying case in an array of fun colors. For those that like to sip with a straw, they also have the FinalStraw, in a single pack or a package of four for the whole family.

DeeCoo Wheat Straw Dinnerware Set 24 pcs, $28.99

Have yourself a pastel picnic with this lightweight set from Amazon.

The set is perfect for a group of four, and everyone gets a plate, bowl, cup, fork, spoon and a pair of chopsticks. The pastel colors are not only adorable, but great for color-coding whose cup is whose and keeping everything organized. The whole set of dishwasher and microwave safe, making these great for your picnic and eating inside the home, too.

Monogram Circo Acacia Wood 5-Piece Cheese Board & Tool Set, $49.95

It’s not a picnic without an assortment of cheese; That’s just a rule.

This cheeseboard is a super stylish way to slice up your blocks of cheese, or even make a fancy charcuterie board with cheese, meats, fruit and more. The cover can be monogrammed, making this a great gift as well, while the inside contains three cheese knives and tools for serving the perfect slice every time.

Ozark Trail 24 Piece Dinnerware Enamel Set, $27.64

Ditch the paper plates and flimsy cups that blow away in the wind, and go for something more substantial.

Sold at Walmart, this 24-piece set is picnic-perfect, and comes with everything you’ll need for a lunch out and about. The bright blue color will look great in any picnic pics you take, and they also work in the home kitchen for a dual-purpose set. There are enough pieces for a group of four to each have a complete set, and are durable enough for even the most rugged campers (or picnickers) to use.

Best snacks and drinks to bring to a picnic

Mouth Picnic In A Box, $102.50

Picnic in a box? Sounds simple enough.

From Mouth, this curated gourmet box has everything you need for a delicious picnic, well, right in the box. The kit contains cheddar cheese, flatbread crackers, cassava crackers, fig jam, salt and pepper pistachios, salami, blackberry jam shortbread and olive and parmesan tapenade, all of which are made by rustic and artisanal companies picked by the Mouth staff. The kit costs around $100, but that’s as much as you’d spend at the store and this comes without the hassle or decision making.

Pipcorn Heirloom Snacks, prices vary

Add some pip to your picnic with yummy and healthy snacks from Pipcorn.

Popcorn and chips are a must-have at any picnic, and for those that like the classics and something new, the value packs of Pipcorn are where it’s at. For traditional popcorn munchers, try the mini popcorn set with caramel, truffle and classic sea salt. Cheese ball lovers will be thrilled to find not only classic cheese flavor, but also jalapeño and white cheddar, too. For those who like Fritos, these corn dipper dupes come in truffle, sea salt and lime zest for a punch of flavor.

Harry and David Meat and Cheese Box, $39.99

Instead of spending hours in the deli section of your local store, have your picnic meat and cheese sent directly to your door, pre-curated just for the occasion.

Harry and David’s gift boxes can also double as a picnic kit to gift yourself. The meat and cheese option starts at just $39.99 and comes with summer sausage, garlic jack cheese, Colby jack cheese, three-seed crackers and a hot honey mustard perfect for dipping. The Deluxe box is $49.99 and adds in Thuringer sausage, gouda cheese and olive oil & sea salt water crackers. Browse the site for even more options, as there is sure to be something for every picnic.

United Sodas, prices vary

If you’re bored of classic vending machine colas, open up a box of United Sodas and taste the difference.

These drinks are as tasty as they are aesthetically pleasing, and perfect for your picnic photoshoot. The 12-can variety pack is the way to go if you’ve never tried all the flavors before, and for $34.99, it can double as a fun taste-testing activity, too. Some picnic-specific flavors include Blackberry Jam, Strawberry Basil and Sour Blueberry to name a few, as the fun and fruity combinations are endless. Plus at only 30 calories a can, why not indulge and have a two or three?

Haus, prices vary

Bring the Haus outside and enjoy an aperitif in the open air.

First, make sure you’re in a place where you can partake in some 21+ beverages, and then pop open a bottle of Haus to get the picnic party going. If you’ve never had Haus before, check out the sampler kit, which is also the perfect size for packing on your picnic. It contains four bottles of any flavors you want for just $40, from a fresh lemon lavender to a zingy bitter clove. Bring some ice to pour over, or your favorite seltzer to mix and match and have a fizzy good time.

Saucey, take $10 off your first purchase with code NYPOST

Get a little saucy at your next evening picnic.

Make sure you’re in a place you can drink, or just picnic in the backyard and then open your phone to call up Saucey. The app and alcohol delivery platform carries a wide variety of wine, in addition to beer and spirits. The best part? They will deliver in 30 minutes or less in select locations, perfect to order before setting up your spread. If you don’t qualify for the speedy delivery, they will still ship it out to you, in a very timely two-day window.

As an added bonus, from now through the end of the year take $10 off your first purchase at Saucey with code “NYPOST.”

Best activities to do at your picnic

Sommify: A Blind Wine Tasting Game, $49.99

Wine-lovers, take note.

Combining the fun of boardgames with the sophistication of wine tasting, this game is great for any group of sommeliers or just those that think they know a thing or two about wine. Sold on Amazon, the game is pretty simple. First, tell each of your guests to bring a bottle of their favorite wine from a list of approved wines from the Sommify Instruction booklet. Then, players take turns guessing the grape, origin and kind of wine in a blind tasting game for 21+ picnickers only.

Vera Picnic Cornhole Game, $178

Forget tailgating, cornhole is the perfect picnic game.

This stunning set is sold at Anthropologie and features spring-inspired swirls of blue and green from Vera Bradley. This posh picnic game is easy to play and fun for the whole family. It comes with two boards and eight sandbags for teams of two to play all day long.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera and Accessories, $88.95

Make your picnic memories last, even when the sun sets on your day outside.

Taking photos with a Fujifilm Instax camera is an activity for everyone. Switch off who is taking the photos and who is posing with your charcuterie board and wine glasses and have a full photoshoot at your picnic. The kit comes with the camera itself, a carrying case, 40 film strips and a ton of fun accessories to make your photos pop.

Professional Badminton & Volleyball Set, $87.99

Get sporty at your picnic with some group activities that will get you moving before retiring back to your blanket.

This full set has everything you need for a game of volleyball and then a badminton match with all of your friends. The net serves a dual purpose for both games, and the rest of the kit includes a volleyball, four badminton rackets, two birdies, and an air pump for the ball. Sold at Wayfair, the kit also comes with a carrying case for easy transport wherever your picnic may be.

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