Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve had a picnic basket for everything from backyard tea parties to little lunches out on a hiking trail. You know the one – the oval Little Red Ridinghood style rattan basket – but while it did the job, it was always a pain to try to fit everything in it, and boy, was it heavy. If you know exactly what I mean, take heart – today’s picnic gear is sleeker, lighter, more efficient and, maybe best of all, easier to carry.
If you do like the traditional lost-in-the-forest woven-wood picnic basket style, look for a basket that’s sturdily made but lightweight, and unless you love trying to find plates that will fit every time you want to use it, pick one like this Entourage Picnic Basket that comes with its own set of dishes and silverware – and a way to secure it. Everything in it will not only fit well, leaving more room for food, but it’s designed to be extra lightweight to make it easier to carry, too.
This smaller Willow Picnic Basket is just right for a smaller, romantic 2-person picnic. Doubling as a wine tote, this basket secures two bottles as well as two full place sets with room to spare for your favorite cheeses or romantic treats.
Keep in mind, though, that no matter how cute and romantic, baskets can be hard to carry, especially if the weight inside them isn’t distributed evenly. For a couple looking to picnic after a rousing morning of hiking, this Fiesta Picnic Backpack comes equipped with everything you need – including a space for that bottle of wine! – but can be carried without tying up your hands, and is much lighter weight, so it won’t weigh you down, either.
For a bigger group, this larger Ascot Picnic Backpack can carry everything you need for a full meal for four in the wilderness – including a blanket to turn your favorite patch of grass into a temporary tabletop. The best part? It only weighs six pounds (without the food of course), so whoever gets stuck with the pack won’t break their back.
For a whole family – or just a big party – looking to picnic in a local park rather than a couple miles on the other side of the camp site, this Picnic Trolley keeps the cutlery compact while maximizing the amount of available storage space. The wheels on this baby are the real appeal, though – a great way to spare your back, especially if you’ll be in a place with concrete paths and flat spans of grass.
If cold-cut sandwiches and a hunk of hard cheese aren’t going to cut it for your picnic – and you have enough hands to help you carry one – this Picnic Grill Set packs everything you need to change up your summer scenery without giving up the convenience of your backyard grill. Because the grill packs inside the duffel, though, there won’t be much room for food or eating utensils, so you’ll probably want to bring a second bag!
Whether you’re going for a long trip or an easy afternoon, if you aren’t too keen on the idea of sitting on the ground OR trying to pack a bunch of folding chairs in your car along with the picnic food and your friends (or kids!), you’ll be happy to know there’s a better way to bring your own seating. This Portable Picnic Table isn’t exactly light – it weighs in at a sizable 21lbs – but it’s incredibly convenient. Folding to a thin rectangle just under 2 feet by 3 feet, this table is easy to stow and easy to set up, and comfortably sits four wherever you decide to unfold it. Keep it in your car for spontaneous adventures!
If you like your gear to do double duty, this Picnic Chair + Cooler combines a convenient picnic cooler and two full place sets with a folding chair that collapses neatly around it, creating an easy-to-carry day pack you can lounge in once you hit your destination. Just remember, though – it has place sets for two, but only seating for one, so make sure to take a spare lightweight camp chair if you don’t want anyone stuck on the ground!
For picnickers and day-trippers alike, whether you want a plain jane Picnic Basket or a full sized Picnic Set remember, the stuff you bring and whatever you carry it in should never get in the way of the trip itself, so plan ahead, and buy wisely!
What are some of your favorite picnic foods? How many people do you usually serve, and where? Any experienced picnickers have any tips? Let me know in the comments!