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What to Pack for a Picnic in the Park

A woven picnic basket on grass, packed with a red check towel, apples, bananas, French bread, a corked bottle, and flowers.

Here Is Your Easy Picnic Supply Checklist! 

Go mobile with your summer dining by packing a picnic and heading for the great outdoors. Find a big tree with a grassy spot of shade and all you need is a basket filled with all the essentials and plenty of time to while away a sunny afternoon. We have provided a checklist along with picnic food suggestions so you won’t forget a single thing!

The Must-Haves

It’s the one thing you must have when heading out on a picnic…

  • Picnic basket – of course, it doesn’t have to be a traditional woven one (although those work great), it can be a refrigerated tote bag or even a backpack.

Stuff To Eat On

Start from the ground up and pack what you need as your foundation.

  • Extra large picnic blanket – one that is big enough so that you and all your guests will have some space, plus room for the feast.
  • Cups and plates – opt for easy clean up with paper plates, or go for colorful dinnerware that can be taken home and cleaned up later.
  • Table linens – make your picnic a special occasion with pretty cloth napkins or tablecloths to help facilitate the business of dining al fresco.

Stuff For Serving

You’ll be glad that you packed these little kitchen utensils.

  • Cutting board – it’s surprising how a hard surface will come in handy, from slicing meat to cutting sandwiches in half to opening a package of cheese.
  • Paring knife – choose one that comes with a cover, or wrap a kitchen towel around it and secure with a rubber band.
  • Bottle opener – preferably one that can open both soda or beer bottles and wine bottles.
  • Serving spoons – for everyone’s favorite pasta salad – you will need a spoon for serving.
  • Condiments – consider what you will need for your menu. Salt, pepper, ketchup and mustard are all good bets.

Stuff For Eating

Pick a romantic picnic menu to make your picnic feel like more of a special occasion rather than a random meal. Think Italian countryside and fill your basket with wine, cheese, and meats. Or go classic Americana with cold fried chicken, potato salad, and apple pie.

  • Sandwiches – make sandwiches ahead of time for less fuss when you arrive. Steer clear of mayonnaise, which can spoil easily when unrefrigerated.
  • Finger foods – when it comes to picnics, the less formal the better. Stick with easy to handle options.
  • Drinks – have several options on hand for the range of guests you have invited. Chill beverage bottles in the fridge ahead of time to help keep things cold.
  • Ice – it’s important to keep food at the right temperature so it doesn’t spoil and harbor bacteria. Ice packs, bags of ice cubes and a cooler can be helpful.

Stuff For Cleaning Up

It can be easy to forget about how you will need to clean up everything at some point. And there is almost always some unexpected spill.

  • Trash bags – leave your picnic area as clean as you found it. Round up trash in trash bags.
  • Moist towelettes – perfect for sticky hands when there is no running water nearby.


Comments (1)

Levi Armstrong

I like that you said that in packing for a picnic, I should bring a cutting board because it would come handy when cutting meat, sandwiches, or cheese. My mom and I are planning to have a picnic this weekend with the kids to keep them entertained during this pandemic. I’ll take note of the stuff you listed in this article and buy plastic cutlery kits later so we’ll be ready for the picnic. Thanks a lot!

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Published on May 31 2017

Last Updated on Aug 29 2018

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