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Preparing a picnic doesn’t need to be complicated. You could toss a couple sammies, sodas, and beach towels in a bag and have a fine time. But a truly elevated outdoor dining experience requires a bit more thought—and a few items of choice gear. Keep your wine chilled, your food crisp, and your butt happy. Here’s our 2019 guide to picnicking like a pro.
For a classic setup, you need one key item: a picnic blanket. It keeps your food off the ground, the bugs away, and your clothing clean. This extra-large picnic blanket from Scuddles is made of polyester, has a waterproof PEVA backing—clutch for a picnic planned after a rainy day—and carrying straps when it’s folded. The 2.5-pound blanket measures 59 x 76 inches.
Getting food from your home to your picnic destination requires a vessel. Woven baskets are adorable and all, but they can be difficult to carry and seriously limit your ability to bring a large meal. Sure you can toss a bunch of food in a tote bag, but a carry-all specifically designed for picnics provide extra features to make your outing more comfortable and organized. This collapsible picnic basket can hold up to 65 pounds and is made of polyester canvas with an aluminum frame. It provides everything you need—plates, napkins, wine glasses, and steel cutlery—for four people to eat. The insulation will keep your hot items warm or cold items chilly. This basket measures 18.5 x 11.5 x 11.5 inches.
These Magic Gel packs—the package comes with five—will help you keep your food or drinks from getting too hot and spoiling. The packs are about the size of a piece of bread and are filled with a gel that stays cold longer than water-based ice packs.
This leakproof, stainless-steel Stanley insulated bottle holds 25 ounces of liquid and will keep your water (or other beverages) cold for up to 36 hours.
Bento boxes are handy for a few reasons. (1) It’s a good idea to keep your ingredients separate so you can assemble on-site. This allows for crisper salads and drier sandwich bread. (2) They are leakproof. (3) This one comes with a fillable ice pack to keep things from spoiling. It measures 7.75 x 10 x 4.5 inches and is made of sturdy polypropylene. The container comes with food separators, a fork, knife, and spoon, and is both dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
This portable wine tote from Built keeps bottles of bubbly cold for up to 10 hours, which is great because chilled Prosecco makes a picnic to the next level. Place the gel-lined bag in the freezer overnight, insert your bottles, and then head out for your picnic. The top closes with a zipper, so your bottles will stay secure inside the bag.
There’s nothing like the sound of sweet music as you’re sitting on a grassy knoll and biting into a brisket sandwich. The Soundcore Anker Flare Mini portable speaker has 360-degree sound, is waterproof, and connects to your phone via Bluetooth. You can connect two together for a stereo effect, though the 10-watt speaker and 12-hour battery should be plenty loud enough for you to groove out throughout your entire outing.
Bugs and dirt are my least favorite part of picnics. If you too dislike the natural aspects of nature, bring foldable chairs with you. These have an aluminum frame and pockets for all your accessories. There’s even a side table for your food. The polyester seats are 19.5-inches wide and can hold up to 300 pounds.
While you can’t have a compostable speaker—yet—try to keep your waste to a minimum with these biodegradable utensils. The best option from an environmental standpoint is reusable cutlery—get them for pennies at your local thrift store!—though if you really want the disposable stuff, try these forks, knives, and spoons from Ecovita. This set comes with 380 utensils that are heat-resistant and dishwasher safe.
This Coleman portable propane grill has 285 square inches of heated surface. It’s collapsible and comes on wheels so it’s easy to transport. Switch out grilling grates for flat or ribbed skillets, too.
The Streamlight lantern is waterproof up three feet, emits 360 degrees of soft, even light, and has a removable globe cover that reduces glare. There are five light modes, and it boasts a 30-hour battery life. Also, the bottom of the lantern has a rubber base that keeps it from sliding on wet or uneven surfaces. It can even float in water.