When someone invites you to their house for a meal, it’s a good idea to bring some wine – if they’re drinkers. Or you could bring dessert for teetotallers. Even for a barbeque or cookout, you could show up with chips for the dip, or a big bag of ice. But do you have any idea what to bring to a picnic? Let’s look at ideas that both the picnic hosts and guests can implement.
What to Bring to a Picnic
1. Weather-Friendly Clothing
When you’re going to a picnic, you’ll need to check a weather app. Or three. Because yes, you want to look cute, but you’ll be miserable if the sun comes out and you didn’t have a top under your turtle neck. Or if a sudden summer shower clings your t-shirt to your skin! You don’t want lots of luggage you might lose at the park, so bring a lightweight scarf or jacket.
2. Picnic Pots and Picnic Wraps
Assembled picnic snacks are great because you can ask each guest to bring an ingredient then you can build the burrito or salad as you hang out. Try piling your picnic tortilla with hummus, smoked salmon slices, beetroot, spinach, rocket, and lemon juice. For a picnic pot (aka a stacked salad jar), put the dressing at the bottom, layer the ingredients, and shake!
3. Appropriate Picnic Footwear
Your picnic outfit can range from casual shorts and a t-shirt to a cocktail dress and a parasol. But what about your feet? Sandals are fine because they let your toes sweat and breathe in comfort. And sneakers are smart if you plan to play physical games. But you may still want a few inches for comfort. If you must wear heels, get grass-friendly wedges or sturdy blocks.
4. How To Set Up The Perfect Picnic / Beach Picnic
When we’re talking about picnics, we assume it’s in a park. But the beach can be a good spot for picnics too. Carry some swimwear in case you decide to take a dip. And wear lightweight clothes so you can easily shake out the sand. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a must, and an ice box for beachy beverages. For some sandwiches with pizzazz, use croissants instead of bread.
5. An All-in-One Picnic Basket
The purpose of a picnic basket is to carry your supplies, so you can use any kind of heavy-duty container that works. But if you eat outdoors a lot, it’s worth investing in a designated carrier. Some picnic baskets come with dishes, foldable tables, and blankets all strapped into their specific slots. That kind of basket is a stylish one-stop shop with everything you need.
6. Skin Protection and Supplies
At a picnic, you may be put in the sun a lot. And you’re likely to play physical games like Frisbee, twister, or volleyball. Carry a lightweight drawstring bag for sunglasses, sunblock, a sun hat, lip balm, and wipes or hand sanitizer in case you get sweaty. Blotting pads are great for getting excess sweat or sebum off your face. Pack a lightweight scarf in case it gets chilly.
7. Disposable Dishes – Crockery and Cutlery
If you bought an all-in-one basket, you’re already sorted for dishes. If you didn’t, lugging plates, cups, and glasses from home can be cumbersome and heavy. Plus your picnic guests may break everything, and even if they don’t, who wants to wash them on-site or carry dirty dishes home? Instead, opt for disposable dishes. But clean up after yourself and don’t litter!
8. Kid-Friendly Picnic Supplies
The best way to handle kids at a picnic is to tire them out with physical activities. But it also helps if you can pack food options they’ll love. Try kiddie picnic snack hacks, like a muffin tin as a non-spill juice holder, healthy fruity waffle cups, water balloon ice packs, and fruity ice cubes. For no-mess condiments, put kid-size portions in tic tac boxes and shampoo bottles.
9. Cooling and Warming Equipment
The kids may be content with juice-flavored ice cubes and frozen water balloons, but the adults will need something a little extra. A cooler box is great for keeping your drinks cool, and you can load it with ice for beverages and other snacks that need to be chilled. Think ice cream or cold cuts. Cooler boxes can keep for warm too, especially with heat packs included.
10. Suitable Picnic Furniture
Some comprehensive picnic baskets have a foldable table or work surface built-in, but none of them have seating options. So you’ll need a picnic blanket. You can carry a plastic sheet or waterproof tarp to place under the blanket in case the grass is wet. For seating options, you can find stackable plastic chairs, foldable canvas ones, camping chairs, or telescopic stools.
11. First Aid Supplies
Accidents happen, so you always need a first aid kit in your house, office, or car. But at a picnic, you may need specific medication. Carry some allergy medicine because you’ll be out in the grass, so the pollen may cause hives or sneezing fits. Over-the-counter antihistamines are fine. You’ll also want bandaids in case of cuts, disinfected wipes, and some bug repellent.
12. Playful Picnic Snacks
We’re still focused on the kids for this one. They don’t need fancy charcuterie or expensive finger foods for the picnic. Most kids would be fine with cookies and a sandwich. But to get that picnic feel, use cookie cutters to shape their sandwiches into cute animals. And to up the health factor, you can use fruits to make the faces of the animals. Grapes make great eyes!
13. Adult Picnic Snacks
This sounds a lot naughtier than it is! But the thing is … if you’re eating outdoors, you probably want to up the ante just a touch. At least for the grown-ups. So don’t just call the pizza guy. Opt for fancy but frivolous snacks like devilled eggs, and quirky salads (e.g. shrimp, couscous, curry, etc.). For vitamins, whip up a fruit kabob or a fruity-cheese cube.
14. Picnic Food | Basics with Babish
It’s all very well to make a cutesy picnic menu, but here’s a tutorial in case you don’t know how to make them. Besides, if you’re a picnic guest rather than the host, you can make one or two of these and bring them to the park for brownie points. A useful tip is to pack components separately then assemble them on-site as a shared activity. Kind of like a picnic salad buffet.
15. Crucial Vice Devices (Openers and Lighters)
If you’re going to be outdoors and are over 18, you’re probably going to want to let loose. This may include alcohol, nicotine, and other stimulants or relaxants. Just make sure it’s legal to drink or smoke at that picnic site since some family-friendly spaces are restrictive. To ensure full enjoyment, don’t forget your corkscrew, bottle opener, lighter, can opener, and ashtrays.
16. What to Bring to a Picnic – Fancy Fishy Food
Fish may not seem like a picnic dish, but if you’re invited as a guest, you can really impress by bringing a bowl of ceviche to the party. It’s a popular dish in Peru and Ecuador and is fairly easy to make. You’ll need diced bits of fresh fish with lemon or lime and various spices. Kind of like a sushi salad. The fish is raw though, so warn anyone with a sensitive stomach …
17. Knife, Cutting Board, and Serving Spoons
Crockery (plates, bowls, etc.) and cutlery (spoons, knives, etc.) are probably the first things you’ll pack when you’re prepping for a picnic. But other essentials are easier to forget, so make a checklist! You need a sharp knife or two in case you need to cut bread, fruit, or a random bit of rope that snagged a guest. You also need a chopping board and serving ladles.
18. Cookies, Crackers, and Cobb Salad-in-a-Jar
While you’re thinking about what to bring to a picnic, we’ll keep looking at snack ideas that work. We’ve already mentioned salads and not just the kinds that rabbits eat. You can give them heft with meat, seafood, chicken, and even a touch of boozy lemonade. Also, cookies aren’t just for kids. Pack some chocolate chip infusions if your picnic guests lean that way …
19. Backup Batteries for your Gadgets
Yes, you’re outdoors, and you need to focus on the people around you. But you may also need to play music on your laptop, or order extra food off Door Dash. You may even need to make an emergency call. So be sure to carry power banks, portable batteries, and charger packs. Don’t forget your USB cables and charging ports! You could pack a mini generator as well.
20. Colourful Fruits and Lots of Dip
If you’re a picnic guest rather than a host, you want to bring a snack that’s easy to make and tough to spoil, so fresh fruits work well. In fact, if your picnic pals are health-conscious, you could plan a ‘vegetarian’ picnic full of colorful salads and kabobs. Another option is to bring a dip like hummus or guacamole. It shows you put some thought and effort into your dish.
21. Some Trash Bags for Clean-Up
When you’re done with your picnic, set aside some time to pick up your trash. You don’t want to leave the park or beach in a mess! Carry some garbage bags or a portable trash can so you can toss in the litter as you go instead of leaving everything until the end. You can also carry some take-out boxes and disposable Tupperware with lids so you can carry all the leftovers.
When did you last attend a picnic? Tell us what you brought to wow your fellow picnickers!