What To Bring To a Picnic: A Packing List

What To Bring To a Picnic: A Packing List

There are many ways to enjoy the great outdoors, from hiking to camping, driving cross country, or playing sports. However, while you might associate enjoying the outdoors with exercise, this doesn't have to be the case.

Enjoying the outdoors can be fun, relaxing, and leisurely if you want. If you’re looking for something more relaxing to do outside, what about a picnic? Picture it: a perfect picnic on a beautiful day, complete with a picnic basket full of all of your favorite food and drinks.

Before you head out to the park, you need to make sure you have everything you need. Knowing the essentials for a picnic helps you make the most of your time outdoors, and this packing list will help make sure that your next picnic is the best picnic ever.

1. A Picnic Blanket

The first and most important item on the list is a picnic blanket. 

You need something to sit on and keep you dry if the ground is wet. There are many different types of picnic blankets available, from simple plastic sheets to more elaborate ones with padding and water-resistant materials. Choose one that best suits your needs.

2. Trash Bags

You're going to have trash to clean up, whether it's food wrappers or bottles. Be sure to bring enough garbage bags to hold everything left behind by your meal. In addition, if you're planning on picnicking in a public space, consider getting an extra bag to help pick up any litter you may find. 

You may also want to grab some wet wipes to clean your hands before and after eating.

3. Your Patriot Coolers Cooler

You're going to need a way to keep your food and drinks cold, so be sure to bring a cooler and some ice packs. If you want the best of the best, then you need a cooler from us here at Patriot Coolers.

Our hard-sided rotomolded plastic coolers are ideal for large gatherings and picnics. If you have smaller gatherings and picnics, you might prefer one of our soft-sided can coolers or our backpack and tote-style coolers.

All of our coolers are designed with state-of-the-art insulation technology and are built with durable materials. They can withstand anything life throws your way. Just don't forget the ice! (And then don’t forget to drain it out later.)

4. Food

The star of any picnic is your food. Luckily, there are tons of picnic-friendly recipes that are sure to please a crowd. 

For starters, try a classic Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella or feta, and basil. 

Or, go for something heartier with a cold chicken and bacon Caesar salad. For sides, roasted potatoes are always a hit. And for dessert, nothing beats fresh berries with whipped cream. So pack up your cooler and enjoy a leisurely meal in the great outdoors.

A mid-afternoon picnic doesn't have to include a full meal. Instead, some fruit and a charcuterie board with bread, cheese, crackers, nuts, some cold cuts, and a bottle of wine is the perfect appetizer for a midday snack.

Other good picnic options include:

  • Charcuterie supplies: Baguettes, cured meats like salami, cheese, and fruit

  • Pasta Salad: Easily one of the best picnic foods out there — and very easy to make

  • Potato Salad: A classic side dish that’s guaranteed to please at a picnic

  • Crispy Veggies and Hummus: Bell peppers, carrots, and cherry tomatoes are all excellent options

  • Deviled Eggs: Another classic finger food that fits right in at a picnic
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches: For when you want to keep things simple

5. Drinks

For drinks, consider iced tea, lemonade, or punch for a refreshing treat. If you want something a little more festive, try making sangria using fruit juices and sparkling drinks in wine glasses. Just make sure to grab a bottle opener or corkscrew.

Plus, don't forget the all-important cooler filled with ice-cold water and sodas. By offering a variety of drink options, you can be sure that your picnic will be a hit with everyone.

If you are serving cans in a cooler, you need to be able to keep them ice cold once you crack them open. With our Can Coolers, you can do just that. These can coolers aren't like koozies; they’re made of stainless steel, just like our ultra-durable water bottles.

Pop a stainless steel can cooler around your drink, and you'll have an ice-cold drink for six blissful hours. 

6. Plates, Cups, and Utensils

For plates, cups, and utensils, you have a few options:

You can use disposable plates and cups, or you can bring your own reusable dishware from home. If you choose to bring your own dishes, be sure to pack enough for everyone — plus a few extras in case of breakage. 

Finally, don't forget the utensils. Forks, knives, and spoons are a must. Instead of disposable cutlery and paper napkins, we recommend bringing your own utensils and tableware to the picnic table. You can even bring a tablecloth from home to complete the aesthetic.

7. A Cutting Board and Knife

A cutting board and knife are essential for picnicking. You'll need a cutting board to slice up fruit, cheese, and bread, and your knife helps you spread condiments and cut meat.

For a cutting board that's lightweight and easy to carry, opt for one that serves a dual purpose — part cooler divider and part prep station. 

As for your cutlery, we recommend bringing a serrated knife and a paring knife. A serrated knife is excellent for bread and cheese, and a paring knife is perfect for fruit and vegetables.

8. Napkins and Paper Towels

No picnic basket is complete without napkins and paper towels. 

Napkins are essential for wiping your hands and face before and after eating. Likewise, compostable paper towels come in handy for spills and messes. 

9. Sunscreen

It's important to remember that picnicking also means being in the sun for extended periods of time. 

Time under the sun increases your risk of sunburn, which can lead to more serious health problems down the road. That's why it's essential to always apply sunscreen before heading out on a picnic. 

Even if it's cloudy, UV rays can penetrate the clouds and damage your skin. Don't forget to reapply every few hours or after swimming or sweating. With a little planning, you can ensure that your picnic is both enjoyable and safe.

10. Bug Spray

When picnicking, it's essential to remember to pack bug spray. 

Mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can not only be a nuisance, but they can also carry diseases like West Nile virus, Lyme disease, and Zika virus. So, before heading out for your next picnic, grab a bottle of bug spray to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

11. Music

Music just makes picnics better. It drowns out any awkward silences and creates the perfect ambiance for a lazy afternoon in the park.

Here are a few additional reasons to pack a speaker for your next picnic:

  • Music can help to create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. Whether you're picnicking with friends or family, listening to music together can help everyone to feel more at ease and enjoy the experience more.

  • Even more importantly, music can help to boost your mood and make even the simplest picnic feel like a special occasion. 

12. Dessert

Dessert is an essential element in any picnic basket. While some might say that the main course is the most important part of the meal, others know that it's really all about the sweets

What's a picnic without brownies or watermelon? Dessert is the perfect way to end a meal, and it's also a great way to show off your baking skills. Whether you're making brownies from scratch or slicing up a watermelon, dessert is always a welcome addition to any picnic. 

So, next time you're planning a picnic, don't forget the dessert!

Picnic Packing List: Takeaways

There you have it! A comprehensive guide to everything you need to pack for your next picnic. By following this packing list, you can be sure that your picnic will be both enjoyable and safe. What’s a better way to honor the planet that nurtures us than to share a meal with her?



57 Delicious Summer Picnic Food Ideas for Warm Weather Days | Country Living

Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Picnic dessert recipes | BBC Good Food

1 comment

  • Olga

    Great post. Very useful and gave me ideas.

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