10 Things To Pack In Your Picnic Basket

You’ve got the food, the location, and some good company.

Perfect Picnic Menu
Photo: Photo: Jennifer Davick

You've got the food, the location, and some good company. All that stands between you and a lovely outdoor meal is a well-packed picnic basket. Whether you have a proper wicker hamper or a canvas tote bag, fill it with these picnic essentials. Prepare for any situation by adding these ten things to your picnic basket.

1. Frozen Bottles of Water

The main rule for outdoor eating is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Ice packs do the job, but frozen water bottles do double duty. After they melt (and the food's been eaten), you'll have cold drinks on hand for everyone.

2. Corkscrew/Bottle Opener

If you're packing wine, beer, or soda bottles, toss a corkscrew with a bottle opener in your bag. (Plastic or reusable cups with sturdy, flat bottoms are always a thing to pack too.)

3. Wet Wipes

Pre-moistened wipes will keep hands clean and help clean up sticky spills, even if there's no running water nearby.

4. Salt and Pepper

Seasoning is a small thing to include, but it goes a long way in making your picnic feel more thoughtful—especially if you're eating fried chicken.

5. Paper Towels

You never know when you might have a big spill on your hands. And a roll of paper towels won't blow away like a stack of napkins.

6. A Tray

A lightweight plastic or enamel tray will provide a smooth surface to prevent drinks from toppling over if you're eating on the ground.

7. Serving Spoons

Cutlery is essential, but remember to bring a large spoon or two for serving food.

8. Folding Knife

A small folding knife will come in handy for various tasks and is essential if you're serving meats and cheeses.

9. Cutting Board

A lightweight cutting board is also a good idea if cheese is on the menu or if you're slicing sandwiches or fruit.

10. Trash Bags

Always throw a trash bag or two in your bag for easy clean-up when the picnic's over. Even if there are plenty of trash cans nearby, your own bag will save you from having to walk back and forth to throw everything away.

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