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5 Smart Ideas on What to Bring to a Picnic

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Planning a backyard barbecue with the fam? Hosting a picnic in the park under the shade? Or maybe you’re looking forward to a beach bonfire after a long day. The weather is right, so grab your sweetie, family, or your closest amigos and get out of the house for some fresh air. 

A picnic is only as good as the food, drinks, and dessert provided—not to mention getting the vibe right. Whatever your outside dining plans are, we’ve come up with an emphatic list of exactly what to bring on a picnic.

1. The Picnic Essentials

Wherever your picnic destination is, there are a few must-have basics. Being away from home doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice the luxuries and comforts you’re used to. 

These planet-conscious suggestions will have you prepared in style. 

Picnic Blanket

Start off with a comfortable picnic blanket. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. It could be an oversized beach blanket, a flat bedsheet, a comforter, or even a tablecloth that you don’t mind getting dirty. Go for a checkerboard or gingham pattern if you really want to keep the picnic vibe traditional.


You need a way to transport all the goods to your outdoor dinner (or lunch) destination. While any old bag will work, you can plan a picnic with a little more style. Opt for a traditional wicker picnic basket to store everything from perishables to utensils. 

If you want something a little more stylish, check out this special-edition JuneShine Playmate cooler by Igloo. Insulated and designed with our trademark Midnight Painkiller logo, it’s a show stopper for sure. Whether you take a basket or cooler, throw in an ice pack or two to make sure everything stays cool and fresh.

For easy cleanup, bring a reusable cloth grocery bag. Once you finish your meal, toss everything in the bag and forget about it until you get home, so you don’t have to worry about finding a trash can in the middle of nowhere.

Servingware, Napkins, and Drinkware 

Last but not least, you need utensils, plates, napkins, and drinkware. Depending on what you’re eating, you might need a different combination of items, but we suggest reusable items either way.

Forks, knives, spoons, plates, bowls—take stock of your menu and decide which items you need and which will just be extra weight.

Messes happen even at the best of times, so don’t be caught off guard by an accidental spill. Bring a stash of napkins for the inevitable mishap. Cloth napkins can also act as a buffer for the dishes you’ll be toting along. Wrap each glass and dish with the cloth to avoid any cracked or broken dishes.  

For drinkware, we suggest a few tumblers and a carafe or bottle of water. You could also bring along these taster glasses if you’re planning to sample a few different beverages.

2. Picnic Foods 

Charcuterie boards are the finger food for feeding a group. If you’ve never made one before, just think of them as Lunchables for adults. 

When you’re putting together the perfect charcuterie board, consider these options.

  • Cured meats
  • Sliced cheeses
  • Crackers
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Veggies
  • Hummus
  • Jams and jellies

3. Picnic Beverages

No picnic is complete without a selection of beverages. Besides water, you’re likely going to want something a little bolder, and a sampler pack of hard kombucha might be just what you need. That way, you don’t have to decide whether you’re in the mood for Midnight Painkiller or Hopical Citrus, Blood Orange Mint or Grapefruit Paloma

With the sampler glasses you packed, you can make sure that everyone gets to try a little bit of everything. 

4. Picnic Dessert

Keep the dessert options simple and portable. 

Bite-sized servings are a great choice. Not only do they require no dishes, but they also allow for guests with a bit of a sweet tooth to enjoy a sampling of everything. Here are a few tasty options that are perfect for an on-the-go meal.

  • Brownie bites
  • Homemade cookies
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • S’mores (an especially excellent choice if you're doing a beach bonfire picnic)

5. Picnic Entertainment

Whether it's a chill beach dinner after hitting the waves or a romantic picnic with your honey, music sets that tone. Make a playlist that matches your desired vibe and bring along a portable speaker

Playing cards are also sure to be a hit and lucky for you, we have our own deck. The possibilities of games are practically endless with a simple deck of playing cards, from classics like poker to more inventive games like Kings.

If your picnic happens to be at the beach, don’t miss the opportunity of having a bonfire. Bring along a few environmentally conscious fire starters and a lighter to enjoy your picnic in style (and always be sure to practice proper fire safety). Before you head home, be sure to put out the fire completely and clean up any mess you may have made. 

Final Thoughts

A picnic just isn’t complete without the right food, drinks, and entertainment. With a little planning and creativity, you’re sure to have a relaxing meal out enjoying the sun’s rays. 


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