It took long enough in South Carolina to warm up enough for it to be picnic weather, and before it gets too hot I am ready to take advantage of it! Packing up for a picnic is a tricky thing though, if you forget a crucial component — like forks — and you’re already at the park or on the boat you’re pretty much up the creek without a paddle, so let’s make a checklist of picnic needs.
The basket: You want a spacious but not too heavy or bulky basket to carry everything in, that’s comfortable to hold and spacious enough for all of the food and sundries. Some people want an insulated cooler-style carrier while others prefer the rustic-chicness of a wicker basket.
Utensils: Of course, you don’t want to be eating the pasta salad with your fingers. But think ahead to if anything needs to be cut with a knife, or extra scooping spoons should come along for the trip. Imagine sitting outside and going through the motions of the picnic as you’re packing your basket. It’s your call if you want to pack disposables or not, through we recommend non-disposable items because we like the Earth. Got wine or beer? A corkscrew or bottle opener is a utensil too, and an important one in this case!
Napkins: Take plenty of wiping devices for the inevitable spills or messes that can come with eating al fresco. Again, they can be disposable or not, and cloth napkins add a chic touch with very little effort.
Plastic bags: Everyone collects a few plastic grocery bags in their lives inadvertently, and this is a great place to put them to use. Bring two or three to toss your dirty napkins, utensils, and other dining ware into to keep the inside of your basket clean and ready to reuse.
Refreezable ice packs: Outdoors gets hot and keeping your food at the right temperature is crucial. It’s worth investing in high quality freezable ice packs that won’t drip and leave the inside of your bag a soggy mess.
Scissors: What’s going to help open a particularly stubborn chip bag or free a kite from its plastic packaging better than a trusty pair of scissors? It’s never a bad idea to have an extra pair on hand in the great outdoors, just don’t run with them.
The blanket: The foundation for the entire set up is the picnic blanket. Choose a large enough one and one that can be easily washed after use, because between food spills and whatever was on the ground previously, you don’t want to not wash it. Blankets with water repellant properties are a good choice for low lying areas or in case of recent rain.