Food and Nutrition

12 Picnic Essentials for a Picture-Perfect Afternoon in the Park

Kara Jillian Brown

Photo: Getty Images / Evgeniia Siiankovskaia
The enjoyment of a picnic fades quickly if you're not prepared with the essentials. The last thing you want to do is get all the way to the park and set up in the perfect spot just to realize you forgot a bottle opener.

Of course, you'll need good cutlery, glasses, and a blanket to spread out on the grass. But there's no rule that says you have to sit on the ground at a picnic, so bring along a light and portable table if that's more your style. To keep all your sandwiches, salads, and produce at a safe temperature, you're going to need a proper cooler (and ice packs, too).

For a picture-perfect picnic, be sure to pick up the essentials before the weekend rolls around.

12 essentials for your next picnic

Tirrinia Outdoor Wine Picnic Table — $42.00

The downside to picnicking without a table is that your food and drinks are on the ground, making it very easy to knock things over. Use this little table to make charcuterie in the park a breeze. It’s complete with wine glass holders so you don’t have to worry about your drink tipping over.

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Willow Picnic Basket — $51.00 to $63.00

To go all out, no plastic cups in sight, this is the picnic basket you’ve been looking for. Available in a two-set ($51) and a four-set ($63), this basket comes with stainless steel cutlery (fork, spook, and knife), porcelain plates, real wine glasses, linen napkins, a bottle opener, and a waterproof picnic blanket.

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Society6 Golden Sun Pattern Throw Blanket — $60.00

Picnic blankets are a staple of the picnicking experience. While you can use any blanket or even an old sheet, a designated picnic blanket means you don’t have worry about your blanket getting dirty outside. This sun print blanket from Society6 is designed by the artist Colour Poems.

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Yeti Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler — $300.00

This backpack cooler from Yeti is designed to make getting around with your food easier than ever by efficiently distributing the weight. It features ergonomic shoulder straps, and a removable chest strap, and waist belt for added stability and security. It also has a leakproof zipper and a water-resistant shell.

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Lekoch 8-Piece Unbreakable Bamboo Tableware Set — $35.00

Rather than lugging ceramic dishware into the park, opt for a bamboo set that’s lighter in weight and less likely to break. This set from Lekoch is perfect for two, featuring a cup, bowl, salad plate, and dinner plate. It comes in green and white (pictured), blue and white, and gray and white.

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4 Pack Bamboo Cutlery Set — $15.00

This bamboo cutlery set includes service for four, with a spoon, fork, knife, chopsticks, straw, and straw cleaner in a cloth wrap.

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Amazing Abby 20-Ounce Unbreakable Tritan Wine Glasses (Set of 6) — $42.00

Stemware isn’t just for the dinner table. Grab a set of reusable plastic wine glasses to keep it classy. They’re dishwasher-safe and shatter-proof.

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Dagne Dover Tavi Cooler — $75.00

For beverages, consider this little cooler bag that holds exactly six cans. Carry it with the top strap of use an adjustable shoulder strap to make it a crossbody.

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Picnic Time 32-in Blue Resin Rectangle Folding Picnic Table — $124.00

Why chance it with a picnic table when you can bring your own? This lightweight table (20 pounds) folds into a briefcase to make it easy to bring on the go. Is it the sturdiest table in the world? No. Is it best suited for children? Possibly. But with a weight limit of 250 pounds per seat, it’s stable enough to provide an easy alternative to eating on the ground.

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Clihome Outdoor Patio 3 Pieces Brown Folding Wooden Picnic Table Bench Set — $381.00

This wooden set from Clihome is great if you’re having a picnic in your backyard or if you’re driving to your destination. The legs fold in making it easy to stow away or transport in the trunk. Cedar wood paired with wrought iron legs make this table and benches incredibly sturdy.

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Picnic Time Zuma Backpack — $34.00

Perfect for heading to the beach on your bike, this backpack features an upper compartment with mesh sides and a lower compartment that’s insulated to keep your cool foods and drinks cool. The lower compartment can hold a 12-pack of beer cans with ease.

Stray and Wander Multi Reve Turkish Blanket — $110.00

This Turkish cotton blanket from Stray and Wander is a luxurious choice for your next picnic. It measures about 6 feet by 7 feet and gets softer with every wash. It comes in black and natural (pictured), silver grey, forest green, and natural.

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Yeti Tundra 35 Hard Cooler — $250.00

Need more room than a backpack cooler can provide? You can’t go wrong with a Yeti hard cooer. The Tundra 35 is great for packing up enough food and drink to satisfy a small crowd.

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