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What to Bring to a Picnic - 15 Essentials to Pack

Everybody loves a good picnic. What could be better than spending a few hours out in the sun, on the grass, eating and chatting and laughing with friends and family?...

What to Bring to a Picnic

Everybody loves a good picnic. What could be better than spending a few hours out in the sun, on the grass, eating and chatting and laughing with friends and family? Picnicking is an art that’s easy to master — as long as you know what to bring. 

Remember that picnics are not all about food! The art of picnicking goes beyond what kinds of sandwiches you bring. As a matter of fact, there are a few important items that could make or break the whole experience. We’re here to share them with you today.

Here are fifteen essential things you should bring along for the perfect picnic.


1. Sunscreen 

Let’s start simple. You’re likely to be spending a couple of hours out in the sun and the last thing you want to do is get burned. Burgers are supposed to be roasting, not you! Avoid skin damage by always packing a tube of sunscreen in your picnic basket. Remember, even if you’re sitting in the shade, it’s still possible to feel the effect of UV rays. Better be safe than sorry! 


2. A blanket space and optional pillows! 

If you’re planning to sit on the grass for long periods of time, make it as comfortable as possible. The best thing to do is set up a little sitting area, complete with outdoor blankets and pillows. Even if you’re going to a park that has picnic tables, you’re not always guaranteed a seat. Besides, if you want to have a little mid-afternoon shut-eye or stretch out after lunch, blankets are great for sunbathing or laying in the shade. Outdoor pillows also make your space extra comfortable. 


3. Bottled Water

Bottled Water

Remember, it can get pretty hot during the summer months and the last thing you want is for anyone in your group to get dehydrated. Even if you’re bringing along pop or lemonade, having a case (or two) of bottled water on hand is always a good idea. By bringing along bottles, you also eliminate the need for plastic cups. To do something a little more environmentally friendly, consider asking everyone to bring their own water bottle or tumbler for drinks. 


4. Corkscrew and Bottle Opener

These are two items that are easily forgotten at home when planning a nice picnic, a corkscrew and bottle opener. If you’re bringing packs of drinks that need either of these items, make a special note in your packing list and be sure to bring them along. You don’t want to get set up at your picnic destination before realizing that you don’t have any way of opening your beverages.


5. First Aid Kit

First aid kits are the perfect way to prepare yourself for any unexpected injuries when playing outdoors. Whether you’re covering up a blister or treating a mild cut or wound, having extra band-aids and creams on hand is hugely beneficial. 


6. Moist Towelettes or Baby Wipes 

When you’re out in the middle of a field or park, you don’t always have access to running water so think about clean-up before you get there. Baby wipes aren’t just great for children; they’re the perfect picnic cleaning tools! The same goes for moist towelettes. They can be bought in bulk from almost any pharmacy or big-box store. 


7. Trash Bags 

It’s also important to bring trash bags to your picnic site. When you come to a site that is perfectly green and tidy, you don’t want to leave a mess. Be sure to pick up everything you brought with you out of respect for the park and the people coming to the space after you. Leave nothing behind. 


8. Mini Condiments

Mini Condiments Picnic basket

Here’s a good way to save space in your picnic basket: instead of bringing whole bottles of condiments (ie. ketchup, relish, mustard, etcetera), try grabbing some small packets from miscellaneous restaurants or gas stations. This is perfect if you’re walking long distances from your car to the picnic site and don’t want to lug around excessive amounts of food. 


9. A pocketknife or smaller blade 

When you’re on a picnic, you never know when you’ll need a knife, a small pair of scissors, or anything else found in a simple pocketknife collection of items. Use it to spread condiments on your sandwiches, open stubborn packets of condiments or bottles of wine, or to deal with any food-related emergency that may come up during. 


10. A bunch of fun outdoor activities!

If you’re planning on hanging around a public park for a while, especially with children, consider bringing outdoor games to play with, like a frisbee or outdoor activity set, board games, kites, different kinds of balls, books… the possibilities are endless! 


11. Camera

Whether you’re going digital or disposable, bringing a camera to your picnic is a great way to capture all of the great memories you’re making on something other than a phone. A camera is a great, nostalgic way to preserve your memories forever. 


12. Ice Packs and Coolers

It's easy for drinks to become warm in the summer heat and food to get soggy. By bringing an assortment of ice packs in your cooler, you guarantee the quality of your food and beverages for hours on end. 


13. Bug Spray

Remember to look out for bugs! Depending on where you are, bugs may pose a pesky threat to your day out. There are a variety of bug sprays available that are great for keeping the insects away at a picnic. Bug bites are not the best company, especially when you’re trying to enjoy a nice day out with your friends and family.

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