Essential Tools

The Food52 Shop Guide to the Perfect Picnic

July 27, 2017

As Yogi Bear once said, "“Hey Boo Boo, let's go get us a pic-a-nic basket."

Great advice if we've ever heard it. We're stuffing ours full of to-go storage that prevents smushed sandwiches and oily spills; generous, tote-able blankets; and maybe even a clandestine flask for a little nip of something.

And there's gingham. Gotta have gingham.

Photo by Bobbi Lin


Prep it.

Sturdy sandwiches deserve an equally sturdy storage bag—and ours are dishwashable and reusable.

Noodly salads are as good warm as they are cold, and better-than-airtight, lightweight containers will keep zingy dressings from dripping.

Not just for ice cream: crush-proof cardboard containers are an ideal vessel for munchy crackers—cookies, too.

Pack it up.

For the nearest park in between rounds of frisbee:

For an extra-long, extra-sunscreen beach day:

For that solo bike trip you've been summer bucket-listing for years:

For a delightfully mushy-gushy, romantic winery excursion:

Lay down a blanket (and maybe even a table).

Classic stripes with handles of their own, blankets with a sassy sense of humor, some extra cushion, and a packable picnic table: Just because you're sitting on the ground doesn't mean you can't look good doing it.

Eat up.

When you can't go dishwashable or machine washable, you can still go compostable! And if your cups don't stack, don't pack.

Take a sip.

What's your drink? We like to pack a to-go bottle with iced tea laced with mint, and an ice pack to keep things cool.

Keep it covered.

The ants will not go marching through your picnic spread, no siree. When you're not slicing or chunking, cheese papers and wax wraps keep precious camemberts protected. And cover up the whole shebang with a gingham-trimmed net. Washing-machine friendly towels make great fly shooer-awayers.

Remember these, if you can.

Some nice-to-haves:

  • The ultimate picnic knife: a super sharp blade and a built-in corkscrew
  • A baby lantern that clips to your basket, or a solar light that folds up flat (if the sun goes down)
  • Kitchen shears that will come in handy over and over and over again

What's in your picnic basket?

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