What to Pack in a Picnic Basket: 15 Things To Bring With You On Your Next Adventure

The key to a good picnic is your picnic basket and its contents. What you pack in that little hamper can have a huge impact on how your day goes. We’ve come up with an essential list of 15 items to pack in a picnic basket so that you’re guaranteed the perfect picnic experience.

There’s nothing quite like the simple joy of having a picnic in nature and enjoying the sun and bird songs while you eat, but it’s something that not many of us get to do these days. Being outdoors isn’t all about camping or hiking, sometimes it can be great to get out into nature just for relaxation’s sake.

How to Pair Picnic Basket with Blanket

If you’re looking for some enhancements to your picnic basket, consider sprucing it up with your preferred type of blanket. Our best choice for a Picnic Blanket is the KAMUI Outdoor Picnic blanket.

The KAMUI blanket is designed for picnics but offers benefits like waterproofness, appropriate sizing, easy cleaning, and portability, all with outdoor-loving families in mind. So, before setting out on your next picnic, make sure you have the matching blanket in store.

Planning for Picnic? Use our checklist to save time.

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What to Pack in Picnic Basket

Here is what’s on the list of our top favorites to pack in a picnic basket when heading to outdoor picnics with family and friends and even on a big event like National Picnic Day when you want to enjoy a great meal with people.

#1: Food

The number one ingredient for a good picnic is the food you choose, but it’s not that simple. Planning may take a lot of your time, so we’ve come up with picnic food ideas or easy-to-prepare menus to include when preparing for a picnic:

  • Salad recipe like potato salad, fruit salad, and pasta salad
  • Sandwiches and wraps
  • Veggies
  • Cream cheese and peanut butter
  • Sweet treats
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Finger foods
  • Cookie
  • Jerky
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit

Try to avoid things that melt easily (like ice cream) that take up too much room in the picnic basket. Avoid perishable foods like milk, seafood, and poultry, if possible.

What to Pack in Picnic Basket

#2: Drinks

To some, the beverages are just as important as the snacks on a picnic, so knowing which ones to pack in your perfect picnic basket will depend on your guests. First, you’ll need flavored drinks like juices and sodas, depending on your taste. For the adults, you might want to bring along a bottle of champagne. What is a picnic without a glass of wine for the parents? Here is our list of things to consider:

  • Wine or champagne
  • Water
  • Juices for the kids
  • Soda drinks

#3: Cups

Don’t forget to bring some cups with you.  If you’re afraid of accidentally breaking a glass, make sure to bring reusable plastic cups especially if you are with kids.

#4: Condiments

What to Pack in Picnic Basket condiments

If you want to spice up a barbecue or just want to add flavor or season your salad, make sure you don’t forget our favorite addition to every delicious food: condiments. Here comes a list of things you can pair with your food:

  • Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard
  • Pesto, soy sauce and wasabi
  • Steak and barbecue sauce

Make sure your sauces are stored in unbreakable containers or plastic cups to prevent spillage during your trip.

#5: Seating

If you’ve got some space to carry more with you, you could really spruce up your picnic spot with comfortable seating options around the picnic table. This could be anything from a few cushions to sit on or deluxe camping chairs that will make it easy to sit around for hours and do nothing but relax and enjoy al fresco ambiance. Pack enough for everyone there, otherwise, they might feel left out.

family picnic near lake

#6: Entertainment

Getting out into nature can be fun when you’ve got some games to play. Pack in your picnic basket a few easy and lightweight things that might be enjoyable. You could include a Frisbee for throwing or a ball so you could play catch with it. Simplicity is best here, as you don’t want to be taking up much space in the basket, where more food could be.

kids playing with ball on beach

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#7: Personal items and First Aid Kit

Oh no, your phone battery ran out and you really wanted to take pictures of the sunset? Here is what you shouldn’t forget when heading out on a picnic: wallet, phone charger, and power bank. If you need to take your medication or vitamins during a certain time of day, make sure you take them with you!

In addition, bring your first aid kit with you in your picnic basket, because you can never be too sure.

#8: Music

If you’re someone who gets bored sitting in absolute silence, music could make your picnic date more meaningful. Thankfully, these days it’s not hard to get your hands on a quality Bluetooth speaker that plays you some tunes. Bring along your smartphone , make sure it’s charged, and add some soothing music to your romantic picnic.

#9: Sunscreen + Bug Spray

The sun’s rays are always there, no matter what the weather, so pack along some extra sunscreen to be sure everyone is protected. Another handy addition to the basket would be bug spray, especially during summer when the insects are out. These two small additions could save everyone a lot of annoyance during the day.

#10: Paper Towels and Wet Wipes

Picnic baskets are usually full of tasty treats, but unlike a restaurant, you’ll have nowhere to wipe sticky BBQ sauce or juicy watermelon on when you’re out in nature. Pack a roll of paper towels and make sure there’s enough for everyone to keep those faces and hands clean.

Just like a paper towel or cloth napkin, a wet wipe can come in handy for cleaning both hands and stains. Imagine you get your favorite outdoor clothes dirty with some sauce, and paper towels can’t remove all of them. Don’t panic! You still have wet wipes to take care of the stain. In addition, you can use wet wipes for cleaning the picnic table, children’s faces, and your hands.

kids eating game

#11: Cooling System

Packing a picnic basket usually means you’re getting ready to eat at a faraway location. In this case, there’s a chance your food could go bad if you don’t have adequate cooling. The rule of thumb is to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Some simple solutions are ice blocks or an ice pack or filling up a water bottle and freezing it the night before you leave. It’ll melt eventually and be another source of water for cleaning or washing your utensils.

#12: Tupperware

tupperware food storage

If you’re planning on bringing some homemade food with you on your picnic adventure, make sure you bring your Tupperware and zip lock bags with you. You can use them as food containers or put your leftovers, if any. We love these because they are multi-purpose and good for the environment!

#13: Utensils

Imagine getting all the way out to your intended picnic space and finding that you don’t have any plates, knives or forks, or spoons to scoop the potato salad with? Pack one set for each person going, and throw in a couple of extras, as well as any serving utensils you’ll require for the food you have. You might think plastic is easier but it’s less friendly to the environment and people will be less inclined to litter when using the real deal. Add your utensils to a bag, which you can later use as a trash bag, and don’t forget the bottle opener!

What to Pack in Picnic Basket on picnic blanket

#14: Folding knife

To make your picnic safer, bring your trusted folding knife with you, instead of a normal kitchen knife. We recommend this type of knife not just because it won’t cut into your picnic basket and other things you brought with you, but because it saves space too.

#15: Cutting boards

Last but not least is the item of our what to pack in picnic basket list, to wrap it all up -The cutting board. Not just to make everything look fancier, but to make your life easier. Imagine you want to cut a fruit salad or jerky into pieces, a cutting board is something to consider if you’re bringing extra blankets or food with you on your picnic.

family picnic

Conclusion on What to Pack in Picnic Basket

Heading out into nature, for a relaxing picnic at your local park brings with it a whole range of potential problems that could occur. Everything from annoying insects to bad weather can quickly change the outcome of your day out. Being prepared for the worst is the best way to get organized. That’s why we offer solutions.

Picnics are a lot of fun but they’re even better when you are ready and prepared for everything, which is why it’s so handy to have a checklist like the one we prepared for you. We hope our What to pack in picnic basket checklist helped you decide what to prepare for your next picnic.

Planning for Picnic? Use our checklist to save time.

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What should I put in a picnic basket?

It is common to deck out a traditional picnic basket with a picnic blanket like the KAMUI Outdoor Blanket to make it look fancy before filling it in with your favorite picnic food. Picnic foods that aren’t easily spoiled should be on your list. These may include pasta salad, potato salad, sandwich, fried chicken, wine, cheese, peanut butter, and cookies.

Remember to bring plates, utensils, paper towels, a cheese knife, and a hydro flask. You may add more to these picnic ideas depending on your preferences.

What food do you bring to a picnic?

The kind of picnic food you bring should always depend on your liking but always ensure that you pack non-perishable foods. Salads such as chicken salad, potato salad, pasta salad, fruit salad, and cucumber salad are all-time favorites.

Fried chicken, pasta, sandwich, and finger foods such as tortilla chips, potato chips, rice crisps, and cookies are also topping people’s lists because they require little to no effort to prepare. Peanut butter, feta cheese, bell pepper, and cherry tomato are versatile and delicious; you can easily stuff them in a sandwich of your choice.

How do you arrange a picnic basket?

Arrange your picnic basket so that heavy items are layered on the bottom while delicate items, such as paper towels, are placed on the top. Don’t use your traditional or wicker picnic basket for storing perishable foods. Instead, please place them in a cooler to ensure food safety, especially when picnicking in summer.

How to keep your food cold or hot in a picnic basket?

Aside from using ice packs, you may also place water bottles with frozen water on the bottom to keep your food cold for a few hours. A cooler bag is better because it can keep your picnic food or drinks for a more extended period.

To keep your solid food warm, use aluminum wraps to cover your food. Aluminum foils help trap the heat; wrap them in a towel so the heat won’t easily escape. For drinks, pour hot drinks into a thermos to keep them hot for hours.

If you have an insulated picnic basket or an insulated container, go ahead and use it to maintain the temperatures of both hot food and cold food for the entire duration of your trip. This will ensure everybody is safe from food poisoning or contracting a foodborne illness while having a fantastic time in nature.

How should I dress for a picnic?

When temperatures are coolish in spring, you might want to keep yourself warm with a jacket or a cardigan. During summer, go for dresses or trousers you’re most comfortable with while considering the location of your outdoor picnic.