How to Pack a Picnic - The Essential Picnic Items List

Most important pincic food

A picnic is a great way to spend time with friends and family outdoors, but how to pack a picnic properly?

This blog post will cover the essential picnic items to pack - along with some inspiring food ideas. 

Plan Ahead

The first step before packing for a picnic is to determine how many people will attend. If it's just two or three of you, then that will make things easier.

If there are more people such as a whole family, you will want to consider how many adults and how many children will be attending so everyone has something they like to do and eat.

When planning your menu, think about how much food will the team eat, how long it takes to make, and how long it will last when packed in a cooler.

You can also pre-cut any fruits or vegetables, make cold food the day before, or prepare desserts in a jar so you don't have to rush when packing the rest of the list.

Picnic List Items

Picnic Blanket

While some people adore lying on the grass, it is essential to keep food and drink off the dirty ground. If possible, get a waterproof picnic blanket; it’s gonna protect you from dump and cold, plus your clothes from dirt as well.

A blanket or tablecloth is easy to take along; you can fold it up into your picnic basket. If you prefer not to bring one, make sure you have something else to sit on. Plastic mats or outdoor cushions also work well as they don't get dirty and keep your clothes clean.

Baby Wipes

It's an excellent idea to pack baby wipes for a picnic because not only are they totally practical, but they're also convenient for wiping sticky fingers, faces, and dirty things. You should always pack some wet ones and some dry ones, just to be ready for every scenario.

Ice Packs

The most common reason people bring ice packs for a picnic is that the drinks at the party need to be kept cool. Many people prepare drinks ahead of time and place them in an insulated cooler with ice. But, you may also use them to keep other items cold-like yoghurt, butter, or cheese that would otherwise spoil if it gets too warm.

This is especially important if you're going to be outside in the heat all day!

Bug Spray

Skipping bug spray is one of the most common mistakes people make when packing for a picnic. Mosquitoes can wreak havoc on you anytime by biting and annoying you, but they're especially dangerous if there will be kids present - due to their typically asymptomatic nature. Make sure to pack enough bug spray for your whole group, and choose a lotion that contains DEET or Picaridin.

Sunscreen

While packing a picnic for the day, it is important to remember sunscreen. This will ensure that you won't end up getting sunburn or any of its symptoms like blisters and dry, cracked skin on your face! 

Pack sunscreen for kids as well. Try reapplying every couple of hours when outside so that everyone can have fun without worrying about being overexposed to UV rays all day long!

First Aid Supplies

Is packing a first aid kit necessary? Yes! 

You should bring at least a simple first aid kit when you're going on a picnic. It will help you from getting injured further by providing proper care in case an accident happens. 

Some of the items that should be in your first aid kit are antiseptics, bandages, gauze pads and disposable gloves.

Trash Bag

Packing trash bags for a picnic is an excellent way to keep the place clean. They can be used to pack up the leftover food and throw them away so that there is no waste left behind on your picnic spot.

We can set an excellent example for others to see, and by packing trash bags, we are letting everyone know that picnics are meant to be enjoyed without harming our environment.

Don't Forget To Bring Some Entertainment For Kids

For kids, picnics are generally a fun and exciting gathering of family and friends in the great outdoors. Along with some good food, of course!

packing picnic games for kids

One of the simple yet fun toys for kids on a picnic are balloons because they don't require any equipment. Just bring a few balloons, blow them up and let them play around.

Children also love chalks - a child will never be tired of drawing circles around handprints or making pictures from shapes. 

We also recommend colouring books for your kids to play with once they get tired of running around.

Here are some more ideas for games and kid's activities.

Food And Drinks

Another important list you need to pack for a picnic is food and drink for everyone. You can bring many different types of food, like sandwiches or salads, and beverages like juices or soft drinks.

Whatever you choose, make sure it's not too messy or hard to eat while sitting on the grass!

Finger Foods

These are some great finger food options for a summer picnic:

  • Pre-cut fruits and veggies make packing easy without having to worry about buying fruit at the grocery store on the way. Don’t forget to bring toothpicks for easy snacking.
  • Bruschetta wraps, rolls, mini sandwiches and mini pizzas are sure to please the crowd with kids too. 
  • Mini burgers are great when you want to mix up your menu - grab a few paper napkins (and some buns!) and pack them into an old picnic basket! 

Here is our article on picnic food for kids for more inspiration on what other snacks to take along on your next picnic.

Main Dishes

  • Lasagne is a perfect dish for any age group with its combination of pasta noodles layered in between cheese sauce or meat sauce. It's also delicious hot or cold! 
  • Quiche is an excellent choice because they're typically low carb and gluten-free, making it ideal for those who have special dietary needs like diabetes.
  • Salads will provide light meals and fill up the table; we recommend adding some pasta salads on top of your greens. 
  • Burgers are always an excellent choice because they're easy to make ahead of time and have various topping options - consider hamburgers or veggie burgers!
  • Risotto is rich in carbs, so perfect if you're looking for something filling but not all too heavy. While pasta also offers carbohydrates, a risotto is hearty enough to keep your hunger away longer.

Desserts

For a picnic day, you will want to pack some of your favourite desserts. 

  • Bring along chocolate cake and cheesecake for something sweet to eat that day. 
  • For those with an appetite for brownies or cookies, these are perfect as well! 
  • And bring some homemade jam so that everyone can enjoy it on toast or crackers

For more dessert ideas, read our post here.

Drinks

What drinks you pack for your picnic depends on the weather, as well as what kind of food will be served.

  • Water is essential and keeps everyone hydrated.
  • Lemonade is perfect for picnics in warmer weather - it's light but still has enough sugar to keep you refreshed when playing around on hot days!
  • Fresh Juice- Get some of those healthy nutrients in you when you're out enjoying nature's beauty all around.
  • Tea pairs well with most foods due to its mellow taste, while coffee provides the energy needed during a long picnic day.
  • For wine lovers, there's red, white, rosé - they all go great with cheese and crackers. 
  • Champagne is always festive but you can also opt for cocktails like mojitos if that's more what you’re in the mood for. Remember to pick up a Champagne cooler to keep your bubbly, well, cool.
  • Beer fans will want some variety, too, but cider should do just fine if none of these other ideas sounds appealing.

Tips and Tricks for Packing Food

Packing food for a picnic can be tricky. There are many details to consider, and it's all too easy to forget something important. So here are some helpful tips on packing the food for your next picnic! 

Preventing Leaks

The best way to avoid spills is by using a leak-proof container. 

If you're carrying an ice pack with liquid inside it or frozen foods that will be thawed before use, wrap these items securely and place them near other insulating materials.

Preventing Food Crushing

There are some tricks for how to pack the food so you can avoid crushed food:

Get a plastic container of the correct size. And don’t put too much food into it so that there's room for air and other stuff in your box!

You may want to line your lunch box with something like wax paper or freezer paper, which will help keep everything from getting smashed and ruined in transit. 

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