17 Summer Picnic Essentials You Need for the Perfect Picnic

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These summer picnic essentials will help you be comfortable and have a super fun picnic with friends or loved ones.

Picnic basket outdoors.

Don’t leave picnic packing to the last minute. Make sure you have the right accessories and a selection of picnic foods and drinks that everyone will love. Here are 17 essentials you shouldn’t plan a picnic without.

Best Picnic Essentials

1. Picnic Basket

If you want your picnic to feel a little fancier, you should definitely invest in a beautiful wicker picnic basket. A picnic basket like this will make you feel like you just stepped into a Jane Austin novel.

Not only do they look great, but they are super convenient as well. They have compartments to hold pretty much anything, including food, glasses, plates, and cutlery.

2. Tote Bag

A picnic basket may look nice, but can be a little bulky to carry around. Not to mention that they can be a little bit more on the pricier side. If you want something that’s convenient for more than just picnics, try a tote bag.

Of course, you’ll be able to fit all your picnic essentials, but they are also super convenient to have when you go grocery shopping or to the beach. 

3. Picnic Blanket

Would it really be a picnic without a picnic blanket? There are so many different types of picnic blankets available out there. From family-size to waterproof, there are lots of options.

Make sure that wherever you choose to go, your picnic blanket doesn’t end up wet and soggy. Either try a waterproof picnic blanket or just lay down some tarp first.

4. Pillows

Often, a picnic blanket alone is not thick enough to provide support. Bring some pillows or cushions along to make it even more comfortable to sit if you’re planning on having a picnic on flatter ground or short grass.

Even if the blanket is comfortable, pillows will also come in handy if you want to lay down and enjoy the summer sunshine.

5. Foldable Table & Chairs or Picnic Table

If you are someone who doesn’t really like to sit and eat on the ground, a foldable table and chairs are a great idea for your picnic. Alternatively, you can use just a small picnic table for the food and wine.

This is a matter of personal taste, as some people like to laze around on a picnic blanket, while others prefer to dine on tables and chairs. Chairs and tables can be more practical, comfortable, and you have less chance of spilling drinks.

6. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must, especially if you plan on having a picnic on a hot summer’s day. While the sun can feel great on your skin at first, nothing will ruin your day faster than getting sunburned.

Make sure you pack one with a high SPF content so you can comfortably sit in the sunshine without having to worry about your skin.

7. Bug Spray

When relaxing on a picnic blanket and basking in the sunlight, the last thing you want is to be bothered by is a swarm of flies or mosquitoes. This is why bug spray is a big item on this list!

8. The Perfect Summer Playlist

Music is the food of the soul. So it goes without saying that if you want to have a good time, make sure you create the perfect summer playlist before going on your picnic. Make sure to add all your favorite summer tunes to really get the atmosphere going.

9. Portable Speaker

Now we’ve already mentioned that you need the perfect playlist, but you also need something to play it on. A portable speaker easily connects to your phone via Bluetooth and runs on battery. You can listen to your favorite songs for hours.

10. Cutting Board & Knives

You will likely need these for a picnic. It would be quite inconvenient to have brought fruits, cheese, and other delicious foods to the picnic and realize you have nothing to cut them with. The cutting board can also double as a serving plate.

11. Food Storage Containers

Storage containers are super convenient for packing and storing your picnic food. But it also can come in handy if you need to carry food to work and other places.

12. Summer Snacks

There are so many delicious foods that are perfect for a summer picnic. Our picnic food ideas list gives you over 100 ideas to pack the perfect picnic!

13. Drinks

Champagne, cocktail mixes, and wine are all perfect drinks to turn your picnic into a fun celebration.

For non-alcoholic drinks, pack lemonade or ice tea. These drinks are so refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

14. Drinks Cooler

If you are carrying cold drinks, then you need definitely need a portable cooler that’s spacious and easy to carry. No one wants to drink warm drinks on a hot summer’s day!

15. Portable Reusable Plates & Cutlery Set

Portable and reusable plates & cutlery are great for picnics. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but you can use them again for other occasions you might have coming up.

16. Metal Straws

Metal straws are a great alternative to plastic straws. They are reusable and environmentally friendly. Not only can you bring them to a picnic, but you can also use them over and over again for ice coffee, smoothies, and lots of other drinks.

17. Thermos

Need to keep your coffee hot or your lemonade chilled? A thermos flask is ideal for carrying both hold and cold drinks, but especially if you want to carry a hot drink that can’t be stored in a cooler.

Picnics are so much fun if planned properly. Use these picnic essentials to pack for a picnic with great food and friends, which leads to great times.

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Keep this list of picnic essentials for safekeeping by saving this article to one of your summer Pinterest boards.

17 Summer Picnic Essentials (pin featuring a picnic basket).