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Picnic essentials: 16 things to pack for the perfect picnic

Planning to enjoy the long sunny days of summer by eating al fresco? Here are a few picnic essentials, gadgets and accessories to make the most of your country feast

Picnic essentials

Eating outside is a great way to make the most of summer’s long, sunny days. Picnics should be as relaxing as possible for the whole family, whether you’re setting up in your local park or nature reserve, or going for something a little more adventurous, such as a beach, riverbank or hilltop.

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To help you achieve this alfresco eating heaven, we’ve put together a list of what to take on a picnic. Included are essentials, from fold-up chairs and picnic blankets, to plates, bowls and flasks.

For more outdoor essentials ideas, check out 10 of the best gifts for walkers, hiking essentials and eco-friendly gear for walkers.

Family having a picnic
A few simple essentials make the perfect picnic/Credit: Getty

What to take on a picnic

Stanley Ceramivac Go Vacuum bottle

Ceramivac Go Vacuum bottle

This flask carries 475ml – a mug-full and a top-up – and has a metal loop to hook it to the outside of your pack. The ceramic mug’s ‘smooth-fired feel’ is perhaps overstated but it’s a well designed container, with a wide mouth (good for cleaning) and should keep drinks hot for up to six hours. 

Terra Kettle

Terra Kettle

Boil up a brew in this compact, anodised aluminium kettle, which weighs only 153g but holds 70cl – enough for two steaming brews.  

Infinity four-person compact tableset

Buy from GSI Outdoors for £40 

Infinity four-person compact tableset

This picnic set comprises four insulated mugs, four bowls and four plates, which all fit snugly together like puzzle pieces – a feature that makes tidying it away after your picnic a bit more fun.

Black & Blum Stainless Steel Sandwich Box

Buy from Amazon for £29.95

Stainless Steel Sandwich Box

Ideal for transporting crudités, cured meats or cheeses as well as sandwiches, this plastic-free box is kept secure with a silicone strap. Its attractive anti-bacterial bamboo lid doubles as a chopping board or picnic serving board, too.

MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller 

Portable Mosquito Repeller

If midges pester you on your picnic, spark up this portable device, which releases a repellent into the air (allethrin, a synthetic version of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum plants – the same stuff used in RAID and mosquito coils). It’s light and compact and designed to drive away insects within 20m2. Inside the device, a small butane container fuels a pilot light that heats a pad, releasing the repellent; both pad and butane are replaceable. 

Delta V Seat Deluxe SI

Delta V Seat Deluxe SI

This blow-up pad can be folded together for a squishy 50mm cushion, or unfolded for extra lower back comfort if you’re sat up against a rock. It’s light (222g) and compact (10 x 22cm packed). It’s also nice to kneel on if you’re hunting for bugs.  

Buy from Sea to Summit for £30

Coleman Kickback chair

Coleman Kickback chair
Coleman

This comfy little bucket chair collapses quickly into its stuff sack, making it easy to carry to your picnic spot. At 2.5kg, it’s not ultralight, but the affordable price tag is a bonus.

Tartan Blanket Co rainbow stripe recycled wool picnic blanket

Tartan Blanket Co Rainbow Stripe Recycled Wool Picnic Blanket

Created from recycled wool, this stylish item features a waterproof backing and leather carry straps.

Buy the Tartan Blanket Co rainbow recycled wool picnic blanket from Liberty

Victorinox Spartan Pocket Knife

 

Spartan Pocket Knife

The classic Swiss Army knife containing 12 tools, including several picnic essentials: a corkscrew, bottle opener and tin opener, plus a toothpick. Design fans will love the clear casing, which allows you to see the engineering underneath.

Outwell Puffin Cool Bag

Puffin Cool Bag

A spacious tote bag ideal for shopping or the beach, with a detachable insulated cool bag to insert when you want to keep food and drinks chilled for your outdoor feast.

Optimus Crux burner

Crux burner

Sauté your wild mushrooms on this tiny stove, which weighs only 83g and folds into a tiny pouch that attaches to a gas cartridge (sold separately). Small enough to stow in a pocket of your pack, whether you’re having a slow afternoon in the woods or a longer backpacking trip.

Falcon Enamelware Deep dishes 

Deep dishes

These robustly stylish enamel dishes are great for camping or picnicking. White on top; black, red or grey underneath. 

Buy from Falcon Enamelware

Lakeland Party Proof Plastic Tumbler

Lakeland Party Proof Plastic Tumblers

These 500ml tumblers may look like glass but they’re actually made from super tough Tritan, a BPA-free plastic. Sold in a set of four.

Buy the Party Proof Plastic tumblers from Lakeland 

Primus Campfire stainless-steel Cutlery set

Primus Campfire cutlery set
Primus

Frontier-chic looks and apocalypse-proof toughness; a pretty stiff price tag, too. The stainless-steel knife, fork and spoon have a small leather sleeve to keep them all together. 

Boulder flask

Buy from Amazon for £15.99

Boulder flask

Keep your spirits high with this pocket-sized booze bottle – a practical, modern take on the laird’s silver hip flask.

Salt&Pepper Plus BIO

Salt and Pepper Plus

What’s life without seasoning? Keep your salt and pepper neat and dry in this palm-sized container that has a third dispenser for your favourite spice (chilli powder, anyone?).

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