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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 picnic 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

Picnic essentials

  • Flask
  • Mugs, bowls and plates
  • Cutlery
  • Sandwich box
  • Fold-up chairs
  • Blanket
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Cool bag
  • Stove
  • Mosquito repeller
  • Salt and pepper container
  • Lightweight kettle

Ceramivac Go Vacuum bottle

Buy from Amazon for £31.99

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. Buy the Ceramivac Go Vacuum bottle from Amazon.

Terra Kettle

Buy from Amazon for £29.99

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.

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 

Buy from Amazon for £29.99

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

Buy from Sea to Summit for £30 

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.  

Kickback Breeze Chair

Buy from Coleman for £29.99

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.

Rainbow stripe wool picnic blanket

Buy from British Blanket Company for £100

Rainbow Stripe Picnic Blanket - The British Blanket Company

British Blanket Company rainbow stripe wool picnic blanket has a waterproof backing and leather carry straps.

Spartan Pocket Knife

Buy from Victorinox for £23

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.

Puffin Cool Bag

Buy from Amazon for £29.95

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.

Crux burner

Buy from Optimus for £52.50 

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.  

Deep dishes

Buy from Falcon Enamelware for £48 for four 

Deep dishes

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

Kaleidoscope Virtually Unbreakable Plastic Tumbler

Buy from Lakeland for £3.79 each

Kaleidoscope Virtually Unbreakable Plastic Tumbler

These rather classy 400ml tumblers have a slightly rosy tinge that makes a cold drink look extra appetising. Wine glasses also available.

Campfire stainless-steel plate and Cutlery set

Buy from Primus for £12.95 each

Campfire stainless-steel plate and Cutlery set
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. Buy the Boulder Flask from Amazon.

Salt&Pepper Plus

Buy from Light My Fire for £6.95

Salt and Pepper Plus
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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?).