Packing for a perfect picnic: ideas and top tips

Ever tried eating couscous with your bare hands? Remember the cutlery, and everything else, with our help

Man preparing a bbq in the family's backyard

Going on a family picnic is a great way to spend quality time together, and with a bit of planning it will be even more special. From prepping some easy picnic food to packing for unplanned weather, making a list of picnic ideas will help you remember everything you need. You could even set up a picnic for your garden, to put a bit more fun into family mealtime on a sunny day. Download our handy checklist of what to bring to a picnic and get started!


Take a pack of super strong Plenty Handy Towels along for the convenience of single sheets in a waterproof packet. They’re great for multi-tasking, from wrapping sandwiches to mopping up spills.

1. Picnic equipment

First, the essential equipment for a picnic. List everything you’ll absolutely need for a comfortable lunch outside (minus the food) and stick to it, and you’ll never have that ‘Oh no, we forgot the...’ feeling again! To start with, you’ll need a quality basket to carry everything to and from your chosen venue, and a big picnic rug for everyone to sit on comfortably.

You’ll also need a cooler to keep items fresh, a thermos to keep drinks hot or cold, and a multi-tool will all come in very handy. Then of course there’s cutlery and crockery. The eco-option is to bring reusable cutlery and crockery (just don’t forget to bring it home with you!), or for convenience try finding biodegradable disposable options.


Don’t forget the rubbish bags! Put the whole team in charge of cleaning up at the end of the day. Check and check again for wrappers and leftovers so that the area is left as you found it.

2. Make a picnic food list

In terms of food, knowing what to bring to a picnic can make or break the day. If you’ve got a bit of time to spare, you could try out a few classic picnic recipes like mini quiches or a potato salad. But there’s no need to add any extra stress: the best picnic foods are simple, tried and tested favourites. An easy picnic food idea is to bring pre-cut veggies in plastic containers – it’s much easier to do the chopping at home!

You can make all kinds of fresh picnic recipes onsite: bring some sliced bread or baguettes wrapped in absorbent kitchen paper, along with a range of your favourite seasonings, dips and pre- roasted veggies. Encourage healthy snacking with fresh fruit and nuts, and don’t forget plenty of water.

3. Planning for the weather

While you’re listing what to bring to a picnic, don’t forget to prepare for a range of weather possibilities. A glorious sunny day calls for protective supplies; it’s always a good idea to include sunscreen on your picnic list whatever the forecast says. Sun hats are great for staying cool, and everyone should bring a pair of sunglasses to keep the glare out of their eyes.

In addition to preparing for the sun, you’ll want to take warm clothing in case it gets cold. Waterproof jackets are a good idea too, in case there’s an unexpected downpour.

4. Outdoor games

Even if your idea of a great picnic is chilling with a book, it’s pretty much a given that some people will prefer more active picnic ideas. Whether it’s a cricket bat, tennis rackets, a board game or a hula hoop, taking a selection of outdoor games will help to keep your bunch of picnickers happy.

With a thorough checklist and some top picnic food ideas your family day out will be a great success. Download our PDF of picnic ideas so that you don’t forget a thing!

The picnic checklist: what to bring with you

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