The ultimate picnic essentials

Ever tried eating couscous with your bare hands? We don’t recommend it! Ensure you remember the cutlery, and everything else that’s vital for a perfect summer afternoon outdoors, by reading our handy guide on picnic essentials.

Man preparing a bbq in the family's backyard

Going on a picnic with friends or family is a great way to spend quality time together, and with a bit of planning, it can be even more special. From prepping easy picnic food, to packing for unplanned weather, making a list of all the must haves will help you to remember everything you need.

If the weather isn’t promising, or you prefer not to travel too far, don’t forget that there’s plenty of picnic ideas at home as well! Set up a comfy blanket in your garden, balcony or even living room and inject some fun into family mealtime - whatever the weather.

Save our handy picnic checklist (found below) to help you plan what to bring 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 checklist

First, list all of the picnic essentials. Think of everything you’ll absolutely need for a comfortable lunch outside (minus the food) and stick to it. 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, a big picnic blanket, for everyone to sit on comfortably and your trusted Plenty Handy Towels, to clean hands and faces.

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


Did you know that you can throw your Plenty kitchen paper in the compost bin?! As long as you only use it to clean up spillages and no chemicals touch your Plenty towels, then you’re good to dispose of them in your food or green waste bin. You can also throw in the cardboard roll, but make sure to break it into small pieces to help it biodegrade sooner.

2. Picnic lunch ideas

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 picnic favourites like mini quiches or homemade pizzas.

But there’s no need to add any extra stress - the best picnic foods are simple, popular dishes so we’ve put together a list of our favourites:

  1. Potato salad
  2. Strawberries and/or cherries
  3. Watermelon
  4. Pasta salad
  5. Pinwheel sandwiches
  6. Bread and Cheese
  7. Devilled Eggs
  8. Crisps
  9. Cured meats
  10. Fruit salad

If these haven’t tickled your fancy, then you could try some other easy snacks like pre-cut veggies or sausage rolls (both vegetarian and non).

As you can see there’s really something for everyone! If you’re looking for specific family picnic ideas we’ve put together some kids tested food options too. You can wrap all your picnic food in absorbent Plenty Handy Towels, along with a range of your favourite seasonings and dips.

Finally, remember plastic cups or reusable glasses for your drinks and make sure to bring along plenty of water too!


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 used kitchen paper and leftovers so that the area is left as you found it.

3. What to bring to a picnic depending on the weather

While you’re listing your picnic essentials, 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 checklist regardless of what 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 always a good idea too, in case there’s an unexpected downpour. You might want to consider bringing a tent or gazebo along to make your picnic more adventurous, and protect your food in the case of any torrential rain.

4. Things to take on a picnic: 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 entertainments. 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. You could get even more creative and create a treasure hunt or simply bring marker pens, paint and brushes and enjoy drawing with your friends and family.

We hope you found our list of picnic essentials useful and we recommend taking Plenty Handy Towels with you whether it is for wrapping food or drying spills. With a thorough checklist and some top picnic food ideas your day out will be a great success. Save our picnic checklist below so that you don’t forget a thing!

The picnic checklist: what to bring with you

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