Summer Fun: How to Pack the Perfect Picnic

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to plan a picnic. I love dining alfresco when the weather is nice, from the park to the beach to my own backyard. So today I’m sharing a few tips to make your picnic perfect…

The Spot

While you can have a picnic practically anywhere, your choice of setting will set the tone and determine what exactly you bring along. Consider the following… Will you be hiking to a picturesque spot surrounded by nature? If so, you will want to pack a lighter load for the trek in. Will you be dining in a park with wooden picnic benches? You can skip the blanket in that case. Are you packing a picnic for an outdoor concert or movie? Make sure they allow glassware at the venue.

The Menu

For a picnic, foods that travel well are a must. Think perfect mini picnic sandwiches, pasta salad, or hearty greens like kale that don’t wilt in the heat. Fresh fruit is another good choice, along with a selection of cheese and charcuterie. And don’t forget a thermos full of floral infused lemonade or iced tea.

The Guests

A picnic makes for a great romantic evening, group date, or a fun afternoon with friends. And bonus: there’s really no limit to how many people you can invite, like there might be if you’re living in a small apartment (including your canine friends). If you’re inviting a several others along, I suggest assigning some guests to bring a main course, some a side dish, some a beverage, and some dessert, and then sharing them all potluck style.

The Gear

While your picnic spot will determine exactly what you tote along, there are a few items I recommend having in your picnic arsenal. No. 1 is a chic basket like one of these market baskets from The Little Market. Sure, you could tote along an ice chest or cooler… But there is just something so sweet about packing your picnic the old-fashioned way. (Can you say Instagram opp?) And if you do need a little extra insulation for some of the more perishable items on your menu, simply tuck them into an insulated button bag from my XO(eco) collection, and then stow that inside your basket.

The next item on your picnic packing list should be a soft blanket or oversized towel. Look for something that has a large enough surface area for everyone to sit on, but is lightweight enough to fold down and fit in your basket with ease. In a pinch, an old bed sheet will do!

Lastly, bring along reusable outdoor dishware, utensils (like this folding flatware set), and food storage containers. Target always has a great selection of adorable melamine and plastic dishes. And if you’ll be sipping on an adult beverage, these portable stack ‘n go wine glasses may come in handy. And since I always try to keep things eco-friendly, I use my XO(eco) reusable storage bags in place of any disposable Ziploc baggies. They come in both a snack pack and sandwich size.

The Extras

There are a few extra things that can make your picnic an even bigger success. One is a portable speaker like this one from to blast your picnic playlist. You can also bring along a fun activity like supplies to make flower crowns or a deck of playing cards (William and I love playing gin rummy). And when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a Frisbee!

There you have it! I hope these tips come in handy.

Have you been on a picnic yet this season?

Share your own tips and favorite picnic food below.

XO Lauren

Photo: Yoni Goldberg for