Picnic necessities, from baskets to blankets
Everything you need for a picnic, and where to find it.
Yay! It's the perfect weather for a picnic. But do you have everything you need for a relaxing, hassle-free meal on the grass? Here's some great gear that will ensure an enjoyable time with friends, family, food and drink.
Some baskets come pre-packed with supplies. However, these are usually meant for two people, and can be a bit limiting when picnicking with a group. My choice is the Picnic Time Insulated Collapsible Basket ($43.95) from Overstock.com. This roomy basket is available in a variety of colors, and because it comes empty, you can pack it according to your specific needs. Plus, the basket is collapsible; I actually pack it in my suitcase for impromptu picnics or shopping excursions when I'm traveling!
A foldable, portable blanket is a must-have. Ideally, it should have a water-resistant bottom for post-rain picnicking. I love the Eagles Nest Outfitters Launch Pad Festival Blanket ($64.95) from Mountain High Outfitters (www.mountainhighoutfitters.com) because of its large size, storage pocket, super-soft fleece top and coated rip-stop bottom. The blanket even folds up into its own little pouch with a carrying strap.
Pack your hot or cold food in colorful, double-wall insulated To-Go Food Containers ($14.99 for 24-ounce and $12.99 for 12-ounce) from Aladdin, www.shopaladdin-pmi.com. They're super sturdy, leakproof and microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
The 16-ounce Hybrid Plastic Mug ($9.99) from Aladdin is double insulated for holding hot or cold beverages.
For snacks and fruit for the kids, try the versatile Sumo Snack Stacker ($18) from Zoli Baby, http://www.zolibaby.com. You can take one cup — or two or three!
The Utensils, Plates and Bowls
For cutlery, I recommend the Sutherland Bordeaux Picnic Wallet ($24.99) from Picnic World, www.picnicworld.net. This tri-fold wallet contains utensils for four people, plus it comes with salt and pepper shakers, a cloth napkin, a cheese knife and a wooden cutting board.
If you don't want a bunch of dirty dishes tossing around in your picnic basket, disposable plates and bowls are the way to go. But if you're going to create a bunch of garbage, why not go sustainable? The Solo Cup Bare Collection ($3.08 for 15 plates) features environmentally friendly cups, bowls and plates.
If you picnic with wine, you've probably had a bottle or two tip over. Never again with the Tovolo SteadySticks Wine Bottle Holder ($13.99) from Bigkitchen.com. Stick this into the ground, and your bottle stays steady and secure.
Bugs can ruin a picnic. If you're hiking to your picnic spot, make sure to bring a bottle of bug repellent with you. I like Avon's Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Pump Spray ($6.99), which repels bugs for eight hours and contains SPF 30.
Trae Bodge is a beauty and lifestyle expert who writes for retailmenot.com, the online magazine of RetailMeNot.