picnic sign


Picnic and barbecue season offers lots of opportunities for outdoor fun with family and friends.  But, if you’re heading outdoors to entertain, you’ll want to be prepared with some of the best picnic essentials!  

Today’s post is chocked full with some of the best picnic and barbecue gear that’s on the market.  As a professional caterer, I’ve been using top-notch equipment for decades, and you should to!  I’ve chosen some of my favorite picnic essentials, from coolers and paper goods, to picnic baskets and specialty items.   I’ve even tossed in my “luxury” pick for romantic picnics with just two in attendance!mediterranean chicken focaccia sandwich

Once you’ve found all the new picnic essentials you want to buy, you’ll need a few perfect picnic recipes to take along, right?  Here’s the 5 fabulous picnic dishes I shared in that article:

  • Lobster Roll Sliders
  • Summer Shrimp and Soba Rolls
  • Smoked Salmon Dippers with Grissini
  • Mediterranean Chicken Focaccia Sandwich
  • Fruit Salad with Orange Poppyseed Sauce




Let’s get started checking out my favorite perfect picnic essentials!


perfect picnic essentials picnic baskets


PERFECT PICNIC ESSENTIALS – My favorite picnic basket picks

Here’s my favorites of the many picnic baskets available on the internet!  Which is my favorite?  Well…

For innovation, I’d say the collapsible basket is the winner, and for pure ease-of-use, it’s definitely the backpack version.  Both are completely fabulous and are great choices for going on the perfect picnic.

But, the lifestyle diva in me can’t help but adore the traditional nautical-striped basket from Pottery Barn.  Some might think that’s boring, but me, I’m a gal who values classic lines, stylish functionality and high quality the most.   

Tandoor 4 Person Picnic Backpack, Sage by Picnic Plus

  • Large thermal foil insulated food compartment
  • 2 insulated, detachable, fully zippered wine/beverage bottle carriers
  • Removable leak-proof liner holds ice or ice packs
  • Exterior shell is made with durable 600D polyester and features two soft padded adjustable shoulder straps
  • Set includes: 4 each plates, acrylic goblets, cotton napkins, stainless steel flatware
  • Bottle opener waiter’s tool, stainless steel salt/pepper shakers, wooden cutting board/cheese knife, and a bottle stopper


Amish Picnic Basket – Classic Wicker Tote With Lid by Amish Baskets

  • Two color combinations: wine and blue/wine and green
  • Measures 17 1/2” W  x 14”D x 9 1/2” H
  • Solid wood bottom and carrying handles
  • Western leather carrying handles that tuck neatly away for easy storage
  • Bottom inside measurement is 10 3/4” x 14 3/4” and the top tapers out to 14” x 17 1/2”


Collapsible Insulated Picnic Basket For 4 by Picnic by Ascot

  • Fully insulated picnic basket equipped for 4 with heat sealed leak-proof lining
  • Zipper closure to help keep food hot or cold
  • Rugged polyester canvas with a sewn-in aluminum frame with padded handles
  • Carries up to 65 lbs. and folds flat for storage
  • Includes coordinating 9″ melamine plates & napkins/stainless steel flatware/acrylic wine glasses
  • Measurements Open: 18.5″ wide x 11.5″ deep x 11.5″ high


Providence Woven Picnic Basket for 4 by Pottery Barn

  • Nautical navy-and-white striped interior
  • Willow and canvas construction; flat lid design
  • Reinforced leatherette handle and fastening straps
  • Fully lined interior with cooler compartment
  • BPA, phthalate, lead and latex free
  • Includes picnic service for four; 4-7″ ceramic plates, 4 wine glasses, 4 sets of flatware and corkscrew
  • 21″ wide x 13.5″ deep x 8.25″ high
  • Wipe surface with soft, damp cloth



picnic essentials cooler


Titan Zipperless Hardbody Cooler by Arctic Zone

This is a top-rated cooler with great features and is fabulously attractive too!  If you’ve never seen a “soft” sided, hard-body cooler, this is one worth checking out.  If you’re in the market for a new cooler, you need to give this one a looksie.

  • 16-30-60 can sizes
  • High performance insulation with radiant heat barrier reflects heat rather than absorbing it
  • Patented, “flip open” Zipperless lid allows for quick access to food and drinks
  • FDA compliant Hard Body liner with removable SmartShelf
  • Features an Ultra Safe leak proof, easy clean interior lining; includes insulated front pocket
  • Rhino-Tech water and stain resistant, wipe clean exterior is abrasion and puncture resistant
  • Adjustable Backsaver shoulder strap with shoulder pad
  • Interior liner dimensions: (L x W x H) 16.5″ x 9″ x 10.25″


Igloo Glide Pro 110 Roller by Igloo

perfect picnic essentials igloo cooler

  • UV inhibitors and infrared technology protect cooler against sun damage
  • Thick Ultratherm foam in body and lid provides MaxCold 5 Day performance
  • Another Igloo Industry First: Horizontal telescoping handle requires 50% less lifting effort
  • Soft-ride wheels for easy transport & smooth ride
  • Cushion grip handle for comfortable towing
  • Virtually indestructible stainless steel hinges
  • Threaded drain plug allows for easy draining of melted ice and option for hose hook-up
  • 110 Qt. capacity enough space to hold 168 cans


Coleman Steel-Belted 54-Quart Cooler

Here’s an old standard that has been keeping food and beverages cold for decades. how to plan the perfect picnic

They’re so attractive with color choices from red to this season’s new baby blue version.  I know this probably won’t matter to you when you’re looking for a new cooler.  But this cooler’s true rectangular shape packs and stacks easily in catering vans!  

  • High-capacity, heavy-duty cooler features a charming retro design
  • 54-quart capacity accommodates up to 85 cans
  • Premium insulation offers 4-day ice retention in temperatures as high as 90°F
  • Built to deliver years of performance with rust-resistant stainless steel hardware
  • Comfort-grip steel handles allow for easy, controlled lifting and carrying



PERFECT PICNIC ESSENTIALS – Some great ideas for your picnics


perfect picnic essentials


12 Citronella Tiki Torch Set by Matney  (for Wayfair)

  •  60” H x 4” W x 4” D
  • Easy fill wide mouth can for less mess when filling
  • Full flame lasts up to 5 hours
  • Proven mosquito repellency when used with TIKI Brand bite fighter torch fuel
  • Handcrafted of all-natural, renewable bamboo
  • Includes durable 12 oz wide mouth canister, long lasting fiberglass wick and bamboo snuffer cap


Inflatable Red Gingham Buffet Cooler by Oriental Trading

  • Inflatable vinyl red gingham pattern
  • Inflated: 54” L x 24” W
  • Fill with ice to keep foods and drinks cold during outdoor events


Red Gingham Plastic Tablecloth Roll by Oriental Trading

  • 100 foot roll
  • Durable, convenient and disposable plastic cloth
  • Thin and slightly transparent


Roll-Up Picnic Blanket from by Freeport Park®  for Wayfair

  • Versatile, multi-color striped pattern
  • Constructed of polyester tartan material
  • Underside features a durable, water-resistant backing to repel damp surfaces
  • Lightweight and portable, rolls up and fastens with a hook & loop closure
  • Convenient carry handle



I also wanted to include a few of my favorite “specialty” picks that aren’t strictly necessary.  While that may be true,how to plan the perfect picnic these items are lovely to have when you’re entertaining guests outdoors.

Opinel Nomad Cooking Kit  from Everything Kitchens

  • 12 Serrated Folding Knife
  • 10 Folding Corkscrew Knife
  • 6 Pocket Peeler
  • Beechwood Cutting Board
  • Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
  • Made of stainless steel, hand wash only
  • Beechwood handles
  • Made in France
  • Each knife features a locking mechanism
  • Compact storage


Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Food Flasks by Yelocota

These are an off-premise caterer’s best friend when transporting prepared foods to an outdoor venue.  I had a collection of various sizes perfect for sauces, chilled soups and even hot chocolate for an ice-skating party at a nearby lake!


perfect picnic essentials

  • Durable stainless steel interior and exterior
  • 27 ounce capacity
  • Keeps foods hot or cold for 10 or longer
  • Leak-proof, silicone sealing ring
  • Air button on inner lid to prevent burning from hot air pressure escaping


Bamboo Food Tent by Bed, Bath and Beyond

When you’re enjoying a fabulous day at your favorite picnic spot, this bamboo food tent with netting will help keep your food protected from insects.

There are a number of inexpensive ones out there, but this is by far the most attractive option.  And at this price point, you can use several to cover all your perfect picnic recipes!perfect picnic recipes

  • Bamboo frame with inset netting
  • Measures 13″ L x 9 1/2″ H
  • Wipe clean with damp cloth



perfect picnic essentials



There are so many vendors that sell incredible Summer party and picnic goods, it’s not possible for me to pick favorites.  So, I decided to give you a list of companies that have great selections to choose from instead.  I’ve no doubt you’ll find something to tickle your fancy!




picnic essentials bamboo plates and flatware


If you’re a regular visitor to Ingredients For A Fabulous Life, you know how I feel about trying to live a “green” life.  No, I’m not necessarily living sustainably, but I try to do my part to save our environment whenever I can.

So I keep a supply of these “in-house” to use instead of plastic or paper.  I love the natural-look they have on my picnic buffets too!




luxury perfect picnic essential


Personalized Picnic Table Wine Carrier  (Amazon)

This is my personal favorite of all!  Isn’t this just the cleverest of picnic ideas?  And the fact that it can be personalized makes it a fabulous gift item too!  Maybe I’ll get my niece one for an engagement gift!

  • Handcrafted by Mike Blaschka
  • Tote-table combo made from cherry wood
  • Personalization with your family name and special date
  • Legs extend to convert tote into a serving table
  • Crafted in Jacksonville, Oregon
  • Tote: 16″ L x 8.5″ W x 16″ H
  • Table: 17.75″ L x 16″ W x 10″ H


PERFECT PICNIC PLANNER PRINTABLE PDF – More “perfect picnic essentials”

If you want a convenient way to plan your perfect picnic, you’ll want to download your own copy of my Picnic Planner PDF after you finish reading this article.

When it comes to how to plan the perfect picnic, my Picnic Planner literally walks you through the entire processAs you work your way through each of the Picnic Planner’s pages, your perfect picnic will start to take shape.


perfect picnic planner pdf pages in yellow graphic

I’ve also included shopping list pages for your picnic groceries and supplies.  That way all your picnic planning notes and information will be in one handy place.  How fab will that be?



Since I’ve been a professional party planner for so many years, I can’t imagine throwing a gathering without some kind of decor.  It can be a theme, a palette of colors, or even some fabulous party printables!  So that’s exactly why I’ve created a bundle of fabulous Perfect Picnic Party Decor Printables, especially for you!

  • Guest Cup Name Labelsperfect picnic party printables
  • Picnic Menu Tent Cards
  • Dessert “Treat” Bag Stickers
  • Picnic Condiment 5 piece Hang Tag Set


 Just download and print the FREE PDFs, and you’re in business. 




Want your own set of PICNIC DÉCOR PRINTABLES, but you’re not on our list yet? 

Why not join in on the fun!

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There’s always something fabulous happening here at Ingredients For A Fabulous Life, don’t you want to stay in the loop?  

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