When making your supply list remember: in picnics less is definitely more. The fewer encumbrances you bring, the quicker you’ll tote them to and set them up at your ideal locale.
Start with a large, thick blanket. It makes the best portable picnic platform and it’s easy to carry.
Be on the safe side by bringing along a light-weight tarp in case the ground is a little damp as it can be near lakes, rivers, and streams, or after a period of rain. I use a disposable plastic drop cloth that sells for $0.99 at the hardware store.
Finger Food works best on picnics, but a little disposable cutlery allows you to add salads to the menu and eat with dignity.
Disposable Glasses and Plates are easy on the triceps as you carry your loot to and from your picnic spot. If you want to keep your picnic green, both World Centric and Sustainable Earth by Staples make compostable cutlery.
Paper napkins, paper towels, and wet wipes help prevent sticky fingers and faces.
Wine can be decanted into light-weight containers, but if you want to bring it in the bottle, or bottles of beer, don’t forget your corkscrew or bottle opener!
Bring plenty of water to stay well hydrated.
Birdsong and cricket chirps make the perfect picnic chorus for me. But if you want some mood music from your own tunage, use the iTunes account on your phone to keep your load light.
Keep your menu simple, and serve all the food at once so picnickers can graze while in their pastoral settings.
Cold finger foods like sandwiches, chilled roast chicken pieces, veggie plates, and chips, are easiest to pack and to handle. Hummus makes a great dip for carrots and whole grain chips. Using pre-cooked foods and fresh fruits and vegetables relieves you of cooking chores and helps avoid cross contamination caused by raw meats. If you’d like to mix it up with a cold salad or two, avoid those containing mayonnaise, which spoils quickly in the heat. Carry cold foods in a cooler to avoid wilting and spoiling.
Offer a dessert plate of grapes and cheeses for a European flair. Or if you want some sugar, cookies, brownies, or cupcakes travel well and don’t require plates or cutlery.
Avoid foods that melt—the stickiness makes a mess and attracts ants, wasps, and other uninvited pests.
What makes good picnicking real estate? Location, location, location. Spots near streams, rivers, and lakes are prime territory. But grabbing some room with a mountain view can make for a lovely event, too.
No matter where you go, though, keep safety in mind. Don’t feed local wild life. Avoid known bear habitats. Avoid cliffs or any places with unprotected edges along steep inclines. If children are part of the party, be very careful near water and keep them in view at all times.
Check weather conditions before you leave. If there’s a chance of precipitation consider selecting a spot with a pavilion or shelter.
Above all, eat simply, eat well, and enjoy yourself in the great outdoors for National Picnic Day. And if you’re looking for some easy cookbook recipes for picnics, click the book icon to the right of this post.