Packing Perfection: 6 Essential Pieces for Foolproof Picnics

By: Emily Lee

The long-awaited season of alfresco dining has finally returned, and the last thing we want to see when we open our picnic baskets is a cracked pie or a leaky bowl of coleslaw. A sturdy carrier is our greatest ally when preparing for an outdoor feast, and luckily, there are plenty of dependable totes, bowls and baskets designed to get your precious cargo to the park in one piece. Here are a few trusted picnicking sidekicks that are worth investing in this summer.

Crate and Barrel: Chill Blue Bowl with Servers, $15

Feasting on creamy, mayo-based salads is a time-honored picnic tradition, but things can get a little messy if your method of transport involves stretching a thin piece of plastic wrap over a flimsy bowl. You can trust your side salads in Crate and Barrel’s sturdy serving bowl fitted with a snap-on lid. Better yet, a built-in freezer disc will keep your food cold for hours.

Crate and Barrel: Red Picnic Cooler, $70

Don’t underestimate it based on size alone: This retro steel cooler in cherry red is essentially a small, compact refrigerator that you can take with you to the park. The built-in bottle opener is truly indispensable for those of us who tend to forget ours at home.

Food Network Store: Lasagna Lugger, $27

It’s called the Lasagna Lugger, but this picnic workhorse can accommodate any meal, hot or cold, that’s prepared in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Slide your cutlery and napkins into the zippered outer pocket, then grab it by the two snap-together handles for easy transport.

Sur La Table: Collapsible Cupcake & Cake Carrier, $30

This sturdy carrier doubles as a pretty tiered display tower for round or square layered cakes and cupcakes. When not in use, the carrier collapses to half of its original size for convenient storage.

Williams-Sonoma: Pie Basket, $70

There’s no need to choose between peach and strawberry-rhubarb with Williams-Sonoma’s iconic wooden picnic basket that’s roomy enough to accommodate two 10-inch pies or tarts.

Le Creuset: Wine Cooler Carry Bag, $27

Nothing spoils a romantic picnic for two like hot Pinot Grigio. This innovative wine carrier doesn’t just insulate, but actually cools wine to the ideal serving temperature within 30 minutes.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Picnic Perfection

Get Melissa d'Arabian's four tips for picnic perfection on FN Dish.

Essential Picnic Checklist

Follow this outdoor dining checklist and you'll be the best-prepared picnicker at the beach or park.

The Ultimate Packable Picnic

Practically any food eaten outdoors in the company of another could qualify as a picnic — "A jug of wine, a loaf of bread and Thou" being among the simplest and best menus still in use more than a thousand years after a poet first suggested it. But once the guest list numbers above three, a few more dishes are in order and a little strategizing pays off. To help plan your next outing, we've assembled a list of totable foods that are easy to eat sprawled out in the sun, plus some handy gear for serving it.

1 Mom's Grab-and-Go List for Packing a Family Picnic

The trick to packing a picnic is bringing just enough essentials without hauling your whole kitchen outside. Here are the must-have items.

1 Mom's Grab-and-Go List for Packing a Family Picnic

The trick to packing a picnic is bringing just enough essentials without hauling your whole kitchen outside. Here are the must-have items.

The Ultimate Packable Picnic [INFOGRAPHIC]

Plan your next picnic with our essential list of totable foods that are easy to eat sprawled out in the sun, plus some handy gear for serving it.

Win This Picnic Essentials Basket!

We’re giving away two bags of BOOMCHICKAPOP, a Napa-Botanica picnic basket, and a fleece picnic blanket and tote to one lucky, randomly-selected commenters.

Pack a Picnic Like a Pro — INFOGRAPHIC

There is a wrong way to prep for a picnic. Get it right with these eight tips.

6 Breakfast Picnic Ideas

What better way to savor the last days of sunshine than packing up a breakfast picnic? Take your pick: we've got muffins, eggs and more, each of them to-go.

POLL: Which Team's Picnic Lunch Would You Pack?

Which of the picnic lunches served on Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race would you pack for a picnic?

On TV

The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

Cupcake Wars

10am | 9c

Cupcake Wars

11am | 10c

Cake Wars

12pm | 11c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30pm | 1:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

3:30pm | 2:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

4:30pm | 3:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

5:30pm | 4:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

6:30pm | 5:30c

Chopped

7pm | 6c

Chopped

8pm | 7c

Chopped

9pm | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beat Bobby Flay

10pm | 9c

Beat Bobby Flay

10:30pm | 9:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

11:30pm | 10:30c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Beat Bobby Flay

1:30am | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30am | 1:30c

Chopped

3am | 2c

Mystery Diners

4:30am | 3:30c

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.