11 ways to upgrade your next picnic
Enjoy a socially distanced gathering in style
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Backyard barbecues have been filling up the social calendar, but sometimes you just want to blow the same ol’ popsicle stand. It’s time to find a new site for your socially distanced outdoor gathering.
We’ve got some ideas on what to bring to a picnic. Beyond stretching out a blanket at a park or on the lawn and covering it with snacks on paper plates, turn your picnic into more of a fancy feast with all the accouterments you might find inside your home.
With picnic ideas like gorgeous, eco-friendly place settings, comfy surroundings (read: blaring sun and biting nuisances don’t stand a chance) and crowd-pleasing beverages to wash down your menu, “this picnic will be perfect” can be a blanket statement.
1. Create some shade
When the sun is too much to take and people are crowded under the only trees around, you can create your own escape with Fatboy’s Miasun sun shade. Stored compactly in an envelope fold, this modern twist on a parasol is composed of pure cotton that filters more than 96% of UVA and UVB. The lightweight retractable aluminum poles dig into the ground and are wind-resistant up to 23 mph.
2. Keep it bug-free
Instead of dealing with greasy bug spray, Greenerways Organic has you covered (or at least the area around you) when it comes to repelling mosquitos and other insects. Just add water to the Mosquito Free Zone packet and hang it 20 feet away from your picnic. Its non-toxic formula has a 100-foot effective radius to repel mosquitos, is safe around dogs and children, and lasts long after your picnic is over—up to seven days, to be exact.
3. Set the mood
When the sun sets, the fun doesn’t need to end.
Garrett Wade’s portable brass candle lantern—modeled after the early 20th-century Stonebridge Lantern—can be placed on a picnic table or hung from a tree branch. It lies flat and then pops into action. Its windows are made of mica (a natural heat-resistant mineral) and the vents keep the flame from flickering.
Get the Garrett Wade portable brass candle lantern at Garrett Wade for $45.60
4. Plate it like you mean it
Paper service doesn’t do your colorful pasta salad justice. You can plate the perfect picnic meal on Thomas Fuchs Creative ½ & ½ melamine dinnerware. The brand’s eco-friendly, handcrafted Picnic set features bright color combos and sturdiness, and comes with four of each: dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls.
- Get Thomas Fuchs Creative ½ & ½ 12-piece melamine dinnerware set at Thomas Fuchs Creative for $152
- Get Thomas Fuchs Creative ½ & ½ melamine 4-piece dinner plates at Amazon for $47.99
- Get Thomas Fuchs Creative ½ & ½ melamine 4-piece salad plates at Amazon for $35.99
- Get Thomas Fuchs Creative ½ & ½ melamine 4-piece bowls at Amazon for $35.99
5. Dab in style
Not to be outdone with gorgeous design, NYC-based Hudsonest creates limited-edition paper napkins in clean, modern designs. To keep up with the latest and greatest color trends, Hudsonest introduces new styles, in three sizes (dinner, cocktail and guest towel), four times a year.
6. Embracing essential utensils
Eco-friendly entertaining translates to forgoing plastic utensils.
Take your next picnic to the next level with Silvr, a stylish, zero-waste travel fork that folds up to the size of a lipstick. Silvr uses antimicrobial 304 stainless steel and has a light aluminum handle.
And no more side-eye when you’re sipping your favorite beverage with a straw. Gosili offers up a line of eco-friendly silicone straws housed in tuck-away tins, as well as Siliskin reusable silicone food bags for sandwiches.
- Get Silvr travel fork at The Grommet for $22
- Get Gosili silicone straws 6-pack at Target for $5.99
- Get Gosili Siliskin reusable silicone food bags at Gosili for $17
7. Get into the spirits
When it comes to alcoholic refreshers, Cutwater Spirits recently launched canned cocktails, all made with the company’s in-house spirits. These include Vodka Mule, Tequila Lime Margarita, Tiki Rum Mai Tai, and Rum & Cola.
Crook & Marker follows suit, pouring up a refreshing tropical twist with its organic super-grain alcohol made from cassava root and ancient grains. Try its Spiked Ginger Ale or its new Spiked Coconut variety pack, which pair perfectly with its wildly popular TasteMask, complete with a straw flap that allows you to mask up and drink up at the same time.
- Get Cutwater Spirits 12-pack at ReserveBar for $42
- Get Crook & Marker 4-pack at Target for $12.19
- Get the Crook & Marker TasteMask at Crook & Marker for $14
8. Board the wine train
Instead of popping open an entire bottle, Usual wine has launched a way to keep your bubbles fresh with every sip. Its sustainable Brut Sparkling Rosé now comes in a 12-pack of individual, glass bottled 6.3-ounce pours (along with the original Rosé combo of still and sparkling).
Wild Tonic also recently introduced a hard variety of its Jun Kombucha (cousin of traditional Kombucha) in four fruity flavor combos, with all the goodness of their non-alcoholic versions (think prebiotics, probiotics, amino acids and antioxidants).
- Get Usual wine Brut Sparkling Rose 12-pack at Usual wine for $96
- Get Wild Tonic hard Jun Kombucha 8-pack at Wild Tonic for $29.98
9. Stay hydrated—with a kick
Nothing goes with a summer picnics better than ice cold lemonade. To beat the heat, Calypso Light (the OG of the flavored lemonade category) recently launched a new line of sugar-free light lemonades for your fruity pleasure.
Gojai carbonated water boasts 45mg of clean, organic caffeine from unroasted green coffee beans, along with organic fruit flavor and reverse-osmosis water for a refreshing boost.
When your picnic comes after a hike, replenish with BodyArmor’s potassium-packed electrolytes and coconut water drink (the Lyte version is a low-cal option).
Or, quench your thirst with Heart Water, a new line of artisan alkaline rainwater sipped from sustainable (and re-usable) aluminum bottles that offers a portion of its profits to help children in need.
- Get Calypso Light single bottle at Walmart for $1.58
- Get Gojai carbonated water 12-pack at Amazon for $21.95
- Get BodyArmor coconut sports drink 12-pack at Amazon for $15
- Get Heart Water 12-pack at Amazon for $60
10. Carry on
Whatever your refresher, leave your clunky cooler in the car. Instead, keep your drinks cool in Intex’s Glitter Mega Chill cooler. It quickly inflates to a deep center (with a lid) ready for ice and your favorite drinks. The built-in cup holders are perfect for avoiding drink mishaps in the grass.
When your picnic is more intimate (read: there’s a bottle of bubbly), the chic crystal acrylic Coolin’ Curve, with its curved design and rounded handle, makes keeping your vintage nice and chilly a snap.
11. Don’t forget to sanitize
Yes, hand-sanitizer gels are über-portable, but the CDC has already stated that handwashing is second-to-none for staying germ-free. Suds2Go is the first water bottle with a built-in foaming soap container and pump. It cleverly separates the soap and water, and includes different valves for drinking and rinsing so you aren’t sipping suds.
The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.