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11 ways to upgrade your next picnic

Enjoy a socially distanced gathering in style

An overhead sot of a family enjoying a bountiful picnic. Credit: Getty Images / Ilona Titova

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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 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

Create your own escape with Fatboy’s portable Miasun sun shade, at the beach or in a park.
Credit: Fatboy

Create your own escape with Fatboy’s portable Miasun sun shade, at the beach or in a park.

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.

Get Fatboy’s Miasun sun shade at Bloomingdale’s for $139

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.

Get Greenerways Organic Mosquito FreeZone at Bed Bath & Beyond for $10

3. Set the mood

Garrett Wade's portable brass candle lantern is modeled after the early 20th-century Stonebridge Lantern.
Credit: Garrett Wade

Garrett Wade's portable brass candle lantern is modeled after the early 20th-century Stonebridge Lantern.

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

A group of friends enjoying a picnic using red enamel plates.
Credit: Coleman

Paper service doesn’t do your colorful pasta salad justice.

Paper service doesn’t do your colorful pasta salad justice. You can plate the perfect picnic meal on a set of Coleman's enamel dinnerware. Made of sturdy enamel, these plates won't chip or break when you're toting theming around outside. It includes matching plates, bowls, silverware, and mugs – so you can inconspicuously enjoy a glass of rosé.

Plus the silverware comes with a pouch to keep your forks and spoons neatly organized while you're en route.

Get the Coleman 24-Piece Enamel Dinnerware Set at Amazon for $49.99

5. Dab in style

NYC-based Hudsonest creates limited-edition paper napkins in clean, modern designs.
Credit: Hudsonest

NYC-based Hudsonest creates limited-edition paper napkins in clean, modern designs.

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.

Get Hudsonest napkins at Hudsonest starting at $10

6. Embracing essential utensils

Two shots of the W&P Porter Utensil Set that comes with a fork, knife, and spoon in a carrying case.
Credit: W&P

Eco-friendly entertaining translates to forgoing plastic utensils.

Eco-friendly entertaining translates to forgoing plastic utensils.

Take your next picnic to the next level with W&P's Porter Utensil Set, a stylish, zero-waste utensil set that comes in a chic carrying case to keep things in one spot.

And no more side-eye when you’re sipping your favorite beverage with a straw. Go for silicone straws, as well as reusable silicone food bags for sandwiches for eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags.

7. Get into the spirits

Cutwater Spirits canned cocktails and Usual's brut sparkling rosé individual, glass bottled servings are picnic ready.
Credit: Cutwater Spirits / Usual

Cutwater Spirits canned cocktails and Usual's brut sparkling rosé individual, glass bottled servings are picnic ready.

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 sunny day.

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).

Get Usual wine Brut Sparkling Rose 12-pack at Usual wine for $96

9. Stay hydrated—with a kick

While you're hanging out in the sun all day, don't forget to hydrate! No one wants their picnic to end with a case of heat stroke.

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.

10. Carry on

Intex's Glitter Mega Chill cooler quickly inflates to a deep center (with a lid) ready for ice and your favorite drinks.
Credit: Intex

Intex's Glitter Mega Chill cooler quickly inflates to a deep center (with a lid) ready for ice and your favorite drinks.

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

Need to wash your hands? Suds2Go is the first water bottle with a built-in foaming soap container and pump.
Credit: Suds2Go

Need to wash your hands? Suds2Go is the first water bottle with a built-in foaming soap container and pump.

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.

Get Suds2Go bottle at Suds2Go for $36.99

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