Picnic Packing Checklist

Who doesn’t love a picnic? But unpacking your basket and realizing you forgot an essential―not so much. Use this checklist to make sure you’ve got it all. 

Food and Beverages

  1. Check Casual foods, preferably sandwiches or other things you can eat without utensils

    Avoid foods with mayonnaise. Pack everything in lightweight, resealable containers.

  2. Check Ice pack or bags of ice

    Food can spoil and harbor bacteria when not stored at the right temperature. Keep everything cold with refreezable ice packs, or fill a couple of resealable bags with ice cubes: They’ll chill food as it’s transported. Add ice cubes to drinks during the picnic. Empty out whatever remains before you go, for a lighter trip home.

  3. Check Drinks

    Bring an assortment of kid-friendly and adult beverages, such as bottled water and juice.

  4. Check Condiments

    Some ketchups and mustards come in mini jars that are small enough to throw in your tote. (Keep the jars to refill at home for your next picnic.)

  5. Check Salt and pepper

    Allow everyone to season their food to their liking on the spot.


  1. Check Cups and plates

    Whether you choose eco-friendly paper, plastic, or bamboo, lightweight, stackable dishes make packing easy. Tip: Stalk Market plates ($4 for 15) are made from renewable sugar cane fiber; buy at greenfeet.com.

  2. Check Utensils, if needed

    Opt for reusable utensils.

  3. Check Serving utensils, if needed

    If you’re serving salads, you may need tongs or serving spoons.

  4. Check Cutting knife

    Look for one with a cover for safe transporting. Or wrap the blade in a kitchen towel.

  5. Check Small cutting board

    It’s always handy to have a firm surface for slicing meat, cheese, and bread.

  6. Check Corkscrew or bottle opener

    Or both.

  7. Check Napkins

    If you prefer not to use cloth, look for ones made of recycled paper or other materials.


  1. Check Trash bags

    Don’t leave a mess behind. Dispose of everything you bring to the picnic site.

  2. Check Moist towelettes

    When you don’t have access to running water, these make it easy to wash up after eating.

  3. Check Paper towels

    Keep a roll on hand for mopping up spills and wiping bowls, containers, plates, and utensils before you pack them back up.


  1. Check Blanket

    It should be large enough to comfortably hold all your picnic-goers and food. A light one that folds small is a bonus.

  2. Check Tote, backpack, or picnic basket

    Stow everything in a lightweight, roomy carrier.