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The Best Picnic Baskets and Backpacks
With matching plates, glasses, and other outdoor dining gear, these picnic sets offer both convenience and charm. Are they the key to a perfect picnic?
What You Need To Know
Whether you’re heading to an outdoor concert or planning to spend a sunny afternoon at a park, it can be a hassle to wrangle all the gear you want. It’s often more convenient to use a picnic basket or backpack equipped with everything you’d need for a picnic, from silverware and plates to cloth napkins and wineglasses. We especially liked three models we tested. The Sunflora Picnic Backpack for 4 was the most portable, with wide, padded straps that made it comfortable to wear even when the backpack was full. We also like the Picnic at Ascot Collapsible Insulated Picnic Basket for Four, a canvas basket that collapses with all its items still tucked inside. For those who want the charm of a traditional wicker basket and don’t anticipate walking long distances, the Picnic at Ascot Buckingham Picnic Basket for Four is a good option. It’s significantly larger and heavier than our other favorites, but the basket’s charm and its stainless-steel silverware and real wineglasses make every picnic feel like a special occasion.
What You Need to Know
If you bring a cooler or a regular insulated shopping bag on a picnic, you need to round up all the necessary plates, silverware, glasses, and napkins before you head out the door. Many people prefer to use a picnic basket or backpack that comes equipped with its own gear and has little pockets to store it all safely. The items are reusable (which cuts down on trash and recycling), and you don’t need to worry about accidentally losing the plates and glasses you use at home.
You can choose from traditional wicker baskets, canvas baskets, and even picnic backpacks. Although their size and shape vary dramatically, each of the models we tested offered room for food and came with assorted picnic equipment. All of them came with knives, forks, and spoons; plates; and wineglasses. Many were equipped with cloth napkins, tiny cutting boards, corkscrews, serrated knives, and salt and pepper shakers. While the included corkscrews and serrated knives got their respective jobs done, they didn’t perform as well as our favorite wine opener or serrated utility knife. The cutting boards were small (generally just 6 by 6 inches or smaller), so their usefulness was limited.
Each model had a slew of tiny interior pockets and straps to keep the gear safe during transit and in easy reach during picnics. We found no significant difference in the quality of the pockets or straps across all the models we tested. All the items stayed put during transit, and none of the straps or closures showed any signs of wear and tear even after we intentionally tugged at them or repeatedly opened and closed them.
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