Whether at the campsite or in the park, eating outdoors (or ‘al fresco’ if you’re fancy) is a summertime staple. We know how easy it is to forget something in the hustle and bustle leading up to your barbecue, so we’ve compiled this picnic checklist for you to print out, stick on the fridge, and refer to while you’re packing up!
- Snacks: Chips and dips, cut fruit and veggies, and nuts are mess free, easy snacks that won’t take up lot of room when picnic packing, plus they won’t easily spoil in the heat.
- Sides: Classics like potato or macaroni salad (vinegar based keeps better in warmer weather), corn on the cob, and grilled zucchini are always crowd pleasers.
- Entrée: What’s your specialty? Burgers, hot dogs, barbecued chicken, and kabobs are always better al fresco!
- Dessert: Fruit salad, watermelon slices, brownies, cookies? Just make sure to finish them all before the ants come…
- Water: It’s important to stay hydrated! Packing up a couple gallon jugs may save some space (and some plastic) and make for easier cleanup when the party’s over.
- Kids drinks: The kids will be running around a lot in that hot sun, so don’t forget to push those fluids! Water is best, but consider packing lemonade or the kids favorite juice boxes just in case.
- Spices: Spices for the table and for whatever you’ll use on the grill. Just make sure those caps are on tight before you pack them up!
- Condiments: Ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, whatever your flavor, bring it along! Just keep in mind that the clock starts ticking on anything dairy based once it comes out of the cooler.
- Silverware: Consider cutting down on waste by packing cutlery from home instead of plasticware. Don’t forget serving utensils as well.
- Plates/Bowls: Plastic, melamine, laminated glass or whatever your choice of reusable tableware as well as larger plates and bowls for family-style serving.
- Napkins: Picnics are messy, pack accordingly.
- Cooking utensils: What’s a picnic checklist without tongs, a spatula, knives, a thermometer, brush, and corn holders?
- Foil: One roll goes a long way (about 75 feet actually).
- Plastic containers with lids: Cookout leftovers are the best! Seal them up tight for the ride home in an airtight container (or a zip-top bag in a pinch) and enjoy them tomorrow!
- Cups: Avoid single-use when possible, or pack a sharpie for writing names on the plastic ones to avoid excess waste.
- Corkscrew/bottle opener: For those non-water beverages.
- Bug spray: Mosquitos, ants, ticks? Yeah, you guys aren’t invited to the picnic.
- Sunscreen: Applying SPF 30 every 2 hours (generally) will keep those harmful rays away.
- Cooler/Ice: A quality cooler and bagged ice or ice packs will keep your food and drink cool on the hottest days. For best results, supplement the ice with YETI Ice. These break resistant frozen bricks come in 3 sizes and are engineered to retain the temperature of cooler, even during the dog days of summer.
- Seating: Camping chairs, a large blanket, waterproof sit-upons, or whatever you find most comfortable to lounge on and soak up the sun.
- Portable Grill/Charcoal/Fuel: Avoid waiting in line for the public grill by toting a compact grill to your picnic site.
- Paper towels: For all the messes that napkins can’t handle.
- Wet wipes/hand sanitizer: For all the messes that paper towels can’t handle.
- Garbage bags: “Carry in, carry out” is the battle cry of the responsible picnicker. It’s important to leave the space looking as beautiful as it looked when you got there, so pack a roll of trash bags, check it off your picnic checklist, and leave nothing behind!