Have the slickest spread in sight by serving your Scotch eggs and potato salad with a side of seriously stylish picnic gear. We have suggestions from cool bags to speaker blankets.
We love picnics, and while we’ve been known to enjoy a slightly shambolic spread of mini savoury eggs and supermarket houmous in the park, we also love anything that turns the traditional summer pastime into something more polished. We’ve been busy laying out blankets, gauging the temperature of salads and slashing sausage rolls with wooden knives to find you the best kit for this year…
Picnic gear for summer 2014
Recyclable picnic hamper
There are a myriad of hampers available on the market, but our choice for this year is this recyclable cardboard version. We liked its clean lines and Scandinavian aesthetic, plus the eco-friendly factor, since picnics can be a wasteful affair of strewn packaging. Rather ingeniously, the box folds out into a tablecloth, ideal for two or three people, and you can order matching sturdy wooden cutlery and reinforced paper plates. It takes a surprising amount of weight, including several bottles of booze, but you’d need to supplement it with a cool bag.
Set starts at £14.99, Little Cherry
Ideal for the clumsy picnicker, these ‘Quench’ cups are pretty much 100% unbreakable. The squidgy silicone material is foldable and lightweight, plus the petite size makes them child-friendly. They come in attractive pastel hues and the curvaceous shape and thickness of the silicone makes them satisfying to drink from. We recommend giving them a quick rinse before using for the first time.
Quench cups, £8.95 for two, The Glam Camping Company
Reusable snack wrap
We’re huge fans of sandwiches, but cling film – less so. We think it’s worth investing in one of these reusable snack wraps. The wipe-clean sheet can be folded around a sandwich-sized snack then securely fastened with Velcro, before opening up as a mini tablemat to collect any crumbs. We liked the floral print, but it comes in various designs.
Reusable sandwich wrap, £7.99, Eco Snack Wrap
Cool bag backpack
We came across plenty of cool boxes and bags during our research, including vintage-style metal boxes, traditional plastic trunks and fabric bags, but our favourite was this extremely nifty and compact rucksack. The front compartment contains strong cutlery and plastic plates, an all-important bottle opener, and those likely-to-forget items like a salt shaker and chopping board. The main section is insulated, as is the side compartment for a bottle. It also fits comfortably on your back thanks to the thick straps, although at pushing £60 it’s maybe one for the serious picnicker.
Picnic backpack, £59.95, Joules
This BPA-free box comes complete with a removable ice pack that sits tidily atop your picnic salad, keeping it cool for several hours. The ice pack is neatly designed with a hole for a sauce pot, plus comes with its own set of cutlery. An ideal supplement to a picnic hamper, and a storage container that feels extremely durable.
Sistema Heatwave lunchbox, £8.99, available nationwide
These ethical plates are far more attractive and eco-friendly than traditional plastic versions. Made from organic bamboo, they’re designed to be single-use, but if used for dry foods they can be wiped clean and used again and again. They’re completely biodegradable and come in various sizes, with matching cutlery to boot. The design is clean and rustic, but not to the detriment of function – thankfully, the plates can handle a mountainous pile of food.
Green Tulip bamboo picnic collection, from £6, Not On The High Street
There are some beautiful fabric and wipe-clean, roll-able picnic blankets available online at a range of prices, but for pure novelty we decided to feature this nifty singing blanket. Don’t expect a rave – the volume doesn’t hit ear-bleeding levels, no doubt to the relief of neighbouring picknickers. The fleece fabric is comfy and the rug rolls up neatly, but it should be said the connector for your phone or music player is a little delicate. However, there’s a handy pouch to protect your phone from damage.
Speaker blanket, £35.00, Science Museum