Grab your spot and see how to prepare for a picnic like a pro

Hosting a picnic during this weekend? Find out how to prepare for a picnic and get ideas to put together your very own essential picnic checklist.

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Key steps

Use our picnic ideas and key steps for your perfect day out:

  1. Plan in advance and make a picnic checklist.
  2. Pack sturdy items on the bottom of your basket with delicates on top.
  3. Take drinks in a special cool bag or surrounded by ice.
  4. Pack warm foods separately from cold.
  5. Don’t forget essentials like bin bags and sunscreen.

There’s nothing quite like a picnic with friends and family al fresco. In order for it to be successful, though, it all comes down to preparing and knowing what to bring to a picnic in the park. Read this guide on how to prepare for a picnic, pick a suitable spot, and enjoy!

Take food that’s easy for people to pick at or make themselves. Forget about making complicated dishes and courses – half the fun of a picnic is everyone diving in!

Make a picnic checklist

The first step is to make a picnic items list. Write out everything you want to take; once you know what to bring to a picnic in the park it’s much easier to remember everything.

Follow our three steps below – starting with a picnic food list – to make sure you don’t leave anything out.

Step 1: Making your delicious picnic food list

Before you start making your list, consider who’s attending the picnic and plan accordingly. Any allergies or food intolerances? What about other dietary requirements like vegetarian, vegan? Will there be fussy children (or adults)?

There’s no point filling your picnic foods list with items that people can’t or won’t eat, and the best picnic ideas are the simple ones. Choose foods that are easy to prepare… and easy to carry! Leave heavy items and just pack picnic essentials. Food like cold meats, cheese, bread, hummus and carrots, quiches, antipasto skewers and couscous salad are ideal! For dessert, fruits are healthy and easy to carry around – just don’t forget to wash them first!

Kids have so much fun during the picnic that their clothes are filthy? Try our articles on removing mustard and sauce stains as well as removing grass stains for help with the clean up.

Step 2: Keeping your picnic food fresh to avoid waste

So, how do you look after fresh picnic essentials?

  • Food like cheese and bread get squashed easily, so make sure they’re packed carefully.
  • Pack your sturdier items – like jars and cans – at the bottom of the bag and place the lighter items on top.
  • Don't spoil the potato salad! Use cool bags or zip-up bags with ice for any items that need to be kept cool. The colder you can keep your basket, the fresher the food.
  • If packing warm food, it’s best to pick a venue close by. Use an extra basket to keep hot foods separate from cold.

And what about liquids? The best idea when it comes to taking drinks is to pack them in a separate cool bag and remember the bottle opener! If you haven’t got a cool bag, you can use an ice pack to keep drinks cool or buy them closer to the picnic venue instead.

Read more about our food waste solutions here.

Step 3: Finishing your picnic list with non-food essentials

Packing for a picnic is about more than just food and drink. A good basket is important, and there are a number of other essentials to add to your picnic items list, such as:

  • Cups, plates and cutlery – try reusable equipment to reduce plastic use if you can.
  • Serving bowls – for salads and other shareable snacks.
  • Wet wipes – to clean up sticky fingers afterwards.
  • Bin bags – make sure you always leave your picnic venue clean and tidy. Recycle your waste if you can.
  • Towels and blankets – for something soft to sit on.
  • First aid supplies – plasters, pain relief tablets, sunscreen and insect repellent are a must.
  • Extra clothing – especially if you have young children with you.
  • Flashlights – only if you’re planning to picnic at night or in rugged landscapes.
  • Portable barbeque - if the picnic idea is a Sunday barbeque, you don't want to forget your portable one. Just remember to check if charcoal and BBQ grills are allowed in your park destination. You can check your council or park’s website to find out more details.
  • $1 coins - if you don't want to carry your portable BBQ around then make sure you have some loose change to rent one instead. Many parks have electric barbeques that you can use for $1.

Now that you know how to prepare for a picnic you can start making plans. It’s all about thinking ahead and making sure you’re prepared in advance. With our simple picnic ideas, all that’s left for you to do is get everything you need and look forward to a brilliant day out.

Originally published