How to Choose A Quality Picnic Basket and other picnic gear!

choosing a quality picnic basket

You want to buy your picnic gear to last!  How many times have you read in my blogs and picnic review pages my mantra of buy right buy once.  And yet I still have friends and family buying the cheapest picnic sets and BBQs year in year out.  Then complaining when they break after a few uses…and of course I can’t say I told you so!

Read on to learn why spending that bit extra and choosing a quality picnic basket (and other picnic gear) will be a worthwhile investment long term!

Choosing a quality picnic basket (like this Luxury 4 Person Picnic Basket)  that will last you for years to come is worth spending the extra money on. 

There are two main things to consider before you buy a new picnic basket – the size and the design. 

When it comes to size, I would always go up if possible.

There’s nothing worse than not having enough room, and having to cram everything in to your picnic hamper with the lid not shutting!

Luxury Fitted Picnic Hamper Basket, 4-Person (23')

I’d much rather carry the one large picnic basket than multiple picnic bags, cool boxes etc because there’s not enough space. Therefore, when choosing a quality picnic basket I would go for a four-person picnic basket where possible. And if there is five of you then go for a six- person picnic basket, remember it has to carry food for five as well as have enough crockery etc!

I already have the VonShef two tone picnic basket – and it’s brilliant!

As well as being a complete picnic set in a bag, picnic rucksacks and picnic holdalls also usually have an insulated cooler compartment. This means fresh and tasty food all day and far easier to carry on long hikes.

When it comes for design, my advice is to go simple! Neutral colours will tone in with whatever picnic gear you want to get in the future.

The Luxury fitted Picnic Basket above is from the Fine Food Store and’s a great example of a high quality picnic basket!

This stylish and traditional basket is made of high-quality wicker with leather straps, and the contents are plain and elegant in white and cream. It’s one of the nicest picnic sets I’ve seen!

The basket (dimensions 57 x 37 x 22 centimetres) contains:

  1. 4 x Porcelain Plates
  2. 4 x Wine Glasses
  3. Stainless Steel Cutlery 
  4. 1 x Bottle Opener
  5. 1 x Cream Fleece Picnic Blanket
  6. 1x Cream Food Cooler Bag
  7. 1x Stainless Steel Flask  

If you prefer a picnic backpack you might ask why you should spend upwards of £50-£80 on a backpack when there are loads of options for less.

However investing in a higher quality picnic backpack (like this great four person picnic backpack from VonShef) means you’ll notice the difference while wearing it in terms of comfort!  And the quality of the picnic set within the bag as well.  The best picnic backpacks cooler section shouldn’t rip after a few uses.  


Best Picnic Blanket

The Scotland Kilt Company Scottish Throw Large Wool Tartan Rug in MacKellar - Warm Picnic Travel Blanket - 60 x 70”

Of course, the next picnic staple on the list after choosing a quality picnic basket is choosing a high quality picnic blanket!

Again with picnic blankets I think estimate up when you’re looking at the size you’ll need.

One thing I’d say is ALWAYS get a picnic blanket with a waterproof backing! There’s nothing worse than a soggy blanket and a wet backside.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to colours and designs here. You can go modern, retro, quirky – it’s up to you.

I’m a firm fan of these great quality picnic blankets by The Tartan Blanket Company. Measuring 150 x 170 cm, they have a durable waterproof backing and come in a range of colours.

My choice was the Buchanan Antique Tartan, I just loved the colour combination.

Best of all (IMHO) is the fact that these are great sustainable picnic blanket choices too. This picnic blanket is made from 70% recycled wool, and 30% fibres that would otherwise have went to landfill.

Best Cool Box

A good picnic coolbox is your friend on days out. This is particularly true if you’ve brought along a portable BBQ with fresh food to cook.

This Mobicool Electric Cool box is big, but a great option if you’re going to be out for the whole day. 

It’s easy to wheel about with the retractable handle when full, and you can plug it into your car charger to keep things cool en-route!

The main section has a divider for organisation, and this electric cooler has a roomy 18l capacity.

Mobicool MQ40W AC/DC - portable electric cooler with wheels, 39 liters, 12 V and 230 V for car, truck, boat, motorhome and socket

If you’re after a non-electric coolbox then I highly recommend the Coleman range. We have the Coleman Coolbox Combo set which includes a big 47l cooler, a smaller 4.7l coolbox, and a 2l chiller jug.

I’m also really keen to get a hold of a cooler backpack to try. I think these are a really great alternative to a standard coolbag. 

I’ve spotted this 30l version with a hard liner for the backpack coolbag section – watch this space as we buy and review it!

Best Picnic Chair

KingCamp Moon Chair Camping Folding Garden Chairs Heavy Duty Padded Camping Chair With Cup Holder and Back Pocket

When it comes to a picnic chair, I’d actually suggest a camping chair! These are usually better quality and more comfortable.

Plus, they generally fold up easily for transportation! After all, if you’re going to be sitting on it all day, you don’t want to come away with aches and pains from a lack of support.

This is a super comfortable ‘moon saucer’ option from King Camp. The heavy duty steel coated frame supports up to 120kg, and there’s a handy drink/phone holder and rear storage pocket.

If the moon saucer style isn’t for you King Camp also do a more traditional picnic chair – this is Scott’s choice due to the handy mini cooler at the rear of the chair! 

In fact, it’s so comfortable it’s often his go-to chair for sitting in the garden in the summer, even though we have a perfectly good picnic bench and other outdoor furniture!

A great folding chair option is the ALPHA CAMP Backpack Beach Chairs Set of 2 with Cooler Bag – these are really handy for picnics as well as beach trips! 

They’re great for kids too as they’re nice an low to the ground, or just for stretching your legs out!

ALPHA CAMP Backpack Beach Chairs Set of 2 with Cooler Bag 4 Position Classic Lay Flat Folding Beach Chair with Backpack Straps Support 250LBS (Sky Blue)

Best Picnic Table

There are times when a picnic table comes in handy, if you want to raise easily spillable items off of an uneven surface for example.

It’s also a great way to place drinks and snacks within easy reach if you’re using camping or picnic chairs.

Portability is key, and a foldable option is a great investment. 

This folding picnic table from Nestling is fantastic! Made of lightweight aluminium, it folds into an incredibly compact size, and can be stashed in the supplied carry bag.

Nestling Picnic Folding Tables Aluminum Table for Outdoor Dining Tables for Camping/Banquet/Picnic Party/Garden BBQ - Adjustable in Height (Black)

Measuring 90cm by 53cm you get a spacious area for food. But best of all, it’s height adjustable, with each leg being individually adjustable for use on uneven ground.

Outsunny also do this great picnic benches and table set which again folds away into a neat carry case. 

It’s aluminium, so lightweight to carry, and has a pre-cut hole in the middle of the picnic table ready for you to add an umbrella or parasol if you wish.

BrackenStyle Recycled Plastic Picnic Bench - A Frame Commercial Grade Park Table - 6 Person (Black)

Just to add, if you’re looking for a great quality picnic bench for the garden then we love this Brackenstyle recycled plastic picnic bench. Not only is it an eco-friendly option, but the durable plastic material means it doesn’t need retreated or painted every year!

This picnic bench is weather resistant, with a steel powder-coated underframe for extra strength. It’s the same dimensions as a regular picnic bench (150 x 140 x 75 cm) and sits four adults in comfort.

There’s space for a parasol or umbrella, and Brackenstyle do a matching concrete parasol base.

We paired it with this brilliant Songmics parasol with solar-powered LED lights for when the evening creeps in!

Best Picnic Trolley

TMZ Collapsible Garden Wagon Cart All Terrain Utility Folding Wagon Foldable Outdoor Handcart with Big Wheels 265lbs Capacity for Shopping, Camping, and Outdoor Activities-Black/Blue

Have you considered getting a trolley to conveniently shift your picnic gear from the car to your picnic spot? 

These are a really good investment, and handy for all kinds of tasks around the home too!

Garden trolleys are the most sturdy. A great example is the TMZ all-terrain model pictured, which is also foldable for easy storage. However, they can be heavy.

A better option might be a beach trolley or festival trolley. This Coleman Camping Trolley is a versatile choice, and is foldable and perfectly portable too!

It is worth spending that little bit extra for a decent trolley as it will last you for much longer, and you can also use it for nipping to the shops, or pop a liner in it to use for gardening – the list is endless!

Coleman Collapsible Camping Wagon, Foldable Pull Wagon, 4 Wheel Festival Trolley, Portable Hand Cart, Red, 106 x 53 x 100 cm

Best Picnic Accessories

You might think it’s silly to spend too much on picnic accessories. But when you’re choosing a quality picnic basket it makes sense to fill it with quality items. 

Spending well and buying built-to-last picnic accessories is not only sensible, it’s sustainable too!

This is an area where I could happily write for hours, but I’m going to narrow things down to three essentials – a great flask, picnic plates to last and the only picnic cutlery you’ll need!

Stanley Classic Legendary Thermos Flask 1.4L - Keeps Hot or Cold For 40 Hours - BPA-Free Thermal Flask - Stainless Steel Leakproof Coffee Flask - Flask For Hot Drink - Dishwasher Safe - Green

I can’t recommend Stanley enough for flasks. I remember my dad taking them on picnics when I was little – they’re amazing quality.

They aren’t the cheapest, but they’re TANKS! Built to last, you won’t need another flask for a long, long time!

Pictured is the Stanley Classic 1.4l in classic Hammertone Green. It’s BPA free, and has superior insulation to keep your hot drinks hot for around 40 hours. 

It’s just as good as keeping things cool – liquids will stay chilled for up to 35 hours. 

The whole Stanley Range is worth a look, they have some great products. 

From lunchboxes to food thermos flasks to insulated drinking and coffee cups, there’s something for everyone (and some great gift ideas!).

Being balanced if you would rather use genuine Thermos Food Flask items like my mum and dad then here is a link to the Thermos Flask shop

If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’ll know how important sustainability is to me! 

So when it comes to picnic plates eco-friendliness is up there on my priority list too.

The Shopwithgreen range adds up when you’re buying items individually, but they’re very good quality. Made from natural wheat straw fibre, they’re BPA free and lightweight, as well as dishwasher and microwave safe.

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The range includes drinking cups, plates and bowls in a large variety of sizes. There are even divided serving plates for little ones! The ‘blush’ range comes in a mixture of pretty, versatile pastel colours.

The bonus of buying items individually is that you can build a picnic set that’s truly tailored to your needs!

Light My Fire Camping Spork - Titanium Spork + Reusable Straw + Cutlery Case - 3 in 1 Camping Cooking Utensils - Picnic Cutlery - Camping Eating Set - Bushcraft - Backpacking Spork - Lunchbox Spork

Lastly, if you want picnic cutlery to last, this all in one tool from Light My Fire is possibly the last eating utensil you’ll ever need for picnics or camping!

Don’t let the price put you off – remember buy right buy once!! 

The set from this Swedish brand includes a titanium ‘spork with serrated edge for cutting, and a titanium straw suitable for hot or cold drinks.

It’s eco-friendly, BPA free and virtually indestructible. It also doesn’t give you that metallic taste that some cheaper cutlery brands do.

I know I said just three accessories but before I sign off I just wanted to mention my favourite reusable water bottles by Hydro Flask – you can read our in depth hydro flask review here.

What do you think? Will any of the above make it on to your picnic wishlist?!

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Last update on 2024-05-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author
Alexandra is a longtime party planner & event specialist who loves to host fun picnics, parties and events for friends & family.  She now uses her expertise to recommend the best products on the market for you to get out and enjoy life.

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