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17 Top Picnic Packing List Items for 2024 + What To Wear & NOT Bring

picnic packing list
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Picnic season is upon us and it is such an exciting time of year. Wherever you are going on a picnic, there is almost nothing better than sitting out in the nice grass with loved ones, or on a first date and eating yummy finger food! The beautiful places where you can have a picnic are endless.

It is always good to be prepared when you are out on any adventure, and pack things for whatever may happen. Below there is an entire list of everything you mustn’t forget when you are out on a picnic.

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What to Pack for a Picnic - 17 Essentials

  • 1. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Bringing an umbrella along to a picnic is such a good idea something you may forget! Not only to provide some shade but also to proteand ct against wind and rain in case it begins to sprinkle. This is the perfect umbrella for traveling around because it’s only 1 pound and 12 inches long, it can fit in any small bag.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 2. Picnic Basket

    You can’t have a picnic without a picnic basket. This picnic basket is perfect because not only does it come with a pop-out table, but it also has an insulated cooler built in and is perfect for fitting a good amount of food and drink.

    Picnic Basket

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  • 3. Cooling Towel

    For the hotter days, having a cooling towel is a game changer. Not only does it pack up tightly in any bag, but it cools instantly. By just simply dipping the cooling towel in water, it will keep you cool for up to 60 minutes!

    Cooling Towel

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  • 4. Life Straw Water Bottle

    Having this straw water bottle wherever you go is so important. You never know when you’ll run out of water and with this life straw water bottle, you can fill up with any water without being nervous about the quality of the water. With the built-in life straw up to 99.9% of bacteria is filtered out, making any water safe to drink!

    LifeStraw Water Bottle

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  • 5. Quick Dry Towel

    Picnics often include sitting by a lake or a small body of water. Always be prepared by bringing a nice towel along to dry off. We suggest having this quick travel towel because it dries 50% faster than regular towels and it packs up so compactly.

    HERO Travel Towel - Blue

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  • 6. Day Bag

    Whether you are bringing extra food along, your water bottles, towels, chapsticks or anything else, pack everything in this backpack for easy access and remain hands-free!

    Day Bag

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  • 7. Neck Wallet

    Anywhere I go, I like having all my important cards and my cell phone in a safe and comfortable place where I know it won’t get lost or stolen. This neck wallet is the perfect way to keep all of that close to you safe and sound.

    Neck Wallet

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  • 8. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    You never know when you may need to freshen up while out on that picnic date! This toiletry bag is so easy to travel with and keep in your car, and it carries everything you may need to freshen up a little bit. From a comb, to breath mints, this toiletry bag got your back all in one place.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 9. Picnic Blanket

    Of course, no picnic would be complete without a nice blanket to lay down on the grass. This blanket is the best because it’s easy to carry around, it’s waterproof and sand proof for beach picnics.

    Picnic Blanket

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  • 10. Packing Cubes

    Even though you won’t be packing your whole wardrobe for a picnic, you will probably like to bring a few extra layers for the unforeseen weather. These packing cubes make packing clothes so much easier! They fit everything you need perfectly and then you can fit the packing cubes comfortably in your car where they will be out of the way and save space.

    Packing Cubes

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  • 11. Portable Charger

    Having your phone die when you’re away from outlets is a little frustrating. If you are out on a picnic, make sure to bring a portable charger to keep that phone from dying. This charger is great because it’s compact and will charge your phone for two full charges.

    Portable Charger

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  • 12. Universal Travel Adapter

    You never know when you may need to have this universal travel adapter. Don’t regret not being able to plug in your phones or your USB wherever you are.

    Peru power adapter

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  • 13. Travel Insurance

    Maybe you reserved a beautiful spot on a beach, or set something up with a resort! Have your back covered wherever you go with this travel insurance. It will also protect you in case of any injury you may get while out on your travels.

    Travel Insurance

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  • 14. Bug Spray

    Picnics often take place in places where the mosquitos just won’t let up. Make sure to bring a good quality bug spray to keep the bugs away so you can enjoy your picnic and not worry about the bugs.

    Bug Spray

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  • 15. Waterproof Phone Case

    If you are lounging by the water, this universal waterproof phone case is a must. I like to prepare before going to water by keeping my phone in this waterproof case so I can be safe, not sorry. This waterproof phone case will fit any phone and you can still use your phone without taking it out of the protective case.

    Universa Waterproof

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  • 16. Virtual Private Network

    Anytime you leave the house and are on a public network, your personal information is at risk of being stolen. Protect yourself and your private information with this VPN or virtual private network.


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  • 17. Sunscreen

    As picnics are generally outdoor activities and are done during the warmer times of the year, sunscreen is extremely important to have on while being outside.

    Sunscreen Stick for Face

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What to Wear on a Picnic

Picnics generally take place when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. However, we can never know when the next sudden rain shower may come. It is important to be prepared for all types of weather when going out on a picnic and have everything you need for rain or shine.

Dress cute and casual, wear clothes that are comfortable with comfortable walking shoes. The ultimate sportswear isn’t necessarily needed for picnics, so feel free to wear clothes that are a bit nicer especially if you are going on a picnic date. Sunscreen and sun hats are always important things to remember to bring. Sometimes, picnics will go on for a while and as the sun sets, it can start getting chilly! It’s also important to be prepared for any wind, so bring a light jacket or a sweatshirt in case of these events.

What Should Women Wear on a Picnic? – (Click to expand)

When going out on a picnic, women can wear clothes that make them feel comfortable and summery. A cute summer dress, or a comfortable pair of shorts are great for a picnic! A nice picnic date can fall into the dusk hours of the evening and with the sun going down, it may get chilly. Remember to pack a light jacket or a sweatshirt to keep warm. The weather may be nice, but always prepare for the worse and pack some rain gear. In case your picnic date happens to be by a lovely body of water, pack a swimsuit in case you’d like to take a dip!

What Should Men Wear on a Picnic? – (Click to expand)

Gentlemen, if this is a picnic date, remember to look nice and wear a nice button-up and some nice slacks to impress the ladies. Men can wear comfortable clothes, and remember to wear shoes that are comfortable and stylish. Bring a hat to protect your head from the sun and if you are lounging by the water, pack a bathing suit so you can jump in! Don’t go anywhere without bringing some extra layers in case it starts getting a little cold.

Packing for the Seasons

Spring – (March, April, May)

The spring is the next time of year (in my opinion) to head out on a lovely picnic! When the weather is warming up, the grass is nice and green and the birds and butterflies are all out. In most states, spring is between 50-60 degrees F and sometimes spring can bring pretty chilly evenings., especially once the sun goes down.

Wherever you are during the spring, typically the weather is mild, not too hot and not too cold. If it’s on the chiller side, you may want to wear jeans and a sweater. No matter what, always pack a jacket for those chilly spring winds and a rain jacket in case of a spring shower.

Summer – (June, July, August)

Summer is another beautiful time of year to go on a picnic. Of course, with the weather being warmer in most places, you can dress accordingly. In some states, summers are extremely hot with little to no rain, so consider going on a picnic near a body of water to cool down. In other states, summers are mild and you can really go anywhere. In general though, summer picnics are great because the evenings will still be warm and you can have your picnic date go long into the evening hours.

In warmer climates, you will definitely want to wear light clothing, a summer dress, and breathable shirts. Sandals are great and easy to take off so you can walk around barefoot in the grass. Sun protection is a must during the summer when those sun rays can get pretty intense and don’t forget bug spray! Those mosquitos and flies love coming out in the warmer weather.

Fall – (September, October, November)

Before the winter comes, there is still some time to get a few more picnics in. In warm climate places, September is still pretty warm in most places, so there is still plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors and in dry climates, rain doesn’t usually come until November.

To be prepared for any rain, pack a rain jacket. As the fall tends to be a little more chilly, wear long pants and have a fall jacket readily available. You may even want to bring a hat and a scarf in case it’s pretty cold or if there is a breeze.

Dressing Appropriately for the Activity? – (Click to expand)
Picnics often include going on nice walks after everybody has eaten to help digest and enjoy the nature that you’re in. Make sure you either pack or wear godo comfortable walking shoes and bring a light jacket in case it starts getting chilly on the walk.

If you are having a picnic near a nice body of water, whether it be a little lake, the ocean, a pond or a river, it’s so nice to be able to jump in the water a while after a nice meal, especially on a hot day. Bring your favorite swimsuit and don’t forget a nice beach towel to lay on and soak up some sun. A swimsuit cover up is great for after the water so you aren’t getting your clothes wet and waterproof sunscreen is a must for when you are getting wet.

Every time I have a family gathering in a picnic setting there are always a handful of yard games all about to enjoy. From cornhole to yard Yahtzee, to bocce ball, yard games bring lots of enjoyment to the rest of the evening! In case you are playing a kickball game, bring your sneakers! You can wear sporty shorts or a tank top to stay comfortable as things start to heat up. And of course, don’t forget sunscreen.

Depending on where you decide to have your picnic, there is a lot of sightseeing that can be done. Whether you are out on your after-meal walk, or while you are just lounging on the picnic blanket, have your binoculars handy in case something interesting pops up! Sunglasses are a must for protecting your eyes while you gaze out on your landscape. You can’t forget a good sun hat as well.

What NOT to Bring on a Picnic

  • 1.Do NOT Bring Glass

    Typically when you are out on a picnic, it’s a lot easier to bring in plastic or cans. Glass easily breaks, making a mess and it’s heavy! To save yourself some hassle, just stick to lighter things like cans or plastic, stuff that is also easier to carry out.

  • 2.Do NOT Bring Too Much Perishable Food

    One thing I’ve learned about going out on a picnic is that the amount of food you bring really matters. It sucks having to lug so much food back home or wasting food because it doesn’t get eaten. Even if you have a cooler, stick to the perfect amount of perishable food that will definitely get eaten so you don’t risk wasting it.

  • 3.Do NOT Bring Valuable Items

    There really is no need to bring your most expensive piece of jewelry or a nice laptop. Oftentimes at picnics, people usually tend to leave their picnic blanket to take a stroll, leaving behind whatever is on the blanket. It’s not a good idea to leave things that are likely to get stolen.

  • 4.Do NOT Bring Heavy Items

    This is a broad term, however it applies to most heavy things. Usually going out on a picnic involves walking out to the location to set up your spot. You don’t want to be carrying heavier things like heavy books, heavy chairs, heavy water containers, heavy coolers and so on. Think light when packing for a picnic.

  • 5.Do NOT Bring Ice Cream

    Even in a cooler, ice cream tends to get melty very quickly. Don’t waste your frozen desserts and leave them for home enjoyment!

  • 6.Do NOT Pack Raw Meat

    Now this is a tricky one of course. If you plan on grilling your raw meat straight away then you shouldn’t bring raw meat at all. You must know that your picnic site has a grill beforehand as well. Raw meat needs to be kept at a certain temperature so bacteria doesn’t grow and the meat doesn’t go bad. You wouldn’t want to risk getting sick by not preparing the meat in time.

What NOT To Wear on a Picnic – (Click to expand)
When going to a picnic, people like to dress nicely, wearing cute summer dresses or nice button downs, but this does not mean you have to wear your nicest tux or ball gown. You can definitely leave the fancier clothes and jewelry at home. This also means ladies, you can leave those high heels at home as well, since you are bound to go on a walk at some point.

Picnics don’t usually happen in the snow either, so it would be kind of silly to bring any snow gear or clothes meant for freezing temperatures. It is good to be prepared by having a jacket, but when people go on picnics, typically they aren’t going on picnics when there is a threat of below negative temperatures.

FAQs About Going on a Picnic

  • 1. Where are the best places to go on a picnic?

    Where are the best places to go on a picnic?

    Of course everyone’s opinion on the best picnic spots are going to all be a little different. Some may absolutely adore beach picnics, while others enjoy a more greasy hill kind of picnic. Ask whoever you are going with what their favorite outdoor spot may be and go from there! Besides the beach or a grassy hill, lakes, a forest spot by the river, a park, or even your own backyard are excellent picnic spots!

  • 2. Are dogs allowed?

    Depending on where you decide to have your picnic, dogs are usually allowed! There are certain beaches where you should check and make sure it’s a dog-friendly beach. Also, state parks allow dogs but have some rules that follow. Check-in with wherever you are going to see if they are dog friendly before you bring your furry friend.

  • 3. What is the best time of year for a picnic?

    What is the best time of year for a picnic?

    Oftentimes, the spring and the summer are the perfect times of year to enjoy a picnic. Being in Northern California, where sometimes the summers are too hot to even go outside, the spring is a better time of year to enjoy a nice outdoor picnic. Unless you go by a body of water to cool down at. Usually, picnics occur when the weather is warming up and the grass is nice and green!

  • 4. What is the best picnic food?

    There are so many great foods to bring on a picnic. Above, I mentioned to keep in mind that bringing a lot of perishable food isn’t always the best idea. Of course, bringing enough for the people going is fine, but it’s a hassle to carry a lot of food out. Here are some of the best picnic foods.

    • Egg Salad
    • Pasta salad
    • Fruit salad
    • Cheese and crackers
    • Premade wraps or sandwiches
    • Chips and salsa
    • Homemade chex mix
    • Pita bread and hummus
    • Biscuits
    • Cookies
    • Brownies
  • 5. What are the best kinds of drinks to bring to a picnic?

    What are the best kinds of drinks to bring to a picnic?

    Bringing drinks to a picnic involves some thought. I mentioned above that glass is usually not something you want to bring, so let’s look at some glass free options that are easy to manage.

    • Pitchers of lemonade, mint water, or cucumber water
    • Water bottles
    • Cans: Seltzer, wine in a can, hard seltzer, ginger beer, or beer
  • 6. How much does it cost to go on a picnic?

    Going on a picnic usually won’t break your bank if you plan correctly. It is fairly easy to find an outdoor area that is free of charge or has a very small parking fee. The only thing left to buy after that is your food and beverage, which doesn’t have to cost a lot either.

  • 7. Are there companies that set picnics up for you?

    Are there companies that set picnics up for you?

    If you are looking for a whole experience, maybe you are setting up a proposal, or a birthday party, there are companies that will set up entire picnics for you! Check your location and see if it’s available near you. These companies basically do everything for you, from food to decorations, to games and location, they’ve got you covered.