When the warm weather hits, many of us choose to move our imbibing al fresco and opt to perch at a park with a picnic over a dimly lit bar. If that’s on the docket for you, a picnic basket will certainly help.
These baskets have all you need for an en plein air dining and drinking sitch: blankets, cutlery, barware, and space to hold any bottles and snacks needed. Here are our favorite options to get right now.
Best Overall: Picnic Time's Corsica Insulated Wine Set
Included charcuterie set
Not too cumbersome
Only holds two bottles
Wine glasses sold separately
Ideal for the imbiber, Picnic Time’s insulated basket is set up to carry two bottles of your favorite picnic wine, plus all the accessories you would need for a happy hour outside. In the sturdy wicker basket, you will find a stainless steel corkscrew, plus a 6-inch cutting board and cheese knife for matching snacks. There’s also plenty of space for two bottles: be those a red, a white, or a bubbly bottle of wine or a few bottles of batched spirits.
This option features an adjustable shoulder strap for toting the bag around. The durable woven wicker will not crack over time, and the insulated canvas interior washes easily. The bag measures 13.75 inches by 9.75 inches.
What’s Included: Insulated bag, cutting board, cheese knife, corkscrew
Best Budget: Picnic Backpack
Easy to carry
Includes a whole range of items
Wine glasses are plastic
Bag is not waterproof
If you want a heavy-duty, bring-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink bag, this backpack is an ideal option. Included is a full stainless steel cutlery set for four, four plastic wine glasses, four matching plates (and napkins!), a cheese knife, cheeseboard, salt and pepper shakers, and a corkscrew. Strapped to the side of the bag is a matching picnic blanket, and an insulated space for one bottle (though more can be carried on the inside of the backpack).
Plus, the bag is equipped with two carrying straps, making the backpack far more ergonomic than your standard handheld picnic basket. The back is water-resistant and made with high-quality details. For under $100, it’s an excellent spread of stuff for all your seasonal picnicking needs.
What’s Included: 1 bag, 4 stainless steel cutlery sets, 4 wine glasses, 1 stainless steel salt and pepper shakers, 4 matching pattern plates and napkins, 1 wooden handle corkscrew opener, 1 wooden handle cheese knife, 1 wood cheese board, 1 waterproof matching pattern picnic blanket
Best Luxury/Splurge: Wicker Picnic Basket
Includes everything you could need
Minimal room for food and wine
This suitcase-style basket takes the full picnic set up a notch, swapping in standard plastic picnic plates for higher-end options. There are hand-blown wine glasses, porcelain plates, insulated beverage flasks and mugs, and a fleecy picnic basket. There’s an insulated cooler insert, a hardwood cutting board, two plastic containers for storing food, plus stainless-steel coffee mugs and cotton napkins.
If you’re looking for a Downton Abbey level picnic spread, this basket is complete with table linens, natural willow wicker basket, cotton corduroy liner, and leather handles. (Perhaps you should opt for an Abbey-approved Clover Club or Hanky Panky to go with your picnic?)
What’s Included: 4 porcelain plates, 4 wine glasses, 4 knives, 4 forks, 5 spoons, 1 cheese knife, 1 cutting board, 1 corkscrew, 1 bottle stopper, 1 salt shaker, 1 pepper shaker, 4 napkins, 1 wine duffel, 1 cooler, 2 plastic food containers, 1 30-ounce flask, 4 coffee mugs, 1 fleece blanket
Best Design: Sunflora Backpack
High-quality bag and blanket
Includes a wide range of items
Glasses are not dishwasher safe
While this isn’t a traditional wicker picnic basket, your back will thank you for carrying your picnic necessities on your back via this ergonomically-designed picnic backpack. While it may appear to be a typical backpack, inside are inserts filled with picnic needs. There’s flatware for four, glass tulip goblets, corkscrews, cheese knives, salt and pepper shakers, plus a bamboo chopping board.
If you’re snacking, there’s a large (14-inch by 11-inch) food container that can easily fit food and drink for four. A detachable waterproof pouch keeps ice and chilled drinks separate from the rest of the bag. Strapped to the side of the bag is one fleece picnic blanket and an insulated wine and bottle cooler to chill down your beverage of choice.
What’s Included: 4 wine glasses, 4 plates, 1 bag, 1 blanket, 1 bottle bag, 1 backpack, 1 bamboo cutting board, 4 sets flatware
Related: The Best Coolers
Best Set: NatureGear Picnic Set
Spacious enough for food and bottles
A little kitschy
If you’re looking for that more traditional picnic routine, NatureGear’s picnic set features a picture-perfect, wicker basket, right down to the checkered blue and white lining and matching napkins. While some picnic baskets are packed with everything you need for a four-course picnic, this set keeps it simple, including just the bare necessities. Note that the wine glasses are plastic and the plates are on the smaller side, making them perfect for appetizers but not ideal for full meals.
There’s space to hold wine, a bottle opener, four glasses, plus the dinnerware for four for all your snacking needs. If you’re looking for nostalgic picnicking, this set is affordable, adorable, and includes everything you need for dining and drinking outside.
What’s Included: Suitcase-style picnic basket, 4 plates, 4 sets flatware, 4 wine glasses, 4 napkins, 1 opener
Best Insulated: HulaFish Insulated Picnic Basket
Does not include any accessories
HulaFish pulls from the nostalgic picnic-basket design and takes it into the modern-day, with the iconic shape and upgrading it with handy design details. There’s a soft-grip handle to make it easy to hold on long walks, plus an insulated interior to keep all your goods at the perfect temperature. A sturdy construction and extra-large capacity (8.5 gallons) ensure you can store everything from chilled drinks to meats for grilling.
Use this for picnics, or keep it on hand for grocery shopping. When it’s not in use, the basket folds flat for easy storage.
What’s Included: Picnic basket
Related: The Best Canned Spritzes
Best Traditional: Blue & White Striped Picnic Basket
Just includes a basket
Awkward to carry
If you’re looking for just the basket, no additional plates, napkins, and other extras, this woven willow option is elegant and classic. Seemingly pulled out of a storybook, this basket features a woven exterior and a blue-and-white striped lining. If you spill, simply toss the lining in the wash to quickly clean.
The split-lid design makes it easy to access your goods. The classic basket is roomy enough for three or four bottles of wine or other beverages, plus snacks for two to four people. While it does boast one of the best designs on this list, the basket is not insulated—you will need to add ice packs to cool your drinks and food.
What’s Included: Basket
Best for Wine: Verona Wine Set
Just for wine
If your idea of a picnic consists of wine, bottles, or other boozy spreads, this is the basket for you. The cylindrical basket is specifically designed with drinking in mind—it can carry two or three bottles of wine and has all your accessories carefully strapped in, including a cheese knife, bottle stopper, corkscrew, napkins, cutting board, and two wine glasses. Each item is secured via leather straps.
With two canvas and leather straps, it’s relatively easy to carry. It’s the ultimate companion to your next date night. Keep note there is no insulation so if you’re drinking white or bubbles, it will need a bottle chiller.
What’s Included: Basket, cheese knife, bottle stopper, corkscrew, napkins, cutting board, two wine glasses
If you’re looking for a basket for all your boozy picnic needs, Corsica Insulated Wine Set (view at Amazon) is one of the best options on the market, and it’s easy to carry. If you’re going far and packing heavy, opt for the ergonomic Picnic Backpack (view at Amazon).
What is the average size/dimensions - how much can you pack?
A standard picnic basket will hold enough food and beverage for two people, while a larger one can carry food for four or up to eight. Many baskets will have additional items like cups and plates, included, though if a basket doesn’t ensure it can carry between 15 and 25 gallons.
How heavy is the average basket?
Depends what you put in it! Without food and wine, a basket will weigh around 8 pounds.
How do you store a picnic basket?
Store away from sunlight in a closet.
Can picnic baskets be cleaned?
Many can! A good picnic basket will have a removable lining you can wash or wipe after use. The exterior should be waterproof so you can wipe down the basket after use.
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Kate Dingwall is a seasoned beverage writer, with work appearing on Wine Enthusiast, Tales of the Cocktail, and others. She likes her wine ice-cold and is always in for a picnic.
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