Did you know the first recorded picnics are dated all the way back to the 1600s?

Now that picnic season is upon us, it is no surprise that everyone is bringing out their favorite patterned blanket and their handy-dandy picnic basket. But besides those two age-old picnic essentials, what else do you need to plan for the perfect picnic?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we will give you a rundown on how to create the best picnic checklist. Read on to see how your list compares.

The Ultimate Picnic Checklist

Perfecting the ultimate picnic is simple with the right plan in place. In many cases, it is cheaper than going out to eat, and it can be a fun activity to do with friends and family. You can still enjoy the summer weather and have some fun even if you’re on a budget.

To make life simpler, we have compiled the ultimate picnic checklist for you. 

A Picnic Blanket

What is a picnic without a traditional picnic blanket? In many public parks, seating can be limited, especially during the warmer months. Bringing your own blanket ensures you have enough space for all your guests. You can find a spot in the shade or anywhere that you would like to enjoy your picnic.

You also want to make sure to bring multiple blankets to accommodate all of your food and all of your guests. 

Cups, Plates, and Utensils

Nothing is worse than packing up everything you need, reaching your picnic destination, and realizing that you forgot cups, plates, or utensils. While you can eat certain foods without utensils and dishes, it can get messy and disorganized.

If you want to keep your picnic organized and avoid an unnecessary mess, be sure to pack your cups, plates, and utensils first. In addition, packing a small cutting board and knife can also be beneficial. Having a sturdy and firm surface to cut cheese, meats, bread, or other foods always comes in handy. 

Many picnic-goers prefer disposal utensils. But feel free to pack whatever you like. Just be sure to pack accordingly to avoid any broken glasses or plates.

Trash Bags

Depending on where you decide to have your picnic, you may not have access to a trash can or recycling bin. You always want to make sure you bring trash bags with you so you can dispose of your food waste and trash accordingly.

Bottle Opener

Finding a make-shift bottle opener can be a hassle. And in some cases, it can even be dangerous. To put your mind at ease, be sure to pack a bottle opener.

Ice Packs

Some foods need to stay at a certain temperature to avoid the danger zone. The danger zone is where bacteria can grow on your food leading to food poisoning. Cold food should be stored at 40°F or cooler to be considered food-safe.

Be sure to put ice packs in your cooler to make the most out of them. Keeping them in a confined, sealed space can help keep your food at an appropriate temperature for a longer period. Be sure to find the best ones to suit your needs.

Wipes and Paper Towels

Not all picnic sites have access to running water where you can wash your hands and get cleaned up. In that case, wipes and paper towels are necessary for all picnic goers. Be sure to bring wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and paper towels to keep your hands and surfaces clean.


It’s always nice to pack simple foods that are easy to share for your picnic adventure. However, it’s completely up to you and your guests to determine what type of food you want to indulge in. For ultimate ease and convenience, many picnic-goers stick to sandwiches, salads, and simple finger foods.


Bring a water bottle or grab a few juices or sodas to quench your thirst. Be sure to bring cups to share with your guests.


If you don’t want to bring a whole bottle of condiments, you can stop at a local fast food place to grab a few packets for your picnic extravaganza. Or, if you have small Tupperware containers, you can fill a few for your picnic to avoid bringing the entire bottle.

Bug Spray

What is a picnic without pesky bugs? No one enjoys bug bites while they are trying to enjoy the outdoors. Applying a bug repellent can help reduce your risk of bug bites and allows you to enjoy your picnic without interruption.

If you’re not a fan of traditional bug sprays or lotions, give these natural bug repellents a try:

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Greek catnip oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Citronella
  • Neem oil
  • Lemon eucalyptus


Eating outdoors is all fun and games until you get a sunburn. It’s always better to enjoy the great outdoors when you are thoroughly prepared. Be sure to apply and pack extra sunscreen for your outdoor adventure.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before you make contact with the sun; that’s how long it takes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and take effect. To get the most out of your sunscreen, be sure to cover all exposed skin with sunscreen and rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.

It’s Time To Check Off Your Picnic Checklist

Now that you have explored our picnic checklist, you now know everything you need to know to plan your ultimate summer picnic. Be sure to check back to our list before you head out the door, to make sure nothing is left behind.

If you would like to learn more about how to plan for other fun summer activities, check out our most recent articles.