Whether you’re planning an outing at the park, the beach, or the woods, picnics are always a fun idea to get you out of your every day routine. There are plenty of picnic baskets to choose from to suit any sized outing, specific food/dishware needs, and style ranging from elegant to rustic. Pronto’s Picnic Basket Buying Guide is here to help you sort it all out.
The site of your picnic outing may dictate the style of your basket. Will your basket need to be waterproof? Easily slung over the shoulder to accommodate a bike ride? Will you need food to keep for longer than a half hour?
Of course, the size of your picnic basket will be determined by the size of your group. You can choose between baskets made for 2, 4, 6, or perhaps a backpack-style basket might be more suited to groups anywhere above 6.
Are you packing a full dinner, or only snacks and hors d’oeuvres? Cold sandwiches, or a Cornish hen? If you’re going beyond something simple, are having anything with dairy, or are traveling a long distance, a traditional picnic basket might not cut it.
If you don’t want to use plastic or paper, you might consider a basket that come with special compartments for dishes, glasses and cutlery.
Especially if you’re bringing one or more bottles of white wine, beer, or a liqueur meant to be served chilled, you might want to keep them cold in a basket big enough to fit your essential spirit and glassware needs.
Gingham is a cotton fabric characterized by a checked or plaid pattern associated with picnic tables, blankets, and basket linings.
Some picnic baskets, especially the larger sizes, can be designed in a suitcase style. Instead of having one or two flap openings on top, it is designed to open and close in the style of a traditional suitcase.
A double lid on a traditional picnic basket means that there are 2 opening flaps that may open towards or apart from one another, instead of 1 large opening for the entire basket.
These baskets are typically made out of wicker, rattan, or other types of twigs. These are generally the more posh baskets in terms of style, and are quintessentially lined with gingham. These can range in sizes, catering to up to six people or even more, depending on the particular use. Items ideal for storage in this type of basket include pastries, cold sandwiches, fruit, cold cuts, cold antipasti, and dry goods. You may not want to take a traditional basket if you’ll be biking to your location, or if your destination might be a little rough and damp (such as a rocky cliffside or while doing serious camping). Sometimes you can buy styles of traditional baskets that may look a bit more rustic, however, they may not have any more durability than a Victorian-looking kind, for example.
You’ll want to consider a basket with insulation if you’re traveling to your picnic destination on a very hot day, especially if you have perishable items, or if you want to keep your wine chilled. These also come in various sizes, with some larger sizes even having wheels for easier transport. Some insulated baskets are designed especially for wine and cheese picnics, so you’ll definitely want to consider that depending on your menu. Insular baskets are generally less aesthetically fancy than traditional baskets, so you might feel more comfortable bringing these to more casual occasions like tailgate parties or camping trips.
If your picnic calls for any biking, skiing, or riding, you might need a backpack-style picnic basket. Most of these tend to be insular, or at least made of traditional backpack material. You’ll find these will be much better suited in standing up to difficult weather and most definitely easier to transport.
Features you might want to look out for when looking for your perfect picnic basket include pockets or spaces for cutlery, glassware, and dishes. Some baskets not only have spaces for fold-out blankets, but may even have the blanket included. Sometimes you can even buy a Picnic Set that comes with food already packed and all the necessary items with which to eat the pre-packaged items.