This summer is definitely different than seasons past. But you can make the most of it by finding some fun, socially distanced outdoor activities that can make life feel a little less crazy and a lot more normal. One expert-approved idea is taking the time to go on a picnic in the park (or even the backyard if you’re not feeling up to walking or driving).
Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, M.D., an integrative medicine physician and the medical advisor for AllTrails (an app designed to help you get outside safely) told us that getting outdoors during this time of social distancing has a multitude of benefits.
“As long as you are healthy and practicing responsible social distancing, it’s more important than ever to get outdoors at this time; not just for physical health, but particularly for the mental health benefits,” she says. “Getting outside also supports our immune system. From the vitamin D that we soak in from the sun (just remember the sunscreen!) to the phytoncides we inhale from the trees and soil, spending time outdoors is a great way to stay healthy.”
And it seems as though shoppers agree—searches for picnic baskets are skyrocketing on Google , and Amazon’s Movers and Shakers page (where popular items like gardening essentials are shown) has featured many picnic baskets these past few weeks. It turns out that there are lots of different designs that can cater to whatever needs you might have, even if you’re just on the hunt for something that can hold your wine on the go.
Take a look at this year’s 10 best picnic baskets, according to customer reviews, which will surely inspire you to load up a basket for an outdoor meal.
If you’re looking for something that requires minimal assembly, this picnic basket is it. Inside you’ll find everything you need for a wonderful adventure outdoors: It comes with four sets of plates, wine glasses, silverware, napkins, and a bottle opener. Plus, it’s temperature-controlled thanks to the basket’s insulated lining.
Reviewers have given the Nature Gear basket a solid 4.6-star rating, often noting its high quality.
“The best picnic basket we've ever owned,” wrote one five-star reviewer. “There is room for everything. Food and utensils are well placed. Insulation works well. Easy to use and carry. And it looks good. Highly recommended.”
You can’t go wrong with a classic wicker picnic basket, especially when it houses everything you need—right down to the salt and pepper shakers. Along with the essentials, the August Grove basket includes a waterproof mat that comfortably seats four and can easily be hosed down after each use.
A Bed Bath & Beyond exclusive, the Bee & Willow basket set comes in a divided basket that’s perfect for organizing treats and snacks. While it’s made for the park, shoppers say the quality of place settings rivals those found in any dining room.
“It’s classy, and has the authentic kind of picnic basket look and feel I was going for,” wrote one reviewer. “I received a lot of compliments about this basket... Definitely would recommend it if you’re not looking to break the bank on a picnic basket and still get good quality and luxurious appeal, as they can get really expensive on other sites.”
This insulated cooler makes traveling to picnic destinations a breeze thanks to its easy-to-transport design. The cooler (which reviewers say is big enough to fit two wine bottles) comes on wheels and has a retractable handle that’s perfect for taking with you on the go. And in addition to the cooler bag, it comes with a separate pocket filled with place settings and cutlery. Shoppers say the wheeled design makes all the difference, especially on hot days.
Sometimes, simple is best. AllCamp’s insulated basket has a solid 4.7-star rating at Amazon and is the perfect no-nonsense buy for any household. The foldable bag can easily be stored when it’s not in use and provides all the cooling and temperature regulation you need while outside. Shoppers say the lightweight bag is easy to carry, even though it can hold a lot of your items at once.
“It is the perfect size for my family of four,” wrote one five-star reviewer. “It will carry enough meals and drinks for all of us. It is sturdy and lightweight… This basket definitely keeps everything cold for several hours. It is a great price and works perfectly.”
If you’re on the hunt for the classic, no-frills picnic basket, this one is it. Coming in at just under $20, the extremely affordable accessory comes with foldable handles and checkered-print lining that are all Americana. What’s more, the woven basket comes with a lifetime guarantee, so you’ll be able to get plenty of use out of it.
Buy It: California Picnic Natural Woven Woodchip with Double Folding Handles, $21 (originally $26), Amazon
Not only does this picnic bag have room for one bottle of wine, it actually has room for two. And the bag will keep them cool with separate insulated pouches designed for long-term temperature regulation. Along with the traditional place settings, when you buy this picnic basket you’ll also get a cutting board, cheese tool, and wine glasses. Carrying all that won’t be difficult, though, as the bag’s shoulder strap comes with a pad for added protection and comfort.
"I can't believe what all you can fit into this bag," wrote one shopper. "Very well thought out and top quality... worth every penny!"
Take your picnic up a notch with this easy-to-carry, over-the-shoulder, insulated cooler. The tote comes with several compartments to store everything you might need—sunscreen, keys, wallets, etc.—in addition to whatever treats you bring along. The three separate storage compartments make packing up a lunch easy and organized, and the adjustable strap will make whatever commute you’ve got underway just the same. Shoppers say the compact bag can function perfectly as a lunch box, too.
“It is very efficient and cute,” wrote one reviewer. “Especially for a busy person like me who is out and about the whole day, and would rather pack a lunch with snacks instead of buying.”
Sometimes a single shoulder strap or pair of handles isn’t enough in terms of comfort. If you’re someone who enjoys a little extra support (and a little less weight for your arms to hold), the Sunflora backpack is a great and sturdy option. The backpack is Amazon’s best-selling picnic accessory, which is no surprise since it comes with all of the features anybody would need: cutlery sets, dishes, a cutting board, a blanket, a spot for wine bottles, and an insulated interior.
When it comes to all the options out there, one passionate shopper said, “This is the one to get.”
“'I’m so in love with this backpack,” wrote another shopper. “It really is an amazing value with everything that it includes. I was most surprised at the quality of the actual backpack. It appears to be very durable and of high-quality material.”
For those on the hunt for a picnic basket that doesn’t really look like a picnic basket (but operates just the same!), this youthful bag does the trick. The fun pattern combines with the functional features to make for a truly useful carry-on that comes with a huge insulated interior big enough to fit a footlong sub or two, in addition to all the snacks and drinks your heart desires.
“I’m so happy with this cooler bag,” wrote one shopper. “It is perfect for right now since we all are having so many gatherings outside. It's great to bring to a park or over to a friend's house. Plus, it has additional storage pockets outside for napkins, koozies, and more.”