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- Picnic Time/Business Insider
- Sure you could bring all your picnic foods in a boring shopping bag, but why would you when you can use a cute picnic basket instead?
- Our top pick is the Picnic at Ascot Collapsible Picnic Basket because it comes with everything you need for an enjoyable picnic – minus the food, of course.
The weather is fine, the afternoon is open, and you’ve got the best recipe for chicken salad – Conditions are perfect for a picnic. Whether you’re setting out with your family, planning a romantic outing for two plus a bottle of champagne, or even enjoying a meal on your own, dining in the great outdoors is a terrific and time-tested way to enjoy the pleasant weather of spring or summer.
But you need some way to carry your food, drink, and utensils to your destination, and that’s where picnic baskets come into play. Sure, you could just toss your lunch into a bag or tote, or use a plastic cooler, but where’s the fun in that? Whether you want traditional wicker or something a bit more modern, a good picnic basket signals that something special is on the agenda – It’s not just eating outside, it’s a celebration.
Here at Insider Picks, we’re always up for a picnic, so we decided to assemble a list of the best picnic baskets for every need.
Here are the best picnic baskets you can buy in 2019:
- Best overall: Picnic at Ascot Collapsible Picnic Basket
- Best classic style: Picnic Time Country Picnic Basket
- Best backpack style: VonShef Picnic Backpack
- Best with wheels: Freeport Park Picnic Basket for Four
- Best for two: Picnic Time Piccadilly Willow Picnic Basket
- Best for wine: Picnic at Ascot Wine and Cheese Cooler Bag
Updated on 04/16/2019 by Les Shu: Updating pricing and formatting. Added related buying guides.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best picnic basket overall
- Picnic at Ascot
Why you’ll love it: If you’re looking for a durable, easily cleaned picnic basket that’s perfect for anywhere from the beach to Shakespeare in the Park, you can’t go wrong with the Picnic at Ascot Collapsible Picnic Basket.
It’s not made of traditional picnic-basket wicker, but it’s easy to overlook that when you consider all that the Picnic at Ascot Collapsible Picnic Basket has to offer. This fully insulated, leak-proof, and zipped-shut basket has an aluminum frame, padded handles, and heavy-duty polyester canvas fabric on the outside.
It carries up to 65 pounds of food and drink, which should be more than enough for your average picnic. The picnic basket also includes four sets of stainless steel cutlery, plates, napkins, and acrylic wine glasses.
When the fun is over, it’s super easy to clean – Just give the basket a quick wipe-down and then fold it flat for storage.
This is the number-one pick of The Wirecutter. The reviewer praised the basket’s included glass, plates, flatware, and napkins. He also liked that the Picnic at Ascot Collapsible Picnic Basket folds flat when you’re done using it and it’s nice and roomy, so you can fit everything you want inside.
Pros: Folds flat for storage, durable design, comfortable to carry
Cons: A bit small if you want bring a lot of food for four people, although it’s plenty roomy for two or three.
The best traditional picnic basket
- Picnic Time
Why you’ll love it: If memories of childhood picnics fill you with nostalgia, you’ll love the traditional style of the Picnic Time Country Picnic Basket.
The Picnic Time Country Picnic Basket is as traditional as can be. It’s just the sort of “pic-a-nic basket” Yogi Bear loved to steal and Dorothy used to carry her little dog Toto. It doesn’t include place settings, but it has lots of room for your own plates and utensils, as well as your food and drinks.
The basket is made of sturdy, hand-woven willow, and is fully lined with a cotton/poly red-and-white-gingham fabric that removes for cleaning. The poplar wood lid is split so you can lift each side individually, and when closed, makes a handy table for your drinks. The handle is wicker and very durable, but not padded, so it might weigh a bit heavy on your hands if the basket is fully loaded.
You’re probably not going to choose this basket if you have a long walk to your picnic site, but it’s a lovely basket for a picnic at the park, an outdoor amphitheater, or even for dining in your own backyard.
Pros: Traditional style, roomy interior, reasonable price
Cons: Does not include place settings
The best backpack picnic basket
Why you’ll love it: Combine a picnic basket with a backpack, and you get the ingenious VonShef Picnic Backpack.
You could file the VonShef Picnic Backpack under “Things picnickers in the old days wish they had,” and appreciate today’s ability to carry everything you need for a picnic while leaving your hands free to carry other things or hold onto your sweetie’s – or your child’s – hand.
It may not be the traditional design, but we dare say the VonShef Picnic Backpack is even better. A roomy, fully insulated food storage compartment keeps your sandwiches cool, and the padded, adjustable shoulder straps make it easy to carry a lot of food. The bag also has a carrying handle on top and heavy-duty polyester canvas fabric that easily wipes clean.
You also get place settings for four people, including plastic plates, stainless steel utensils, cotton napkins, and plastic wine glasses. To sweeten the deal, it also comes with salt and pepper shakers, a small cutting board for cheese or bread, a butter knife, and a bottle opener, plus a fleece blanket with waterproof backing and a detachable insulated wine cooler.
Pros: Backpack design makes the basket easy to carry, includes plenty of accessories
Cons: None to speak of, unless you prefer a traditionally styled picnic basket
The best picnic basket on wheels
- Freeport Park
Why you’ll love it: You’ll be the envy of everyone at the concert in the park when you roll up with the Freeport Park Picnic Basket for Four.
If your heart is willing, but your back says, “No thanks,” to lugging a heavily loaded picnic basket to an outdoor play, concert, or equestrian event, you’ll appreciate the ingenious design of the Freeport Park Picnic Basket for Four. This traditionally styled and well-stocked-for-four picnic basket has a sturdy frame, four wheels, and a 36-inch retractable handle, just like your favorite wheelie suitcase.
Beautifully styled wicker on the outside, the inside of the basket’s food compartment is insulated for either hot or cold foods and has enough space for all the fruit, finger sandwiches, and munchies you and three friends want to pack.
The picnic basket includes four sets of stainless steel cutlery, ceramic plates, plastic wine glasses, and cotton napkins, along with a wooden cutting board, cheese knife, salt and pepper shakers, corkscrew, tablecloth, and separate wine tote. Whew, all that, and your back will still feel good by the time you reach your picnic site.
Pros: No need to carry a heavy basket, fully loaded with accessories, beautiful style
Cons: A few buyers felt the food compartment was too small, expensive
The best picnic basket for two
- Picnic Time
Why you’ll love it: When it’s just you and your significant other, the Picnic Time Piccadilly Willow Picnic Basket is just the right size for two.
There’s no need to lug a large, heavy picnic basket if you only need a tote large enough for two people’s lunch. And that’s just what you get, along with traditional picnic basket style, with the Picnic Time Piccadilly Willow Picnic Basket.
This beauty is woven from willow and lined with red-and-white checked polyester fabric. Fill it with fruit, sandwiches, your favorite cheese, home-baked chocolate chip cookies, and a bottle of wine to have the perfect date night.
The picnic basket includes two sets of stainless steel cutlery, two melamine plates, two plastic wine glasses, and a waiter-style corkscrew.
Pros: Easy-access double lid, traditional style, nice quality accessories
Cons: Not insulated to keep food cold
The best picnic basket for a romantic date
- Picnic at Ascot
Why you’ll love it: If you aren’t having a full meal, but you want to enjoy wine and snacks, the Picnic at Ascot Wine and Cheese Cooler Bag is all you need.
When romance is in the air, wine and cheese might be all you need, and that’s just what the Picnic at Ascot Wine and Cheese Cooler Bag is designed to carry.
This isn’t a full picnic basket. It’s just large enough for one or two bottles of wine, champagne, or other bottled beverages; along with a few tidbits of your favorite cheese, fruit, or small munchies.
The bag has an adjustable shoulder strap, so go ahead and hold hands on the stroll to your picnic site. It’s made of heavy polyester canvas and fully lined to keep the contents cold. There’s even a separator to keep the two bottles from clanking against each other as you walk.
You’ll also enjoy the included two acrylic wine glasses, cheese knife, cutting board, bottle stopper, and corkscrew. The bag is available in several different colors and patterns.
Pros: Perfect for a romantic date, easy to carry, separator so bottles don’t clank together
Cons: Not large enough to carry a full meal
Check out our guides to the best coolers you can buy
Whether you’re heading out for a weekend camping trip, an afternoon in the park, a tailgating party, or you’re grilling in the backyard, you’ll need a cooler if you like cold drinks and fresh food.
The coolers we chose are all distinct from one another in multiple ways. There’s a good chance that a few of them will be the outright wrong choice for some people, but there’s a great chance that at least one will be the absolute best cooler for you.
Here are our top picks for the best coolers you can buy:
- Best overall: Coleman Performance 48-Quart Cooler
- Best for longterm use: Yeti Tundra 75
- Best soft cooler: Pelican Elite Soft Cooler
- Best cooler bag: CleverMade Cooler Tote
- Best cooler with wheels: RovR RollR cooler
Hauling a cooler around when it’s full of ice and your beverage of choice is no easy task. Backpack coolers solve that problem by making the cooler much more portable. For those who haven’t heard of backpack coolers before, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a cooler you can strap to your back like a knapsack.
These portable ice chests simply strap onto your back and you’re free to lug whatever else you brought along or just enjoy your surroundings.