The key to making picnics easy and hassle-free is to prepare simple food and invest in some well-designed, quality picnic luggage.
Gone are the days when a picnic meant just the wicker basket or good old Aussie eski. Proper picnic luggage adds a sense of occasion.
Shannon looks at traditional picnic packaging and some funky new alternatives:
The Rolls Royce Of Picnic Baskets
If the mere thought of paper plates, plastic cutlery and drinking champagne out of a plastic cup sends shivers up your spine, you need to picnic in style. We've chosen two deluxe wicker picnic baskets – the Sundowner Kakadu and the Kimberley – that come complete with proper china plates, silver utensils, linen napkins and plenty of storage space for dry goods.
Hip and Funky
Shannon has a couple of super-trendy cooler bags and backpacks for a more contemporary picnic look. They’re easy to carry – perfect if it's a long walk from your car to the picnic spot or for bushwalking – and they leave your hands free for your rug or cool box. Some of the styles are really inventive - doubling up as a camping stool, or coming with smart stainless steel flasks and mugs. Round plastic picnic "balls" are another funky option. They’re bright, sturdy, and kids love them. The plates and cutlery fold up neatly into the two halves of the sphere, which in turn operate as serving bowls.
The Special Picnic for Two
The whole atmosphere of cuddling up with someone special under the shade of beautiful tree would be ruined with a picnic in a plastic bag! This no-kids-allowed occasion calls for a special hamper for two. You can get picnics for two in snug-fitting baskets and cool bags - but this cute 1950's deco picnic box is pure romance.
Things to consider:
- Check what you're getting for the price of your picnic luggage. Some of the new bags are quite bulky but actually hold very little. Seek out the compact ones that are easy to carry, but contain a lot.
- Think how far you are walking. A well-catered for picnic can be heavy! Eskies are particularly heavy - stick to the cool bag options if you have a long way to walk.
- Try using the picnic backpacks if you want to free up your hands.
- Separate perishable food from the non-perishable. Place the packaged perishables into insulated carry bags or eskies chilled with ice bricks if you are using a basket.
- Use sealed, insulated containers like Tupperware to avoid the risk of spillage.
- Unbreakable and easily portable are the key words when you're packing for a picnic. Choose enamelware plates and bowls, toughened glass or plastic glasses, inexpensive stainless steel cutlery and plenty of cheap and cheerful cotton napkins. The other essentials are a bottle-opener, sharp knife, can-opener, small chopping board and a couple of thermos flasks.
- Don't take too much equipment. Try to take finger food to save on utensils or consider buying ready-made food such as spring rolls.
- There are some things picnic baskets won't include - take extra newspaper, matches, kindling and an open grill if you plan to cook outdoors.
- Once you've chosen your picnic gear, keep it all in your basket so you'll be ready to grab it and head out the door whenever the picnicking whim strikes you!
Equipment and Suppliers
- "Flair" round plastic picnic ball $39.95
- Insulated picnic backpack containing knives, forks, spoons, salt and pepper $49.95
- Wicker Picnic Basket $49.95
- "Liddy" dishwasher safe enamel picnicware - plates $7.95; side plates $6.95; bowls $6.95; tumblers $3.95
Baubridge & Kay
Shop 47 Queen Victoria Building
Tel. 9261 1539
- Sundowner Kakadu Basket - $295
- Sundowner Kimberley Basket - $275
- Sundowner Navy Stradbroke wicker basket with cheeseboard & champagne glasses- $129
- 2 x Kneeler Cushions - $49.00 each
- 1 x Walker Rug - $55.00
- Sundowner Traditional Basket with checked interior - $89.95