It's officially summer, and that means picnic season! But eating outdoors does require some planning — unless you do as I do and keep a picnic pack ready all summer so when the mood to picnic strikes, you can get out the door without any excuses.
I don't have any outdoor space of my own, so I take advantage of my many amazing city parks. But sometimes, even though a picnic sounds fun, I'm too lazy to start from scratch with planning, packing and carting everything to the park. Having a bag packed with essentials means I can grab it and go before I lose momentum.
Here's what's in mine:
• A lightweight bag with comfortable straps— I've found good straps are key to avoid wimping out a picnic because you hate schlepping an unwieldy bag.
• A thin, large ground cover— I use a plain ole' sheet. Picnic blankets can be quite heavy and bulky, but sheets roll right up and are still big enough to comfortably spread out.
• Re-usable water bottles— they're practically weightless when empty, so you can fill up at a water fountain and avoid lugging water.
• Wet wipes— any kind will do, but I like the individually packaged wet cloths so they don't dry out when I leave them in my picnic bag all summer.
• A knife — I have a small knife with a plastic cover, so I can rummage around in my bag without worrying about slicing my finger.
• A corkscrew and bottle opener (duh!).
• Re-usable plastic plates and utensils (Optional! Only bother with these if you're bringing high maintenance food. Sandwiches? Skip 'em!).
• Trash bags.
Food wise, you're on your own. For last-minute picnics, I love stopping by a food truck or grocery store on the way to the park. Eliminating both packing and cooking means that eating outdoors is easy again!
(Image: Jennifer Hunter)