Summer Fun Tip: Keep a Picnic Pack Ready for Impromptu Outdoor Meals

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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)

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