Best Picnic Baskets

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

42 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
389 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best picnic baskets

Last Updated October 2019

Whether it's a few simple sandwiches or an elaborate spread, there's something special about enjoying a meal outdoors with loved ones. With the right picnic basket, storing and transporting your goodies is as easy as pie, leaving you with more time to focus on the finer details, like picking an idyllic location or planning the perfect menu.

But with hundreds of options to choose from, finding a picnic basket that ticks all the boxes can be tough. While some have charmingly simple designs, others come complete with every imaginable picnicking accessory. Beyond that, you also need to consider size, handles, construction materials, compartments, and insulation.

We rounded up the best picnic baskets currently on the market and compiled this in-depth buying guide to help you find your perfect match. Before you head out to soak up the sun and bask in fresh air, take a minute to read over our helpful tips, tricks, and product recommendations.

If you're interested in adding a touch of class to an otherwise casual dining experience, opt for a picnic basket set that comes with quality accessories like stainless steel utensils and porcelain flatware.

Key considerations

Basket type

Picnic baskets have come a long way from the basic models of days gone by. While there's no disputing that traditional picnic baskets hold a timeless appeal (especially for the romantic at heart), you'll find plenty of other options to choose from as well. Take a look at some of the most common picnic basket styles to find the best fit for your picnicking preferences.

Traditional: For most, this classic design is what comes to mind at the mention of picnic baskets. Traditional picnic baskets typically feature a wicker construction made of willow, rattan, bamboo, or, in some cases, synthetic fibers. While many are fitted with hinged lids, lidless options are also available. If you're looking for a picnic basket with an authentic feel, a traditional option that's complemented with a charming checkered lining should fit the bill perfectly.

Backpack: If you're a die-hard adventurer who savors the trek to your destination as much as the meal itself, an insulated backpack-style picnic "basket" is the only way to go. These hands-free picnic baskets are generally designed with outdoor enthusiasts in mind. Many are constructed of rugged, weather-resistant materials to keep contents protected from the elements.

Tote: Picnic basket tote bags come in multiple sizes and tend to have a casual design that's similar to a regular lunch tote. Most are insulated, and many offer both carrying handles and an over-the-shoulder strap. If you're looking for a versatile option that can be used throughout the week, a compact picnic basket tote will follow you from the park to the office without turning heads.

Collapsible: If you’re short on space but still want something structured enough to keep your eats from getting squashed in transit, a collapsible picnic basket is a solid choice. These picnic baskets generally have a rigid metal frame that folds down flat for storage, giving you the best of both worlds. Many are insulated as well, making them a great option for long, lazy days at the beach.

Size and capacity

Once you've settled on a picnic basket style, you'll need to pick an appropriate size. Picnic baskets generally come in sizes that cater to two, four, or six people. Keep in mind that the dimensions of your picnic basket will have a direct impact both on capacity and carrying ease. While it can be tempting to grab the biggest option you can lay your hands on just in case extra family members or friends decide to tag along, we recommend choosing a model that accommodates your regular picnicking partners. That way, you won't end up lugging unnecessary bulk on every trip.

Quality and convenience

The Summerease Deluxe Basket Set boasts an attractive and sturdy wicker construction that positively oozes old-world charm. However, a peek under the lid quickly reveals a complete four-person dinner service that conveniently takes care of all your outdoor dining essentials. Porcelain plates, stainless steel utensils, and glass stemware make this option an excellent choice for discerning picnickers.

Features

Accessories

Many modern picnic baskets come complete with essential dining supplies, including plates, utensils, glasses, salt and pepper shakers, napkins, bottle openers, cutting boards, and even blankets. These are usually packed and secured in an organized fashion to compartments on top, sides, or front of the basket to help save space and provide easy access. Choosing a picnic basket that comes with everything you need allows you to cross one more item off your to-do list and will help ensure that you never leave home without the necessary accoutrements.

Compartments

Picnic baskets with dividers and compartments can help you stay organized. Dividers and compartments are especially convenient if you need to keep warm and cold items separated. However, it's important to note that compartments can also impose limits on the size of the items you're hoping to pack, so keep this in mind while you shop.

Insulation

While some picnic baskets boast fully insulated interiors, others come with insulated pockets to keep drinks like wine, champagne, or soda cool. If you're packing a picnic basket for a long day at the beach, a lengthy hike, or a camping expedition, a fully insulated option will help keep your food fresher for longer. On the other hand, if the picnic itself is the main event and you don't anticipate a long trip to your destination, a regular picnic basket with an insulated drink pocket should be more than adequate.

EXPERT TIP

For a hassle-free experience from start to finish, we recommend choosing a ready-to-go picnic basket set with dishwasher safe accessories.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

A picnic blanket with a waterproof backing will help keep your basket protected from damp grass and muddy ground.


Staff  | BestReviews

Picnic basket prices

Picnic basket prices vary according to size, accessories, special features, and overall quality.

Inexpensive

Compact picnic baskets or simple models without extras typically cost between $10 and $20.

Mid-range

Picnic baskets that come with accessories, traditional options constructed of premium materials, and well-made collapsibles tend to be priced anywhere from $20 to $40.

Expensive

If you're looking for an extra-large basket for family outings, quality accessories, and superior durability, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $100 or more.

A picnic basket with a sturdy, flat lid can pull double duty as a makeshift table for drinks and snacks.

Tips

  • Try not to overload your picnic basket. Keep in mind that even the sturdiest picnic baskets have their limits. Cramming an excessive number of extras into your basket or loading it with particularly heavy items could lead to handle failures or split seams.
  • Use mason jars for messy foods. Mason jars are a convenient, leak-free solution for desserts, condiments, and salad dressings.
  • Bring a folding table. Packing your own folding picnic table will ensure that you always have a stable surface for drinks and other spillable fare.
  • Pack an empty jar or an extra cup for utensils. Placing utensils in an empty jar or cup on top of your picnic blanket provides easy access and will help keep knives, forks, and spoons clean until you're ready for action.
  • Don't forget about sun protection. There's no guarantee of finding a shady spot to enjoy your meal, so don't forget to slather on the sunscreen before you head out. Consider packing a beach umbrella or a camping canopy just in case.

Cool and casual

Ideal for warm weather hikes or sunny days spent at the beach, the Scuddles Premium Extra-Large Insulated Picnic Basket offers a roomy, fully insulated interior to keep drinks and food fresher for longer. It also features easy-carry handles and comes pre-packed with everything you need for a fuss-free outdoor dining expedition.

Other products we considered

Year-round picnickers are bound to appreciate the solid construction and versatile selection of accessories that accompany the Picnic at Ascot Huntsman London Basket for 4 w/Coffee Set and Blanket. In addition to wine glasses, this premium picnic basket set also offers a vacuum stainless steel flask and double-wall coffee mugs for hot drinks.

Need an understated option for all-week use? If so, the California Picnic Picnic Basket Tote is an excellent choice. With a stylish design, insulated interior, shoulder strap, and a full dining service for four, this picnic tote works just as well for leisure as it does for work.

If you're packing light but still need a stable surface for drinks, the PicnicTime Canasta Picnic Basket, Grande is an ideal solution. With a roomy interior and a flat, hardtop lid, this option is capable of holding plenty of goodies — both inside and on top.

Looking for something simple, sweet, and easy to store? The ALLCAMP Large Insulated Picnic Basket offers an insulated interior, an easy-to-grip handle, and a collapsible frame that folds flat for storage.

Well-designed handles will make your picnic basket easier to transport. For smaller picnic baskets, a single handle with an ergonomic grip can improve carrying comfort. Larger baskets with dual handles tend to offer better weight distribution and can even be carried by two people if necessary. Backpack picnic baskets should have well-padded straps to prevent digging and chafing.

FAQ

Q. What's the best way to clean a wicker picnic basket?
A.
Wicker picnic baskets certainly are attractive, but their intricate design leaves many people stumped when it's time for a cleaning. Luckily, these woven beauties aren't nearly as difficult to maintain as you might imagine. To keep dust from accumulating between crevices, we recommend a weekly wipe down with a soft, dry cloth. If you're dealing with heavy dust buildup or a sticky spill, a damp cloth dipped in soapy water should do the trick. Use an old toothbrush to tackle stubborn grime and reach between gaps. If your wicker basket is made of natural wood fibers, wipe it down thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth,and air dry it in a well-ventilated room to prevent warping.

Q. Is there a "right" way to pack a briefcase-style picnic basket with a handle on the front?
A.
While most people don't encounter any issues with briefcase-style picnic baskets that are turned on their sides while carrying, it's easy to understand how this design could generate a bit of anxiety. At the end of the day, there's no right or wrong way to pack a picnic basket, but using a bit of common sense doesn't hurt, either. To keep contents from getting squashed, pack heavier items like fruit, cheese, or jars at the back and softer foods like sandwiches or cakes in the front.

Q. Do picnic basket sets come with standard-size plates?
A.
Picnic basket sets typically come with compact accessories to help save space, so expect items with scaled-down dimensions. When it comes to plates, sizes typically range anywhere from five to eight inches in diameter.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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