From dreamy Manet paintings to tailgating parties, eating outdoors has long been a celebrated pastime. With summer upon us, pack your favorite foods into the new guard of baskets--everything from eco-friendly, biodegradable ones to retro recalls to elegant cases Queen Victoria herself might have been charmed by.
Eco-Friendly Picnic Basket, $125–$150
There’s no better way to celebrate and enjoy the outdoors than with eco-friendly goods. Recycled glass goblets, natural cotton napkins, and plates, utensils, and a cutting board all made from sustainable bamboo fit easily into the hand-woven willow basket crafted from 100% all-natural and renewable materials. The basket’s lining is free of potentially carcinogenic AZO dyes and other harsh chemicals. Comes in a set for two or four.
As bright and bold as summer flowers, the Pikku Lokki Picnic Bag from Swedish design house Marimekko will add instant cheer to your blanket or table. The lightweight cotton canvas is stain resistant and wipes down for quick cleaning, and the shoulder strap gives a great excuse to carry all sorts of other things inside the bag, year-round.
Picnic Time Moka Metro Basket, $36.99
As useful as drawstrings are on sweatpants, so too are they on this basket’s expandable top. Stuff in as many picnic goodies as you can into the water-resistant interior, and later detach the durable canvas body from the sturdy aluminum frame for trouble-free cleaning. It folds down for neat storage, making it perfect for travel.
Sagaform Picnic Crossover Bag, $44.99
Picnic backpacks are often a sturdier, more comfortable alternative to baskets, but bulk and design can result in a less-than-attractive option. This stylish pick from Sagaform rests on one shoulder and comes with a bottle opener and glassware, plates, and utensils for two. Available in black, sand, or green, it also has an insulated cooling compartment.
For a unique spin, set the mood with a bountiful picnic box. This set comes with four trays, four small and large bowls, four cups, four utensil sets, eight recycled napkins, and a trash bag—all of which are biodegradable. No worries if your date’s at a loss for words. The box (which is also compostable) is covered in a paint-by-numbers design. Check out Boxsal’s website for varieties, like the Office Escape box that looks like a briefcase.
Picnic Cooler, $62.95
In the 1950s, picnic chic was all about metal. Go retro and keep your food fresh in this vibrant yellow chrome-detailed case, or use it as an ice bucket. The finish is UV-resistant and a bottle opener is built in on the side. Find it also in cherry red.
Vulcan All-In-One Tailgate Cooler, $139.99
Call it the ultimate picnic basket. What looks like a sports duffle bag opens up in the middle to reveal an insulated removable cooler. One side stores three stainless steel grilling tools, and the other side safely keeps a foldable, portable propane grill with its own lid. Tuck in utensils, cups, or additional snacks and beverages in the side pouches, which are strong enough also to hold extra propane tanks.
Peterboro Drum Cooler, $119
Based in Peterborough, New Hampshire, this 150-year-old family owned and operated company is devoted to baskets—all of which are handcrafted entirely in the United States from Appalachian White Ash. This 5-gallon capacity basket is insulated for icy treats, and the lid sits solidly on top so that you can too. Add a custom cushion or keep it bare as a tabletop. Choose from three finishes.
Picnic Time Windsor Picnic Basket, $454.94
Just because you’re eating outside doesn’t mean you have to rough it. Evoke the sophistication of English tradition with this set for four, complete with porcelain plates, stainless steel salt and pepper shakers, an insulated wine duffle, and a detailed wine stopper. Plaid cotton napkins and navy corduroy lining add an extra dash of charm, and the navy fleece blanket hooks on easily to the willow basket