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What Should You Bring on Your Next Picnic?

The warm weather of spring and summer is a great excuse to bring your family or friends somewhere scenic to enjoy a picnic together. Find a grassy meadow or a welcoming park and get everyone together for this fun, quintessential outdoor activity. But before you head out the door, make sure you have the picnic necessities with you. Here are six items that every picnic basket needs. 

1. Multiple blankets 
Of course you'll need a large blanket for your whole group to sit on while they dine and relax, but it's a good idea to pack a few smaller ones as well. If you end up staying out until dusk, the temperature will drop, so having extra blankets on hand can comfort your guests. Feel free to have all of your blankets in the traditional red gingham pattern. 

2. Homemade snacks 
Nobody wants to be eating lasagna or a whole turkey at a picnic. The key to bringing the right food is to focus on taste and convenience equally. Go heavily on the appetizers and sides, then have sandwiches, fried chicken or other finger foods for the main course. Everyone wants to snack on a picnic anyway. 

Bring homemade hummus for a tasty and smart treat. Bring homemade hummus for a tasty and smart treat.

For appetizers, think about making your own dip in your professional blender. Whip up hummus to serve with veggies, bean dip to go with pita bread or guacamole to serve with tortilla chips. 

3. Utensils and condiments 
Forks, spoons, salt and pepper may be among the most important and commonly forgotten picnic items. Pack these in your basket ahead of time to avoid making these annoying mistakes. Additionally, if you bring wine with you, don't forget to pack your corkscrew. 

4. The basket and cooler
Look for the classic wooden or wicker picnic basket to carry all of your food and utensils in. Pack a cooler as well to keep your beverages and certain foods, such as hummus, cool and safe to eat. 

"Remember to bring bug spray and sun lotion."

5. Sun and bug protection 
A sunburn or mosquitos can quickly ruin an outdoor celebration. Bring some bug spray and sun lotion to prevent these pesky summer problems from annoying you and your guests. 

6. Cleaning supplies
The food and drinks may be the fun part, but don't forget about the clean-up supplies. Bring napkins, hand sanitizers and other simple cleaning tools. Remember to pick up after yourself, bring any trash out with you and leave your picnic spot as you found it for the next people to enjoy.