Make The Most Of Your Next Outdoor Adventure With These Picnic Tips
People have been going on picnics for a long time! The opportunity to get into the beauty of the outdoors and relax over simple foods and drinks has a special draw to it. Maybe it’s the change in routine or the fun of games and conversation with family and friends. Or maybe the attractive part is just being away from the responsibilities of work and home.
Disconnecting, even if only for an hour or two, is often refreshing enough to make the rest of the week a more positive experience. I mean who doesn’t benefit from a slice of watermelon and a round of Kan Jam. What’s your favorite picnic memory?
Of course, not every picnic is memorable for good reasons. As a kid, I had a nightmare of a picnic experience that I’ll never forget. My Grandma Dea took me on a picnic when my brother was born, and I haven’t viewed picnics the same since. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and red Kool Aid were on the menu. I was young, so I’m sure I don’t remember these events perfectly, but I have 2 images burned into my mind.
Image 1: I remember sitting at a picnic table in the park on a sunny day without a care in the world. My peanut butter and jelly was actually peanut butter and applesauce sandwich. My mom always said that was a special way to do it. I think special meant cheap, but either way, I loved it.
The first image is this. I had taken my first bite and turned to show grandma that I needed my Kool Aid cup filled up, only to see her running with the pitcher away from the table and dumping that sweet nectar into the grass. WHAT!%$#? “Grandma, I’m thirsty!” I figured out why, a few seconds later when I started getting stung by bees! We both took off running towards the lakeshore.
Image 2: Well, grandma figured there was no better way to forget these bees than to go for a walk out on the pier. It had started out a beautiful day in Michigan and Lake Hurons calm breezes and an opportunity to skip some stones across the water would help me forget my encounter with the bees. Maybe we could at least finish our sandwiches as we sat on the boulders overlooking the harbor.
Unfortunately, I was one bite into my sandwich again when fishermen along the docks started yelling, “TAKE COVER!” The second image I have ingrained in me forever is of a waterspout! That’s a tornado on the water for all you land lovers out there! It was tall and thin and looked like a giant Bugle (the snack not the instrument) coming out of the clouds and touching the water. The wind picked up whipping gravel and sand around and picnic #2 ended in a mad dash back to our home. We survived but we were a little hungry.
You can’t control everything about your picnic experience. Here’s hoping your picnic goes better than mine! We know rain, bees, and twisters are all out of your control, but, if you are wondering what steps you can take to ensure an awesome picnic then here are a few picnic tips you’ll want to consider.
5 Picnic Tips On Packing The Perfect Picnic
- Pack Your Cooler For Maximum Coolness
- Keep your cooler in a cool area prior to packing its contents.
- Chill or freeze contents to extend ice retention.
- Use block ice as opposed to cubed ice, it lasts longer.
- Fill in air gaps with ice, using as much ice as possible.
- Don’t drain the water, it will insulate your ice and make it last longer.
- Keep the cooler in the shade.
- Limit access to your cooler by keeping it closed as much as possible.
- Spread ice throughout the cooler, bottom, middle, and top.
- Don’t Let Foods Get Soggy
- Place any premade sandwiches or wraps in ziplock bags.
- Place any salads or desserts in resealable containers.
- Put individual condiments in their own bag to avoid spills and leaks in the cooler.
- Use dry goods trays to keep anything you want to stay dry above the waterline.
- Bring The Dishes
- Forks, spoons, knives
- Double Up On The Coolers
- Bring a food cooler and a drink cooler. The food cooler only needs to be opened when it is time to eat your meal. But, as people play and work up a sweat they are going to want drinks throughout the whole day! Having a drink cooler separate from your food cooler allows you to have peace of mind that food isn’t going to spoil every time someone grabs a drink. That means more fun for you and less chatter! “Keep the cooler closed please!” Keep drinks accessible in a second cooler.
- Two coolers also help keep drinks from crushing more delicate food items.
- Pre-Portion Foods
- Make sandwiches ahead of time and don’t mess with bringing all the fixings.
- Pre-slice produce and place in individual containers. Melons, lettuce, tomatoes, and other fruits and veggies. Kids love Jello cups and fruit cups.
- Bring desserts you can eat without utensils. Cookies, fried pies, brownies, lemon bars, etc…
- Consider packing pre-portioned meats, cheeses, and crackers. Homemade Lunchables.
The Picnic Tips "Don't Forget It" List
- Camp chairs
- Picnic basket
- Bug spray
- Tornado spray (haha, I wish right!)
- Trash bags
- Wet wipes