There's a deep irony to summer because while it's a time we associate with carefree balmy nights around a campfire, spontaneous road trips to the beach and rolling around in the daisies – it's actually a time of militant, meticulous planning.
The accessories, gadgets and gismos required to make that alfresco experience the best it can be are numerous and often essential.
Think about it, half the time; you're one warm wine bottle, dodgy disposable barbecue and missing cutlery set away from perfection. And this summer, we're not going to let that happen again.
We've scouted out the best products to pimp your picnic, including wine coolers that will keep the sauvignon cold for 24 hours, shatterproof wine glasses and foldable cheese boards (with built-in cheese knives, of course). Tuck in.
Our favourite picnic products
Insulated wine bottle and tumbler, Partner in Wine
Leisurely picnics in the blistering sun are glorious, but no sensation is worse than sipping a warm glass of wine marinating in the heat. Thankfully Partner in Wine has come up with an ingenious solution – an insulated bottle that holds a 750ml bottle of wine keeps it cool for 24 hours and requires much less faff than frozen wine chillers or soggy melting ice packs. If you don't fancy a whole bottle, there's also a matching tumbler, perfect for taking single glasses of wine to the park. Aside from its invaluable practicality, the colourful design of these insulated bottles makes them a super-stylish addition to any picnic party.
Reusable bamboo picnic cutlery set, Wild & Stone
For those picnic tabboulehs, slaws and potato salads that require cutlery, ditch the single-use plastic varieties and grab a set of the Wild & Stone reusable bamboo picnic cutlery. This 8-piece set, which comes in a fetching fabric wrap, contains a fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks, metal straw and cloth to keep everything clean and also comes with a handy carabiner clip to hang off any picnic bag, backpack or belt loop. Made from FSC 100% certified bamboo, the set is reusable and fully biodegradable, so you can picnic in peace knowing you're not harming the planet.
Recool Disposable Cooler, Igloo
Keep your beers chilled and the planet thrilled with the Igloo Recool Cooler, the world's first eco-friendly disposable coolbox that’s compostable and biodegradable. It has a 12-hour ice retention to keep your drinks cold all day, and its 15-litre capacity means you’ll be able to bring enough IPAs for the whole gang. Despite being completely biodegradable without leaving any harmful chemicals behind, the coolers are also reusable – simply dry out between uses, and you’re ready to go again. It’s the perfect cooler for festival-goers who don’t fancy dragging a big, weighty coolbox back home.
Middleton Speaker, Marshall
A picnic isn't complete without the dulcet tones of Bill Withers emanating from a radio, and the iconic Marshall's portable speaker is the perfect device for it. Marshall's packs 20+ hours of portable playtime into its new water and dust-resistant Middleton speaker, with the retro design that trademarks Marshall's radios. Weighting in at under 2kg and complete with a handy arm strap, just tie it to your backpack and let the picnic tunes play.
Hopper Flip, Yeti
For those who want to get out… and stay out, Yeti products are made for you. The Hopper Flip, a virtually indestructible cool bag, features a leakproof design that’s tough as nails, extreme insulation to keep things cool and a compact, cubed body and strap for the ultimate portability. It features a wide-mouth opening for easy loading and snack access and comes in three different colours.
Reusable plastic wine glasses, Sunnylife
Who said plastic picnic ware had to be drab and boring? These Sunnylife reusable plastic wine glasses are the perfect pop of colour for any picnic and come as a set of four in pink, blue, transparent and orange with a sun motif. Made from super durable and water-resistant polystyrene, these chic vessels bring luxury without the risk of breakage, meaning you can entertain with sophisticated outdoor style this summer or throw beachside picnics like a pro.
Portable grill bag, Firemade
Beach picnics just got a whole lot hotter with the Firemade portable grill bag. Designed by fire cooking experts, this grill bag is completely portable and super durable, made from Billy Tannery wild fallow deer leather with heavy-duty cowhide handles and a waxed cotton lining. The grill has short legs to reduce the weight in carrying and need for larger fires to cook on, and features close-together grill bars so you can cook more delicate food alongside bigger cuts. Fire Made has also teamed up with Falcon and Alex Pole to offer additional accessories with the bag, like enamel trays, tongs, spatula and skewers.
£550.00 (available for pre-order); firemade.co.uk
Stamford 4-person picnic cool bag, Regatta
Is there anything worse than lugging a cool bag the size of a horse up Parliament Hill? We think not. That's where the Regatta Stamford 4-person picnic cool bag comes in. It's light, features a double shoulder strap for easy carrying and is deceptively capacious, catering to a picnic of four people. It features a side compartment that can hold five tumblers, a front pouch containing standard picnic items, including four plates, cutlery and a bottle opener and an insulated main compartment which guarantees no sweaty cheese sarnies. It's super durable with a reinforced base and wipe-clean interior, and even better, it's made from recycled polyester.
Compact swivel cheese board with knives, Uncommon Goods
If the thought of another picnic cheeseboard thrown onto a paper plate and hacked at by blunt plastic cutlery makes you want to end it all, then the Uncommon Goods compact swivel cheese board is your answer. This easy-to-transport bamboo cheese board may seem small, but it converts into a multi-level wheel with a large expanse for cheese spreads and comes with a hidden drawer containing a stainless steel all-purpose cheese knife, flat cheese knife and cheese fork. The comprehensive, compact set has everything you need for al-fresco cheese spreads and doubles up as a charcuterie platter or antipasti board.
Eola Bucket Cooler Bag, Corkcicle
Is it a handbag? Is it a backpack? No, silly, it's a wearable cold bucket. This super stylish drink cooler will quickly become a summer fashion staple and pairs perfectly with a set of Birkenstocks and shades. Aside from being easy on the eyes, this cooler can hold 12 cans or two bottles of wine, so you can stay out until silly o’clock with a guaranteed supply of cold drinks. It’s made from vegan leather, has padded adjustable backpack straps for carrying, a food-safe interior lining and comes in seven colourways.
There's a fine line between a sunny picnic and a sweaty-sandwich-hot-beer-crisis, and the Miasun means you'll never experience the latter. Made by the beanbag maestros, Fatboy, the Miasun is as much about substance as style – weighing in at just over a kilo so it's easily transportable, assembles in just 90 seconds and is big enough to accommodate two adults and two children. Its open sides will keep you cool with a refreshing breeze, and the cotton canvas plane protects you from the heat of the sun.
Firelight tumbler and case, High Camp
Bring the bar to the backcountry with the High Camp Firelight tumblers and case – the perfect vessels to enjoy a whisky with pals after a long day conquering the great outdoors. Tough yet elegant, these tumblers are made from premium-grade stainless steel and feature double-walled insulation to keep your tipple at the perfect temperature. The set comes with cushioned wool felt carry case to slip into any backpack, tote or glove compartment.
Salt'n Pepper Plus, Light My Fire
Spice up your picnic with the Salt'n Pepper Plus by Light My Fire. It's the kind of product that proves simple is often best. The waterproof, airtight and shock-resistant shaker has three compartments to fill with salt, pepper, or whatever spices you desire on a picnic to spruce up those flavourless potato salads.
Rambler Wine Tumbler, Yeti
The Rambler wine tumbler is a virtually indestructible vessel made by the maestros of outdoor gear at Yeti. Perfect for festivals, camping or picnics in the park, this tumbler keeps your drink colder than any old glass thanks to its vacuum-sealed insulation. It is made from durable stainless steel, comes in nine colourways and can be paired with the ingenious magslider magnetic lid so you don’t have to share your pinot with the flies.