FAMILY | May 28, 2013

Packing Tips for a Simple Family Picnic

packing tips for a picnic
photo credits:  Thomas J. Story for Sunset Magazine

I intend for a summer filled with sunny picnic at the park. So far, the weather does not collaborate with us. The sun shines during the week and the rain troubles our weekend. And then, it hits me. Why not have a picnic supper on a weekday, instead? I could pack everything in the car before I pick my husband up at work on my way to my son’s daycare. We will be ready to drive to a nice picnic spot in the city.

Picnic Packing Essentials

The first rule is to stock the basic gears. I always keep a supply of sandwich wrappers, a roll of twig, and wood utensils.

Over the years, I tried many picnic sets. I tried many because I was never really satisfied. It took me a while but I found that an open basket is often more useful to pack food and drinks. Like it suggested on the above pictures from Sunset magazine, glass containers and bento boxes work best.

Gel Cool Hokkaido Bento Box with ice pack lid
photo credits: Lunch à Porter

The key is to ensure that food stays fresh which is why I bought several Bento boxes when I visited Japan in 2010, including these awesome bento box set with a travel handle. You could find a purpose for the deceiving silicone liners than are wasting space in your cabinets. Use them as food container dividers. They aren’t the perfect shape but it is close enough to work. Instead of buying new ones, use the ones that you already have.

Bento box with ice pack lid

My best buy was a bento box with a perfectly sized ice pack that you put on an inside rack that goes on top of your food. I wish that I bought more because it eliminates the needs to carry a cooler. Luckily, I found a Montreal-based online store specializing in Bento boxes that sells an updated version. The ice pack available at Lunch à Porter is built right into the top lid.

Gel Cool Hokkaido Series Bento Box
The Gel-Cool Hokkaido Series Lunch Box

Bringing food in single serving simplifies the service. It not only diminishes the amount of dishes that you need to bring, it avoids the little problems that could arise from missing utensils or plates.

Putting a batch of frozen fruits in your water, ice tea or punch keeps the liquid cold without taking extra space in your basket.

Instead of making dinner at home, why not surprise your family by planning a little weekday picnic? If they are open to the idea, open your agenda, check the weather forecast and pick a day tonight. I know that we will do it at my house.

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One Response to “Packing Tips for a Simple Family Picnic”

  1. Kim, this is great. You’ve inspired me to try a picnic. The food looks great and I am happy to hear that I am not the only one who has tried many picnic sets, only to be disappointed. The bento boxes look like a good alternative. Thanks