National Picnic Month: Summer Essentials For Alfresco Food & Drink

July is National Picnic Month and what a perfect time of year to bask in the sunshine and enjoy some alfresco food and drink with your friends. 

In this guide, we’re going to be highlighting the top summer essentials you need for your next outdoor gathering, so carry on reading to find out what you need to bring. 

Get ready to pack up your picnic basket and roll out your rug, this picnic season is going to be the best yet! 

national picnic month

Top Summer Essentials For Your Next Picnic 

Nothing beats gathering with your favourite people, making the most of the nice weather, and enjoying some tasty food and drink outdoors, right? Picnics really are the highlight of British summertime if you ask us! 

The best part is, it’s a low-cost activity so you and your flatmates can venture out from your student flat, do a big food and drink shop and make great memories. 

To help you pack the perfect picnic, take a look at our list of summer essentials below. 

summer essentials for your next picnic

1. Picnic Mat or Blanket 

In honour of National Picnic Month, the first essential you need for your next hangout is a picnic mat or blanket. 

We all know the British weather is unpredictable, one minute it’s raining and the next it’s cracking the flags. 

Although, that’s not to say the ground will be dry by the time you come to enjoy some alfresco food and drink. 

To avoid sitting on the grass and ruining your favourite outfit, bring along a comfy mat or blanket to enjoy your picnic on. 

Don’t worry about it getting dirty, most mats and blankets are machine washable so you can just pop it on a wash when you get home. 

picnic blanket

2. Portable Chair 

When it comes to staying comfortable at your picnic, why not bring along a portable chair you can sit down on? It sure beats the floor. 

Sitting down on the grass or sand for too long can be uncomfortable but thankfully there are plenty of foldaway chairs that you can easily transport to your picnic location. 

Our favourite part is, these chairs usually come with a built-in drinks holder so you can keep your tipple of choice within easy reach. 

You could even level up your next outdoor get-together by bringing a hammock to perch yourself on – talk about relaxation! 

portable chairs picnic

3. Cool Bag 

Whilst a picnic basket is more aesthetically pleasing, a cool bag will ensure that your food and drink is kept chilled for even longer. 

This is especially important if you’re bringing along meat, fish and dairy products for your picnic as these need to be kept in the fridge. 

No matter if you’re headed to the park or the beach, a cool bag is your best option for transporting your food and drink and keeping it fresh! 

If you do want to bring along a basket, you can prevent your food from spoiling by using an ice pack, or get one which has an insulated section. 

cool bag national picnic month

4. Reusable Food Containers 

After choosing what food and drink you want to bring along with you to your picnic, it’s time to pack them up. 

To help your food stay fresh and to stop anything from getting squished, you should put your products into a reusable food container. 

It’s up to you whether you use plastic tupperware, beeswax food wraps, a stainless steel container or so on. 

This way, if you have any leftovers from your picnic, you can take them home with you after the day is done and dusted! 

reusuable food containers

5. Insect Repellent 

Our next picnic essential is something that a lot of people forget to pack for their summer gatherings, but it’s so important. 

If you want to prevent flies and other insects hovering around you and getting bitten when dining outside, insect repellent is an absolute-must. 

It’s also best to avoid rolling out your picnic blanket next to bins or rivers and ponds, as there will likely be more mosquitoes and other insects lingering around these places. 

Your food will attract bugs too, so it’s best to keep everything covered until you’re ready to eat. 

insect repellent national picnic month

6. Bluetooth Speaker 

Getting together with your friends this summer? Planning to hit the beach or the park for a picnic? If so, playing music straight from your phone likely won’t cut it. 

If you want all of your besties to hear your summer playlist and get the vibes flowing, the solution is to bring along a Bluetooth speaker. 

You can even create a collaborative playlist on Spotify so that everyone can add their own songs to it! 

Remember to be mindful of other picnic go-ers and don’t play your music too loud if you’re in a public space.

Bluetooth speaker  

7. Sunscreen 

Making the most of the longer days and warmer weather is great, but it’s important to make sure you’re staying safe in the sun. 

To make your picnic as perfect as it can be, you should make sure to apply sun cream thoroughly before heading out, and re-apply it every 2 hours at minimum. 

It’s also important to choose a sun tan lotion that has an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30, and spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm. 

The last thing you want to do is to get home from an amazing day basking in the sunshine and be in agony from sunburn hours later, it’s not ideal. 

staying safe in the sun national picnic month

8. Reusable Bottle 

The focus isn’t just on food when having a picnic, drinks are definitely a necessity for alfresco dining too.

Rather than bringing plastic cups, each person attending should bring along a reusable bottle that they can fill up with their drink of choice. 

You can even get insulted bottles that keep your liquids fresh for hours at a time, so you can wave goodbye to sipping on a warm drink in the sun. 

If you must bring a pack of cups with you, try to reduce your plastic waste and bring along paper cups instead. 

reusable water bottle

9. Dinnerware 

If you’re planning to bring along the likes of pasta, salads, and other non finger-foods to your summer picnic, it’s best to pack some dinnerware. 

Try to opt for reusable utensils for your picnic if you can, as they’re more environmentally conscious compared to single-use plastic cutlery. 

You can even save your money and bring along your daily metal utensils with you, and just wash them once you’re home! 

It’s worth bringing along some plates and bowls too so that everyone can enjoy the delicious array of foods you’ve packed. 


10. Clean-up Essentials 

We know, cleaning up after a few glasses of Pimm’s in the sun is the last thing you want to do, but you should make sure to leave no trace when dining outdoors. 

If you want your picnic to run smoothly, we’d suggest not relying on public bins to put your rubbish in, as they tend to get pretty full in the height of summer. 

Instead, bring along a black bin bag or two that you can pop all of your rubbish in before heading home. 

We’d also suggest bringing along a pack of wet wipes and some anti-bacterial gel for after you’ve eaten, in case of any spills or sticky hands! 

cleaning up outside

That’s the end of our list of 10 summer essentials you’ll need for your next alfresco spread, we hope it’s been useful. 

Don’t forget to plan out your picnic and check the weather forecast in advance before agreeing on a date, enjoy! 

What’s on your picnic checklist? If we’ve missed anything, let us know @universalstudentliving.

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