What could be better in life than enjoying the great outdoors? An accompanying picnic? We reckon so. After all, grabbing a basket and stuffing it with delicious food is sure to top off a perfect day. But you need to ensure that you have enough storage room to feed everyone, while bearing in mind that someone is going to be carrying it.
A traditional basket is, therefore, best if you're not going to be travelling very far. They can be awkward to carry, so they're perhaps more suited for parks or the beach. Likewise, hamper-style baskets can prove heavy, particularly if they come with cutlery and dining sets and space for bottles. Again, they're best for planned picnics without an accompanying walk.
What these baskets do, however, is offer an all-in-one solution, and you may be surprised what you get with such bundles. Picnic blankets, cool bags, cups and glasses are popular add-in options for basket makers – and you could always leave some of them behind at home if the weight starts to creep up.
You don't necessarily have to pay extortionate sums for these sorts of basket bundles either. In our research, we found that baskets with lots of extras didn't cost much more than those without, by and large. Just look to ensure that the basket you buy offers the number of compartments you feel you need. It’s also handy to consider insulated baskets if you're likely to be having a picnic in very hot weather. Oh, and if you're after romance, go as traditional as you can.
If you want a traditional-looking picnic basket with a few modern conveniences, then Greenfield's lightweight but luxury hamper is sure to prove very appetising. It has been made from full buff willow and it's adorned with a few gold chains. But far from being bling, it's hot on practicality, with a large compartment for food, sections for a couple of bottles and space in the two leather-hinged lids for cutlery.
Lined with a striped material, it comes with two wine glasses, a stainless steel waiter's friend, a couple of China plates and two sets of forks, knives and tea spoons. You also get an insulated cool bag and, as a neat touch, there's even a luggage tag attached to the handle, adding to its overall classy, head-turning look.
Made from durable wicker, this basket doesn't look quite as nice as Greenfield's and it lacks interior compartments. But it makes up for it by providing enough room to feed four hungry mouths and it also comes with everything you'd need, from four forks, spoons and knives to four plates, wine glasses and napkins, as well as a bottle opener and salt and pepper shakers.
The interior has soft foam padding under the lining and there's even anti-scald handles on the cutlery – a bit too protective, perhaps, given it's a picnic but a nice touch nonetheless. We also like that, as an extra, there's a water-resistant fleece blanket too. You'd have to strap the basket up well, though, because the handle is on the side which could also make carrying awkward.
With no willow or wicker in sight, this picnic basket is modern through and through. Made using grey polyester fabric, it has a waterproof exterior – just the job for when the weather turns or if the basket is placed on wet ground. It also lined with heat-sealed aluminium foil insulation so that your food remains cool for most of the day.
Although there is a zipped compartment at the front, offering a bit of extra space, there are no sections inside. The handle, however, is made from aluminium and it has a soft padding to make the basket easy to carry. Lucky too, as it has a 22 litre capacity, so you can pack it with lots of delicious goodies.
Less a picnic basket and more of a picnic backpack, this items slings over your shoulder and comes with a host of storage compartments. There's a zippable section at the front that flops down to reveal a set of provided cutlery, glasses and napkins. Meanwhile, the main part opens into a cavernous space lined with insulating material to help keep your food fresh.
Straps on one side of the backpack allows an insulated cloth bottle holder to be attached. Another set of straps on the other side lets you affix the bundled striped picnic blanket. Perhaps oddly, but nonetheless welcome, you also get a chopping board (and a cheese knife). Given the low price for this whole ensemble, it's something of a bargain particularly if you intend to go on a hike beforehand.
About as traditional a picnic basket as they come, this one has twee written all over it. However, it has to be said, it’s is all part of the charm of this simplistic offering. Simply flip up one of the two semi-oval lids and stash your food into its cloth lining. You could even let a French loaf to stick out for the complete true picnic experience.
On a practical level, the cloth lining can be removed and washed, but the main issue would be how comfortable the wicker handle would feel if you start to weigh the basket down with food and drink. Should you only be taking it short distances, however, then we expect this would be less of an issue.