With all of the things you could do, sometimes it is just nice to sit down and enjoy a nice meal with someone that you care about in a place that is both refreshing and fun–such as take a picnic. Whether it is to ensure that the family gets some much-needed quality time together or for a romantic date, the best picnic basket can really set the tone for a day spent outdoors.
Product design has come a long way since the days when taking the family on a picnic was an affair to do. These days, picnic baskets come with complete kits for eating different types of food or setting a different number of people–not to mention some subtler details that can make one product stand out above another.
Figuring which is the best picnic basket for you can be a difficult and confusing task. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best picnic baskets, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best picnic basket to suit your needs.
|Name||Dimensions, in||Material Type||Weight, lbs|
|Picnic Pack Willow||17x25x9||willow||14|
|Picnic Time Canterbury||12x16x8||willow||15|
|VonShef Traditional Wicker||17.8x12.1x8.9||wicker||6.7|
|Picnic Time Piccadilly Willow||11.5x16x9||willow||11|
|Picnic Time Barrel||12x18.7x17||rattan & wicker||9|
1. Picnic Pack Willow – Best Four Person Value Picnic Basket
Picnic Pack is a bit of a unique company to our list in that was only originated a few years ago. When you consider the similarity of the name within the relatively narrow niche of the picnic basket market, it is quite likely that Picnic Pack aims to provide legitimate competition for some of the other high-end picnic basket brands.
Picnic Pack intends to succeed in this endeavor, they will need to make sure that their products can properly compete as well, or else the name’s familiarity will soon rub off.
Kits and Tools
Not every person has the luxury of simply deciding to take a spontaneous adventure with their loved one due to children which require constant attention. Thankfully the Picnic Pack does have you somewhat covered on this end as this is the only picnic basket that we reviewed which would not force you to choose in that circumstance. While this picnic basket is, surprisingly, not the largest, it is the second largest and is the only picnic basket on our list to provide settings for 4 different picnicers. This combination allows married couples to take their children with them for a family picnic.
2. Picnic Time Canterbury – Best Performing Picnic Basket
Since Picnic Time specializes exclusively in picnic baskets and accessories, it should come as little surprise that the company pops up a few times on our list. What may come as a little more of a surprise is that one of those entries made our top spot as the Editor’s Choice Best Performing picnic basket.
Aside from the fact that this is a fairly large picnic basket, it also comes with more additional features than any of the other picnic baskets that we saw either. Even better, it is made of higher-end materials than most of the other products we reviewed.
Another handful of qualities about the Picnic Time Canterbury picnic basket that set it apart from the rest of its peers is the fact the fair number of the materials used are of a higher quality than the competitions’. For instance, most picnic baskets use willow wood for the wicker and finish it with polyurethane handles and straps. The Picnic Time Canterbury instead uses genuine leather for its handles and straps which ultimately provide the Picnic Time Canterbury with a significantly longer lifespan compared to most of the other picnic baskets we saw. On top of that, the lining is made of a natural fiber corduroy, so it not only feels firm but silky smooth as well.
3. VonShef Traditional Wicker – People’s Choice Most Popular Picnic Basket
VonShef is definitely an interesting company on our list in that it is not actually its own company at all and is instead merely an upscale kitchenware brand of Domu Brands which, in fairness, does exclusively sell different types of high-end models of different markets. On top of that, VonShef does at least also specialize in manufacturing kitchenware exclusively, so they at least have the focus on the market to ensure that they compete with more focused brands.
They do seem to have hit a sweet spot in cost and features as this is the People’s Choice Most Popular picnic basket.
Another great thing about the VonShef is that it is made out of materials which are fairly durable or offer other benefits. For instance, the body of this picnic basket is made of softwood and it is woven into a wicker design, but the lining of this picnic basket is arguably the most delicate on our list. This is the only picnic basket we reviewed which used traditional cotton for their lining, providing an elegant, if high-maintenance interior. To provide an extra bit of durability, the various straps and handles are made of polyurethane which is both extremely durable and one of the more common types of faux leather.
4. Picnic Time Piccadilly Willow – Best Price Budget Picnic Basket
Out of all the brands on our list, Picnic Time is liably the best brand on our list for a few reasons. First, the company is inspired by its founders who are all casual outdoor enthusiasts–though they do even offer a few select indoor entertaining goods, the brand specializes almost exclusively in casual outdoor entertainment.
The company does not focus entirely on picnic baskets, but they are by far the most dedicated to this particular market.
One of the things that the Picnic Time Piccadilly does best is ensure that using it is an easy task to make your special day that much more enjoyable. For instance, while every picnic table that we reviewed comes with a set of dishware and cutlery, this was the only picnic basket that we saw that has a special sleeve dedicated solely to the cutlery. Aside from the fact that it adds a stylish touch to your picnic basket, this ensures that your cutlery will not jostle around during transport. It also features a set of dual opening lids, so you do not have to worry about the ease of access to your food within.
5. Picnic Time Barrel – Biggest Picnic Basket
Whether it is because you have a multiple course meal planned or because you simply have that many people you are feeding, sometimes the only thing that matters for a picnic basket is its size. Depending on what you want to take and for how many, you may very well need every square inch that you can get.
Once again Picnic Time sees a need and fills a niche by providing the biggest picnic basket that we reviewed–and of course, the barrel picnic basket comes with the same attention to detail you have to expect from Picnic Time.
While doubles do not necessarily hold any special meaning in the picnic basket market, it definitely has a special meaning for the Picnic Time barrel picnic basket. For one, this picnic basket, like many others that we have reviewed comes with settings for 2. On top of that, this is one of the few picnic baskets that we saw which uses a dual-lid opening style which is not only iconic, but it also makes getting into and out of the picnic basket both easier and more versatile. Finally, this picnic basket features a set of polyurethane straps to make sure that the lid will not come open.
Best picnic basket – Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to the materials used for a picnic basket there are many options, but a fair number of them are only used for specific sections. As such, you should not necessarily take a single material in isolation as that just provides information about a single part of the picnic basket. It is also important to remember that the different materials used for the same components of a picnic basket often provide a different benefit or quality as opposed to simply being better or worse than one another. That said, there are a few groups you can use to help you identify what materials provide what benefits in a given context. The three groups can roughly be designated the basket, the setting, and miscellaneous.
- Wood – This is primarily used as the material with which the main body of the basket is made, though this can technically be substituted for various types of plastics. Still, any quality picnic basket will almost certainly include a body made of some kind of wood–though the material does not change that pretty much every picnic basket will feature a weave design in order to provide more strength to the body and a better ability of protecting the food within. In terms of types of wood, this is actually going to be one of the few types exceptions where a softwood is superior to a hardwood. Regardless, wood is a fairly durable material that, when properly treated and maintained, will stand remarkably well in wetter weather. On top of that, wood is also exceptionally light to cut down on the carrying weight and is also a reasonably priced material too.
- Polyester – When it comes to utilitarian perspective, there is simply no material that a picnic basket can use that is more versatile and valuable than polyester. While it is not the most durable material on our list, it is not the most fragile either and is significantly stronger than most basic natural fibers. On top of that, polyester is also much better at repelling liquids and is both naturally water resistant as well as naturally stain resistant. Finally, polyester can also be spun and used pretty much like any other kind of fiber, so it is not limited in terms of what it can be used for. In fact, the biggest knock against polyester is that it is cheap, and as such, it does not have the same prestige as some of the other materials on our list. It is also worth noting that synthetic fibers can aggravate people with sensitive skin and generally does not feel quite as good to the touch as natural fibers more generally.
- Cotton – When it comes to the different types of fabric you could use for the lining, napkins, or blankets that might be included as part of the package, cotton is by far the worst performing in virtually every meaningful category compared to the other materials on this list. Keep in mind, in this context “cotton” is primarily meant to refer to untreated cotton in a simple type of weave as treated cotton or those with stronger weaves will perform better. That said, cotton definitely does carry with it a bit of simplicity and it is generally better for those sensitive to synthetic fibers. Still, this material is not at all resistant to liquids and stains than most of the other materials used for fibrous parts of the picnic basket. On top of that, cotton is also a less durable material than most of the others as well–though this delicate nature does carry with it an element of prestige for those people who are willing to put up with the additional care and maintenance.
- Fleece – When it comes to picnic baskets, fleece is a bit unique in that it can be both a type of material as well as a type of weave–though, we will be focusing primarily on the material of fleece. When it comes to the material of fleece, there is arguably no material that is more durable for the use of fibrous parts of your picnic basket. That said, fleece is still a natural fiber and as such, is more susceptible to both liquids and staining than synthetic fibers–though it is still one of the more resistant natural fibers to both liquids and staining. Regardless, fleece is definitely one of the more prestigious materials that can be used for the textile parts of a picnic basket. Unfortunately, this also means that fleece has a tendency to be a bit pricier than most of the other types of fiber used for textile components.
- Corduroy – This is actually a bit of a unique type of material used for the textile parts of a picnic basket primarily because corduroy is not actually a type of fabric in and of itself. Instead, corduroy is better understood as a type of weave that you can use to both provide a nicer finish over top of a fabric while increasing its strength and resistance to liquids–regardless what it is made out of. It should be understood that corduroy is technically a type of velvet, but due to the tight, upraised weaving, is also incredibly thick and a bit more water-resistant than the fibers otherwise would be. Aside from the potential increase in cost, there is little to no reason to not opt for a corduroy weave with the fabric parts of your picnic basket aside from personal style.
- Acrylic – Acrylic is definitely one of those materials that can be a bit difficult to categorize–especially its use in different parts of a picnic basket. This is because acrylic can technically be used for technically all 3 of the categories and is regularly used for 2 of the 3 different categories. This is due to the fact that acrylic is technically a kind of plastic that has the ability to be both spun into a fiber as well as be molded into singular tools or parts. For instance, acrylic is not at all an uncommon material used for a blanket, but it can also commonly be found as the material used for the lining too. On the other ends of the spectrum, the basket’s body can be made of acrylic, but it is less than ideal for this purpose. However, it is worth noting that acrylic can also often be used for any setting pieces–though these are not the most durable setting pieces.
- Dishware – Unless you are willing to put down a sizably larger amount of money, your options with the dishware is generally considered somewhat limited. In this case, your best bet is to simply look for dishware that is durable enough to handle being taken on numerous picnics. Keep in mind, most good picnic baskets are designed around their specific arrangement of kits and do not generally allow for the casual substitution of alternative pieces. Acrylic and other breakable plastic are generally seen as the low end of this market while the higher end can actually be more flash over substance. By that, we mean that some picnic baskets will actually include porcelain dishware or use other nicer materials that are not necessarily better from a practical perspective but definitely improve on the picnic basket’s ambiance.
- Cutlery – Cutlery actually follows much the same path that dishware does, though it concludes in a slightly different way. Like dishware, cutlery begins its material journey with acrylic at the lower end of the spectrum–though some acrylic tools or at least acrylic components are not at all uncommon. That said, there are definitely better materials used for the cutlery, though this too can be broken down into two subparts: the handle and the tool. Your best bet, in terms of durability as well as the tool is concerned, stainless steel is generally seen as one of the better materials to use. On the other end of the utensil, wood and other natural materials are common for a higher end picnic table–though this is definitely used more for prestige purposes and aesthetics more than for durability concerns. Of course, these materials will quite often carry with them a significantly larger price tag than pretty much all of their competitors.
As we can see, despite their outward similarities, there really is no single picnic basket that will be able to satisfy everyone’s needs such that it is objectively the best picnic basket. Instead, your best bet is to identify where and with whom specifically you intend to have a picnic. From that information, you should be able to clean which picnic basket is the right one for you.