The remainder of spring’s socially distanced calendar is already filling up with picnics and park dates, especially in Melbourne where groups of 10 from two households can now gather outdoors.
Here, we’ve rounded up all the extras you’ll need to make a day of it – from colourful rugs, to compostable crockery.
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Robert Gordon picnic basket ($90)
First off, you’ll need a stylish picnic basket and this Robert Gordon number is a classic. The 41-year-old brand is best known for its Australian-made pottery but it also imports a few items, including handwoven baskets from Vietnam. This version has soft tan-coloured suede handles and a flip-open lid for easy access.
Esky 10-litre cooler ($20)
The most important thing to know about this affordable Esky in iconic blue, is that it holds up to 11 tinnies. It also comes with a one-year warranty, in case something goes wrong before next spring.
Stanley 30-litre cooler ($165)
For something roomier, this Stanley cooler is thrice the size and can easily carry a longneck or even a magnum of wine. It’s durable, comes in green or white, and will keep your food and bevs cold for up to four days, making it a winner for camping too.
Stanley 1.5-litre thermos ($45)
If the cooler looks familiar it’s likely because Stanley also makes the sturdy vacuum-sealed thermoses that kicked around in many Aussie childhoods. The basic 1.5-litre version will reliably keep your coffee warm, or your batched cocktails cold, for more than 24 hours.
Homecamp Tool Tote ($129)
Think of this as a schmick, foldable alternative to a clunky picnic basket. It’s technically a tool bag, but the versatile tote has pockets galore and a waterproof lining in case you spill some of your lunch (or booze).
Kmart enamel crockery (from $4 a piece)
These dalmatian-esque speckled mugs, plates and bowls can be mixed and matched to make a set for as many guests as you need. They’re surprisingly stylish and, made from iron and stainless steel, they’re longer lasting than plastic too.
Set of four outdoor wine glasses ($39)
These wine glasses Plumm are made of polycarbonate so they won’t shatter like the real thing. There’s also a flute-like version for sparkling wine, and that’s probably all you need to know.
Basil Bangs Love Rug ($169)
Bondi-based Basil Bangs is known for its kitsch, functional but fun outdoor gear, including its versatile indoor-outdoor mats. The compact, circular Love Rugs are padded and water repellent on top, with a waterproof lining underneath. They come in a bunch of punchy colours and patterns including butterscotch and black gingham.
Hendeer woven throw rugs ($109)
Hendeer is another Australian company making unconventional picnic rugs that will set you apart in the park. The bohemian-inspired rugs are designed in France and made from a blend of cotton and recycled polyester (sourced from plastic bottles). These are statement pieces, and double as wall hangings if you’re not into the outdoors.
Primus Campfire Prep Set ($128)
If you’re the kind of picnicker who brings a cheese board and side salad, then this utensil set has you covered. It’s got a knife, grater, spatula (in case you hit the public barbeque) and serving fork and spoon. Plus, the set can be neatly stored in its roll-out carry case, which has a pocket for any extra utensils you may want to add.
Bambu compostable utensils and plates
For a one-off picnic, you may not want to invest in a full kit. Bambu makes reusable organic-bamboo cutlery sets ($11.95), which come with a cute cork pouch, as well as matching chopsticks ($1.95). For a one-time outdoor gathering there are also single-use bamboo plates (eight for $6.95), which are sturdy, lightweight and compostable. Find all three at Melbourne’s Mr Kitly.
Living multi-opener ($45)
These colourful steel tools have a retro feel and open a range of vessels, as well as standard bottle tops. Basically, they’re a schmick upgrade for anyone who’s struggled to open a beer on a summer’s day as their friends yell “leverage” from across the rug.
Bee Wrappy beeswax wraps (from $15)
Beeswax wraps make a cute alternative to single-use coverings such as Glad Wrap. The bright patterned wraps are washable and can be used for sandwiches, cheeses, sliced veg and more. They’ll also last up to a year if you treat them right.
Just Utensils cutlery sets ($18)
These cutlery sets are 100 per cent polypropylene, meaning they’re completely recyclable. Each set includes a knife, fork and spoon, plus a pair of chopsticks. And they come in beige, green, light blue and pink.
Deluxe four-person picnic set ($220)
If you’re looking for an all-in-one-deal, Picnic Baskets Australia has a gingham-lined wicker basket that comes with a matching rug. Inside there are four sets of stainless-steel cutlery, plastic wine glasses and plates, and washable napkins. The set also includes a corkscrew, stainless-steel salt and pepper shakers, as well as compartments to hold two bottles of wine.