What to Pack for a Cold Weather Picnic

What to Pack for a Cold Weather Picnic

The leaves are off the trees and your local convenience store is already selling holiday goods: that's one sure sign that it must be cool weather picnic season. Wait, what? Yes, it's a thing everyone should be enjoying. Cold weather means fewer bugs, more space in the parks, crunchy leaves for a softer pad under the picnic throw, and a switch to warm, yummy favorites vs. cold cut sandwiches and salads.

Get those picnic plans in motion. There's really only so much time before you have to break out your skis again. Plus, what's the point of the cool season if you don't have a picnic potluck? When life gives you blue skies and sweater weather, you grab the picnic basket.

What are you going to bring along? Let's get right to it.

Pack Smart

The key to having a great picnic is to avoid overpacking. Bring the essentials but remember that the whole reason you're going is so that you can enjoy the free time out with your friends.

For Friends and Family

Picnics are unique. Each and every one. When you plan your fall picnic you want to be sure that you invite the right amount of people so that you bring just the right amount of food. Larger friend groups and family picnics are going to call for larger spaces and table areas. Not only for seating but for all the food you'll bring. Let's take charge of this event.

Bring along one or two strong canvas totes and you can fit all the extra fix-ins. And if you're feeling like you're taking on too much, see if a friend can help you buy a couple of groceries or help with the recipes for your outing. Looking for a variety of dishes to share? Make the outing a potluck and have everyone bring their favorite meal, sides, or dessert to share! Here are some ideas that always are winners at family events:

  • Rice Krispy or Fruity Pebble treats
  • Mashed potatoes with toppings galore
  • Trail mix (M&Ms optional but highly suggested)
  • Cookies - both homemade and store-bought are welcome!

For Large Groups

For large group events, dishes you can easily share are key. If you're worried that there will be a lot of food leftover, bring along some plastic bags and divvy up what's left for all of the midnight leftover snackers and hungry college students in your life.

  • Beet and Apple Salad.
  • Pumpkin Pie. Sure, apples are in season too, but you can make apple pie year-round without anybody thinking twice. Now's the time to get all the pumpkin pie your year desires.
  • Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese and Spinach. If you're feeling like making that into more of a pasta dish, it would be stellar for a big picnic group.
  • Pro tip: Make sure you're aware of everybody's dietary restrictions. For instance, if somebody has a gluten allergy they'll bring something that they're able to eat. If that's you, then you might have to take on that task.

For a Romantic Date

If you're not sure if it's a romantic fall picnic date check to see if you're going with anybody aside from your SO. If it's a planned date night, wonderful.

If it's a third or fourth date, you're going to want to make sure you both know what to bring. In that case, look at the list above, but if you're more interested in crafting a cheese and charcuterie plate, find a nice wine to pair with the occasion.

No Matter the Event, Make Sure You Stay Warm!

The trickiest part about throwing a cold-weather picnic will always be making sure that everyone in attendance stays nice and warm. There are all sorts of ways to do this with cozy throw blankets and bonfires, but don't forget to break out the thermoses too! Bring your favorite toasty drinks, like hot chocolate or coffee, or warm dishes, such as soup or pasta, in a trusty thermos that will keep the snacks inside ready to eat even once you step out into the cold. If you are picnicking with a group, look for a thermos that comes with a built-in cup or a couple of mugs so that you can share the warmth with everyone around you as well.

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