A picnic is a seemingly effortless summer activity, one that should be easy to throw together at minimal cost. We were shocked to find some picnic baskets, even those empty of the necessary accessories, costing nearly $100 and those with tableware creeping well beyond $150. But we're big on cheap, so here are some of our favorite picnic basket sets priced at less than $65.
Picnic and Beyond The Sunrise Collection-B Red Wil-Red (starting at $51). This is a traditional picnic basket that includes table (err, blanket) service for four -- plates, cups, utensils, a waiter-style opener for wine, tablecloth, and napkins. Reviews at Amazon say the lined basket and tableware are good quality, seem sturdy, and pack up small, leaving ample room for food containers and additional snacks. One post asserts that a substantial picnic would fit easily.
Bamboo 21-Piece Insulated Picnic Basket (starting at $40). The insulated basket includes service for four (plates, cups, flatware) that is stored under the lid. The stand-out feature in this cheap picnic basket is the insulated compartment for food and drinks, which expands the variety of food you can bring along without worry about spoilage. Reviewers at Bed Bath & Beyond describe this basket as charming and fun. One says it's easy to pack up and toss in the car for road trips while another prefers this basket over others because picnic fare and wine stay cold. Huffington Post includes this basket among its recommended picks.
Picnic at Ascot Hamptons Picnic Cooler for Two (starting at $62). A modern twist on the traditional picnic basket, this cooler can be carried with the shoulder strap or handle. It features service for two with all the basics, plus a cheese knife, corkscrew, and wine glasses instead of cups. There are separate insulated compartments for food and wine; plus, it's leak-proof. Users appreciate the ample room for food and beverages.
Sutherland Jubilee Picnic Basket for 2 (starting at $45). This cheap picnic basket packs up and carries more like a suitcase than a basket, but is affordable and should prove durable. Stocked with service for two, it scores with users for ease of use and portability. Several posts at Amazon report that it holds everything users need for a picnic, with room to spare.
Frugalista tip. You may already have the picnic supplies lying around but never thought to pull together your own picnic basket set. Doing so will definitely save you money. Gather together all that disposable plastic ware scattered around the pantry along with the paper plates and cups left over from the last party you hosted. Then put the ice packs taking up freezer space to good use by nestling them inside a cardboard box lined with a trash bag. An instant, no-cost, insulated cooler with all the fixings.