Pep up your picnics this summer with the best baskets and backpacks.

The British have enjoyed picnics since the Middle Ages – and the tradition of spreading a range of delights out on a blanket and persevering whatever the weather isn’t going anywhere.

Our literature is rich with enchanting images of picnics past. Remember Brideshead Revisited’s Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder sharing a basket of strawberries and a bottle of Château Peyraguey? What about Ratty’s wicker luncheon basket, with its cold chicken and ‘coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssandwiches
pottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater’ in The Wind in the Willows? And as for the picnic by the lake – consisting of cucumber sandwiches, caviar and ‘winy cake’ – in Women in Love… Don’t they make you want to plan a picnic immediately?

Whether it’s a casual catch-up with friends or a glorious evening at Glyndebourne, we’ve rustled up the perfect hamper for you here.

Fortnum And Mason’s Piccadilly Stripe Four Person Hamper

This peerless picnic hamper is the king of the genre. Of course it is – Fortnum’s practically invented the hamper, after all. They have thought of everything here – china mugs and plates, wine glasses, cutlery, cotton napkins, an insulated flask, a wine cooler and more. It even comes with little salt and pepper mills. Note: the bone china vibe doesn’t lend itself so well to the patter of tiny feet. Buy it here.

Vonhaus’s Rolltop Picnic Backpack

It is reasonable to be a person who likes to take a backpack on a picnic and scoffs at the heavy, impractical, traditional hamper. The romantics out there won’t love you but you will love this backpack from VonHaus (a clever, little-known British brand based in Manchester, where its products are designed). It feels kind of intrepid and a little Scandinavian. Buy it here.

Borough Kitchen’s Willow Green Tweed Hamper

You can hold your head high at a very smart picnic with this hamper. Of all the ones on the list, this is the one we think Ratty would have chosen. The green tweed interior and matching picnic blanket lend themselves perfectly to a lazy, hazy, bucolic afternoon. A zipped insulated compartment is the only sign of modernity here. Buy it here.

Business & Pleasure’s Premium Cooler Carrier Bag

This bad boy sure puts the ‘cool’ into cooler bag. It is designed for those who want to bring a bit of edge to their picnic style. With its eco-friendly recycled PVC lining, it is crying out to be filled with bottles of craft beer, a zesty vegan tart and a stack of gooey, gluten-free brownies. We absolutely love it. Buy it here.

Joules’s Round Chiller Basket

This perky piece of kit is a real winner. It is simple (just a pretty, round basket, really) but effective (the chiller lining and zip keep your goodies properly cold). It says: don’t look at me but just know that I have everything under control. It can’t carry much, so you have to consider carefully what you put in there. Lobster rolls and mini bottles of champagne, anyone? Just an idea… Buy it here.

L.L. Bean’s Insulated Tote

Make like an East Coast mama with this ‘picnic’ take on L.L. Bean’s iconic tote bag. You can feel like you’re in the Hamptons even if you’re only in Hyde Park. They say: “Finally, a substantial insulated bag that keeps food and drink cool and looks good while doing it. Take it for picnics, tailgating, camping or anywhere you want to keep food and drinks cold.” We say: add a monogram, for extra chic points. Buy it here.

Coco & Wolf’s Betsy Oval Wicker Picnic Basket

Handmade in Somerset out of environmentally friendly wicker, this picnic basket – with its Liberty print lining – is as pretty as a picture. Whatever you put inside it is going to have to live up to extremely high aesthetic standards. Part of a collaboration between the boutique homewares brands Coco & Wolf and Edit 58, it is being snapped up fast. Buy it here.

Red Original’s Coolbag Backpack

This one is for hearty adventurers; those for whom it’s about the journey, not the destination. When you reach the summit, though, you do need some refreshment – and this is just the backpack with which to tote all that wholesome goodness around. Buy it here.

OKA’s Saddle Leather Maxi Bar

On the other hand, it is hard to imagine a more elegant or more decadent item than this beautifully crafted portable bar cabinet. With its bottle opener, corkscrew, ice tongs, stainless-steel ice bucket and six matching metal cups, it won’t be to everybody’s taste but those who get it will love it. What tipple will you serve from it? Martinis? Negronis? Po-faced butler optional. Buy it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
July 2021

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.