9 Ways To Upgrade Your Picnic

05/08/2014 09:11 am ET | Updated Jun 25, 2014
Guido Mieth via Getty Images

Picnic season is upon us, which means it's time to pack a bag and head out to the park. It's been a long winter (isn't it always?) and rainy spring, and we want to spend as much time outside as possible right now. Every meal should be an outdoor meal, in our opinion.

Packing a picnic is always worth the effort, but sometimes it feels like more work than play. If you're armed with the right recipes and you know the mistakes to avoid, however, you next picnic will be a walk in the park (pardon the pun.) The next step is having the right gear.

There are a ton of awesome products designed specifically for picnicking, and each year we're increasingly more impressed with the new picnic accessories. Having the right gear can make all the difference, and using some of these picnic products will make it easier and more enticing than ever to take your meal outside.

Here are nine picnic accessories we're really looking forward to trying out this year:

  • 1 S'well bottle to keep drinks hot or cold.
    In this new thermos/bottle from S'well, drinks stay cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. And the best part is, the 25 ounce bottle holds a full bottle of wine!
  • 2 The bag that turns into a table.
    Cool Things
    That's right -- this bag folds out to create a tabletop surface. It's so clever. The Kelty Pop Duo Picnic Bag has two compartments, which can be carried as one, and then you can unfold the whole thing to reveal a table. One compartment is insulated for transporting beverages or anything that needs to be kept cool, and the other compartment is for general storage.
  • 3 The tote that turns into a blanket.
    Yield Design Co.
    Trying to stuff a blanket into your picnic bag is always annoying. It takes up way too much space and you always think you can do without, until you get to the park and realize how much you want something to sit on. This bag turns into a blanket. Problem solved.
  • 4 Recycled food containers.
    These 100% recycled food containers from Preserve are also recyclable. They come in all shapes and sizes, so they're fit to carry everything from cookies to quinoa.
  • 5 Pop up food covers.
    These pop up outdoor mesh food covers keep bugs away and keep leaves from falling into your potato salad by accident. The best part is that they fold down into thin disks, taking up practically no room in your bag.
  • 6 The cheese board that comes with everything, including a wine opener.
    This compact cheese board has tiny drawers for cheese knives and a wine opener. It's pretty genius, and we want one.
  • 7 The outdoor table that sticks into the ground.
    The Trademark Innovations Outdoor Picnic Wine Table - With Cut-Ins for Wine Glasses is the coolest picnic gadget we've seen yet. You just stick the stake into the grass, and voila: there's your table. You've now got a sturdy setting for your wine classes, and you can even put some cheese or chocolate in the middle for easy nibbling. We love this thing.
  • 8 The portable recliner.
    The Picnic Time Portable Recreation Recliner Oniva Seat just made sitting in the grass so much better. Now you can lounge around your picnic for as long as you want, in total comfort.
  • 9 The six pack cooler.
    Picnic Time
    Bringing beer to a picnic can be a little tricky, so we often opt out, even though it's often the one beverage we really crave. Beer-lovers, this six pack cooler is for you. Now you can enjoy a cold one when you want it most.

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