What Gear Do I Need to Plan a Romantic Picnic on the Cheap?


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So you’ve promised your significant other you’ll do something romantic this weekend. Trouble is, you still haven’t planned anything. But don’t worry: there’s a way to turn a regular walk in the woods into an amorous getaway.

Just grab your favorite daypack, fill it with these five items, and pay attention to service details. Your date will swoon.

The Pack

| (Sarah Jackson)

Any pack will do, but you should think about the level of back sweat you’re going to generate while hiking up to your beautiful vista. If you really want to get after it, opt for a bag larger than a simple daypack with breathable shoulder straps and ventilated back padding. We recommend the Osprey Exos 38 for its standout suspension or the hardy Topo Designs’ Klettersack (shown here).


| (Sarah Jackson)

This is an important one. Any sheet will work, although you’ll score style points if you have one with either ironic cats or maybe this vintage wool version from Woolrich. Without the sheet it isn’t a picnic, it’s just eating in the dirt.

Lightweight Corkscrew

| (Sarah Jackson)

If you and your partner partake of wine, you’ll need to bring along a decent bottle and a lightweight corkscrew. And while you can technically buy a screw-top bottle or pre-open at home and decant into a water bottle, a corkscrew is inexpensive, weighs very little, and is much classier. 

Cutting Board

| (Sarah Jackson)

The cutting board’s utility is snack-dependent, of course, but even if you don’t need to cut something, it makes for a nice-looking plate. I purchased this one for less than $10, and while it’s heavy to hike in, it adds a nice “rustic” vibe to my powder-blue baby blanket. 


| (Sarah Jackson)

My wife and I had to bear paw a summer salad on our first date together, which happened to be a picnic. It was cute until I realized I’d put our blanket within inches of a pile of dog poop. Our relationship worked out in the end, but to avoid the problem all together, throw some forks and spoons in your pack—no need to buy anything fancy and light if you aren’t walking far. 


| (Sarah Jackson)

Think snacks. I simply cleared out my fridge to make this spread, which ended up looking pretty gourmet. Also, take a few minutes to think about aesthetic ways to display the food. A can of bean dip can look like either diarrhea or pate depending on how you plate it. 

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