10 best picnic bags

Get all your food alfresco without the strain. We try these carriers for size

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The Independent Online

If you find wicker picnic baskets a bit cumbersome and heavy, then check out our suggestions for best picnic bags, all of which are made to last and contain everything you need for alfresco dining. Most have an inbuilt cool bag too.

1. Vonshef Six Person Picnic Holdall: £32.99, Domu


This is great value for such a sturdy, yet lightweight, and roomy bag that is easy to carry on the shoulder and caters for six people, including cutlery, plates, glasses and napkins. Extras include salt and pepper shakers and a chopping board. The handy cooler compartment keeps food nice and fresh. 

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2. Dunelm Mill Two Person Striped: £19.99, Dunelm 


This blue and white striped bag is not only great value, but it’s just the ticket for a romantic picnic for two, with melamine plates, glasses and cutlery for a couple. It’s got enough space for a small picnic and you can pop a bottle of wine or soft drink at the side. It’s light to carry and the straps sit comfortably on your back. 

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3. Cath Kidston Meadow large Filled Picnic Bag: £52, Cath Kidston 


This is well-designed and durable, made from tough PVC-coated cotton. There’s plenty of space for food, and the four plates, cups and sets of cutlery are good quality and easy to slot back in their places after use. We like the salt and pepper, corkscrew and knife with a serrated edge (so you can actually slice everything rather than struggle with a plastic knife). The retro-inspired design is classic Kidston: pretty florals.  You carry this one with a shoulder strap but there’s also a rucksack version. 

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4. Joules Grey Floral Picnic Rucksack: £59.95, Joules


This grey floral print strikes just the right balance between traditional and contemporary, while the rucksack design means you can bung it on your back and free up your hands. There’s a whole range of matching stuff, from garden chair to picnic blanket and it contains four of everything, with added extras including chopping board and detachable wine holder.

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5. Anorak Kissing Hedgehogs Picnic Pouch: £16, Anorak


If you prefer to keep your food separate to your eating utensils, then this handy pouch will serve you well, alongside your cool bag of edible goodies. It contains enough plastic plates, cutlery and cotton napkins for two people, while the vibrant yellow hedgehogs design is fun. There’s a more comprehensive rucksack with inbuilt cool bag available in the same style. 

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6. Argos Camping Picnic Set: £16.99, Argos 


This is a bargain for an eye-catching, funky looking picnic pack, with a decent-sized cool bag that has plenty of room for food for two people, plus two plates, glasses, napkins and sets of cutlery. The rucksack design means it’s no issue if you need to walk some distance to reach your idyllic picnic spot and the straps are comfortable on the shoulders. 

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7. Fortnum & Mason Canvas Filled 4 Person Tote Bag: £125, Fortnum and Mason 


You’d never even know this sophisticated branded canvas tote is a picnic bag until you open it up. It’s well-insulated, robust and includes top-quality glasses, cutlery and plates – the latter two featuring the classy F&M green – which fit neatly in the designated slots on the inside four walls. It zips shut and has both a handle and shoulder strap. 

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8. Draper Backpack Picnic Set: £38.36, Amazon


This attractive bag has everything you need for four people, with good quality crockery, cutlery and cups, all of which lasts well. We like the fact that there’s a blanket included and you get cups instead of glasses. But be prepared to take an extra bag along for larger picnics as the cooler area isn’t as roomy as some, but it’s particularly well designed to be comfy to carry, with well-padded straps.

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9. Greenfield Collection Two Person Backpack: £49.99, Amazon 


Available in three different colour combinations, we found this comfortable to carry, with a wide range of accessories that are well-made and solid – you get mugs and a flask, as well the usual glasses. Containing enough for two people, we found the cooler area was well insulated too – and we like the fact that there are two insulated bottle coolers. 

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10. At Home With Ashley Thomas Multi-coloured Ditsy Print Picnic Backpack: £28, Debenhams


If Enid Blighton’s The Famous Five were to have used a picnic bag instead of a traditional basket, it would surely have been this sturdy, vintage-looking rucksack with a sweet floral pattern. It contains enough good quality plates and cutlery for four to eat outside, with an added corkscrew. Not as comfy as some to carry, but not bad.

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11. Esmeyer Tramp 18 Piece Picnic Backpack Set: £65.62, Wayfair 


You’ll be left wanting for nothing out in the wilds with this all-singing, all-dancing set that contains all the usual eating and drinking utensils for two, plus salt and pepper shaker, bottle opener, chopping board and even butter spreader and place mats. 

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Unusually, Vonshef’s Picnic Holdall caters for six – and for just over £30, it’s a bargain. After a more romantic day out? We love the Greenfield Collection Two Person Backpack.

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