National Picnic Week: 11 best picnic bags

Head for the great outdoors for some alfresco dining with everything from cheese boards to wine coolers, all in handy cases

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The Independent Online

Few things say British summer time like a picninc - save, perhaps, Wimbledon and Pimms. Dine in style and keep food cool and un-squished with a decent picnic bag to pack everything into. When choosing one, be sure to think about how many people you’ll normally need to cater for and if there are any particular accessories you’d like to be included, such as wine cooler, rug or salt and pepper.

1. House by John Lewis Explore Picnic Backpack: £35, johnlewis.com

 

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This insulated polyester backpack features a modern and eye-catching pattern and comes with good-quality plastic glasses, plates and cutlery for four, plus napkins, salt and pepper shakers and that all-important bottle opener and cork screw. It's comfortable to carry and the backpack design makes it good for grabbing some sustenance after a decent walk.

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2. Joules Navy Floral Picnic Bag: £59.95, joules.com

 

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This four-person set is a good one for cheese lovers as, along with all the usual accessories, it also has a cheese knife and wooden board. We like the pretty floral design and the practicality of the wipe clean surface, too. Matching rug available separately.

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3. Bentley Explorer: £19.99, buydirect4u.co.uk

 

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Available in either red or blue, this is a comprehensive rucksack for the price tag and there’s even a bottle cooler on the side to keep your wine cold and your food un-squashed. The melamine accessories aren’t best quality, so might need replacing at some point, but they do the job and include extras like cheese knife and board.

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4. Clouds Large Filled Picnic Bag: £65, cathkidston.com

 

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This dreamy print alone will want to make you fill this four person bag with sumptuous goodies and head straight for the countryside. Inside, it’s got everything you’ll need for an alfresco feast, all of which is great quality, and you can buy a matching picnic rug, if you feel so inclined.

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5. Picnic Rucksack: £45, marksandspencer.com

 

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Not fussed on pretty prints and intricate designs? This plain blue offering is no-nonsense and timeless and has all you’ll need for a romantic picnic for two. It also includes a durable rug, which fits neatly on the side, so no added bulk needed.

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6. Canvas Picnic Carry All: £60, fortnumandmason.com

 

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Fortnums is best known for its magnificent wicker picnic hampers, but if you’ve got further to walk to your favourite picnic spot then you’ll be grateful for this well-equipped backpack instead. It’s every bit as decadent as you’d expect, accented in the brand's signature teal with great attention to detail, and contains crockery and cutlery for two (though no glasses).

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7. Funky Birds Picnic Rucksack: £20.99, dunelm-mill.com

 

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Here’s a great budget option for two. Don’t expect to take masses of food as the pack isn’t huge, but, for a humble lunch, it does the job nicely and the patterned leaf design on lime green background is cheery and summery. The back straps are adjustable.

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8. Outwell Somerset Picnic Bag: £31.99, campingworld.co.uk

 

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New for 2015, this set makes light work of organising picnics, with particularly spacious cooler storage for all your culinary delights, along with all the usual glasses, plates, napkins and cutlery for four people – plus a small knife for fruit or cheese, and bottle opener. The handles and shoulder straps mean you can carry it how best suits you.

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9. Great British Summer Four Person Picnic Set: £49.99, lunchbagland.co.uk

 

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This is fabulous if you like a lot of food in your picnic as there’s a whopping 15L capacity in the insulated cooler compartment, which keeps everything cool for around four hours (although you can always add ice blocks to make it last even longer). The two carry handles and adjustable shoulder strap make it easy and comfortable to carry and there’s crockery for four.

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10. The Gourmet Trotter Company Hampton Picnic Hamper: £599, notonthehighstreet.com

 

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No, you didn’t read the price wrong. This is as luxurious, not to mention innovative, as it gets in the world of picnics, basically turning a golf trolley into three storage units, complete with designer glassware, cutlery and fine English china for four people, as well as cutting boards and other nice touches.

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11. Croft Collection Filled Coolbag: £65, johnlewis.com

 

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Those keen on a tipple with their picnic are bound to love this comprehensive set, which includes a dedicated compartment for wine bottles (space for two). This is a bag that should last you forever, due to the great quality polyester and accessories, including particularly hard-wearing melamine plates.

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Verdict:

If you want an elegant set, the navy Joules picnic set is beautifully designed, with practical attention to detail. For a cheaper and more streamlined option, the Dunelm Mill Funky Birds Picnic Rucksack is a great buy.

 

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