Picnic Mistakes To Avoid For A Successful Outdoor Meal

It can get complicated, because we're human and sometimes we just can't help ourselves.
Picnic basket with rose, glasses, strawberries and dishes in meadow.
Picnic basket with rose, glasses, strawberries and dishes in meadow.

We have to apologize for not talking about picnic tips earlier in the summer. We went along, picnicking ourselves through all these warm months, and forgot to check in to make sure you guys weren't freaking out about it. Then, someone mentioned to us that they had an absolute disaster of a picnic, and we realized the error of our ways.

Picnic mistakes are pretty simple to avoid. The basics: keep food cold, make sure it's food that tastes good cold and have something to eat it with. But of course, it can get more complicated than that, because we're all human and sometimes we just can't help ourselves. Here are some picnic mistakes you might be making.

1. Dumping ice into your cooler instead of ice packs.
picnic cooler
Ice can often carry bacteria and has a habit of making everything that's not meticulously wrapped incredibly soggy. Reusable ice packs save water, and won't turn your sandwiches into sponges.

2. Packing sandwiches that are destined to get soggy.
sloppy sandwich
Here are some things we love: meatball sandwiches, oil and vinegar on hoagies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with extra jelly, fresh tomato sandwiches. Know what all of those things have in common? They make horrible, soggy, disappointing picnic food. Your best bet for picnic sandwiches is to keep them simple and a tiny bit dry. You can always bring along extra condiments to the picnic.

3. Bringing foods that are gross/dangerous at room temperature.
egg salad
Look, egg salad definitely has a place in our heart. But that place is not a picnic place. If you aren't absolutely certain that your food will stay well-chilled before you get to eat it, do yourself a favor and leave the eggs, mayonnaise, tuna salad, etc. out of the equation. Also, there are some things that just don't taste good cold. No one wants to eat mac and cheese at a picnic.

4. Forgetting how fruit behaves.
fruit salad
Berries macerate. Banana turns into gummy goop. Melons sweat. If you want perfect, delicious fruit salad at a picnic, keep your fruits separate and mix them up there.

5. Underestimating the deliciousness of cold fried chicken.
fried chicken
This is the best picnic food on earth. The end. Sorry other picnic food.

6. Forgetting napkins, forks, cups, etc.
picnic utensils
"Digging in with your hands" always sounds really fun, until you have no other choice.

7. Crushing the goods.
crushed food
Just follow this mantra: heavy stuff on the bottom, delicate stuff on top. Beers, sodas, watermelons, etc. shouldn't go on top of your sandwiches, cheeses and breads. Unless you love squished sandwiches, cheese and bread.

8. Not bringing a trash bag.
garbage bag
Chances are, in any park, campground or beach area, you'll find a garbage can. But just in case, bring a garbage bag. It takes up almost no room and will make you so happy when you don't have to throw food scraps back into your cooler.

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