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Best picnic hampers, baskets and backpacks for alfresco dining

Make the most of outdoor dining with our pick of the best picnic hampers. Load up on snacks and chilled drinks, grab a blanket and head to the park, beach, garden (or car park!) for an alfresco feast.

By Carol Linfield | Last updated Sep 23, 2021

Best picnic hamper

You can’t beat a good old-fashioned picnic. Scotch eggs definitely taste better in the sunshine. To ensure your favourite snacks travel well and that you arrive at the perfect picnic spot with perfectly chilled drinks, it’s well worth investing in a picnic hamper. 

Some baskets come packed with picnic paraphernalia including glasses, cutlery, crockery and napkins for a civilised outdoor dining experience, while others offer roomy cooling compartments for family-sized feasts. 

We’ve collated a selection of the best picnic hampers to buy this year, including recommendations from the Mumsnet forums to help you make the most of dining alfresco. Bon Appetit!

Looking for picnic spot inspiration? Check out the National Trust’s suggestions on where to picnic in the park or on the beach

Here are the best picnic hampers to buy in 2021.

1. Best overall picnic hamper: HappyPicnic Wicker Picnic Basket Set for 4 

HappyPicnic wicker hamper

Price: £67 | Buy now from Amazon

Gather an awesome foursome and make a proper day of it with this fully loaded hamper. We love its traditional look and serving ease. It includes four plastic wine glasses, melamine plates, a stainless steel cutlery set and a built-in cooler to keep your drinks and snacks chilled. There’s plenty of room for sandwiches and sausages rolls too and it comes with a handy waterproof blanket for added convenience. At less than £70, it’s a great family investment and should serve you well for many summers to come. 

Key specs

  • Size: 27 x 27 x 43 cm approx
  • Material: Wicker
  • Cool box included: Yes

2. Best budget picnic hamper: Prestige Wicker Basket with Handle 

Prestige wicker basket

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

This traditional wicker basket has a simple design that can be filled with picnic essentials. Its long handle makes it easy to carry as it can be slipped over the arm and the durable wicker should mean that you can cart it round season after season. It's on the small side so it's better for intimate picnic gatherings and there's no lid so you'll need to keep it upright at all times. It doesn't come with any extras but for a basic basket that'll look lovely in picnic pics, this one's a great budget buy.

Key specs

  • Size: 35 x 25 x 25cm
  • Material: Wicker
  • Cool box included: No

3. Best luxury picnic hamper: Fortnum’s Huntsman Picnic Hamper for Four

Fortnum and Mason Huntsman picnic hamper

"An F&M hamper comes with a certain level of ‘special’, lots of people use the actual basket for years to come" - Protegemo1

Price: £365 | Buy now from Fortnum & Mason 

For a blowout buffet, why not invest in an epic basket? This Fortnum & Mason set is the crème de la crème of picnic hampers with its classic design, F&M branding and iconic Eau de Nil colouring. It’s aesthetically beautiful but is also really practical as it’s fully loaded with enamel mugs and plates, wine glasses, cutlery sets, napkins and an insulated sandwich bag. It features handy extras like salt and pepper pots, a corkscrew and a flask that will keep drinks hot for eight hours should the weather turn and there’s even a waste bag to put your upmarket trash in. With all the bells and whistles included, the only downside is that there isn’t much room for food but you’ll certainly look the part on a posh picnic.  

Key specs

  • Size: 32 x 48 x 30cm
  • Material: Wicker, recycled canvas, leather trims
  • Cool box included: Yes (sandwich bag)

4. Best picnic backpack: Eono 4-Person Picnic Backpack Hamper Cooler Bag with Tableware Set & Blanket

Eono picnic hamper

"A picnic backpack is the way forward! I love mine. We use it loads. We’ve definitely had more picnics, and put more thought into them since having it” - AnnaSW1

Price: £60 | Buy now from Amazon

A picnic backpack is a firm favourite with Mumsnetters for its practicality. This all-in-one rucksack hamper features all you need for a smooth outdoor dining session. It features a chopping board, a bottle opener, a cheese knife, four plates and cups, a cutlery set, salt and pepper shakers, a detachable bottle holder and a cooler compartment. And it comes with a large striped picnic blanket with a waterproof base so you’re ready to claim your picnic patch from the get go. There’s plenty of space for your summer snacks in the main compartment and its soft-padded shoulder straps will keep things comfortable when you’re trying to track down the perfect spot.

Key specs

  • Size: 30 x 25 x 32cm
  • Material: Polyester
  • Cool box included: Yes

5. Best eco-friendly picnic hamper: Plastic Free Palm Leaf Plate & Bowl Picnic Pack

Eco-friendly picnic hamper

Price: £30 | Buy now from The Wholeleaf Company

This plastic-free, biodegradable picnic basket is perfect for sustainable snacking. The recycled box comes with 25 palm leaf plates, FSC-certified wooden cutlery sets, bowls and 25 compostable cups, suitable for both hot and cold drinks. It will work nicely for families and groups of friends or for multiple picnic outings throughout the summer. You can simply dispose of everything afterwards as the material is fully compostable. It’s also a bonus to be free of the washing up afterwards. 

Key specs

  • Size: Not stated
  • Material: Recycled card and wood
  • Cool box included: No

6. Best picnic hamper for families: GEEZY Family Picnic Cool Bag Backpack Hamper Wine Cooler Bottle Holder Carrier

Geezy picnic backpack

Price: £27 | Buy now from Amazon

With a brilliant price tag and all your picnic gear covered, the Geezy backpack is our top pick for families. This one has a sizable PEVA-insulated cooler compartment plus plates, glasses, cutlery and napkins as well as a corkscrew and a bottle opener. It’s made from hard-wearing polyester so it’s durable, leakproof and water resistant and it features two carry handles with a longer strap for easy transportation. 

Key specs

  • Size: 33 x 30 x 31cm
  • Material: Polyester canvas
  • Cool box included: Yes

7. Best picnic hamper for couples: 2P Willow Picnic Basket Set with Floral Lining, Picnic Hamper with Picnic Blanket

Willow floral lining picnic hamper

Price: £49 | Buy now from Amazon

We can’t get enough of this floral cotton-lined basket - it comes with all the essentials you might need for a fancy picnic for two and it has a sturdy leather handle to transport it in style. You’ll find stainless steel plates, wine glasses, a bottle opener, salt and pepper shakers and a cutlery set inside and there’s also a foldable fleece blanket with a waterproof layer to keep things dry. With most of its contents strapped nicely to the roof, there’s heaps of space inside to store the date night drinks and nibbles. 

Key specs

  • Size: 42 x 28 x 18cm
  • Material: Wicker
  • Cool box included: No

8. Best contemporary picnic basket: Greenfield Collection Woven Picnic Backpack Hamper

Greenfield picnic backpack hamper

Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

The Greenfield Collection backpack scores points for convenience as you can sling it over your shoulder to carry the full works to your chosen picnic spot. It contains stainless steel cutlery, a wooden chopping board, a cutting knife, salt and pepper shakers, a tidy-up bag, a blanket, polycarbonate wine glasses and a bottle stopper. The bag itself is fully lined and made with a wipe-clean fabric and the padded shoulder straps and blanket holder add a nice touch. You’ve got everything covered for a group of four picnickers in this handy bag. 

Key specs

  • Size: 42 x 32 x 25cm
  • Material: Polyester, PVC backing
  • Cool box included: No

9. Best picnic hamper for two: Two-Person Nautical Picnic Hamper

Joules nautical picnic hamper

Price: £89 | Buy now from Joules

This lightweight, nautical-themed hamper will elevate any alfresco dining affair. The fabric-covered wicker basket features handy pouches to contain all the included accessories including wine glasses, cutlery and crockery and there’s a removable cool bag to keep your picnic spread chilled. The picnic blanket will keep bottoms dry thanks to a waterproof base layer. Careful with the condiments with this one as the outer covering cannot be washed easily. 

Key specs

  • Size: 40 x 30 x 26cm
  • Material: Willow
  • Cool box included: Yes

How to choose the best picnic hamper 

When choosing a picnic hamper, it’s worth thinking about the following:

Your preferred picnic spot: If you’re an adventurous type that likes to hike to find the perfect picnic spot, you might find a picnic backpack handy. For those with a more leisurely agenda or if you’re planning to picnic near your car, a traditional wicker basket will bring a sense of occasion every time. 

Size matters: This will be dependent on how many guests you’ll be catering for so it’s a good idea to work out how many attendees you’ll be making sandwiches for on a regular basis.

Material: Willow is the most popular material used for picnic baskets, mainly because of its pliability, while rattan is strong and often found on the handles of picnic baskets. Polyester is widely used though and what it lacks in style, it makes up for in durability. 

Insultation: Traditional wicker baskets aren’t generally insulated so they’re not great if you’re travelling far. Modern varieties often include a cooling compartment or a removable cool bag to keep your lunch in tip-top condition, essential for perishable items. 

Sections: Most baskets are organised in sections and have individual compartments to house all your picnic essentials. Have a think about whether you prefer one main compartment to load everything into or if you prefer everything to have its own place. 

Are picnic hampers worth it?

A great picnic hamper makes alfresco dining a doddle as it provides space for all your picnic essentials. And a traditional wicker basket can add a sense of occasion to an outdoor spread. Many picnic hampers come with useful accessories like plates, cutlery, napkins and cooling compartments. You may find that a cool bag suits your needs just fine though or you might want to consider a picnic backpack that can be slung over your shoulder to distribute the weight of your spread more evenly. This is great hands-free option for family picnics. 

What can you fit in a picnic hamper? 

There really is a picnic hamper and size for everyone - how you fill yours is up to you. Alongside picnic favourites like sandwiches, Scotch eggs, cakes and fizz, you want to make sure you have plates and cups/glasses covered and a blanket to throw down too. The ideal picnic hamper will include all the key accessories so you can just focus on the food. 

What is the best picnic hamper to buy? 

The HappyPicnic Wicker Picnic Basket is our overall winner and ticks all the boxes for a perfect picnic. It has the good looks of a traditional wicker basket but with the added bonus of a built-in cooler for perishables and it features a full cutlery set to boot.

How we chose our recommendations 

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which picnic hampers parents were recommending and had bought. We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which picnic hampers had been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites, and what customer reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the top 10 picnic hampers on the market.

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