The 6 Best Picnic Backpacks to Bring Everywhere

These popular packs make the perfect companion for a good picnic.

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Best Picnic Backpacks
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Eating a meal outside in nice weather is never a hard sell. There's not much that is more appealing than setting up a few good snacks, a bottle of wine, and enjoying an afternoon of food and nature. If you've picnicked before, you know there's an art to it, and that art requires the correct tools for the trade. Namely, a functional bag to help you transport everything you need, from chilled wine to plates and glasses. No matter your needs, there's a backpack perfect for you.

We researched some of the best picnic backpacks for packing a great meal to enjoy outside whether on the beach, during a hike, or at the park. We love the versatility of the Sunflora Picnic Backpack, but there are plenty of great options depending on your needs and preferences for picnicking. Read on for all our favorite options.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Sunflora Picnic Backpack for 4

Best Picnic Backpacks
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: With all the tools already included, you won't have to think twice about what to pack for your picnic. The plates, glasses, and flatware are also dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up.

Cons: The insulated compartment inside the backpack isn't waterproof, so ice can melt and leak — ice packs are more effective here than loose ice.

If you're looking for a functional, all-in-one picnic backpack, this one is decked out with pretty much everything you might need. It's got eating and drinking utensils for four people, a small wooden cutting board, a cheese knife, salt and pepper shakers, and a corkscrew. Those items are tucked into an outer pocket with plenty of loops to hold everything in place. The bulk of the bag is dedicated to a lightly insulated cooler pouch with space for stacking takeout containers, hunks of cheese, or containers from home. The bag maximizes space with external pockets for a waterproof picnic blanket and an insulated sleeve perfect for holding a bottle of wine.

  • Dimensions: 16.3 x 12.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Material: Polyester with a plastic interior
  • Weight: 6.59 pounds
  • Items included: Four napkins, four cutlery sets with forks, spoons, and butter knife, one cheese knife, salt and pepper shakers, a bottle opener, a blanket, a cutting board, wine glasses, and an insulated wine holder.

Best for Couples: Vogano Picnic Basket for 2

Best Picnic Backpacks
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: This backpack comes with a super lightweight blanket that easily tucks into one of the side pockets. The insulated pocket is also quite spacious, making it easy to pack a whole meal without anything getting crushed.

Cons: The insulated pocket is not waterproof, so it can't hold ice as it melts. Instead, opt for ice packs to keep your meal cool.

For people who often picnic with a smaller group, Vogano's picnic backpack for two has the tools you need, plus plenty of space to pack your meal in an insulated inner pocket. The pocket is surprisingly spacious, with room for as many as 25 cans. We also like the hidden pocket on the backpack's strap, which is great for tucking money and car keys.

  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 7.8 x 18.5 inches
  • Material: polyester
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Items included: Two sets of stainless steel cutlery, two plates, two wine glasses, two napkins, salt and pepper shakers, a cheese knife, a bottle opener, a plastic cutting board, and a waterproof beach mat.

Best Affordable Insulated: Carhartt 2-in-1 Insulated Cooler Backpack

Best Picnic Backpacks
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: This bag is lightweight and practical, keeping items in the bottom compartment cool all day.

Cons: Only the bottom compartment of this bag is insulated, which is good if you want to keep some items at room temperature, but may not work if you're looking for a dedicated cooler bag.

Our other insulated backpack pick (see below) is expensive and heavy, but this Carhartt version manages to stay under $70 and won't weigh you down before you even fill it up. It's great for mixed-use, with an insulated bottom compartment that can hold up to 12 cans, or a variety of items. The upper compartment is not insulated, so you can bring a blanket, a book, or other non-cooled items without worrying that they'll get wet.

  • Dimensions: 12.5 x 8 x 17.75 inches
  • Material: Polyester
  • Weight: 1.45 pounds
  • Items included: Backpack only

Best Wicker: Corsica Wine & Cheese Picnic Basket

Best Picnic Backpacks
Courtesy of Wayfair

Pros: We like that this basket maintains the classic picnic aesthetic while offering functional carrying options and a space to keep bottles chilled. It also provides can't-forget essentials without giving up too much space to tools you might not need.

Cons: This is the smallest of the bags we recommend and might not have space for a complete meal spread for more than two people.

If you believe a picnic basket has to be wicker, this is a functional basket in a shape that's far easier to carry than a traditional, bulky box-shaped basket. Instead, this bag has a shoulder strap for customizable carrying. The internal main pocket is lightly insulated, better for keeping wine chilled in mild climates than for keeping anything deeply chilled. The front compartment holds a corkscrew, cheese knife, and cutting board, perfect for a picnic in the woods.

  • Dimensions: 14 x 4.5 x 9.5
  • Material: Polyester canvas and wood wicker
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Items included: Corkscrew, cutting board, and cheese knife.

Best Value: MIYCOO Insulated Cooler Backpack

Best Picnic Backpacks
Courtesy of Amazon

Pros: We love this affordable price point and the backpack's two compartments, which are ideal for packing cans of soda or beer in one, and snacks in the other.

Cons: No additional picnic tools are included in this backpack, so you'll need to buy and pack whatever extra items you might need.

If you're just starting to dabble in outdoor eating and aren't sure how often you'll use your new backpack, this affordable insulated bag is a great place to start. The two insulated compartments make it easy to divide items and prevent smushing. The bottom compartment fits a dozen cans, while the top is perfect for sandwiches and snacks.

Two elastic side pockets are helpful for things like cups or utensils, which are not included in this backpack. A zippered front pocket is also useful for storing your phone and keys. The shoulder straps are well-padded and comfortable for carrying the bag even when it's fully packed.

  • Dimensions: 17 x 12 x 7 inches
  • Material: Oxford cloth and PEVA lining
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Items included: Backpack only

Best Splurge: Yeti Hopper M20

Best Picnic Backpacks
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Yeti.

Pros: You'll be able to truly keep things cold on ice for a full day with this backpack, and we found the flexibility of the storage to be helpful for different types of picnics and outings. This backpack is also the easiest to clean.

Cons: The Yeti Hopper doesn't include any other picnic tools, so you'll have to separately source a blanket, cutlery, plates, forks, and other essentials.

Where other backpacks focus on giving you the tools you need to lay out a full meal, the Yeti Hopper's primary focus is keeping things cold for a long time. Chilled properly (the manufacturer recommends filling it with ice for an hour or so before packing to pre-chill the backpack), the Hopper will keep drinks and snacks cold in full, hot sunlight all day. So if your picnics are mostly beverage-focused, or if you plan to be out and about all day, we like this backpack's functionality and customizable space usage.

  • Dimensions: 18.5 x 9.5 x 18.8 inches
  • Material: Polyurethane
  • Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Items included: Backpack only

Our Favorite

Picnicking is personal, so think about what's most important to you before deciding which backpack to buy. If you're often on the beach in the heat of the summer, you may want to prioritize insulation to ensure that your snacks and drinks stay cool, like the Yeti Hopper M20. If you're interested in having a grab-and-go option that allows you to only think about your food and beverages, a bag like the Sunflora with all the necessary tools may be for you.

Factors to Consider

Material

Different materials are easier to clean than others. The Yeti Hopper, for example, is all waterproof, so cleaning it is as simple as rinsing it in your sink or with a garden hose. On the other hand, if aesthetics are most important to you, go with a wicker option.

Tools

Think carefully about the types of picnics you like to have before selecting your bag. While including plates, cutlery, glasses, and napkins may seem essential, if you're mostly nibbling on cheese and crackers or eating sandwiches on your outdoor dining adventures, you may not need all those accessories. Additionally, if you're picnicking mostly with children, they will likely not require wine glasses. If your needs are more specific, it can be worthwhile to spend the extra time sourcing your accessories for your own needs rather than ending up with a bunch of tools you'll never use.

Insulation

This is a big one — lots of picnic backpacks are only lightly insulated (think of your childhood lunchbox), so they're really not equipped for a full day of activities in the sun. Instead, they're better designed to keep things cool for a couple of hours while also holding pockets for other items like plates and glasses. Opt for a heavily insulated bag if you plan to regularly use your backpack for very hot or very long days.

Our Expertise

Maddy Sweitzer-Lammé is a food writer and restaurant reporter with years of experience testing consumer products for real-life usage. A resident of the city of Philadelphia and a lover of outdoor eating (and drinking) she's shlepped many a picnic across the city and even across state lines. In addition, the air conditioning in her car has been broken for longer than she cares to admit, so she knows all too well how vital a well-insulated backpack can be.

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