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Trae Bodge, www.RetailMeNot.com, Published June 21 2012

Picnic primer: Great products for outdoor dining

Yay! It’s the perfect weather for a picnic. But do you have everything you need for a relaxing, hassle-free meal in the grass? I found lots of great gear that will ensure an enjoyable time with friends, family, food and drink.

THE BASKET

There are some baskets that come pre-packed with supplies. However, these are usually meant for two people, so I find them to be a bit limiting when I picnic with a group. My choice is the Picnic Time Insulated Collapsible Basket ($43.95) from Overstock.com. This roomy basket is available in a variety of colors, and because it comes empty, you can pack it according to your specific needs.

THE BLANKET

A foldable, portable blanket is a must-have. Ideally, it should have a water-resistant bottom for post-rain picnicking. I love the Eagles Nest Outfitters Launch Pad Festival Blanket ($64.95) from Mountain High Outfitters (www.mountainhighoutfitters.com) because of its large size, storage pocket, super-soft fleece top and coated rip-stop bottom.

THE GRUB

Pack your hot or cold food in colorful, double-wall insulated To-Go Food Containers ($14.99 for 24-ounce and $12.99 for 12-ounce) from Aladdin, www.shopaladdin-pmi.com. They’re super sturdy, leak proof and microwave and dishwasher safe!

This 16-ounce Hybrid Plastic Mug ($9.99) from Aladdin is double insulated for holding hot or cold beverages.

THE UTENSILS, PLATES AND BOWLS

For cutlery, I recommend the Sutherland Bordeaux Picnic Wallet ($24.99) from Picnic World, www.picnicworld.net. This tri-fold wallet contains utensils for four people, plus it comes with salt and pepper shakers, a cloth napkin, a cheese knife and a wooden cutting board.

If you don’t want a bunch of dirty dishes tossing around in your picnic basket, disposable plates and bowls are the way to go. But if you’re going to create a bunch of garbage, why not go sustainable? The Solo Cup Bare Collection ($3.08 for 15 plates) features environmentally friendly cups, bowls and plates.

THE VINO

If you picnic with wine, you’ve probably had a bottle or two tip over. Never again with the Tovolo SteadySticks Wine Bottle Holder ($13.99) from Bigkitchen.com! Stick this into the ground, and your bottle stays steady and secure.

THE TUNES

Everyone loves listening to music while on a picnic, but who wants to drag a boom box along? Instead, bring the iFrogz Boost Speaker System ($22.95) from Barnes & Noble. Just start playing your tunes on your smartphone’s external speakers and place the phone on the Boost. The Boost will amplify the sound via two speakers for all your friends to enjoy. (Be mindful of your neighbors!) Three double-A batteries will give you up to 15 hours of playtime.

Bodge is a beauty and lifestyle expert who writes for http://theinsider.retailmenot.com/ — the online magazine of RetailMeNot, the No. 1 online coupon site in the world.