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Differences Between Picnic Backpacks and Baskets

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What's the difference between a picnic basket and a picnic backpack? Let Picnic World help you decide which one works for you!
picnic basket vs backpack

When we started offering picnic backpacks on Picnic World, we got a lot of questions from our customers—namely, what are the pros and cons of picnic baskets and backpacks? Luxury picnic backpacks are still pretty new to the scene, so of course you’d want to make an informed decision! We’ll compare backpacks to baskets using key features so that you can figure out which one fits your lifestyle.


picnic backpack for a hike

Depending on how you aim to get to your picnic spots, you’ll have different needs than others. Some people prefer to drive to the local park and find a nice, grassy knoll to spread out on. The mountaineering type might anticipate trekking at least an hour through a rocky trail to find the perfect cliffside perch. If you’re more of the former type, a basket would be just fine for you! But if you plan to haul your goods yourself, you’ll have a much easier time with the backpack. Trying to carry a nice basket through rough terrain is just a recipe for stiff shoulders and dirty wicker.


The picnic baskets and backpacks in Picnic World’s catalogs are actually priced very similarly! One of the most affordable two-person baskets in our catalog is the Sutherland Festival Picnic Basket, which has a charming, gingham-patterned interior and a complete set of plastic cutlery and dishes for two. On the other hand, one of the most affordable picnic backpacks is the Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Backpack, which comes in a variety of colors and features two separate sections for food and gear storage. There’s only a $10 difference between the two, making them both quite within reach.

Food Storage

One thing that picnic backpacks tend to have over baskets is their food storage capabilities. Even the lowest-priced backpack features thermal insulation, while you’ll have to look to picnic totes for the same thing. Since backpacks are meant to be in direct contact with your body—and thus your body heat—thermal insulation is really important for them to have. With baskets, temperature changes are not as much of an issue, though your food will lose heat or chill over time.

picnic food in a basket


Both backpacks and baskets come with everything you’ll need for a successful picnic! Though the more deluxe models can include wine openers, thermoses, wine glasses, salt and pepper shakers and more, every model will at least have the basics: plates, napkins and cutlery.


While some picnic baskets come with shoulder straps, many of them don’t. Rather, they’ll have short handles on their sides or lids for you to grab ahold of as you make your way to your picnic spot. This isn’t much of a problem if you’re not going too far. But a long hike might wear on your hands and shoulders. Backpacks, however, are built to be carried. Their padded straps will make the trip gentle on your body. Plus, their interior fasteners will ensure that nothing gets jostled as you move about.

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