These easy-to-pack portable outdoor items turn any afternoon picnic into an all-day fiesta
Striped picnic blanket, $45
Packed in a take-along tote, this laminated cotton blanket keeps food clean and dry. Just wipe it down when you're done. Available at Sur La Table, 52 E Walton St between Rush St and Michigan Ave (312-337-0600); and 755 W North Ave at Halsted St (312-787-5111).
S2 Sports Boombox ZS-X1, $100
Revert back to your junior-high self with this portable CD player and boom box. Shock protection and a water-resistant exterior make it sturdy enough for a rowdy day at the beach. Available at Circuit City, locations throughout the city (www.circuitcity.com).
Collapsible chair, $8
Sure, sitting on the grass for your picnic is picturesque. But when the ants arrive, it's nicer to have a chair. This one is cheap, easy to carry and has a holder for your drink. Available at Linens 'n Things, 3131 N Clark St at Halsted St(773-388-5409).
Rattan and bamboopicnic basket, $75
Guys, here's a little secret: Girls swoon over the thought of a romantic picnic. Show her your cheesy side with this all-in-one set, which includes a wine opener, plates, silverware, napkins and a matching tablecloth. Available at www.picnicgear.com.
Plates, $5, and wine glasses, $3
Much better for the environment than throwaway paper goods, these plastic plates and wine glasses can be reused all year long. Available at Crate and Barrel, 646 N Michigan Ave between Ontario and Erie Sts (312-787-5900); and 850 W North Ave at Clybourn Ave (312-573-9800).
Wine tote, $60
Even Two Buck Chuck will look elegant in this wicker and leather wine carrier. It should impress your picnic companions—even if your choice of wine is rather low-budget. Available at Crate and Barrel.
Bottle holder, $32
Made from Wootex, a woven recyclable plastic mesh, this leather-trimmed cozy is a stylish way to tote your Chardonnay or Perrier to the park. Available at www.totelemonde.com.
Rolling cooler, $40
No need to worry about lugging a heavy Igloo or making a midday beer run. Unless you can drink like Tara Reid, this collapsible 54-can rolling cooler will hold all the beer or soda you need. Available at www.target.com.
Croquet set, $50
Carry this all-in-one set to the park and challenge some strangers to the least-sweaty game in sports. Available at Sports Authority, locations throughout the city (www.sportsauthority.com).
Reef flip-flops, $40
You'll be the James Bond of any picnic sporting these sandals: They've got a bottle opener built into the sole. Available at Nordstrom, 55 E Grand Ave between Rush St and Wabash Ave (312-464-1515).