Keep picnic foods warm with clever carriers

To the casual observer, Yogi Bear wasn't all that bright. He stole picnic baskets, always got caught, and wore a hat and tie but no pants.

Truth be told, though, old Yogi was a genius. He had the good sense to, every day, partake in the ultimate outing: a picnic. Picnics - an ideal combination of food, nature and friends - make for a perfect day off.

Take advantage of your Memorial Day weekend, take advice from Yogi, and head out for a picnic with these clever finds. (Unlike Yogi, however, I don't recommend stealing any of them.)

Ideal for day hiking trips, the Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Backpack is lightweight and stylish. The pack is divided into two sections: The top mesh section with drawstring closure is designed to hold just about anything, and the bottom section is actually an insulated cooler to keep food hot or cold for hours. To eliminate leaks and messes, the cooler also has a heat-sealed, waterproof lining. Retailing for $39.99, it is sold at Amazon.com.

If you're planning a more intimate outing, opt for Pier One's Picnic Basket for Two. The classic basket is made of hand-woven willow with leather accents and a fabric lining. Included in the set are ceramic plates, wine glasses and flatware. The basket retails for $60 at Pier One.

Malibu's Picnic Service for Two Shoulder Pack is also ideal for smaller trips. The lightweight shoulder pack is fully waterproof and features food and wine storage compartments. A polyvinyl interior keeps foods hot or cold. Included in the pack are melamine plates, shatter-resistant wine glasses, stainless steel knives, forks and spoons, cotton napkins, an oak cutting board, a cheese knife and a combination corkscrew/bottle opener/knife. Retailing for $46.99, it is sold at Target.

Looking like a purse but acting like a picnic basket, the Insulated Nylon Picnic Tote from Bed, Bath and Beyond is fashionable, functional and always in style for a day of eating and relaxing outdoors. An insulated inner layer keeps food and drinks at the desired temperature and a durable nylon exterior easily wipes clean with a damp cloth.

The sturdy canvas carry straps make it easy to bring along anywhere you go. Included inside the tote are four plastic plates, forks, knives, spoons and cups. Also included is a metal bottle opener and a neoprene wine bottle holder. Retailing for $19.99, the tote is sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Anna Ferguson is a Lifestyle writer for the Daily Post. E-mail her at anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.