In Partnership with Kathmandu
Although we are no longer constrained to picnics alone as a means of connection, it's undeniable that the picnic is still the social gathering of choice as the air turns sultry and the days grow longer.
An Australian summer staple, whether it be out of the urgent need for a dip in the ocean with a friend or the want of alfresco dining with a moments notice - the beauty of the picnic lies in its adaptable nature. By the beach with salty skin or, perched on a parkland knoll with the grass tickling your feet in the afternoon glow, the summer picnic regime is all about chasing sun.
Thus, sun protection is a must. Lest we return from our alfresco moment on the wrong side of bronzed. Kathmandu's SUN-Stopper collection is all about special summer moments, burn-free. With a UPF50+, the RUSSH team were able to picnic in style while protecting themselves from the strong Australian rays. Editor in Chief, Jess Blanch and Content Editor, Ella Jane weigh in on the art of the summer picnic below.
I love the idea of a nicely curated picnic but as someone who constantly seems to be running late or rushing, my alfresco dining is either done best on an outdoor table or what can only be known as an adventure picnic.
An adventure picnic must happen at short notice and be meteorologically driven: it has to be one of those blue-sky days when you just know that no accomplishment of meeting deadlines or commitments will make up for the fact that you haven’t put your body in the ocean.
There are no prerequisites for such a picnic but there are some essentials to ensure a fine time.
The packing list looks like this:
One of your favourite people lured by a text that asks they “come for a swim” and reassurance you’ll provide sustenance. In this case it is RUSSH contributor Alys Hale who accepts and is one of the best ‘beach goths’ I’ve ever known.
Swimsuit and sunscreen
I love Kathmandu’s SUN-Stopper pieces which give the UPF50+ protection when you are getting the ocean glare.
Cargo pants. I especially love these men’s style by Kathmandu as they are waterproof so you can slip them on wet after a swim and stay cool for the rest of the hike.
This picnic menu has to be grab and go: a fresh baguette, a can or two of Oritz anchovies and a slab of butter is really all that’s needed on any escapade.
Ice cold beer in a can because who carries a bottle opener? But also because Reschs’ pilsner silver bullet is honestly Australia’s best beer (so old that both my grandfather and Dad were fans) and it was a great day when they brought it back last year. Honourable mention could also go to Heaps Normal, which I had long dismissed as a hipster beer thanks to the name but have this discovered this to be a non-alcoholic beer that tastes as good as real beer and an excellent choice of hydration for these on the move type of expeditions.
I’m partially inclined not to share my location for these nature romps because Sydney’s Hermitage Foreshore track in Vaucluse still feels beautifully untouched most of the time. Nevertheless, I put on my backpack and begin the hike on the Queens Beach side, stopping a while around Hermit Point where in between there are stairs down to entirely private coves where you can swim and sun your body in places that may not be appropriate at Bondi.
The day ends with a final swim on Milk Beach and taking the sunset in at the rocky lookout above it, which is accessed by slipping in behind a fence.
I’ve done some sundowns in special places but this is where I want to be for now.
Summer will be upon us shortly, and with parks all across the city already looking as though a small music festival is taking place in them, at RUSSH we are picnicking in another kind of way.
Some are made for adventure, I am made for a short stroll down the laneway for a Campari. Different strokes for different folks I suppose. The one thing on all of our minds is summer comfort, and if you're doing any kind of serious picnicking - city side or otherwise - being geared up in easy breezy attire is a must, particularly under the summer sun.
A different kind of picnic
It never needs to be much, and with a simple is best ethos, the best impromptu picnics begin and end with this sentiment. No need for tables and chairs when milk crates are aplenty, so grab a friend (or three) and with any luck, you'll be able to swindle something to sit on from the back of your local haunt.
Next is something to drink (always), and a safe bet is a simple and easily mixed recipe. Campari is a personal favourite, and while you can dress it up with an orange twist and a heavy serve of ice, it's just as good straight up with chilled soda water. For snacking, I am sticking to the theme with a humble offering of plain crisps and Sicilian olives. If we weren't on the side of the road, we'd almost be in Italy!
It's all about the atmosphere you're willing to create. As a sentimental girl, a picnic can be all that, but if the company isn't it, it isn't it! For this particular set up, I was joined by Market Editor Angel Jhang, where we sat and spoke about life and culture as the sun eventually dipped behind the buildings.
The Picnic Attire...
No one actually wants to be clambering over a rocky knoll, overstuffed basket in hand, wearing a hanging rock-esque dress that will inevitably blow back like an unruly umbrella at the slightest gust of wind. Not me, at least! As someone who leans much further towards the sporty side of the spectrum (no one needs to know my daily average step count is closer to 500 than 5,000), it's all about the breezy shorts and sun safe cover ups, and Kathmandu's new SUN-Stopper range is not just good enough to take on your upcoming adventure, but is pared back enough to throw on as you galavant around in the city heat. It also has a UPF50+ rating meaning you can stay out there this summer comfortably protected from the UV rays.
Moral of the story: picnics don't need to be a complex endeavour as long as you have a tactile wardrobe, good company, and a quiet laneway to soak up the summer sun (safely). Shop the Kathmandu SUN-Stopper range, here.