The Fun and Affordable Thing I Always Bring on Picnics

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The Fun and Affordable Thing I Always Bring on Picnics

It's always been a bit of a frustration with my husband that he's not much of a game player (I LOVE game night). But somehow, in the course of our relationship, he mentioned liking chess and so one Christmas, I got him this travel chess set, thinking we'd maybe play a few times a year. Instead, it became a sort of monthly ritual: taking the chess set to our local park with some canned wine and pretzels and watching the sunset. (Of course in recent months, the picnic has been just in the back yard.)

There's nothing particularly beautiful about this chess set, but I still love it: It's made of real wood, it folds up, allowing you to keep the pieces inside, and it's about the size of a large clutch — meaning it fits comfortably in a tote bag. Best of all, it's only $28.99, so you're not going to feel particularly upset if something happens to it.

Of course, if you want something that's going to do a bit more for the 'gram, there's Pendleton's roll-up travel chess and checkers set:

For only a few dollars more (it's $35), it's infinitely more handsome, with a canvas board, wood pieces (they reverse for checkers on one side and icons of chess pieces on the other), and a vegan leather pouch.

And pro tip: If you're looking for a way to propose and are coming up short in pandemic times, the fold-up chess set is definitely a cute way to hide a ring, as my own husband did for our proposal:

Leonora Epstein is Hunker's Senior Director of Content. She has previously served as Executive Editor at HelloGiggles and as BuzzFeed's Deputy Editorial Director. She is the co-author of "X vs. Y: A Culture War, a Love Story" (Abrams, 2014). Feel free to reach out at

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