This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated.
Warm weather has arrived, and we’re using every excuse to spend time outside. Park hangs, backyard barbecues, happy hours, and yes — your first small (outdoor) party. We’ve been waiting so long for this moment and it’s finally here.
To make sure you show up prepared, we rounded up everything you’ll need so things run smoothly. From items that’ll keep food fresh and drinks cold, to products that’ll ward off pesky flies. We’re ready to safely socialize again.
The outside pocket can hold straws, napkins, and utensils, while the roomy inside is perfect for your reusable storage containers. It can fit up to 28 (!!!) cans, so yes, you can pack for more than just yourself. Put on some sunscreen, throw it over your shoulder, and head to the park to meet with friends. ($34.95, ban.do)
The days of sharing forks, knives, and spoons? Gone. Now you’ll be fully prepared with this stainless steel set that comes in a tiny silicone carrying case. It won’t clang around in your bag, the utensils will stay clean, and you’ll have somewhere to place them once they’re dirty. Everything is dishwasher-safe for an easy clean once you’re back home. ($15, W&P)
Like yoga, picnicking in the park, lounging on the beach, and more. The authentic blanket comes in a variety of patterns and is woven by local artisans in Mexico. It’s made with 100% recycled materials, and with every purchase, a blanket is donated to one of the brand’s charitable partners. ($19.99, Amazon)
Made with plant-based ingredients, this candle contains citronella, cedarwood, and rosemary to keep bugs away. And with a 30-hour burn time, you’ll be covered all night. So you can enjoy your hang without that constant buzzing killing the vibe. ($11.99+, Amazon)
It works to remove the irritant left underneath your skin that causes itchiness and redness. You’ll be able to stop a reaction in its tracks, leaving the bite visibly smaller. You can even try it on bee and wasp stings. The true MVP of the summer. ($9.95, Amazon)
Swatting bugs away from your meal is frustrating. The last thing your freshly sliced fruit or artfully prepared charcuterie board needs is to be ruined by the presence of pests. These tents to the rescue. Each one folds up and can be stored in a handy carrying case. One of the standard sizes covers a single plate of food, while the extra-large size can cover up to five plates. Problem = solved. ($29.99/5 pack, Amazon)
This handy lil’ one will be a little oasis for your things, whether you’re in the yard or at the beach. It weighs about 2 pounds, is water-resistant, and doesn’t require major assembly. No more sand in your phone speaker. Or wedged into the spine of your summer read. Phew. ($12, Target)
This tiny grill is the perfect size for park dates, camping, or backyard gatherings. And it’s made from eco-friendly, biodegradable lava stones, cardboard, and bamboo. The stones heat up quickly and can provide up to one hour of cook time. Once you’re done, you can toss everything. Simple as that. ($15, Uncommon Goods)
You can stream directly from your phone via Bluetooth, and if you’re in your backyard, the device works via WiFi. The speaker features technology that adapts to what you’re listening to and where you are, so you’ll always get balanced, crisp sound. It’s also drop-resistant and waterproof up to 3 feet. Time to jam. ($169, Sonos)
They can slip into tight spaces of your cooler and can lock together to line lunchbox walls. They’ll help keep beverages and food cold, so you never have to be suspicious of how fresh something is after being outside for a few hours. ($11.99/6 pack, Amazon)
With just the pull of a string, it’ll pop up to provide all the protection you need from the sun’s rays. It has four inside pockets for belongings and UPF 50+ protection from UV rays. To combat against wind, the front tie and side loops will help anchor it to the ground. ($71.95, Food52)
If you’re having people over, it’s time to get your outdoor space ready. And nothing beats some dreamy string lights. It’s an easy way to help set the mood and will provide some much-needed light once the evening rolls around. Hello, hostess with the mostest. ($17.98, Amazon)
Maybe you’re limited on chairs? Enter: outdoor floor pillows that’ll do the trick. Your guests will have somewhere to rest, and they’ll be easy to store when not in use. You can choose from round or square options, in a variety of colors and patterns. ($55.99+, Society6)
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