16 Products to Prep for Your Next Outdoor Gathering

Published on: May 20, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
everything you need to pack for your next outdoor partyDesign: Lindsay Lange, Credit: Food52, Uncommon Goods, ban.do

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.

insulated yellow cooler tote with outside pocket with utensils and napkins
An adorable cooler bag to hold your drinks and food…

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)

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reusable utensil set in silicone carrying case
A compact utensil set to bring for yourself if food’s involved…

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)

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Authentic Mexican blanket
A do-it-all blanket you can use for literally anything…

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)

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mosquito repellent candle
A candle that’ll ward off mosquitos…

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)

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suction tool to help reduce the size and itchiness of bug bites
And a bug bite suction tool if you happen to forget the candle at home…

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)

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mesh food tents to protect food from bugs
Mesh food tents that’ll cover your spread as you sit and chat…

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)

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Tiny foldable beach table
A tiny foldable table if you don’t wanna put your stuff on the grass...

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)

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eco-friendly mini grill made from bamboo, cardboard, and lava stones
A portable lava stones grill if you’re looking to barbecue...

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)

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foldable cheese board with utensils
A cheese board that opens up to four tiers…

So you’ll have enough space for crackers, fruits, nuts, and more. One tier even houses utensils in a hidden drawer. When you’re done, it can be folded and placed into a backpack. Because what is a gathering with cheese? ($45+, Uncommon Goods)

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portable wireless speaker
A portable smart speaker with a battery that can last all day…

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)

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slim ice packs for coolers and lunchboxes
Slim ice packs that can fit together like puzzle pieces…

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)

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umbrella tent for shade while outside
An umbrella tent if you need a bit of shade…

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)

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fabric wine tote
A wine tote for easy transport…

The merino wool provides insulation as you go from home, to the park, to a friend’s backyard. It’s also stain-resistant and chic. You really can’t go wrong. ($39, Goodee)

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jumbo tumbling blocks game
A game of jumbo tumbling blocks to create some friendly competition…

The wooden set includes 48 pieces for you to build and stack...and then carefully remove. Whoever knocks it over is on cleanup duty. ($50.88, Wayfair)

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edison string bulb lights
String lights that’ll zhuzh up your patio…

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)

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outdoor floor cushions
And some floor pillows for extra seating…

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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If you buy anything from this email, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate too) when we published. Thanks.

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Skimm'd by Alexandra Napoli, Emmy Favilla