Shopping·11 min read

17 Products to Prep for Your Next Outdoor Gathering

rattan lantern, pizza oven
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Goodee, Ooni
May 19, 2022

This post was originally published in May 2021 and has been updated.

Products you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Oh, and if something's out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate) at time of publication.

‘Tis the season for late sunsets and warmer weather. So it’s the perfect opportunity to spend time outside and soak up the park hangs, backyard barbecues, happy hours, and yes, outdoor parties. 

To make sure you’re 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 for the all the good outdoor vibes.

insulated watermelon cooler tote with outside pocket with utensils and napkins

An adorable cooler bag to hold your drinks and food…

The outside pocket can house straws, napkins, and utensils, while the roomy inside is perfect for your reusable storage containers. It can fit up to 20 cans (yep, you read that right). So you can pack enough for your whole crew — and then some. Put on your sunscreen, throw it over your shoulder, and head to the park to meet with friends. ($32.95,

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neutral, reversible blanket

And a neutral option you can use for literally anything…

If vibrant colors aren’t your thing, say ‘hi’ to this option. You can go for solid or striped based on your mood. Plus, it’s water-resistant, reversible, and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Love to see it. ($35.99, Target)

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reusable utensil set in silicone carrying case

A compact utensil set for a picnic outing…

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 too. ($15, W&P)

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burger padded blanket

A lightweight outdoor blanket that’s portable and Insta-friendly…

This cheeky, machine-washable blanket comes with built-in straps that makes transporting it around easy as pie. Pick from a burger, ice cream cone, rainbow or a popsicle option and get ready to show it off on the gram. The built-in handles means you’ll be free to carry other items. Plus, the quilted design makes the hardest of surfaces comfy. ($25, Target)

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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. ($12, 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. ($9.99, 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. ($28.99/5 pack, Amazon)

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Tiny foldable beach table

A tiny folding picnic table if you don’t wanna place things on grass…

The outer lip prevents food from rolling off, while the cutouts can hold glasses, bottles, and cans. The metal legs fold in, making it easy to slip into a bag for travel. It weighs less than 3 pounds, so it’s a breeze to pack. Everything you need will be lifted off the ground, so no grapes will be lost in the grass. ($35.99+, Amazon)

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pizza oven

A pizza oven to upgrade summer dinners and family meals…

If you’re looking for a ‘treat yourself’ moment, look no further. This gas-powered oven makes a 12-inch pizza in 60 seconds. At just 20 pounds, it’s also compact enough to fit even in a small outdoor space. It comes with a cordierite baking board plus a gas regulator and hose to connect to your propane tank. Say goodbye to pizza delivery. That’s amoré. ($399, Ooni)

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portable wireless speaker

A portable battery-powered smart speaker 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. ($179, Sonos)

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foldable cheese board with utensils
Uncommon Goods

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 without cheese? ($47+, Uncommon Goods)

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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. ($24.89/10 pack, Amazon)

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umbrella tent for shade while outside

An umbrella tent to give ya 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. 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. *Nicki Minaj voice* Let’s go to the beach-each, let’s go get a wave. ($91.95, 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 yard and back. It’s stain-resistant and chic. So you really can’t go wrong. ($69, Goodee)

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Wineglasses that’ll amp up your next shindig…

Pop the vino. This pair of shatterproof, copper-coated stemmed wineglasses are the full package. They’re made of stainless steel, so they’re durable and shouldn’t break too easily. Plus, they keep drinks nice and cool. Choose from a few styles — copper, rose gold, black, or silver — and get ready to cheers to them. ($29.99+/2 pack, Amazon)

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jumbo tumbling blocks game

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

The wooden set includes 56 pieces for you to build and stack...and then carefully remove. Whoever knocks it over is on cleanup duty. ($50+, Food52)

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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. ($18.96+, Amazon)

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outdoor floor cushions

And some floor pillows for extra seating…

If you’re limited on chairs, look no further. With these outdoor floor pillows, your guests will have somewhere to rest. These are easy to store when not in use. And you can choose from round or square options in a variety of colors and patterns. ($75.65+, Society6)

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