Celebrate warmer temps by throwing an epic picnic. Our favorite outdoor-cooking gear is portable, easy to use and high-performing, so you don’t need to sacrifice a good meal when you head out the door. Set up in your yard, at a local park or at a campground.
We’ve selected our favorite gadgets for the occasion—plus some comfort items and games. All you need to do is prepare the menu.
Seven hamburger patties at once? Sign us up. The Weber Smoky Joe’s 147 inches of cooking space is big enough to fit food for the whole crew, but the grill is relatively portable. It’s about the size of a beach ball and features a lid lock that doubles as a handle to carry it from the car to the picnic table. Its porcelain enamel is easy to clean, and an aluminum vent and ash catcher means it’ll last years. $48
Sit tall. The REI Co-op Outward Lawn Chair gets you 16 inches off the ground—well above the knee-bending height of most camp chairs. The DWR-treated ripstop nylon seat is durable and has some give, while wooden armrests give it a level of luxury compared to other portable chairs (sorry, no cupholders). And if your picnic is a short walk from the car (all the best are), pack straps make this lounger easy to carry hands-free. $79.95
Take your nice dining set, make it rugged and lightweight, and get it dirty. Barebones’ suite of enamelware includes sets of plates, bowls and cups. The steel-core dishes will help keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold, but they’re coated in ceramic enamel, which should level up the look of your gear. Pinkies up! $18 for two plates, $16 for two bowls, $15 for two mugs
You could spread your picnic on the dirt or across a blanket, but when full-size tables are this packable, you may not want to. The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table pops up into a 27.5-inch-by-27.5-inch square that’s more than 2 feet off the ground. That’s big enough for a heated game of cards or a three-course meal. Not bad for a piece of furniture that packs down small enough to lose in your trunk. $74.95
Sometimes the beauty of a picnic is in hanging outside without needing to walk too far. If that’s the case, there’s nothing that can beat an electric cooler like the Dometic CFX3 35. This compact cooler plugs into the 12-volt adaptor in your car and uses only as much power as a couple of charging phones to refrigerate and deep-freeze your fare. (Tip: Plug it in at home and let it get to temperature before heading out.) Download the app and fine-tune the cooler’s temperature, so you can play Spikeball without worrying about melted ice and soggy food. $900
Venturing a little farther to the picnic table? Fill the YETI BackFlip 24 with 20 cans of your favorite beverage and some ice and toss it on your back and start walking. The BackFlip has a plush back panel, contoured shoulder straps and a hipbelt like your favorite backpacking pack for long treks, plus lashing points for strapping on other gear and freeing up your arms. The ColdCell rubber-foam insulation should keep bevvies chilled all day. $299.98
Don’t risk a damp butt again. Instead, unfurl the ENO Islander Deluxe, a palatial, 8-foot-by-8-foot throw blanket. Though it’s big enough for six adults to cop a squat, the thing stuffs into its own included sack that’s about the size of a loaf of bread. It’s made with 70-denier nylon taffeta, so sand, dirt and dog hair wipe off easily, and it’s machine-washable. Nice touch: The Islander Deluxe comes with aluminum tent stakes, so you can pin it down in windy conditions. $59.95
Can it really be a picnic without this thing? Set the mood with this clichéd tablecloth, but don’t toss it when you’re done. Coghlan’s version is made of heavy vinyl with a wipe-clean surface and stitched edges, so it’ll last for years of outdoor picnicking. $5.50
Don’t leave your music when head out the door. Clip the beats to your backpack and bring them to lunch. The JBL Clip 3 pairs to your phone with Bluetooth and plays for up to 10 hours between charges. An IPX7 waterproof design means you won’t need to worry about rain (or even dropping the speaker in your lemonade), and workaholics can even take calls from the speaker with one button. (Be a polite picnicker and keep volume respectably low if you’re not alone.) $69.95
Chuck some axes, no adult supervision required. Mount the collapsible Outside Inside target on a tree or fence and take turns throwing the small foam axes (with grippy “blades”) to rack up points. And whether you’ve had a few too many or simply have horrible aim, you don’t have to worry about spearing your buddy. $34.95
Leave no one behind. Invite Fido to your picnic and keep him entertained with this 2.4-ounce flying disc. This flexible dog toy from Ruffwear will tire the pup out quickly and stands in as a water or kibble bowl in a pinch. When you’re done, cram it in your pack for next time. $19.95
When day turns to night, don’t give up on your picnic. Get a fire going in the Solo Stove Ranger and let it burn into the evening. Small enough to pack in your trunk (it weighs only 15 pounds and comes with a carrying case), this portable fire pit powers through firewood with an efficient double-wall design and vents near the top that push hot air into the combustion chamber, reducing smoke and leaving you with an ultrafine ash at the end of the night. (Please adhere to local fire regulations.) $230
Interested in more staff picks and kits? Find more collections here.