Guys, we're getting there: It's almost the time of year for blazing sunshine, ice cream that inevitably melts all over your outfit, and enough outdoor parties to keep you busy until October. If you've got a backyard, a rooftop, or pretty much any open space where people can gather, you're basically expected to do some outdoor hosting yourself.
Once you commit to throwing a party, it can be tough to know where to start. You've got the date, you've got the guest list, but what about the gear? You're in luck—our friends at Wirecutter are sharing their favorite products to up your outdoor hosting game. They've tested hundreds of party essentials to choose the most useful, practical, and sturdy items out there, so you can plan your event with ease.
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work.
First things first: You need a solid, sturdy table that won't wobble or worse—tip over. According to Wirecutter, the Office Star 6' Resin Centerfold Multipurpose Table is easy to set up, more durable than others, and resistant to scratches and stains. Pile on the food to your heart's content.
A cooler that's well-insulated and easy to clean is a must for summer. Luckily the Coleman 70 Qt. Xtreme Marine Cooler is both—Wirecutter found it can keep ice solid for an entire week, and there's a drain to get rid of water once it melts. Plus, it's less expensive than a lot of other coolers this size.
Get ready to pump up the jams with the convenient and versatile UE Roll 2 speaker. Wirecutter calls it "an irresistible combination of sound quality, ruggedness, water resistance, portability, cool features, and a reasonable price." No matter how big your space is, this thing can deliver smooth, quality sound to fill the room.
Having an instant camera automatically makes you the life of the party. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic looks cool and takes quality photos that your guests will love bringing home with them. Plus, Wirecutter confirms it's super easy to use so you can capture all the best candid moments of the day.
When you're cooking for a large group, the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker will be a party-prep game changer. It has three settings and a built-in meat thermometer. Wirecutter says it's the best deal for your money.
Red wine at a party is great... until someone spills it all over your tablecloth (or brand-new pants). Wine Away instantly eliminates wine stains, even if they've dried out from the day before. Wirecutter calls it "magical," so we're sold (even if it won't do much damage on mustard or coffee stains).
C'mon, what's an outdoor celebration without a grill? If you're gonna go charcoal, you want the Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22". It's been a classic since the 1950s, and it's easy to see why—the simple design and convenient size make it ideal for cooking all kinds of meals and snacks.
Having a fire pit boosts your party's atmosphere and gives everyone a natural place to gather and hang out. The Landmann City Lights Memphis is large enough for a substantial fire and has a screen and safety ring so no one burns themselves by accident. When it comes to sturdiness and safety, Wirecutter confirms it's the best.
The Live Infinitely Inflatable Air Lounger is no joke. It can fit three people sitting down, and it's relatively simple to unpack and inflate. It even floats on water, making it a great accessory for a summer pool party. Wirecutter found it stayed inflated longer than other models, so you won't have to refill it constantly. Not to mention it's comfy enough you could easily sneak in a nap.
For an all-around great sunscreen option, try the Coppertone Ultraguard Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70. It's comfortable on your skin and has almost no smell, and the high SPF means you'll be well-protected from any harmful rays. It doesn't feel oily and gross and is easy to blend. Just remember to reapply at least once every hour.