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Our Favorite Outdoor Gear for Summer.

By: Jen Shoop

15 fantastic items for outdoor fun this summer that we personally own and use heavily —

best outdoor summer gear

BALLARD DESIGN DINING CHAIRS — One of my favorite furniture purchases we’ve made in recent memory. We specifically wanted all of the chairs outside to have arm rests — not just the end chairs — because when you are sitting, picking crabs late into the summer night, it’s nice to lean back with arm support! These are so attractive!!! I love that they can be kept clean with relative ease — a wipe of soapy water and they look sparkling clean. We swapped out the cushions for a punchy yellow and white sunbrella stripe.

WONDERBOOM OUTDOOR SPEAKER — Mr. Magpie always pokes fun at me for my obsession with well-reviewed Amazon products, but seriously! Almost 10,000 five star reviews don’t lie. This little guy is powerful, easy to use, and perfect for outdoors. We carry him everywhere. Mr. Magpie uses him while gardening and grilling, and we’ll bring him outside on the patio for dinner or out front while supervising the children scooting/biking.

OUTDOOR CUSHIONS — We inherited some white rattan patio furniture, which I love!, but it came with really ugly floral cushions. We swapped those out for this crisp set from Amazon and I am totally impressed with the quality. It has held up beautifully and we did not even cover the furniture/cushions this winter, as we should have. They still look good as new.

MELAMINE PLATES — Though Target has some excellent inexpensive ones on offer this summer, I still cherish this set of blue floral ones. I use them year-round, honestly, often serving my children (and myself) breakfast off of them, but they are perfect for outdoor dining for obvious reasons, too.

FROSTED FLEX CUPS — Reusable, dishwasher-safe cups for roadies, outdoor hangs, etc. These have already come in such handy. Love that you can personalize this set, but I have one of their pre-designed sets. Use them allll the time.

WOVEN COASTERS — I just love the look of this inexpensive, Serena & Lily-inspired set, which is now stationed permanently on our back patio.

COLEMAN STEEL COOLER — A chic way to keep beer/wine icy cold while outdoors. We also like to use this for parties, so people aren’t opening and closing the fridge all night, and/or to create an extra “station” to keep people moving. (We’ll put wine/cocktails on a table separately.)

MINNIDIP POOL — We have ours for three years and the children are absolutely in love with this. I’m impressed with the quality. The sides are really thick and cushioned when filled with air. And such cute patterns! You will, however, find one of these handy!

CUTTER BUG REPELLENT WIPES — These are so incredible. I buy them in bulk. They really work and are gentle enough to put on children. Plus, I love the easy application — so much better than spray for children.

CORDLESS ELECTRIC LEAF BLOWER — When we first bought our house, I purchased a deck broom thinking it would be a suitable implement for keeping our patio/covered porch tidy. A Magpie reader wrote to gently suggest a leaf blower. OMG. This thing is magic and Mr. Magpie pulls it out constantly to clear debris, dirt, leaves, etc. He loves this brand, Ego — he also has their lawn mower, edger, and a few other yard tools — because they all have interchangeable, rechargeable batteries. They are pretty damn quiet compared to fuel-powered options. For some reason, every man I meet is obsessed with this brand.

THERMACELL MOSQUITO REPELLENT — There are so many mosquitoes in swampy D.C. We love this rechargeable, odorless mosquito repellent machine. You set it up 15 minutes before you intend to go outside and it REALLY keeps the beasts at bay. Layer on the Cutter wipes and you are golden!

ELAKAI CORNHOLE SET — A recent addition — these are absolutely gorgeous. Like, you won’t mind having them out on your front lawn. They are so beautifully made!

LACQUER SERVING TRAYS — In constant use. Helpful for transporting things from inside to out, but also for demarcating little spaces, or setting up a snack on the grass.

ACRYLIC PITCHER — Another great buy. We got ours for our wedding or perhaps early into our marriage as a gift, and have used it constantly over the years. Great for things like sangria and margs, but also for the more practical: a big pitcher of ice water!

PICNIC BLANKET — Maybe one of our most-used-ever items?! We used this ALL THE TIME in NYC while availing ourselves of Central Park, and ALL THE TIME here, whether picnicking or just setting up a nice spot for the children to work on a project. I like this one because it can be wrapped up for easy carry home from the park / Wolf Trap / etc.

P.S. More great outdoor gear here and here.

P.P.S. I had big goals for May. I mainly lived up to them, at least in the sense that I got outside and challenged myself to learn a lot. How did you fare?

P.P.P.S. On my reading radar.

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