Sheltering in place doesn’t exactly suit your hankering for adventure, but it does draw a greater emphasis on spending time with loved ones and reimagining spaces. Your apartment may be small, but your rooftop can serve you well for an intimate gathering. And your patio might not be your top choice for a Memorial Day party (or any other summer get-together, for that matter), but we’re on board for this reinvigorated interest in backyard parties.
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Now you might already have outdoor furniture and enough odds and ends to feed your guests (even if that’s just who you’re isolating with). But when’s the last time you updated your grill? Or invested in a proper cooler? Or a party-worthy speaker? You don’t need to overhaul your entire outdoor space, but a few choice pieces of gear can make all the difference.
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No matter where you’re enjoying a Memorial Day party this year, we’ve gathered six product upgrades (from trusted brands like
Yeti, Weber, and JBL) that will serve you in your own backyard and beyond—once those shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted. They’ll be your companions hiking, fishing, boating, and everywhere in between.
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1. Igloo Mission 124 QT Cooler
Hunker this bad boy down on your back patio and load ‘er up. The 124-quart capacity can handle upwards of 190 cans (don’t forget about the ice, though) and keep everything cold for up to 8 days outdoors. Big, sturdy latches; durable handles; tie-down points for slide-free transport—this is a behemoth that’ll serve you well for backyard parties, fishing trips, and hunting excursions.
2. Yeti Hopper M30 Soft Cooler
If you want a soft cooler you can toss over one shoulder, the Yeti Hopper M30 is the one to beat. Keep your favorite brews frosty while you lounge about in your backyard—without half a dozen trips to the fridge—or pack up to 20 cans of beer (less if you want to cram some food and water in there, too, which is advisable) for a trip to your buddy’s. An impressively strong magnetic closure replaces the zipper from past models, so it’s not easy to stick your hand in and fish around for your preferred drink or load it up alone. That said, it kept cans nice and cold for three full days, so it’s a pain point we’re willing to put up with.
3. Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket
Whether your party is taking place on your urban rooftop, backwoods cabin, or beach house, you can always use a durable blanket to sprawl out on. Rumpl’s Original Puffy boasts a ripstop shell and insulation that’s entirely made from recycled materials. It’s washable and can even dull the bite of brisk mornings or cool evenings, since it has the same properties of a technical sleeping bag or outdoor jacket.
4. JBL Flip 5
Looking for a small, portable speaker that’ll withstand cannonballs by the pool? JBL’s Flip 5 will do you one better: It has the durability you need for any summer adventure (salt, sand, fish guts, you name it) and a totable size you won’t mind bringing around. One charge gives you 12 hours of playtime, plus the stereo functionality lets you pair two JBL PartyBoost-compatible speakers together for bigger sound and multiple speakers for surround sound.
5. Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM
If you want your tunes to have a little more oomph, you need to up the ante with a floor standing speaker. And when it comes to parties, Ultimate Ears trumps them all in terms of adaptability. Aside from sublime sound quality, the HYPERBOOM has a built-in microphone that reads the room and acknowledges when it’s being transported indoors or out, then an adaptive EQ automatically adjusts and balances the bass and volume to fit the space. Don’t want to own the DJ responsibilities? Up to four friends can connect via Bluetooth and seamlessly transition either on the HYPERBOOM itself or through the app.
6. Weber Genesis II S-435 Gas Grill Stainless Steel
If you want a polished-looking grill to class up your backyard—not serve as an eyesore, this stainless steel gas grill fits the bill. Four burners, a designated sear station, and a side burner to sauté your side dish provide ample space for cooking for a crowd. It’s also iGrill 3-compatible, so you can wirelessly check the internal temperature of your steak using the iGrill 3 meat probes and the mobile app.