Top Outdoor Essentials for Summer

Summer is in full bloom, and the warmer weather has us dreaming about outdoor activities in the sunshine. There’s nothing better than an afternoon picnic in the park with your loved ones, or spending the day relaxing at the beach. Being outside in nature with a book or your favourite snacks is one of the simpler pleasures in life. Whether it’s a romantic date with your sweetie, a solo trip, or a fun family outing, we’ve listed our favourite outdoor essentials to get you set up for your adventure. From the beach to the park, we’ve got you covered, all summer long. 

 Cute backpack cooler for picnics or the beach

The Portable Picnic Backpack 

John Lewis & Partners Fusion Filled Picnic Cooler Backpack, 15L, 4 Person, Green/Multi

A modern twist to the traditional picnic basket, this trendy backpack features an insulated compartment to keep your food and drinks cool for longer periods of time, making it ideal for outdoor dining. It’s also large enough to pack a picnic for four people. 

Bonus: Transport all the comforts of home to the beach or to the park, with cute, complementary dining accessories included in the pack: plastic plates and cutlery, plastic wine glasses, a butter knife and mini cheeseboard – even a corkscrew! Did someone say bubbly?


Backpack picnic kit with blanket and all the accessories

Freeport Park Insulated Picnic Backpack, Service for 4  (Wayfair; for Canadian buyers)

Wayfair offers a similar insulated backpack for picnickers looking to travel in style. It features all the key dining accessories necessary for the perfect picnic, with two convenient bottle slots along each side to store your wine or water safely. A matching waterproof picnic blanket is also included (because you can never have enough blankets). We also love the mini salt and pepper shakers that come with the cutlery set inside – they add a touch of sophistication to any outdoor meal.

Colourful striped Mexican style picnic blanket

The Essential Outdoor Blanket

Travel Blanket (Simons)

Whether you’re perched on the grass or sitting in the sand, a blanket is always a necessary structure for serving food or sitting comfortably outside when you don’t have access to a dining table and chairs. This bright and cheery travel blanket adds a burst of colour to your day, and it’s perfect for when you’re on the go – simply fold it up, fasten the straps, and carry by the handle. 

Family sits beneath arched Suniela Beach shade cabana in Mexico

The Perfect Sunshade 

Deluxe Batik Cabana (Suniela Beach)

No more chasing beach umbrellas!  And this is definitely NOT your average beach tent.  Craving a relaxed sunny day on the beach or in the park, but reluctant to pack that big, clunky parasol? Beach umbrellas always seem to require extra effort to set up and tear down, and can take up a lot of room in your trunk. The Suniela Cabana is the ultimate portable shade –  designed to be the most compact & versatile sunshelter on the market.  It comes with a shock-corded, anodized aluminum tent pole system, and an adjustable arch for superior wind resistance. It also comes in a variety of playful colours to choose from, and a sliding canopy for adjustable sun protection. Bonus: Extra large sand-resistant pockets to protect your food and valuables.

Portable Ikea chair for picnics or the beach

The Practical Beach Chair

HÅMÖ Beach chair, pink (IKEA)

While the kids sit and play in the sand, you can lounge comfortably nearby and relax in this budget-friendly beach chair from IKEA. Don’t let the name fool you – it’s also perfect for sitting on the grass and watching the kids’ soccer games, or hanging out in your yard. Designed to be ultra lightweight and compact, this pretty foldable chair is an easy travel option for people who need a little extra back support while sitting and dining outside. It also fits perfectly under a Suniela Cabana. Did we mention it’s on sale right now, too?

Plush beach towel with Ikat design

The Functional Beach Towel

Ikat Beach Towel (Simons)

We love this towel for both its practicality and its aesthetic. It’s big enough to comfortably wrap all your kids in, and it’s absolutely gorgeous enough to want to put it on full display outside. Our favorite part about this towel? The dual-sided materials: soft, velvety texture on one side, and absorbent, pure cotton-looped terry fabric on the other (just in case you decide to go for a quick dip in the water!).

Extra large striped blue beach towel

Blue Lagoon Beach Towel (Simons)

Extra large, plush, and absorbent, this stunning turquoise towel has relaxed ocean vibes written all over it. We love the palette of cool blue stripes on this one, and the sweat-wicking soft cotton design is perfect for the hottest of summer days. 

Pesto chicken sandwich recipe

The Best Foods for Outdoor Dining 

The food at your picnic is quite obviously the star of the show. You can pack all the usual items here (sandwiches, fresh fruit and salads), but keep the temperature of the day in mind. Bringing a cooler or insulated backpack is crucial to keep food fresh and cold in the heat. Avoid bringing foods that will melt the minute they hit the sun (chocolates, cream cheese, butter, popsicles, ice cream, etc). A safe bet is keeping everything in separate sealed containers (your dips/sauces separate from your salads and veggies), with plenty of napkins handy to clean up any spillage. 


If you’re looking for something different than your typical PB+J, try making these fresh and delicious sandwiches: Chicken Pesto or Caprese with Parsley Pesto. Got picky kids? They’ll love these Lunchbox Tortilla Sushi Pinwheels that are fun to eat and nutrient-packed. We also love this healthy take on a classic Macaroni Salad. Yum!