35 clever, cheap things that make being outside way less of a pain in the butt

Mosquitoes, sunburns, and sand have met their match.

clever, cheap things that make being outside way less of a pain in the butt
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I love nature — in theory. I enjoy the pretty flowers, the warmth of the sunshine, and the sound of the breeze through the trees. But there are a few things I could do without, namely the mosquitoes, how quickly the warmth of the sun turns into a sunburn, and the moss that grows all over my outdoor cushions. Fortunately, the internet has tons of brilliant things that help make the great outdoors significantly greater.

This season, I’m on a personal mission to make my backyard as comfortable as possible. If you, too, want to minimize nature’s inconveniences with clever, cheap things that improve your outdoor experience, these Amazon products are a great place to start.


Some free-standing drink holders so your beverage is always within reach

These drink stands have stainless steel stakes on the bottom so you can stick them into sand, grass, or turf so your beverage will always be within reach. The coiled tops fit most containers 3.5 inches in diameter or smaller (which includes cans, bottles, and Solo cups), and the stakes disassemble into two pieces for easier storage. Get them in your choice of black or red, white, and blue.

  • Available styles: 2


This inflatable lounger for beach days, barbecues, lounging & festivals

Available in a huge selection of colors and patterns, this inflatable lounger doesn’t require a pump or your lungs for inflation. Just open it, hold it against the wind, and let the air blow inside before rolling the edges and securing them with the buckle. After that, you’ve got a spacious, comfortable sofa wherever you happen to be. Its waterproof polyester can support up to 450 pounds and it even has a pocket for your phone or water bottle.

  • Available styles: 17


These citronella coils that repel mosquitos for hours

These bug-repellent coils have a citronella scent to deter mosquitoes and insects within a 10-foot radius. They’re great for porches, backyards, and camping trips, and according to a reviewer who has tried tons of sprays and candles, “nothing has worked as good as these.” The order includes six stands and 12 coils, which burn for up to seven hours each.


Or these mosquito-repellent stickers

Made from non-toxic, DEET-free ingredients like citronella and essential oils, these bug-repellent stickers are a fun and simple way to stay bite-free. The front features emoji-style faces in all different colors, while the back has a medical-grade, water-resistant adhesive. “I legitimately did not think this would work,” one reviewer wrote, but “not a single bite occurred.”


This sun shade in a huge range of sizes so you can create your own covered awning

Make your own covered awning just about anywhere with this sun shade sail. Sold in a large range of colors and custom sizes, the heavy-duty, UV-treated material blocks harmful rays while the polyethylene allows wind to pass through, lowering the temperature underneath by 10 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the brand. The order includes ropes and stainless steel D rings, but the $12 hardware kit is recommended.

  • Available sizes: 6’5”x10’ — 20’x24’
  • Available styles: 8


This roomy, comfortable picnic blanket that travels like a tote

When rolled out, this picnic blanket fits up to six people and has three layers (a waterproof bottom, foam for additional padding, and a soft-to-the-touch woven acrylic on top) for durability and comfort. When you’re on the move, however, it rolls up into a tote-like shape with a handle, and it even has a pocket to store your keys, phone, and sunglasses. No wonder it’s a best-seller with an average 4.6-star overall rating.

  • Available sizes: 52 x 57 inches — 61 x 77 inches
  • Available styles: 8


A lightweight, compact folding table that’s surprisingly durable

This folding table is a great thing to have for beach trips, picnics, camping excursions, and extra surface space in your yard. Despite its 2.2-pound weight and compact travel size, it’s actually surprisingly durable, granted it can support up to 66 pounds and is made from heat-resistant aluminum alloy that won’t melt when you use it to hold camping cookware. It’s also easy to set up, has slip-resistant rubber legs, and comes with a travel bag.

  • Available sizes: Small — Large
  • Available styles: 4


This backpack cooler that keeps ice frozen for up to 24 hours

The Wise Owl Brr Bag can hold up to 24 cans with ice, but its backpack design makes for easier, hands-free travel when compared to your standard cooler. Multiple layers of insulation aim to keep ice frozen for up to a full day, so it’s a favorite among campers, hikers, fisherpeople, and beach enthusiasts. Get it in two sizes and two colors.

  • Available sizes: 20L — 30L
  • Available styles: 2


This boot scraper mat that keeps your house way cleaner

Put this boot scraper mat on your porch or stoop to seriously reduce the amount of mud and moisture that gets tracked into your house. Its strong, sustainable coir fibers brush off any caked-on dirt, snow, and grass, and since it’s held together with a steel frame, it can handle cold winters and hot summers. “I have pretty serious tread on most of my hiking boots and shoes, and this gets them clean,” wrote one reviewer who lives on 10 acres of land.


These solar-powered outdoor lights with a motion sensor

Thanks to these solar lights, you can illuminate your outdoor space without having to hire an electrician. During the day, they charge up with sunlight. At night, they automatically turn on depending on which setting you choose: a security mode with a motion sensor, an all-night mode that turns on at dusk, and a combination that stays lit when it’s dark, but gets brighter when someone passes. They’re also weather-resistant, mount easily with screws or adhesive tape, and have built-in reflectors to maximize brightness.


These cooling towels that work “like magic”

According to reviewers, these chilly towels are “versatile” and work “like magic.” The material is breathable and hyper-evaporative, so when you wet it and ring it out, it feels almost like refrigerated fabric against your skin. As a result, they’re an easy, affordable way to keep yourself (and your family) cool while hiking, working out, doing yard work, lounging at the beach, or walking around an amusement park.

  • Available styles: 13


This clear, odorless spray that waterproofs most materials

I’ve used this Scotchgard water shield spray to protect my outdoor cushions and make my protective covers much more effective, and so far, it’s holding up great. It’s safe for use on most materials (including leather and suede shoes) because it’s odorless and dries clear. In just one application, it creates long-lasting protection against water and the elements, so it’s also ideal for patio umbrellas, camping gear, boat covers, and luggage.


A stain-resistant, waterproof area rug that warms up your outdoor space

Because it’s woven from waterproof, stain-resistant recycled plastic, this outdoor area rug can handle dirt, rain, and UV rays. As a result, you can use it to warm up any space, including porches, decks, patios, balconies, and outdoor dining areas. If it gets dirty, spray it off with the hose and the material will rinse clean and dry fast. Since it’s lightweight and foldable, it’s also easy to store when the season’s over.

  • Available sizes: 5’8’ — 8’x10’


These pop-up mesh covers that keep bugs off your food

As soon as the food comes out, so do the flies — which is why these pop-up mesh covers were a godsend at my last outdoor gathering. They’re big enough to cover serving dishes up to 16 inches in diameter, and their metal rods and sturdy mesh keep insects from getting to the food. They even have reinforced lace edges for style. When the party’s over, though, you just pull the cord and they collapse down for easy storage.

  • Available sizes: 17” x 17” — 47” x 26”


A stick sunscreen that’s easy for non-greasy & easy-to-apply touch-ups

This double-shield sun stick has earned an overall 4.5-star rating because it’s easy to spread and moisturizes the skin without feeling oily, according to reviewers. Despite its lightweight, skin-friendly texture, it still provides SPF 50+ coverage and the maximum amount of UVA protection. Best of all, since it comes in stick form, it’s portable, easy to apply, and won’t leak inside your bag.


A handheld can & bottle cooler that keeps your drink chilly for hours

These handheld coolers are great for hot weather or people who prefer to sip their drinks slowly. They fit standard 12-ounce cans and bottles and are made from insulated stainless steel, so they keep drinks chilly for up to 12 hours. The exterior has finger grooves and stays at room temperature for a comfortable, secure grip without condensation.

  • Available styles: 3


This steel barbecue-cleaning brush that “works like a charm”

Since it’s made from durable stainless steel wires and has three times the bristles of a traditional barbecue brush, this grill cleaner brush aims to get your barbecue much cleaner in significantly less time. It also has a built-in scraper with an ergonomic handle for comfortable gripping. “This brush works like a charm,” one reviewer wrote. “My grill has never been cleaner, and this brush is still in great shape after a year of weekly use.”


These heat-resistant silicone gloves that are easy to clean & won’t limit dexterity

Oven mitts may be effective when it comes to preventing burns, but they tend to minimize dexterity and hold onto stains. These silicone heat gloves, on the other hand, have an all-over grippy surface and allow you to use all of your fingers — plus they’re heat-resistant up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Since they’re easy to rinse clean, they’re great for both indoor cooking and outdoor grilling.

  • Available sizes: One Size Fits Most — X-Large
  • Available styles: 11


“The best handheld fan on the market,” according to reviewers

Called the “best handheld fan on the market,” this portable misting fan has plenty of genius features that make hot weather significantly more tolerable. For one, it’s USB-rechargeable for up to 10 hours of wire- and battery-free airflow. For another, its foldable handle has three modes: handheld, standing, or clip for bed frames and strollers. Finally, in addition to its three speed settings, it also has a built-in mister that can hold up to 17 milliliters of water for a refreshing spray of moisture.

  • Available styles: 4


This quick-drying beach, gym & yoga towel

Because it’s made from quick-drying microfiber that absorbs up to seven times its own weight in water, this Wise Owl towel is super versatile. Use it to wick away sweat at the gym, provide some traction on your yoga mat, or brush away sand and moisture while at the beach. It comes in two sizes and three colors, and reviewers have raved, “It really is as great as I’d hoped!”

  • Available sizes: Small — Large
  • Available styles: 3


An inexpensive scoop game that keeps everyone entertained

This scoop game weighs less than a pound — two heavy-duty plastic scoops and ball included — so it’s easy to bring with you to the park, pool, or beach. Still, it keeps kids plenty entertained: “My son actually said this is more fun than video games,” one reviewer raved. “Inexpensive and fun for everyone!” another reviewer wrote. “My husband and I find ourselves playing too.”


This inflatable floating solar-powered light that changes colors

Illuminate your pool for a nighttime pool party, put it on your outdoor table for ambiance, hang it in your tent while camping, or keep it on hand for emergencies. The LuminAID PackLite inflatable lantern floats, weighs less than half a pound, and packs down flat for storage or on the go. It’s also fully rechargeable for up to 12 hours of light, and you can choose between bright white, warm white, and color-changing.

  • Available styles: 4


A stylish storage box that doubles as a seat

This outdoor storage box is made from durable, waterproof, UV-resistant resin, so it keeps your stuff dry (like pool toys, cushions, and gardening essentials) and can support up to 170 pounds when used as a seat. It also has built-in handles and comes with a padlock for security. Best of all, its faux wood panel exterior looks great on your deck or patio.

  • Available sizes: 31 Gallon — 180 Gallon


This lightweight, kink-resistant garden hose that expands 3 times its size

Garden hoses are typically heavy, leaky, and prone to breakage and kinking. The Flexi Hose aims to tackle all of those annoyances, which is why one reviewer wrote, “I now own [three] of these. They are brilliant!” The elastic outer covering and four layers of latex protect the hose from punctures and kinks, but it only weighs a few pounds and it retracts when it’s not filled with water, so it’s much shorter and easier to transport. Its brass fittings are also leak-resistant.

  • Available sizes: 25 FT — 150 FT


These hanging straps to organize your extension cords

These Velcro straps come in three sizes to hang and organize all lengths of extension cords. Each one is made from durable nylon webbing, so it can support up to 100 pounds of weight and it has a metal grommet that hangs from a hook or nail. Since it’s lighter and easier than a cord reel, it’s a great option for tight spaces, like crowded garages, small workspaces, or RVs.


Some affordable solar path lights that are maintenance-free

If you’re looking for an affordable way to boost the safety and aesthetics of your yard (front or back), these solar garden lights are a great option. Put them together in a matter of minutes and stick them in the ground along a pathway or in a garden bed. Their wire-free solar batteries charge themselves with sunlight, so the 15-lumen lights automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn. They’re also weather-resistant and can withstand rain, snow, and dirt.

  • Available styles: 3


This magnetic door screen that automatically closes after you walk through

These magnetic screen doors are a lifesaver if you have dogs, kids, or you entertain a lot. (I’ve had one on my back door for over two years now, and I’ll never go back.) The center slit features magnets on both sides, so after you, a guest, or a pet walks through, it automatically closes and seals to keep bugs from getting in — but the heavy-duty mesh still allows for airflow. It comes in three sizes to fit various doorframes, and each order includes both adhesive Velcro strips and push pins.

  • Available sizes: 36"x 82" — 36"x 82"


This lightweight, affordable umbrella with tons of features

It weighs just a few pounds and comes with a bag for portability, but this Caribbean Joe beach umbrella has plenty of built-in features for protection and convenience. For one, its 6.5-foot canopy is made from UV-protective polyester. For another, it tilts to offer you the most shade without repositioning and comes with a sand screw anchor for stability at the beach. Finally, its eight-rib steel frame and vented canopy can handle the wind and can shield you from rain, too.

  • Available styles: 4


A screw-in anchor so your beach umbrella actually stays put

More than 7,000 reviewers have given this beach umbrella sand anchor an overall 4.5-star rating. Its 2-inch diameter fits most umbrella poles, while its reinforced handles and three-tier pointed tip make it much easier to screw your umbrella into the sand (as well as dirt or grass). Once it’s in there, your umbrella will be able to withstand winds of up to 50 miles per hour, according to the brand — and the ABS construction is lightweight, but super durable.


This pop-up tent that sets up in seconds

For well-rounded sun protection at the beach or a spot for your kids (and pets) to hang out, this instant pop-up tent is a brilliant solution. Unlike your standard tent, its frame pops into place as soon as you remove it from the carrying case, so you don’t have to worry about assembly or confusing directions. The interior is large enough for two people and has double zippers with mesh windows and roll-up shades, while the outer material is weather-resistant and has a UV 50+ coating.


A waterproof bag to keep your stuff dry

Keep your essentials dry and safe, no matter where you are — including at the beach, on a kayak ride, while boating, or on a hiking trip. The Wise Owl Outfitters dry bag wears like a backpack and secures up to 5 liters of stuff (or 10 or 20 liters, if you opt for the larger sizes) in its puncture-resistant, waterproof interior. “Dumped my kayak in a strong current and the kayak was wedged for about 2 hours,” one reviewer wrote. “My dry bag was INSIDE the open cockpit and everything stayed dry! Amazing.”

  • Available sizes:
  • Available styles:


These quick-draining water shoes that look like real sneakers

They look like your standard sneakers, but these water shoes are actually made from a durable, quick-drying mesh fabric and a fast-draining sole, so they can handle complete submersion under the water. The sole is also slip-resistant and protective, while the elastic rubber shoelace is adjustable, but waterproof. That way, you can protect your feet while swimming, kayaking, windsurfing, or playing beach sports.

  • Available sizes: 7 — 16
  • Available styles: 15


This mosquito-repelling device that works when nothing else will

“I have been a mosquito magnet for my entire life,” wrote one reviewer who’s tried oily sprays, repellent candles, torches, and yard foggers. “Within 10 minutes of this device being lit, they simply disappeared!” The Thermacell Patio Shield uses DEET-free, heat-activated fuel cartridges that create a 15-foot zone of protection for up to 12 hours. The cartridges are replaceable while the device is cord-free and comes in just about any color you could want.

  • Available styles: 12


This foldable cot for full-body lounging on the go

Whether you’re camping or lounging on the beach, this adjustable cot offers four positions and a removable pillow to keep you as comfortable as possible. You can sit up, recline, or lay flat, and the extra-long design stretches from head to toe. Even though its mesh fabric can support up to 250 pounds, it’s still lightweight and breathable. Combined with its steel-tube frame, it weighs just 13 pounds, so it’s easy to fold up and take with you on the go.


These solar-powered string lights you can hang virtually anywhere

Nothing spruces up an outdoor space like string lights, but this 27-foot solar-powered strand is much easier than most. Because it has an attached solar panel that you can stake in the ground or clip to fences, railings, and roofs, you can hang these lights anywhere without worrying about a nearby outlet or extension cords. The solar panel collects power via the sun during the day, and when it gets dark, the Edison bulbs automatically turn on and give off up to six hours of bright, warm light. They’re also shatter-resistant and durable enough to handle rain, wind, snow, and heat.

  • Available sizes: 27 Feet — 48 Feet


This affordable hammock that’s durable & feather-light

Reviewers have called this Wise Owl Outfitters camping hammock “a backpacking must have” as well as a “great hammock to keep in your car for impromptu park trips.” Others have set it up in their backyard for reading and relaxing. It weighs less than a pound, but it can still support up to 400 pounds in its 9-foot nylon body. It also comes with tree straps, carabiners, and a travel bag that holds all of it.

  • Available styles: 2