We're more than halfway through the month of April, which means we'll be enjoying some time in the great outdoors pretty soon. If you've already prepared your wardrobe for the warmer weather, now is the time to grab a few other essentials for the season.
Shop All Day contributor Makho Ndlovu stopped by the 3rd hour of TODAY to share six essentials for your next outdoor adventure — whether it's in your backyard, at the beach or anywhere in-between. From a family-friendly game to a five-piece workout set you can wear at the gym or on the couch, keep reading for everything you’ll need to embrace the sunshine over the next few months.
If you plan on heading to the beach or lounging poolside, you’ll want to avoid dropping your phone into the water. Ndlovu found this waterproof pouch, which comes with its own lanyard, so you can still bring your phone along to snap photos without worrying about it getting damaged. According to the brand, your phone will remain fully functional underwater — so you can take pictures, answer texts and even take calls while using it.
On warmer nights, it can be nice to spend a few moments outdoors. If you want to add some ambience to your patio, deck or balcony, Ndlovu found a budget-friendly fix. This string light set measures 25-feet long and features 25 bulbs, so you can add some light to a small space or purchase multiple to illuminate larger outdoor areas. According to the brand, they’re wind- and rain-resistant, so you can leave them up outside on days when the weather isn’t as nice.
Ndlovu says this portable blanket is a must. Since it folds into a tote, you can transport it just about anywhere without it taking up too much room in your bag; but don’t underestimate its size! It can seat at least four adults and toddlers, according to the brand. It is also waterproof and sand-resistant, which makes it durable enough to lounge or play on.
Editor's note: Our pick is no longer available, but we found another similar option below.
If you’re in need of some outdoor entertainment, this is the game to turn to, according to Ndlovu. It’s equally as fun for adults as it is for kids and doesn’t require a tedious set-up (or take-down). Plus, it comes with its own carrying case so you can play practically anywhere.
This portable set is also made with a PVC frame, so you can easily assemble and dismantle it whenever you need to take it on the go. Plus, the brand says it is 75% smaller and 90% lighter than traditional wooden sets, which makes it easier to transport.
Want to mix and match your athletic wear? Ndlovu is loving this 5-piece set right now. It includes a T-shirt, sports bra, shorts, pants and a lightweight jacket, which are perfect for this time of year, but you’ll also have pieces to wear all year long. You can find it in basic colors like gray and black or opt for purple, pink or green to add a pop of color to your wardrobe.
Warmer temperatures call for comfortable clothing. If the guy in your life could use an extra set of around-the-house clothes, Ndlovu says these outfits meet the occasion. According to the brand, the tops and bottoms are moisture-wicking and made with a soft and breathable fabric, so they can stand up to workouts or yard work.
More outdoor essentials
Who said patio furniture has to be so expensive? This budget-friendly umbrella is under $30 and checks off nearly all of the boxes: It boasts a tilt feature, fade-resistant fabric and can be through a table or free-standing base, according to the brand.
If you've tried just about every citronella candle under the sun and haven't had luck keeping pests away, one Shop TODAY editor says this scentless gadget is a must-have. It uses fuel cartridges in order to ward off mosquitos — and the brand says one cartridge can last up to 12 hours and provide a 15-foot shield of surrounding protection.
When it comes to protecting your skin from sun damage, sometimes you need something more than sunscreen. This sun hat is made with a UPF 50+ fabric, which means that it blocks 98% of UVA and UVB rays, according to the brand. One size fits most, and you can shop it in several different colors.
Once you've got your string lights strung, you'll need to put them to use. This handy timer can function in as little as 15-minute intervals, so you'll a total of 48 on- and off- options to choose from within a 24-hour period, according to the brand.
One Shop TODAY writer tried using this tool to alleviate the itch from a bug bite and was pleased that it worked as promised. "But it doesn't matter where I am or where I've been bitten — this thing works!" she said. "Every time I've used it, my bite has never turned into a bump or irritated me in any way."
Let's face it, spring and summer can get ... sticky. Sometimes you're in a pinch and need to head from one outdoor function to the next and don't have enough time to shower; that's where these body wipes come in. According to the brand — which describes itself as "built with and for the U.S. Military" — just a few swipes can help get rid of sweat and grime.
If chafing is your least favorite part of this time of year, here's a hack you need to know about. This anti-chafe balm comes in a portable tube and is formulated for sensitive skin, so you can apply it everywhere from your neck to your feet in order to help minimize chafing and irritation.
If you want to keep the party going into the night, this patio umbrella light might come in handy. It conveniently clamps onto the base, so you don't have to worry about tying it or mounting it in place. Plus, it's battery operated.
Something about summer just calls for campfires. This affordable fire pit is perfect for smaller spaces and doesn't require any tools for assembly, so you can keep warm on chilly nights or make s'mores in a matter of minutes.