Time outside doesn’t have to be all about multi-day trips and far-out hikes. A visit to your local green space can be just as relaxing and, in some cases, a lot more accessible.
Whether you’re taking a quick jaunt after work or spending a full day out in the sun, we’ve rounded up our favorite gear to keep you hydrated, organized and amused. You can make getting outside part of your daily routine by exploring and celebrating your neighborhood parks.
Heading out for a long afternoon at the park? The portable Pack-Away Tote makes it easy to bring all the essentials. You can stash games, snacks, blankets, layers, water, sunscreen and more in this spacious 45-liter bag. The drawstring top secures your gear during travel, whether you stow the tote in your vehicle’s footwell or throw it over your shoulder. Featuring a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, the easy-to-clean construction will last you season after season of fun in the sun. $79.95
There isn’t always an easy way to replenish water during a day outside, which is where this Stanley Quencher can come in handy. This capacious, 30-ounce tumbler features a full cover top, a drink opening and a straw opening with a seal to prevent spillage when sipping on the go. Though the tumbler holds almost a liter of liquid, the base narrows to fit in most car cup holders. Double-wall vacuum insulation keeps beverages cold for hours, so you can stay refreshed on sweltering summer afternoons. $35
Pack fresh snacks and cold drinks for the whole crew in this spacious hard-sided cooler from Igloo. With 49 liters of capacity, you can host a full-blown outdoor happy hour. The lid features four self-draining cup holders, so the cooler doubles as a mini table for you and your pals. And you can feel good about your purchase knowing that parts of this cooler are made with post-consumer recycled resin, a material made from recycled plastic. Just remember to throw an ice pack in the freezer overnight, and you’ll be ready to chill. $59.95
On the busiest days, maybe all you can fit in is a short walk around the park. You don’t need a full pack or tote, just something large enough to carry the essentials. The Mini Quick Pack from Topo Designs is the perfect companion for a quick jaunt outside. Clip it around your waist to carry keys, phone and snacks, keeping your hands free while walking the dog. Fasten a bike light (not included) to an attached loop for strolls after sunset. It comes in five color combinations, from classic black to funky multi-colored designs. $49
During a long day out in the sun, protecting your skin is non-negotiable. A water-resistant lotion with high SPF like the mineral sunscreen from Sun Bum is our go-to for active days in the elements. This hypoallergenic, mineral-based lotion is easy on sensitive skin while still offering excellent protection from UVA/UVB rays. Slip the 3-ounce bottle into your tote for easy reapplication throughout the day. Our only caveat: This sunscreen does leave a white coating on the skin upon application, but it should disappear over time. An alternative is this tinted mineral one by Raw Elements. $17.50 for Sun Bum; $18.95 for Raw Elements
Keep the sun out of your eyes and off your face with this lightweight, packable hat from REI Co-op. The fabric features a UPF rating of 50+, and the design includes side ventilation holes, so you can stay cool while avoiding harmful UVA/UVB rays. When the sun hides behind the clouds, pack the hat into its own side pocket before clipping it to your backpack or stowing it in your jacket pocket. Bonus: A sweatband inside the cap keeps sweat beads at bay on extra warm days. $26.95
Join a game of pick-up soccer or ultimate frisbee in these sweat-wicking tops from Vuori. Both tees boast a comfy, casual fit and come in a variety of colors, making them great options for transitioning from an outdoor workout to happy hour in the park with friends. Have we mentioned that we’re all about sun protection? These tops feature fabric that shields your skin from the sun’s rays. Pair them with the REI Packable Cap and Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen, and you’ll be ready for a beaming day outside. $58, women’s; $54, men’s
Heading out for an evening bonfire at the local beach? Stargazing at a nearby park? Don’t forget to pack an extra layer. Stay warm in the Trailmade Jacket when the fun continues after sunset. Zippered hand pockets make it easy to stash a phone or snacks for a quick stroll, and the recycled polyester fleece is soft to the touch. With several fun color combinations and patterns, it’s easy to find a style you’ll love. $59.95
Spread out on the grass with a cozy and colorful blanket from Rumpl. This puffy blanket will last season after season of outdoor adventure thanks to a durable ripstop polyester shell and DWR finish that make the fabric resistant to water, dirt, odors, stains and even pet hair. And it’s over six feet long, so you can share it with all of your friends during your next outdoor hang. Another perk: The synthetic blanket is easy to wash in a front-loading washing machine. $125
Enjoy a peaceful afternoon in the park with your favorite novel and the Hex 2.0 Chair from Crazy Creek. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort with this lightweight lounger, which clocks in at 1 pound 4.8 ounces. And don’t worry about dirt patches or wet grass; the durable, ripstop nylon outer shell is water-resistant and easy to clean. The attached roll-up strap and hanging loop allow you to stash the chair in a tote bag or clip it to a backpack when on the go. $64.95
Let the natural world inspire your artistic side with this portable watercolor kit. It includes everything but the water—including a refillable brush, pencils, a marker and pallets—so you can sketch and paint the local flora and fauna. Pack the whole kit in the included drawstring bag for easy transport to your favorite green space. $28.95
Keep it tasty and simple with a snack that contains just one ingredient. Whether you choose apricots, peaches or white nectarines, each 4-ounce package contains 100% dried fruit and nothing more. If you’re wondering how this dried snack earned its name: All Hello! I’m Ugly products are made from imperfect fruit that would otherwise get thrown away. So you can enjoy a delicious treat all while helping minimize waste. Stash these in your hip pack for a quick burst of energy on your next walk around the park. $5.95