outdoor essentials

Upgrade Your Backyard Grill Game With These Essentials

Cool drinks and seats from Yeti? Perfectly smoked meats with Camp Chef? Yes, please.

Shaking off the doldrums of winter and getting outside is one of the best parts about spring’s awakening. Maybe your happy place is your favorite running loop, or a beloved hiking trail, or even just strolling through your neighborhood, soaking up the sunshine. All wonderful activities, of course, but when spring hits, you’re most likely to find us in the backyard, next to the grill, frosty beverage in hand, sharing the good times with friends and family.

And, if you’re like us, you’re always looking to elevate your backyard space, and your grilling and chilling essentials. (Does your spouse always yank you away from the outdoor section at Home Depot, too?) 

Here, the essentials we’re stocking up on to make the most of the backyard.

The ultimate in beverage temperature modulation, the Yeti tumbler is a mainstay in backyards for a reason. It’s unrivaled in its ability to keep cool drinks frosty and warm liquids piping hot—try a hot toddy in there, come fall—and the magnet-slider lid does an admirable job at keeping spills largely contained when the kids fly by chasing the dog and knock everything over. 

Sure, for a fraction of the price of the Yeti Hondo Base Camp chair, you can easily snag the usual metal or plastic folding chairs, draped in flimsy fabric. And then you’ll spend subsequent seasons cursing the inferior fabrication and materials as they rust and crumble into pieces. Or you can invest in a quality seat that’ll last for years. We’ll go with the latter.

Bless the kind engineers at Yeti for reimagining this generation of its iconic Roadie cooler to heighten it to accommodate bottles of wine or 2-liters of soda. Packed to the brim, it’ll accommodate 18 cans (with ice) or 24 pounds of ice only. And, because it’s now 30 percent more thermally efficient, your stash stays colder even longer. 

Need to ratchet up your cooler capabilities? Opt for the Tundra Haul. Perched on one-piece wheels that will never break or flatten, you can tote 45 cans of brew or 55 pounds of ice. The T-rex lid latches and a special Coldlock gasket ensure you’re getting a solid seal. 

If you’re looking for a grill that can do it all with ease, consider this pellet-fed beauty from Camp Chef. With a sizable 570 square inches of cooking space, that’s enough to fit 16 burgers. The 25,000 BTUs of heat can be adjusted via the digital thermometer to drop it as low as 160 degrees for long smoking sessions or up to 500 degrees for fast grilling. The pellet hopper will automatically feed more wood into the burner, leaving you more time to hang instead of worrying about your grill’s fuel. While most pellet smokers don’t get hot enough for searing, Camp Chef offers the Sidekick Flat Top 14 inch Propane Side Griddle ($249) to bolt on the side. That’ll get you a nice crust on a ribeye in minutes. 

What’s a backyard hang without some solid tunes? Sonos’ Roam Smart Speaker is ideal for outdoor fun for a few reasons. It can survive being submerged in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes, meaning even if it gets knocked into your Yeti, it’ll be fine. It connects either to WiFi or Bluetooth, so you can use it wherever, and it’ll last for up to 10 hours on a single battery charge. Lastly, it brings the bass, because Sonos knows how to maximize sound from a small design.