With summer upon us, the desire to escape to nature is once again at an all-time high. For city dwellers, it might mean getting away from the smog that settles over the city, while for others summer offers the time off and weather necessary to finally embark on your long-awaited camping trip.
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For those looking to spend their summer outside in any capacity, an important element often overlooked is the outdoor dinnerware. You might have a portable grill and the best fire-top pans, but do you have a plate and fork? To help you be totally ready for your summer in nature, we're rounding up the best outdoor dinnerware — we leaned towards valuing things like durability, insulation, and being BPA-free over aesthetic — so you can spend more time breathing in the fresh air and less time frantically Googling in a cell-signal-less park "nearby restaurants" (the answer: there won't be many).
These are our eight picks for outdoor dinnerware.
Hyrdoflask's newest kitchen collection takes what we love about their water bottles and transfers it to dinnerware. The bundle includes their stainless-steel flatware, plate, tumbler, one-, three-, and five-quart bowls, serving spoons, and a tote. Like their most famous product, their dinnerware keeps hot things hot and cold things cold, and this bundle's packability makes it perfect for road trips, weekend getaways, or a simple picnic.
Despite the bright color, this set is quite simple. Coming with just a plate, bowl, cup, and flatware, this set is no frills. It's BPA-free and its food-grade glass-reinforced polypropylene makes it so that the vibrant orange stays vibrant orange. While the lightweight and simplicity earn this set major points, the real selling point is the drawstring, gusseted mesh pouch your dishes can quickly be thrown into to dry.
While our aforementioned kits came with sacks and totes to carry the dishware in, this set carries itself. The Mess Kit's top and bottom act as plates, while the tether allows you to attack the two-piece Switch Spork to the top. The cup can collapse, reducing in height by 50%, which allows it to fit right inside the Mess Kit. This small, durable, box-ish-looking container packs everything you might need for your outdoor meal.
Plate, bowl, cup, cutting tray — this three-piece set does it all. Each piece in this set is foldable, snapping into place depending on what you need. While not the most Instagramable set on the list, this is highly functional. The pieces are incredibly durable and multi-functional, and when you're done you can lay them flat for packing, weighing only 4 oz.
Not everyone will settle for canned soup or pre-made sandwiches on their outdoor adventure. Nothing will get in between a foodie and a delicious meal, including good ol' nature. For the outdoorsman who fancies themself a cook, you'll want this packable kitchen set, which includes "four cutlery sets, folding tools, a cutting board, utility knife, spice shakers, and much more to complement your camp kitchen." Sounds like a lot to pack, but this set weighs less than 2 pounds.
For camping we prefer functionality above all else — if it's durable and insulated, we're adding to cart regardless of look. But when it comes to picnicking, we'll take a little "aesthetically pleasing." Burke Decor's Go Picnic Set combines looks with functionality with sustainability. The set, which includes "four cups, four plate-bowls, one salad bowl and, one anti-slip tray-top" comes in two different colors—which includes vibrant blues and yellows—and is made of a combination of responsibly sourced bamboo fiber and 100% food-grade melamine binder, making it sustainable and durable.
In the same vein as our Burke Decor set, Ekobo's is responsibly made, durable, and incredibly cute — it just happens to be a tad smaller. Ekobo stresses the importance of non-toxic dishware for children and these dishes are BPA-, PVC-, and phthalates-free. Made of biodegradable bamboo fiber, Ekobo's set is environmentally friendly and yet remains shatterproof (important for a kid's dish). For those bringing small ones on their nature getaway, we'd recommend picking up this set.
While some are just starting to get together their outdoor dinnerware collection, others already have a well-established, well-used set they go very few places without. But despite the collection of bowls, plates, and mugs, they're missing the flatware because, as time has taught, someone always packs along a container of disposable forks, spoons, and knives. But this year, we're going green as we embark on our outdoor adventure, and disposable flatware won't make the cut. The Full Windsor Magware Magnetic Flatware Set includes a fork, spoon, knife, and carry pouch. The center allows these three pieces to click together, folding into one. Made of 7075-T6 aluminum, it's truly lightweight enough to stick in your pocket (just make sure to remember it's there before you sit down).