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The Best Gear to Take to a Drive-In Movie Theater

Instead of enjoying a blockbuster at a multiplex this summer, moviegoers are turning to a retro outdoor classic: the drive-in theater. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, drive-ins offer fresh air, ample room for social distancing, and a fun, family-friendly activity. (Be sure to check your theater’s protocols before you go.)

I recently drove 75 miles from my home in the suburbs of Washington, DC, to Stephens City, Virginia, to take in a double feature (Jurassic Park and Jaws) at the Family Drive-In Theatre—the only permanent drive-in theater open in the northern part of the state. It was a picturesque evening with clear skies, warm (not humid) weather, and families enjoying a rare outing. For a moment, life felt normal again.

My night at the drive-in was one of the nicest I’ve spent during quarantine. The key to a similar experience? Preparation. Here are a few essentials (and some fun extras) to help you make the most of your movie night under the stars.

From comfy seating to Sawyer Picaridin, check out Justin Redman's Drive-In essentials here.

LAST UPDATED

December 3, 2023

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Wirecutter

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Wirecutter’s mission is to recommend what really matters. Each year, we independently test and review thousands of products to help you find just what you need. Our goal is to save you time and eliminate the stress of shopping, whether you’re looking for everyday gear or gifts for loved ones.

We strive to be the most trusted product recommendation service around, and we work with total editorial independence. We won’t post a recommendation unless our writers and editors have deemed something the best through rigorous reporting and testing.

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