The Best Outdoor Food Covers and Tents for All Your Outside Activities

Keep your meals bug-free with outdoor food covers like our all-around favorite, the Polka Dot Gridlabs Mesh Screen Food Tent Cover.

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Outdoor Food Covers Tout
Photo: Etsy

Warm weather brings friends and family outside for backyard picnics, barbeques, and even camping trips to enjoy time in nature and cook meals outdoors. Unfortunately, preparing or eating food al fresco can draw unwanted guests, like mosquitoes, flies, and other pesky insects that buzz around in an attempt to sample the goods. Instead of swatting away bugs or redirecting a line of ants, opt for food covers to protect your meals when outdoors. You can spend more time focusing on good conversations and sampling the tasty picnic food and less time on unnecessary distractions.

There is a myriad of outdoor food covers on the market, so we took into consideration design, size, and material to find the best outdoor food covers for your next outside party. We landed on our favorite, the Polka Dot Gridlabs Mesh Screen Food Tent Cover, because of its durability, fun design, and large diameter that can cover several dishes at once.

Our Favorites

Best Budget: Crate and Barrel Outdoor Food Tent

Outdoor Food Covers
Crate & Barrel

Why It's Great

  • Easy to clean
  • Collapsible

Grain of Salt

  • Handwash

Gathering for a picnic, barbeque, or camping? These nylon tents are easy to place over food that was just pulled off the grill to keep annoying insects out before you have a chance to indulge. Opening like an umbrella with the simple pull of a string, these tents are easy to use, collapse, and fold easily for convenient storage. This tent is practical for different types of outdoor events, whether you're having a more formal meal outside and want to cover each person's plate or looking to protect several small dishes or a large dish.

With its subtle all-white design, the tent goes with almost any decor. And if it gets dirty, clean it with a damp cloth.

The Details: Nylon; 18 x 18 x 14 inches

Best Overall: Polka Dot Gridlabs Mesh Screen Food Tent Covers

Outdoor Food Covers

Why It's Great

  • Spacious
  • Sturdy
  • Comes in a two-pack

Grain of Salt

  • Hand wash

With a fun polka dot design and shaped like an umbrella, these food tents are transparent, so you can not only store numerous dishes together and keep them bug-free, but you can also see the food while it's covered. With six durable metal rods and a mesh screen, these food covers are designed to handle the elements and are ideal for both inside and outside use. The plus side of having metal rods is that they make these sturdier and slightly heavier, so if the breeze suddenly picks up, these aren't going to fly off the table.

These tents open easily with just a pull of a string, and when you're ready to put it away, you only have to push a button for the tent to close. If you're concerned about one tent not providing sufficient space, you're in luck because these are sold in a pack of two tents, so you'll be good to go for all your outdoor gathering needs. Clean these covers by spot cleaning or hand washing, and let air dry.

The Details: Mesh and metal; 22 x 26 x 7.5 inches

Best Fabric: Food52 Linen & Cotton Cloth Bowl Covers

Outdoor Food Covers

Why It's Great

  • Take up little room
  • Washable
  • Set of six, comes in four sizes

Grain of Salt

  • Higher price point

Looking for a simple food cover that doesn't take up much space, is easy to use, and comes in multiple sizes for different types of receptacles? Consider these Linen and Cotton bowl covers that fit snugly around the bowl thanks to an elastic band. Sold in a pack of six, they come in four different sizes, so you can use various-sized bowls for all your picnic needs, preventing bugs from crawling or flying in while you enjoy a meal outside. Their utility doesn't stop there: Use them to store leftovers in the fridge or cover bread dough or even cake batter.

When it comes time to wash them, one of the advantages of these covers is you can plop them in the washing machine and let them air dry before storing them away for their next use.

The Details: Linen and cotton; multiple sizes

Related: The Best Picnic Baskets to Elevate Al Fresco Dining Adventures

Best Rattan: Hand Knit Rattan Food Cover

Outdoor Food Covers

Why It's Great

  • Sturdy
  • Lightweight

Grain of Salt

  • Avoid humid conditions

Made from a hand-woven rattan, this wicker-style food cover is lightweight and relatively easy to clean. Looking to surprise your guests with what you've made just before it's time to eat? Since it is not transparent like some others on this list, this is the cover for you. The wide handle makes it easy to lift open and close, too.

Not only does this cover work outside to keep unwanted critters away, but you can use it throughout the year as small storage to keep things organized and out of sight in the kitchen. Its beautiful design can also serve as a decorative piece on the kitchen counter. Just be sure this food cover doesn't sit too long in humid conditions or near a heat source as it can damage the fibers.

The Details: Rattan; 13.7 x 11 x 6 inches

Best Metal: Affordable Store 3-Pack Metal Mesh Screen Food Cover Tent Umbrellas

Outdoor Food Covers

Why It's Great

  • Sturdy
  • Can use with hot and cold foods

Grain of Salt

  • Bulky
  • Hand wash only

These sturdy and colorful stainless steel mesh food covers will bring a festive touch to your backyard barbeque or outdoor gathering. If you're having a seated outdoor meal, these covers are the perfect size to cover each person's plate from buzzing winged critters looking to sample the meal. If the wind picks up, these are sturdy enough to stay put, so you don't have to worry about the covers flying off the table.

These covers can also be used indoors or for your gardening needs. Protect seedlings and small plants from pests, such as slugs and snails, or even rabbits who may want to feast on recently planted lettuce or other crops.

When it comes time to clean, it is best to wipe them down with warm water and some soap.

The Details: Stainless steel mesh; 10.75 x 10.75 x 3.7 inches

Best for Wine and Drinks: Wine-TapaCabana Set of 6 Wine Glass Covers

Outdoor Food Covers

Why It's Great

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Sturdy
  • Use little space for storing

Grain of Salt

  • Only fits glasses up to 4 inches wide

These ventilated covers will allow you to enjoy your beverage without spotting a floating fly in your glass. Not only do they protect whatever you're sipping on, but they can also serve as drink markers since they come in six different colors. Designed with a weighted stainless steel screen and an outer plastic ring that rests gently on the rim of the glass, you won't need to worry about the cover blowing away or any pesky bugs entering.

Enjoying wine? These multi-purpose covers will simultaneously aerate the liquid inside your glass. Not a wine drinker? No problem, use these on any 4-inch cup or smaller, like a coffee or tea mug. And when you're not using them, put them to use as coasters to protect your outdoor furniture.

The Details: Stainless steel and plastic; 4.5 x 4.5 x 0.75 inches

Best Large Food Cover: Iconikal Large Folding Mesh Food Tent

Outdoor Food Covers

Why It's Great

  • Collapsible
  • Transparent
  • Spacious for numerous dishes

Grain of Salt

  • Needs to be weighted down

If you're planning a large outdoor gathering and have lots of dishes you want to keep away from ants, wasps, flies, or even leaves, consider these spacious zip-up tents. Made of mesh with a zipper that opens and closes, these tents are lightweight and easy to wipe down. As long as there is food or dishes inside the tent, you won't have to worry about this cover blowing away if a breeze comes along. However, you will need to put weights to hold it down when there aren't many dishes inside. And a bonus — these are sold as a two-pack, so you'll have more than enough space to protect your spread.

Popping into shape easily and quickly, set up is a cinch. Then, when it's time to clean up, these tents fold down and take up little space.

The Details: Mesh; 42 x 16 x 21 inches

Our Takeaway

With so many fantastic food covers on the market, it was difficult to choose, but our best overall pick is the Polka Dot Gridlabs Mesh Screen Food Tent Cover because it is sturdy, spacious, and folds up easily — taking up minimal space when not in use. Our second favorite is the Crate and Barrel Outdoor Food Tent for its economical price point, transparent mesh material, and easy, collapsible storage.

How to Pick the Right Outdoor Food Cover


Food covers are available in various materials, including nylon, stainless steel, wicker, linen, and cotton. If you want to be able to see the food while it's covered, you'll want to opt for transparent material, such as mesh or nylon. Materials like stainless steel are sturdier and are better suited if the wind picks up.


Food covers come in various sizes, from covering individual plates or bowls to protecting a myriad of dishes in the same space. Not only do you want to think about covering up your food to keep away insects, but you also want to consider your beverages, so you don't have any surprises when you go to sip. Choosing which one is best for you comes down to knowing what types of receptacles you plan on covering up while outdoors.


With multiple designs to choose from, the main goal of a food cover is to protect your food from bugs and foliage. The design can complement its environment, but it's more important to consider how functional the food cover is and how you anticipate using it. Once you've determined which material is best for you, choose from different colors or decorations to add flare to your gathering.

Common Questions:

How do you keep food covers from blowing away?

Some food covers are sturdier than others based on their material. For example, stainless steel or rattan can usually withstand a bit of a breeze. On the other hand, some lightweight food covers may need extra weight from dishes to ensure they don't fly away at the first sign of wind.

How do you clean food covers?

How you clean a food cover will depend on its material. Nylon, cotton, and linen-based food covers can usually be washed by hand or placed in the washing machine, making them easy to clean, especially if food or sauces spill on them. Stainless steel or mesh typically needs to be hand-washed. Some may be dishwasher-safe.

Why Take Our Word for It

We compiled this list of best outdoor food covers based on our own expertise and after researching the best food covers on the market. We selected our favorites after taking into consideration size, material, and design — all important factors when determining the perfect food cover for you.

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