7 Steps to Turn Your Backyard into an Outdoor Movie Theater

April 23, 2019
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BioLite Ultimate Backyard Movie Set Up

Outdoor movie nights are a classic summer celebration. In this guide, we'll show you how to turn your backyard into a movie theater in a few easy steps. The good news is if you're a camper, you probably have most of the gear you need to pull this off. Let's dive in:

1. The Screen

There are a variety of ways to build an outdoor movie screen - we went the tension route. Grab a ladder, a white bed sheet, a grommet installer kit, a hammer, and two ropes. Install grommets on each corner of your sheet (cutting a hole sans grommet might be tempting, but you'll want the reinforcement to avoid a surprise rip mid-movie). Attach carabiners & rope to each corner. Identify your screening wall - with our tension-based set up, spots with access to a tree branch or beam are ideal. Hoisting time! One side at a time (and with the careful use of a ladder), wrap your climbing rope around a tree/branch/beam. Pull simultaneously until you reach a desired height. Secure the rope in place with a slipped overhand knot for easy removal post-movie.

2. The Seats

A mix of high/low seating is actually perfect for a backyard movie night, an indirect version of stadium seating: for the folks down in front, we recommend laying out blankets built for the outdoors like Rumpl’s Puffy line; plus, it can be tossed in the wash so don’t be afraid of a little dirt. For more elevated seating, grab some camp or beach chairs and set them up behind the blankets.

3. The Snacks

outdoor movie snack bar
Roasting S'mores OVer The BioLite FirePit

Closeup of Cooking Over FirePit

Let your fire play host – seriously. Movie night often has that pre-screen purgatory where the sun isn’t quite set, but all your guests have arrived. Occupy their time with an interactive snack bar that allows them to customize their eats. In our setup, we’re re-imagining two campground favorites: campfire and s’mores. The BioLite Firepit’s smokeless flames make it perfect for the backyard (no shuffling around mid-movie to avoid plumes of smoke). Folks can gather round to build their own wood-fired treat of s’mores or kabobs and it’ll be dark before you know it.

4. The Tech

We used Anker’s Nebula Capsule for our projector. Set it up on a table in the middle of your seating area making sure it’s just the right distance from your screen. We recommend testing it out before the crew comes over so that you’re not learning to use it in real time. If you need to keep it powered up, position a BaseLantern XL nearby to serve as a backup power source.

5. The Bugs

Outdoor movies are awesome - bug bites not so much. Breaking out the bug spray works, but we've never liked coating our clothing and gear with smelly repellent. Keep the space around your movie theater bug free without the need for spray with Thermacell’s Radius - it’s a rechargeable, scent-free repellent that protects your crew from pesky bugs within a 110 square foot area.

6. The Lights

Take a bit of time to set up the right area lighting so your group hangout goes off without a hitch. We chose to hang up SiteLight Minis around the movie screen. String lighting not only sets the ambience but also helps people navigate their way to and from their seat without fumbling around or using their phone’s flashlight. After the movie starts place a few SunLights into party mode on your snack table so friends can see the snacks they are grabbing without being disruptive. While you’re at it, place a BaseLantern XL in the middle of a group hangout area to make it easy for your guests to find their way back to their seats.

7. The Film

Thanks to Anker's projection technology, you can easily stream from Netflix, giving you a kickass library to choose from; here's a list of some of the best outdoor/adventure films available for streaming right now.

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