Summers are best spent outside. When the weather is right, it's much nicer to watch the season's blockbusters under an open sky instead of an air-conditioned theater. With drive-in theaters having all but disappeared, unless you're lucky enough to have one left in your community, you'll have to build your own outdoor theater.

Then again, thanks to the performance of the gear you can get these days—at very attractive prices—you can put together something in your yard that performs better than The sound and picture you get at a commercial drive-in.

Here' we've put together everything you'll need—except the popcorn and chairs—to get your own outdoor theater set up.




Weather-resistant foldaway projection screen (Amazon)


The 135" Elite Screens Yard Master 2 folds down to fit inside the included padded carrying bag. Included ground stakes and rigging cord keep the screen upright on uneven terrain. The aluminum square-tube construction is lightweight yet durable, and the screen is weather resistant, though it's not meant to withstand heavy winds and should be stored indoors when not in use. Locking joints and a snap-on screen keep the picture area taut.

A black masking border enhances picture contrast, and the black-backed screen promises a brighter image. Two screen materials are available. For front projection, the CineWhite matte-white screen has 1.1 gain with 160° viewing angle. If you want to set up a rear-projection system, the WraithVeil material has 2.2 gain and 160° viewing angle. Both materials are perfect for active-3D and 4K Ultra HD with HDR.




Short throw projector with over 2000 lumens (Amazon)

If your yard is small or you'll be hosting movie night on your patio, you want a short-throw projector. The BenQ CineHome HT2150ST projector gives you 100" of picture at only 4.9 feet from the screen. For an outdoor theater, you want a projector with at least 2000 lumens of light output, and this BenQ offers 2200 ANSI lumens for superior brightness as well as native 1080p full-HD resolution.

BT.709 color gamut, 6x RGBRGB color wheel, and 15,000:1 ANSI contrast ratio all result in crisp, saturated images as the director intended. The projector also has two built-in 10-watt speakers, but you'll want to use the ones below instead.




Portable wireless outdoor speakers (Amazon)


The EcoBoulder is a 3-way speaker system with an 8" full-range driver, 8" rear woofer, and 3" tweeter in its IP67-rated casing. The sound produced by the GDI-EXBM901 model is big—100 watts of dynamic power big. The all-terrain wheels and telescoping handle make setting up for movie night a breeze. And connecting is easy with Bluetooth 4.1. There's a microphone jack for PA use and two auxiliary audio inputs for wired use. And EcoConnect lets you wirelessly pair two speakers up to 30 feet apart.

This EcoXGear speaker is waterproof, drop-proof, and dustproof. It even floats. Two USB ports allow the speaker to act as a charging station, and there's an AM/FM radio. Backlit buttons and display make it easy to use, even at night. The rechargeable battery lasts 100 hours on full volume, but you can also plug it into a standard AC outlet.




Surge protector, so you won't get left in the dark (Amazon)

This Tripp Lite TLP1008TEL surge protector has 10 outlets and eight feet of cord, eliminating the need for an extension cord in small spaces. Sliding safety covers protect unused outlets, and the outlets are widely spaced to accommodate bulky converters. This model features the highest surge-protection rating in its class—2395 joules—and comes with $150,000 of lifetime insurance for your electronics.
If you're using a top-of-the-line projector, it might be worth investing in super-heavy-duty protection. In that case, consider the Furman PST-8 SMP EVS LiFT for the highest level of AC surge suppression.