What Is the Best Outdoor Food Cover?

Eating outdoors allows you to relax and enjoy the fresh air and the sounds of nature. Green spaces make eating more exciting and can make your meals taste better.

Unfortunately, when you are enjoying your food and beverages outdoors, some unwanted guests can spoil your appetite. To enjoy your delicious meal in peace, you need something to keep flying insects out of your food and beverages. That’s why outdoor food covers make a perfect addition to your picnic table.

Picnic food covers prevent flies, mosquitoes, fruit flies, and other pests from reaching the goodies underneath. They also safeguard against dirt, dust, and pollen, protecting your lunch and dessert until you’re ready to eat.

Food covers are great for camping trips, picnics, parties, family events, and any other outdoor gathering. They can be used to cover burgers, steaks, watermelon, pineapple, fruit salads, and beverages, to name a few.

Food covers come in a variety of forms, including food cover tents, metal mesh food covers, elastic-plastic food covers, and fabric bowl covers.

Outdoor Food Covers

The Most Common Outdoor Food Covers

1. Food Tent Covers

Uses: Food cover tents work great for picnics, outdoor parties, and all kinds of outdoor gatherings. The tight mesh covers plates and bowls, keeping flying insects away from your food and fruits. To effectively keep insects out of the food, these collapsible food tents need to be set on a solid surface.

They are also suitable for use in garden beds to protect your seedlings from slugs and birds.

Benefits: These food covers are constructed of nylon mesh and a metal frame. The mesh screen covers plates and protects against insects while keeping your delicious food on display.

Food cover tents open and collapse like an umbrella, making them ideal for compact storage. This makes them very portable and perfect for camping trips.

Cleaning: When food tents get dirty, hand wash them to make them look brand new. To remove stains, wipe with a damp cloth.


  • When the table is not perfectly flat, flies can find their way through the gaps between the bottom and the table.
  • Being lightweight, they can get blown away by the wind.
  • Some low-quality pop-up food covers look flimsy and break easily.

2. Metal Mesh Food Covers

Uses: These food covers work perfectly for keeping unwanted insects off your food when you are eating outside in the summer. They are suitable for covering a bowl of fruit, a plate of sandwiches, open drinks, snacks, and other foods. They also can be used to protect small, delicate plants from slugs and other pests.

Benefits: Metal mesh food covers are constructed of stainless steel or chrome mesh wire. The steel frame makes these food covers sturdy, so they won’t break and collapse like collapsible food tents sometimes do. The round metal mesh prevents flies and bugs from getting inside, ensuring your food is clean and visible to guests when entertaining outside. They are heavier than pop-up mesh food covers and less prone to getting blown away in the wind. Being heat resistant, they can be used to cover either cold or hot foods, and the handle on top makes it easy to carry them.

Cleaning: Metal mesh food covers are easy to keep clean by washing with soapy water. Scrub the mesh with a brush or sponge to remove any collected debris and make it look brand new again.


  • The holes are not fine enough to keep out fruit flies.
  • These covers don’t prevent food from drying out.

3. Reusable Elastic Food Covers

Uses: These food covers work great when you arrange an outdoor meal or prepare a picnic lunch. They keep pesky insects at bay and prevent your food from drying out. Being lightweight and capable of folding flat, these food covers are ideal for camping trips. They also don’t take up much storage space in your kitchen drawers.

Elastic food covers come in handy when you can’t find a lid that fits your container, or when you want to store leftovers in a dish that doesn’t have a lid.

Benefits: These elastic food covers are more eco-friendly and more convenient than traditional plastic wraps. They can be reused many times, and the elastic band helps to secure them in place. Putting them on and taking them off is quick and easy. They come in various sizes to fit different sizes and shapes of dishes. Although these covers are not airtight, they ensure that your food is not exposed to the air and flying insects. The clear design also allows seeing what’s inside without removing the cover.

Cleaning: Wash your elastic food covers with soapy water. Rinse and drain them on paper towels.


  • Low-quality elastic food covers look flimsy.
  • The elastic doesn’t stay firmly in place to effectively secure the contents.

4. Cloth Bowl Covers

Uses: Cute, colorful prints make fabric food covers ideal for picnics, outdoor dinner parties, and special events. These covers are great when you need to keep your soup, salad, fruits, and other food safe from insects, dust, and pollen. They even keep fruit flies out.

In addition to protecting your food outdoors, you can use them for keeping leftovers fresh in the fridge or for covering rising bread dough.

Benefits: These reusable bowl covers are an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic wrap or foil. Plus, they are far more attractive than foil or plastic wrap. They are made of cotton fabric with elastic sewn around the edges. They fit snugly around the bowls to prevent insects from reaching your meal and keep your food clean and fresh. They are breathable, simple to use, and come in various shapes and sizes.

Cleaning: Fabric bowl covers wash well in a washing machine, but make sure to air dry them to preserve the elastic.


  • Content in an opaque bowl will not be visible until you move the cover.
  • They are not suitable for microwave use.

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