Tailgating is engrained in the culture of sports fans and outdoor enthusiasts. Above all it’s a favorite way to spend time with friends and family, enjoying good food, drinks, and entertainment. Likewise it helps us get away from our phones, hopefully, and pass the time while you’re waiting for the arena gates to open.
Whether you’re planning on hosting a tailgate party or attending one, it’s important to be prepared with all the necessary gear. Obvious things like Folding tables and chairs. And not so obvious things like disposable ponchos and travel johns. Therefore, here are some essential items that will help make your tailgating a success with out the stress.
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Table for tailgate? Check!
A folding table is essential to set up your food, drinks, and other tailgate necessities. While looking for one that is sturdy and easy to set up and take down nobody beats Lifetime folding tables. Particularly I recommend going with the 6 ft one. If you go lower you’ll regret it and end up buying the bigger one anyway. In addition to tailgating, with a cheap table cloth, we whip ours out for birthdays, hosting dinners, and the beach.
Bear claw your way to BBQ greatness!
Bear paws perfectly shred BBQ meat quickly and easily. Simply insert the claws into your cooked meat and pull apart to create perfectly shredded pieces. If you have ever done it with simple forks you know how cramped your hands can get. Shredder claws do it in a fraction of the time and with ease. I also use them on taco nights.
Your Bartender For The Day
Mix your favorite drinks in large quantities in a beverage dispenser and add ice. Simple as that. Now, instead of having to mix something together every time someone runs dry, you have refills at the push of a lever. Coupled with the fact I usually set out 2 or 3 with different flavors in each. Works perfect.
A canopy is the easiest way to add some shade from the sun, or shelter from the rain. Most of the time tailgating is in the parking lot of the arena. Which means no shade, no cover. So bring your own. Likewise, If you live in, or visiting, a windy city make sure you add some tent sandbags to your cart or your tent will definitely blow away. I’m speaking from experience.
No One Likes A Messy Tailgate
Without sounding too much like a Karen, no one likes trash laying everywhere. And tying trash bags to something or just laying it on the ground sucks. It blows away and it fills up too fast because the knot is too big. I hate it. The Solution? A collapsible trash bin. Easy disposal, easy cleanup, easy life.
Grilled corn is a staple of any good tailgate, and this grilling basket makes it easy to cook corn to perfection. First, place the corn in the basket and grill over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally. Second, while still hot, rub a piece of butter over the cob and add parmesan cheese. You’re welcome.
When The Weather Man Is Wrong… Again
It’s beautiful, sunny, the food is sizzling, everything is perfect. Then, like out of a movie, a darkness slowly takes over the sky and you feel that first drop hit your face. The weather man was wrong again. Is he ever right? No one can fit under the canopy because the food is covered by the canopy. So you head to the car to get a pack of disposable ponchos and start handing them out. Way to go hero.
Unless you enjoy making people uncomfortable by standing over everyone while eating, take a seat. Folding chairs are a dime a dozen. You can get uncomfortable cheap ones for $10. But, I prefer this folding chair with a full support back and an attached side table. It’s harder to find than you think. Most “director’s” chairs don’t come with a full back. It makes a huge difference. Check it out.
Perfect Table For Counter Top Grills
If you don’t want to buy, or bring, a big grill with its own stand. Or you already have one of those cool suitcase looking camping grills, this folding cook station is perfect. It gives you plenty of space for everything. Or you could do what I do. Tell everyone, “I got this” and drop half the food on the ground. Because I’m trying to carry and hold everything at once. Good choice.
Grill Caddy: Because Carrying All That Is Too Much Work
Oh Grill Caddy, how I adore you. I live in an apartment with community grills. Which means I have to walk down with everything in hand. Unless I want to take multiple trips, or hope one of the kids wants to go with me. Safe to say I use my grill caddy all the time. It also makes tail gating a thousand times easier. Get one then tell me you love me.
How To Feel Like A Grill Master 101
If you’re new to grilling, or you’re wondering what the fuss is about with a quality grill set. Let me shed some light. It’s awesome. It’s like getting a power drill set and felling like you can fix anything. Even if you definitely can not. Seriously, please don’t. Having a quality grill set just means that the food is limited by your ability and not by your equipment. Which is either great or…
Nobody enjoys hanging out in the cold. If you do, that’s weird. There is some purpose to why we are out there. Tailgating, waiting on a game is one of those. Introducing your cold weather best friend. The heated seat. With portable power you can place this beautiful piece of gear on your camping chair. Then take it with, into the stadium to those ridiculous plastic seats they have waiting for you.
HotHands & Toes
No matter how many layers you put on it never feels like you can get your fingers and toes to warm up. We could get into the boring science of it all. Instead just get some HotHands. They make perfect pouches that you squeeze to activate warmth that last for hours. Basic ones to throw in your jacket pockets for hands, and flat shaped ones to put in your shoes. I LOVE them.
Beer pong is a party staple. Let alone a tailgate party. I asked myself why anyone would buy this beer pong set. We always used a table. Then I thought about every time we had to try and find a place to put all the food and dishes to play. It clicked. You can’t use these little stands to put anything on so they are always safe and ready to play. Bring it!
Some Things Don’t Belong On The Grill
If you’re going all out with cooking at your tailgate you need a little more than a grill. Some food just can’t be made on the grill. Blasphemy, I know. But, a roaster that plugs right into your car is a perfect example. A convenient gadget that lets you keep dishes like mac n’ cheese or chili cheese dip apart of the menu.
A Smoker?I know what you’re thinking. “How long are we supposed to be at this tailgate?!”. A smoker makes the most amazing meat. However, most people only think of brisket or ribs that take 14-22 hours to finish. But, normal pieces of meat like steak, chicken, and salmon only take 4-6 hours. If you’re the host you have to get there early to setup anyway. And the flavor is so worth it. Mouth watering.
A Grill… Duh.
I didn’t want to be too obvious by putting a propane grill first on the list. I think we can all agree , though, it’s the center piece of every tailgating party. Fast, easy, no charcoal to clean up. Weber has been a top producer of grills for a long time. Which makes this table top grill a safe bet. The little stand comes separate. But, this list has already got you covered in that department.
Like Horse Shoes On Steroids
Horse shoes, Corn hole, and Ring toss are all outdoor games I grew up with at family BBQs. It should come as no surprise I put one of them on the tailgate list of essentials. Of the big three, as I call them, Ring toss is the easies to travel with. It doesn’t take up too much room and doesn’t need to be drilled into the ground. It also more 3 dimensional than horse shoes and corn hole. Perfect for a parking lot.
What’s football without the winning team of the super bowl taking the Gatorade Cooler and dumping it on the coach? While you don’t have to fill it with Gatorade, this classic beverage cooler is perfect to whip out whenever there are any large gatherings of people. We typically put some type of flavor in it for the kids, because the other beverage dispensers are not kid friendly.
I don’t know how many tailgates you’ve been too. Let’s just say in my experience porta-potties are not your friend. They never put enough of them, so the ones they do have get over run. Enter Travel Johns. They look just like those throw up bags at hospitals. But, with some extra features made for numero uno. Just make sure none of your friends… under the influence use them out in public.
A Blanket That Actually Keeps You Dry
There’s something about a blanket. No matter how many jackets or hoodies you where a blanket is just so comforting. This waterproof winter flannel blanket is my favorite. It’s looks good, comfortable, and can be used as a barrier for your car seats against the wet dog. Great, I’m a grown man talking about his blankie. Thanks 22 words.
What’s A Party Without Music?
Everyone tailgating in the arena parking lot is playing music. Loud. You might as well too. Setup a quality wireless speaker, like this one with bass! Have fun. That’s what tailgating is all about. Forgetting about what’s going on at work, laying down stress, eating good food, listening to good music, dancing, and just being with people you actually love to be around.