You may think hosting an epic tailgate is as simple as showing up with a grill and some snacks, but think again: getting your tailgate game right is all about the prep. With a few tips, tricks, and some smart space-saving gear, you’ll be well on your way to game day success—no matter who wins on the field.
The secrets to an epic tailgate are sought after by many, but practiced by few…until now.
Get Your Vibe Right
Tailgating is all about carving out your own small patch of pre-game party perfection. And that means you’ve got to get your vibe right.
For starters, it’s never a bad idea to show a bit of team spirit while staking out your space. File this under killing-two-birds-with-one-stone, because not only does this portable and affordable canopy pop out instantly to provide shade and shelter, it also comes in over 20 colors so that you’re sure to rep your team right. Plus, it folds into a carry-bag, giving you trunk space to spare.
This is probably the best on-the-go Bluetooth speaker out there. It’s everything-proof (seriously), washable, loud, and works from up to 65 feet away. Image courtesy of Ultimate Ears.
On to the matter of epic tailgate tunes. While we like the idea of bringing an old-school boom box to the game, they aren’t very practical. A Bluetooth speaker that’s small enough to slip into your pocket (but loud enough to drown out any opposing fans) is more what you’re after. The UE Roll 2may look petite, but this thing packs nine hours of battery life, killer sound, and a waterproof design—just in case someone knocks it into the cooler.
Food & Drinks
Speaking of coolers, killer snacks are pretty much the raison d’être of the tailgate —and you’re gonna need a game plan. (Pun definitely intended.)
For starters, plan on doing as much prep-work as possible. Our advice? We like to choose one meal to prepare on site, and pack along a number of prepared sides for all-day munching. Whether you’re into grain bowls or fruit salads, bruschetta or hummus—the more you can organize in advance, the better.
It toasts, it bakes, it grills, and it does it all on propane—making this the perfect grill for any mobile party. Image courtesy of Coleman.
Why not class up your tailgate while being environmentally conscious at the same time? Image courtesy of VerTerra.
Eco-tip: skip the plastic plates. When it comes time to chow, serve up your grub with VerTerra’s line of sustainable, durable, and compostable tableware.
Tailgating is all about endurance, and that’s why the pros never skimp on comfort.
Fold-out chairs are nice, but sometimes you need to straight-up lounge. Image courtesy of Picnic Time.
Besides, wouldn’t you rather sit down at a table to enjoy all that freshly grilled food? That’s where the folding picnic table comes in. This portable diner’s companion expands from a travel-friendly (and sweet looking) carrying case into a four-seater table. If you like your seating with a bit more padding, there’s also this incredible portable couch, which is briefcase-sized in transport before folding out into a snug loveseat.
Looking for a warm wool blanket that doesn’t look like it came from your grandma? Check out Pendleton’s eco-wise blankets. Image courtesy of Pendleton.
Psst—here are a few more tried-and-true tailgate hacks. Pack a toolbox full of cooking utensils, condiments, and any other quick accessories for easy and organized access. Fill your coolers with frozen water bottles—they’ll keep everything cold and keep you quenched as they start to melt on warmer days. Mason jars are good for packing up individual portions of pretty much anything, while a distinctive balloon tied to your canopy will make your party that much easier to spot. And if you’re grilling, don’t forget the portable fire extinguisher. Safety first, guys.