I love tailgating because it’s like taking a mini camping trip every weekend. I pack up the truck, eat food, and hang out with my friends, and I still get to sleep in my own bed at night.
Like camping, tailgating is fun – if you have the proper supplies. Your supplies can make or break your tailgating experiences because there’s nothing worse than showing up to a tailgate unprepared. That’s why I put this genius list of tailgating essentials together. So you can avoid the mistakes I’ve made and enjoy the fun.
Tailgating Gear to Make Your Life Easier on Game Day
1. Toolbox or Tacklebox
You will thank me for this one. Get a big tool or tackle box and fill it with supplies. Things to include are condiments for food, grilling utensils, napkins, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, bandages, trash bags, and a can/bottle opener.
Plan ahead when filling your tool or tackle box. You want items for cooking, cleaning up, eating, and drinking. Don’t forget to plan for emergencies, too!
Keep the supplies – minus edible items – in the trunk of your car so it’s always ready to go tailgating with you.
2. Coolers… Lots of Coolers
Okay, maybe not dozens of coolers, but definitely at least two or three.
Your specific cooler needs depend on what tailgate activities you have planned. For example, fill one large cooler with ice and drinks. Use another small or medium-sized cooler for meats if you’re grilling. Have another medium-size cooler stocked with perishable condiments, cheeses, and veggies. Make sense? Great!
Tailgate hack: keep one cooler clean and only fill it with ice for drinks. This way, no one has to use the yucky ice from the drink cooler where everyone sticks their hands.
3. Perfectly Sized Charcoal Grill and Skillet
This is so important I have to repeat it. The best thing you can do to have a great tailgate experience is plan ahead. How many friends will be joining you? How long will you be at the tailgate? The answer to these and other related questions will guide you when packing your tailgate essentials.
When it comes to grills, you obviously want to buy the smallest grill possible to fit your needs. However, make sure you have enough room to cook if extra friends show up! One option is to have a few portable grills of different sizes on hand.
Don’t forget to have a hot skillet ready for cooking breakfast or brunch.
The weather might start getting colder, but you don’t have to stop tailgating! Just switch your tactics a bit. Instead of packing cold drinks and food, heat them up.
Unfortunately, you can’t do this without the right tailgating equipment like thermoses. Thermoses are the simplest way to pack hot soups and drinks. They eliminate the hassle of heating food on the spot and the contents stay piping hot for hours.
You really cannot go wrong by stocking up on thermoses of all sizes for your cold weather tailgates.
5. Tent or Awning
First of all, a tent or awning lets other tailgaters know that you mean business. It sends a message that this isn’t your first rodeo and you’re ready for anything. I mean anything.
Whether it’s raining, snowing, or the sun is beating down, a tent keeps you and your friends safe, warm, and dry.
Not to mention, you can get tents to rock your team colors or logo. How fun is that?
6. Extra Everything
You might think you have enough charcoal.
And, you brought enough cups.
Guess what? You don’t and you didn’t.
Oh, and napkins? You ran out of those, too.
Things like cups, charcoal, lighter fluid, ponchos, and plasticware have no expiration date, so there’s no reason not to bring more than you’ll need.
Trust me. You’ll be happy you did.
7. Plastic Drawers and Tubs
The tool or tackle box works great for your food and cooking supplies, but what about the rest of your tailgating essentials? Plastic drawers, baby! The great thing about these is they’re lightweight.
Stock a couple of plastic drawers or tubs with your plates, cups, rolls of paper towel, and everything else. It’s like having a mini kitchen right in the back of your truck.
Don’t forget to keep one or two plastic tubs handy for dirty dishes, empty cans, and garbage.
8. High-Quality, Collapsible Table
Please don’t cheap out on your table like I did. You don’t want to watch your breakfast crash down onto the pavement. You might cry.
Pick a table that can hold the weight you’ll be loading onto it. You should also make sure your table is easy to assemble and put away when you’re done.
Having the perfect table makes clean-up and setup a breeze.
9. Extra Power Source
How do you plan on powering your tailgate? Whatever idea you have in your head right now, plan for a backup.
Get a portable power source that fits your needs. You’ll be charging phones and cooking. Are you bringing a mini blender for drinks? You need power to make all of this happen.
Don’t get left in the dark.
Ultimate Tailgating Supplies
Did I miss anything important?
I usually try to plan ahead and pack everything I need the day before my tailgate. Then, as I get ready to head out, I can enjoy my shower beer and get dressed for the game. No hassle and no stress.
What are your ultimate tailgating essentials?
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