When the weather starts to get warm and the days get a little bit longer, that can only mean one thing: football season is here. That means it's also time for tailgate parties.
Whether you're a die-hard fan of your local team or just like to enjoy the party atmosphere on game day, throwing a tailgate party is a surefire way to have some fun. However, throwing a successful tailgating party also involves a good amount of planning.
Just like winning the Super Bowl, throwing a tailgate party requires a solid game plan. To help you boost your tailgating game, here is our Tailgating 101 crash course with all the information you’ll need to throw the best tailgate party of the season.
Tailgating Necessities: Everything You'll Need
No matter what team you're rooting for, tailgating is a time-honored tradition that's all about good food, good drinks, and good company. However, to have a successful tailgate, you need to be prepared.
Here's a list of the essential items you'll need to make your tailgate successful:
No tailgate is complete without some delicious food.
Whether you're grilling hot dogs and hamburgers or smoking a whole hog, make sure you have enough food to feed your entire group. Plus, don't forget the sides: Potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans are all tailgate staples.
If you are tailgating at home, you'll have access to your entire kitchen, which may open up some possibilities. If you are tailgating in a parking lot, however, you will find that your cooking and food options grow more limited and will require more planning. Bringing a grill or camping stove allows you to cook on the go and make some food everyone will love.
Remember to keep it simple, tasty, and fun!
Ice-cold beverages are essential for any tailgate. If you're serving alcohol, be sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic options for those who may want to opt out. Tailgating is all about having fun, so make sure everyone can join in.
Buy enough ice to keep your drinks cold and plenty of cups and cooler space to store them. Not all coolers are created equal, so select a high-quality option that will keep your drinks ice cold.
Our hard-sided rotomolded coolers are the best of the best when it comes to insulation and storage space. Coming in 20-quart and 50-quart sizes, you will always have enough room for beer, wine, or whatever else you like to drink at your tailgates.
Plus, the top-of-the-line insulation means our rotomolded coolers can keep ice frozen for up to five days straight. With one of these, you know your drinks will stay cold, even during a day in the sun.
A tailgate isn't just about eating and drinking. It's also about having fun with friends.
Another fun option is to set up a game of cup pong (although this does require a folding table). You can play it as a drinking game or swap the beer for soda or water so guests of all ages can have fun. Plus, games help draw out everyone’s competitive spirits, which can be a blast.
Another tailgate essential is music.
Music helps to set the mood and atmosphere for the tailgate party. The right playlist can pump up the energy level or create a relaxed and laid-back vibe, although the former is more popular for tailgates.
There are many different ways to enjoy music at a tailgate party, from using a portable speaker to streaming a playlist on your phone.
Whatever your musical taste, bring along some tunes to get the party started. Keep in mind that many tailgates take place in public spaces where there may be children present, which means you may need to make sure your music is family-friendly.
A tailgate is only as good as the seating options you bring with you. After all, what's the point of spending hours cooking up a feast if you have nowhere to enjoy it?
Picnic tables are a go-to option for tailgating, as they provide a flat surface for setting out food and drinks. They also offer a place to sit and relax, which can be a welcome respite after spending time standing around in the parking lot.
However, picnic tables can be bulky and difficult to transport. For a more convenient option, consider bringing along folding chairs or a blanket to spread out on the ground. Whatever you choose, sitting back and chilling is an essential part of a tailgate. Running around and sweating is for the players, not the spectators.
Last but not least, there are a few minor accessories and pieces of equipment that can easily slip your mind.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of small things that can make for a more efficient and enjoyable tailgate:
- Plastic Silverware
- Cups (or encourage people to bring their reusable bottles)
- A bottle opener and can coolers
- A pop-up tent
- A football
- Rain gear (The Super Bowl has never canceled on account of weather, and neither have you.)
If you can assemble all these items, you'll be ready for anything.
Finally, here are a few last-minute insider tips to help you have the best tailgate ever.
- Claim your spot early. Tailgating spaces can get crowded fast, so if you want a good spot, plan to get there early. You may also be able to reserve space ahead of time.
Decorate. Tailgating is all about letting your team spirit show, so don't be afraid to go all out with decorations and costumes for a good time.
- Bring a TV. If you are tailgating on a day when there are a lot of other games and have access to power, you can bring a smart TV to watch the other games that are on while you are tailgating. This offers another entertainment choice for everyone and can keep the good vibes going.
Tailgate 101: Takeaways
So there you have it – everything you need to know about throwing the perfect tailgate party. Just remember to bring food, drinks, games, music, and seating options for everyone at your party.
With these tips in mind, you're sure to have a blast at your next tailgate!