Football season is almost upon us—fall leaves, foam fingers, and best of all, tailgating with friends and family. Now is the time to get your tailgating supplies in order. Whether you’re going to the big game or the concert of the century, use this guide to plan the perfect tailgating party.
Score big with your guests by serving hamburgers, hot dogs, and other grilled treats. The right grill makes all the difference. For tailgating purposes, you may want a portable grill for ease and convenience. Charcoal grills take longer to heat up and are a little messier but many claim they deliver the best flavor. Gas grills are quicker to heat up, easier when it comes to clean up, and lighter to transport. Either way, be sure to prep your food the night before so you are ready to go on game day.
Don’t ignore the playbook when it comes to a party tent for tailgating. Not only does a canopy help block sun rays but it provides a structure and atmosphere for your party zone. For extra effect, buy a team flag or attach balloons (in your team’s colors, of course) so your spot can easily be located from a distance.
Tailgate games are all about precision, focus, and coordination. And the ability to play with a beverage or hamburger in one hand. The king of games is cornhole because it is easy to set up and learn. But consider bringing along ladderball, washers, or even a portable ping pong table if you want to impress your guests.
Most of your guests will prefer to stand and mingle but plan to have a few chairs on hand for those needing a time out. There are many types of chairs to choose from so focus your search on portability, durability, and our favorite category–doo-dads. Many chairs come with tables, pockets, and even coolers attached.
Building human pyramids and singing fight songs can make even the most devoted sport fans hungry. Make sure you have tables to display all your delicious food and beverages. When shopping for a table look for something lightweight, sturdy, and foldable. Purchase some plastic tablecloths so you can store extra ice and beverages under the table. A couple of good tables are a great investment. In between tailgate parties, they can be used as the “kids table” at holiday parties.
The tailgating MVP is the cooler. Without it we’d be stuck with warm beer and potato salad. Boo! Coolers come in all shapes and sizes. Before you buy, consider how much capacity you’ll need. A cooler for beverages and one for food may be necessary. For a day of tailgating a soft cooler should be enough to keep food and beverages chilled. However, if you want to incorporate some extra seating or table space, a hard cooler can serve double duty. A word of advice: before game day do a trial run packing all your equipment, including your coolers, in your trunk to make sure it all fits.