Without a doubt, tailgating is the best way to welcome the football season. It’s often one of the most social parts of going to a game—before you get stuck in those stadium seats, it’s a chance to let loose and catch up with friends. Just make sure you have all the following essentials on your list to make sure you have the most epic party in the whole parking lot.
You can do this one of two ways. Bring a range of easy-prep, easy-to-eat appetizers, dips, and snacks so you don’t have to lift a finger, aside from opening packages. Or if you’re ambitious and want to show off some chef skills, bring a grill. Go all out with burgers, sausages, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, grilled pizza, and barbecued wings. You know best what you like to indulge in on game night. If you want to try something a bit healthier, maybe try some charred corn salad, collard green slaw, deviled eggs, or veggies with dip. Caprese salad is also an easy, three-ingredient dish that’s healthy and goes well with a glass of wine before the game.
If you’re cooking on site, don’t forget your grill, propane, charcoal, food tongs, paper towels, plates, cups, utensils, napkins, and trash bags. It might also be a good idea to bring a portable fire extinguisher….just in case. And don't forget something to dispense drinks, like a wine bag or a portable water cooler.
The ice chest and ice is of vital importance to the intrepid tailgater. Bring a cooler loaded with ice packs so that you can store everything in one place. Aside from beer, wine, and cocktails, sneak in some water to hydrate you all throughout the activity. A bottle opener and a corkscrew are must-haves. Check out specially made wine bags and backpacks too if you're bringing wine but don't want to deal with glass at the event.
Outshine all the other tailgaters with your reliable canopy that gives all the coverage you need from the UV rays or from the rain. If you have any other camping furniture like folding chairs or tables, bring these along so everyone can sit back and chill before the game. You might take even more advice from the camping world and bring along some bug spray and sunscreen, depending on the season.
Bring out your party essentials like speakers, decks of cards, frisbee, and a football. Opt for a wireless speaker if you don’t want to kill your car battery. Bring a folding table, ping pong balls, and cups for some beer pong. If you're trying to keep it classy, try a little wine-pong!
Sometimes tailgating overshadows the main event. Set up early if you don’t want to fight for space in jam-packed parking lots. You’ll need to allow time to set up, cook, eat, drink, relax, and then pack it all in again before the game starts. A little time-management can ensure you actually get to chill during your own tailgate party.
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