Over the years we have met some really clever tailgating pros. These tailgating pros know exactly what it takes to host a fun and memorable tailgating party. Fortunately for us, they’ve always been really helpful in sharing their pro tips with us. With football season finally here, we thought it’s the perfect time to share all of these tips with you. Here are a dozen tips from the tailgating pros to ensure that you have the best time at your tailgate.
1. Always Check The Stadium Rules And Regulations
Every stadium has a unique set of rules and regulations for tailgaters. These can include everything from what types of grills they allow to how to park to how to dispose of trash. There’s also usually a map that you can use to plan a bit ahead about where you want to park to set up. Understanding all the rules will ensure that your party isn’t interrupted because of something, like you brought glass beer bottles instead of beer cans.
2. Streamline Your Invitations
It’s always tough to coordinate a party. Everyone’s schedules are different and it can be hard to pin everyone down for a firm commitment to attend or not attend. Technology is pretty great for solving this problem. There are tons of great apps (many are even free!) that can help you invite everyone and collect confirmations without having to track everyone down. Automating this part of the process makes it easy to just check the app the day before for the headcount so you can plan what to bring.
3. Choose The Best Spot
Spot selection will make or break a tailgate. If you are too close to the port-a-potties (or too far away), if you are next to too loud of partiers (or too quiet of partiers), or if you are too far from the crowd (or too close), it can ruin your time. Think about what kind of atmosphere you want to have at your tailgate and then look over the stadium tailgating map. Get a good idea of where you would like to be. Then when you arrive take a quick lap either on foot or in your vehicle to make sure you have the right spot before settling into your destination.
4. Be Ready For Any Weather
Football fans have never been deterred by inclement weather. We’ve cheered our teams in the blazing heat, snow, and heavy rains. To make sure that you are comfortable, just be prepared for any weather. A great strategy is to just always have a duffle bag packed with a rain poncho, blankets, gloves, mister fans, etc. Then just always bring this bag with you. You’ll be prepared no matter what the weather is doing.
5. Introduce Yourself To Your Neighbors
Even if you’re kind of shy, it’s always a good idea to introduce yourself to your neighbors. Tailgating is really a community event, so you’ll always have support for the team in common. Knowing your neighbors is great because if one of you forgets your tongs, you can borrow a set from your neighbor. It’s also a great way to meet other tailgaters you can meet up with at the next game. Plus you never know, they may be tailgating pros that can offer you some more tips!
6. Prep All Your Food The Night Before
This one is a no-brainer. If you prep the food the night before, you can have more time enjoying the tailgate party. Marinate your meat, chop your vegetables, and bake your cookies. Then at the tailgate, you just have to man the grill and serve the food.
7. Transport Everything In Plastic Bins
Plastic bins are a must for tailgating. Pack everything in plastic bins. That way if it rains, it’s easy to pack up without getting your car wet or dirty. You can also skip the clean-up at the tailgate entirely and wash everything at home. Plastic bins are great because you can just hose them out when you are done.
8. Pack A Box Of Tailgating Essentials To Always Keep In Your Truck
Next to your duffle bag, you should keep a box of tailgating essentials. These are all the small things that are easily forgotten. Add things to this box-like salt and pepper, a grill spatula, trash bags, wet wipes, and anything you always need. We love this tailgating toolbox idea from Ford Trucks.
9. Make A Handwashing Station
Speaking of necessities, it’s always a good idea to set up a handwashing station. Between all the high fives and the sticky BBQ sauce, your hands can get pretty dirty. There’s a ton of great DIYs for how to make a handwashing station from the very simple to the more complex. You can also invest in a portable handwashing station if you’re not into DIY.
10. Bring Jumper Cables
We never mean to drain our batteries at the tailgate, but sometimes make more margaritas than you planned. In these cases, jumper cables can be a lifesaver. However, even if you have a standalone power station, tailgating pros always keep them on hand. That way you can assist your new neighbor friends if they need a charge.
11. Bring Extra Chairs
You never know who is going to stop by your tailgate. Maybe you run into old friends. Maybe you make new ones. Maybe a player stops by. In those cases, you definitely want to have some extra seating for your guests. Camping chairs work great. However, if you are worried about space, a couple of flat-pack folding stools will do the trick.
12. Designate Some Designated Drivers
It happens to the best of us sometimes. We get caught in the fun, tie on a few too many, and then we cannot drive home. Designating drivers before the party starts can save a lot of trouble and keep everyone safe. If you can’t find a DD ahead of time, make a plan for moving the tailgating vehicle to where you can park overnight in case you can’t drive after the game. That way if you are a little tipsier than you planned, you won’t be tempted to drive.
These tips from our favorite tailgating pros guarantee you’ll have a great time. They cover all your bases, so you can just relax and have a fun party. For more ideas to make your tailgating party a blast, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We talk to tailgating pros around the country who share their favorite tips for tailgating. We also have tons of gear reviews, recipes, and ideas for activities. Our Amazon Storefront has everything you need to become a tailgating pro yourself!