Imagine you’ve just arrived at the stadium parking lot. You’ve unpacked all your gear and designed a cozy setup. It’s a warm sunny day so you’re running a couple of fans to keep everyone cool. Your friends just arrived decked out in team apparel and you offer to make them your famous margaritas. They enthusiastically accept but they really need to charge their phones.
You point them to your charging station and flip on the radio so you can all listen to the pregame show. You then pull out some ice from your portable ice maker and blend up the tastiest margs you and your crew have ever had in your Margaritaville. You laugh, you talk a little smack, and stay cool the whole tailgate. This could be your next tailgate, if only you had access to electricity.
Our team at Inside Tailgating is always coming up with cool tailgating ideas no matter your setup. Having access to electricity though can really take your tailgating ideas to the next level. Here is our guide on how to bring power to your next tailgate.
How To Determine Your Power Needs
The first thing you need to do to get power to your tailgate is to determine how much power you need. There are several options available for portable power and some can get pretty expensive. So it’s important that before you make a purchase you identify how much power you need. First, you will review all your tailgating ideas.
Do you want to have music? Do you have a favorite kitchen appliance you’d like to use? Do you want to stream the pre-game show highlights on ESPN? Make a list of all the things you would love to do if you had power.
Calculate Your Power Needs
Once you have the list of all your tailgating ideas, you’ll then need to calculate the wattage. This requires understanding the starting wattage and the running wattage. This information can be found on the appliance itself, usually where you find the serial number and the product information. However, there are also guides online that can help you understand how much wattage each device you want to power uses.
You will add up all the starting and running wattages and get your total. That’s the total amount of power you will need from your power device. To make it extra easy, we recommend this really helpful worksheet from Lowes. Once you have the wattage you need in mind, you can begin shopping.
Three Options For Powering Your Tailgate
When it comes to powering your tailgate, you are really looking at three main choices. Just remember before purchasing any of these options, that you check with the stadiums first. You’ll need to make sure that it meets any of their guidelines and rules.
Option 1. Generators
Your first option for bringing power to your tailgate is with a portable generator. Most portable generators create energy with an engine. This engine requires a power source such as gas, diesel, or propane. So you will need to also plan to bring the power source. Generators can be very loud, so it’s important that you look for one that is quiet (under 60 db).
Pros: User friendly, provides as much power as you have fuel, portable
Cons: Can be noisy, hot, some stadiums have strict rules about generators
Generators To Consider:
Option 2: Power Stations
Your second option is a portable power station. Portable power stations are plugged into a power source to charge. Then they hold the charge like a power bank. You then bring the fully charged power station to the tailgate and use the electricity until it is done. Then the station will need to be recharged. Some models however have an option for plug in solar panels that can continually recharge the power station.
Pros: Affordable, lightweight, quiet, no order, no fuel needed
Cons: They take a long time to charge, less power available than generators, the power runs out
Power Stations To Consider:
Option 3: Power Banks
Power banks are essentially smaller power stations. They are portable batteries that you charge and bring with you. Power banks are much smaller, and they will only power a few things at your tailgate. They’re a good option if you don’t have much space in your vehicle or don’t really need to power that many things. Power banks also come in solar versions that can be actively charged while at your tailgate. You may even already have a power bank to charge your cell phone.
Pros: Lightweight, most affordable, easy to use, no fuel needed
Cons: Limited power, they are small and easy to misplace, they take time to charge
Power Banks To Consider:
Once you’ve determined how you plan on providing power, also make sure to have a plan for inclement weather. Electricity and water do not mix, so it’s best to bring these items out from the rain, sleet, or snow. Also, make sure to bring a fire extinguisher as well. Electrical fires happen sometimes and you’ll want to be prepared. The one you bring for your tailgate grill should be sufficient.
At Inside Tailgating, we’re all about making tailgating ideas a reality. Having electricity can help make many of these ideas possible. So check out some of these options and let us know in the comments how you use power at your tailgate. We’d love to get some more awesome tailgating ideas. Also be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.