They can get pretty epic if you’ve been to a tailgate before.
From pregame rituals to after-party locations, many details are involved. We’re talking about everything from the right drink cozies for your beer to which foods will be most optimal for keeping spirits high and stomachs happy throughout the event.
So, what exactly do you need to have the best tailgating experience? If you’re new to the world of parking lot parties or want ideas for how to spice up your next one, we’ve put together this handy list of essential tailgating supplies.
From getting cozy with blankets and chairs to outfitting your car with snacks and coolers, here is everything you need to have an unforgettable time outside the stadium!
A Good Backing-Up Camera
The first thing to have is an excellent backing-up camera. Anyone who has tried to back up a giant tailgating rig knows that it can be difficult. Backing up a giant vehicle or even a small SUV can be dangerous.
Bumpers get dinged, mirrors get bent, and you can even hit other people if you don’t have a good view of what’s behind you. Backup cameras have come down in price and quality in recent years.
They’re an excellent investment if you do a lot of parking-lot tailgates. If you don’t have a camera installed in your vehicle, you can get a simple one for as little as $50.
Next, you'll need a vehicle that can comfortably accommodate all your friends and supplies.
An SUV or van will be ideal if you're planning on tailgating with a large group. You'll also want to ensure your vehicle has enough space to store all the food, drinks, and games you'll be bringing along.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t something you can bring to every tailgate. Still, it’s nice to have if you can swing it. If you own an RV or another large vehicle that can be fitted with a generator, tailgating has just come to a new level.
You can power anything from microwaveable meals to a giant TV. Having all of these things on hand can elevate your tailgate experience. However, it’s crucial to use generators properly.
Don’t overload them with too many items, or you could create an unsafe situation. You can also use a generator to power a variety of other things. You can plug in an air conditioner or heating unit, a TV, and even a tiny fridge!
Food And Drink
No tailgating party is complete without plenty of food and drink. You'll want to make sure you have enough to feed everyone in your group and some extra in case unexpected guests drop by.
Regarding drinks, non-alcoholic options like soda and water are always good, especially if you're tailgating in hot weather. However, feel free to break out the beer and wine if you're tailgating before an evening game.
A tailgate grill is excellent if you want to do more than just heat pre-made food. A portable grill is easy to set up and take down, allowing you to cook burgers, hot dogs, and other game-day favorites. You may also bring a slow cooker for chili or other warm dishes.
Tailgating food makes things much more fun, and you can get pretty creative with what you make. A folding table will be handy for holding your food and drink. It's also a good place to set up any games you might be playing.
Baked Goods And Snacks
Food is a crucial part of any tailgate, but choosing the right items is essential to avoid any food-related awkwardness. Baked goods are an excellent option for any tailgate, whether you’re tailgating outside or inside a stadium.
Cookies, cakes, muffins, and other sweet treats are always a hit. Keep them inside a cooler or out of direct sunlight to keep them from spoiling. If you’re looking for something savory, we recommend getting hearty snacks like chips, crackers, or even trail mix.
Whatever you choose, be sure to get enough to feed everyone a good amount. Too many baked goods and not enough snacks are a recipe for hungry, cranky guests. Don't forget paper towels, plates, and utensils!
Bottles Of Water
When the weather is warm, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. The heat can make it hard to remember to drink, and the excitement of the game can make it easy to forget to eat.
So, we recommend having a few bottles of water on hand. You can either have guests bring their own, or you can stock up at the grocery store or gas station before the game.
Having a cooler to store any cold drinks guests may bring to your tailgate is also helpful. If you live in a place with hot summers, you must be extra careful about hydration.
Guests may get overheated, and that can lead to terrible things. Don’t let guests forget to drink by providing them with cups, water bottles, and ice.
Games And Activities
You'll want to bring along some outdoor games or activities to keep everyone entertained at your tailgate party. Cornhole is always a popular choice, but anything that can be played in a small space will work.
If you're tailgating with kids, consider bringing some outdoor toys or games like frisbees or hula hoops. These are half the fun for kids and adults alike!
Beer pong and ladder toss on a stadium parking lot are two other great games that are easy to set up and take down. If you're feeling competitive, consider playing for prizes.
The big game during football season is the perfect time to break out some party games that are themed around your team. If you’re tailgating before a big game, your guests' team spirit will be pretty pumped up.
Whether it’s for a football game or an away tailgate, you can show off your fandom with a range of merchandise for your parking lot. From T-shirts to hats, there are plenty of ways to show off your fandom without costing you a dime.
There are also plenty of websites that specialize in selling these kinds of items, so whether you’re looking for something specific or just want to browse, there are plenty of options. This is especially true when it comes to NFL merchandise.
There are sites dedicated to selling everything from team apparel to bobbleheads and toys. You can also find teams across the country at local sporting goods stores. It’s important to note that not all items are licensed by the team itself; however, many of them are.
Finally, we get to the fun stuff! A solid sound system is a must-have for any tailgate. Whether you want to play music, podcasts, or sports broadcasts, having a good sound system will improve the experience.
A tailgating setup isn’t complete without a few good tunes. The best way to get your favorite songs playing at the event is to bring along a sound system. You can bring a small Bluetooth speaker or use the speakers built into your phone or laptop.
We suggest bringing a speaker that you can plug into an outlet. That way, you can play music throughout the tailgate without running out of battery. If you want to get fancy, you can bring along a PA system.
A PA system lets you play whatever audio you want and have control over the volume. If you get a PA system, make sure you have it plugged into a power source and test it out before the game starts.
Maybe Even A Portable Potty?
The football game isn’t the only thing happening in the parking lot. People will also need to use the restroom, and there may not be any public restrooms nearby.
If you’re hosting a tailgate with many people, you may want to consider investing in a portable toilet. This can be especially helpful if you’re hosting a kid’s sporting event. Owning a portable toilet doesn’t mean you have to let guests use it.
It’s meant to be an extra safety net when things get busy. You can also use a portable toilet if you’re hosting a tailgate in an area that doesn’t have indoor facilities. Just make sure you have it parked far away from the other guests.
And Finally, Don’t Forget The Glow Sticks
Finally, we’ve made it to the last item on our list; the must-have glow sticks. You can use glow sticks to create a fun atmosphere at your tailgate. They can be used as decorations or even given to guests as fun souvenirs.
If you want to go all out for your parking lot party, you can get glow sticks with holders on the end that allow you to wear them as a visor or around your wrist. There are a lot of ways to use glow sticks at a tailgate.
You can use them to make signs or even line pathways to the parking lot. Just keep them out of hot areas where they could melt. Also, trash bags can come in handy to collect all the used glow sticks at the end of the night.
Parking lot tailgates can be a lot of fun but can also be a bit stressful. With so many things to remember to bring, it can be easy to forget something important.
That’s why it’s essential to plan and have a checklist of everything you need to have on hand. This way, you’ll know you have everything you need for a fun and successful tailgate.
Whether you’re hosting a tailgate outside a stadium or at your home, these items will help you make the most of your event. If you’re new to the world of parking lot parties or want some ideas for how to spice up your next one, we’ve got you covered.