To many diehards, tailgating is more than a few drinks and a burger before a game; it's a lifestyle that comes around once a year. If you consider yourself one of those soldiers of the game, or are on your way to converting, you'll need some gear to get it done. From drinking to cooking to relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere pre-game parking lot, these gizmos and gadgets will have you tailgating like never before.
Best Tailgating Gear: N-Ice Rack for Beer Pong
Just because it's fall doesn't mean that it's cold. In fact, it can still be damn hot. And nothing's worse than drinking a warm, flat beer. Combine that with the fact that beer pong outside in the sun and wind can take much longer than an indoor game, and suddenly one of the most fun tailgating games is a bunch of dudes throwing ping pong balls down the parking lot and drinking warm, stale beer with gnats in it. Keep your game on track with the N-Ice rack. Freeze the ice pack and keep your drinks cold thoughout even the longest games. And it also keep your beers from sliding off the table. The N-Ice Rack is just 24 bucks.
Best Tailgating Gear: PETT Portable Toilet System
Beers really don't take that long to make their way down the pipes. Especially not when you're drinking at a pre-game pace. Porta-johns are disgusting, far and often full, and sometimes there are no convenient trees. You could whip it out and pee on the rear passenger side tire, but try to stay a little classy. The PETT toilet not only includes a toilet with built in Wag Bags that solidify and deoderize your drop-off, but also a full tent for privacy. This full set-up runs around $300, but if you're less bashful you can get just the johnnie for about $100.
Best Tailgating Gear: Margaritaville Tailgating Grill
I've covered this one a couple times, but nowhere was more perfect than this list. You don't even need a game to make an excuse to tailgate with this thing bolted to your hitch; use it anywhere. In traffic. At the park. In your driveway. It's always tailgatin' time when you have a grill strapped to your car. The Margaritaville offers 350 sq. in. of grill top and 20,000 BTUs of sheer, meat-searing force. It's come down significantly in price since I first posted about it, and you can now find it for $230.
Best Tailgating Gear: Coleman FryWell InstaStart Portable Fryer
tailgates has a grill and/or stove, but not everyone will be able to
make crispy, oil-soaked fried foods. And what goes better with football
and beer than fried foods like French fries and buffalo wings. Not much.
The Coleman FryWell fryer is a portable, propane fryer that holds up to 6
quarts of oil and cooks about a pound of food at a time. It heats up to
450 F and cooks for around two hours on one 16.4 oz. can. Amazon's got
'er for around $150.
Best Tailgating Gear: Margaritaville DM900 Battery-Powered Frozen-Concoction Maker
The Margaritaville grill got you thinking about margaritas didn't it? Here's the payoff. If you're a margarita connoisseur--and you must be if you're making margs at a tailgate--you know that a simple blender can just never produce the velvety-smooth consistency that you demand. That's particularly true of under-powered portable blenders. That's why you need a margarita maker, and this one runs on a rechargeable battery so you can take it anywhere. It makes 36 ounces at a go, and advertises up to 80 individual drinks on a single charge. Judging by the solid 5-star rating it got on Amazon, I'd say those drinks are plenty acceptable too. Amazon's got this Margaritaville frozen concoction maker for under $220.
Best Tailgating Gear:Brobdingnagian Chair
If you have a set-up with this level of gear, you deserve to relax like a king. The Brobdingnagian Chair is just like the average camping chair--the average camping chair that Paul Bunyan took into the forest with him for lunch breaks. This giant chair is guaranteed to be the most comfortable thing you'll sit in on game day. Get this chair for $150 from Hammacher Schlemmer.
Best Tailgating Gear: Bushnell Backtrack Point 3
Nothing kills the buzz of a tailgate or great football game like wandering around aimlessly in a giant parking lot full of drunk and sobering sports fans. Keep your day smooth until the end with the Bushnell Backtrack Point 3. This small GPS unit lets you save up to three locations and seamlessly navigate back. Save the location of your car and you'll be able to work your way back no matter how far your tailgating takes you. Much cheaper than complicated auto and handheld GPS units, the Point 3 will only set you back $60.
Best Tailgating Gear: Clear View Propane Tanks
An empty propane tank is a huge no-no in the tailgating world. And while some sensitive tailgating meistros can judge it by feel, the rest of us laymen can't quite distinguish between a tank that's full enough and one that's going to run out mid-cook. Even the weight-based systems on home grills can be ineffective, so it's usually a guessing game. The simple Clear View tank lets you see exactly how much propane that you have left, so you know when it's safe to pack it and when it's time for a fill. The composite fiberglass even makes the tank lighter. Clear Views run for $109.
Best Tailgating Gear: O2Go Stainless Grilling Multi-Tool
It's like a big Swiss Army knife made specially for grilling. What about that doesn't scream "Take me tailgating!!" Pack your four essentials: spatula, fork, knife and thermomenter into one neat casing. I'm surprised this doesn't have a bottle opener and/or corkscrew, but I guess that's what every other multi-tool is for. You can get this multi-tool here.
Best Tailgating Gear: Jockey Box
are the most versatile solution. Bottles are a little bit of an
upgrade. But what you'd love to be drinking if you had the choice is a
draft beer. Well, you do have a choice. The Jockey Box is a portable
draft system built into a cooler. Tap your keg, keep your beer cold with
the integrated cooling hoses, regulated with the CO2 tank and flowing
smoothly with the built-in tap. It's a bit of an investment at $340 for a
complete single-tap or $530 for a double tap,
but this one could go beyond the tailgate, serving as a poor-man's tap
in your garage or basement. Plus, what could be better than draft beer
at a tailgate?