by Jacob Gordon.
Sure, fall may signal cooler temps, leaves changing, and the beginning of school, but what gets most people excited is the start of football season! And while the Nittany Lions are over in Ireland for their first game of the season, now is the time to think about what you need to make sure your next tailgate is a successful one.
Now, to have a great tailgate you need to plan a bit in advanced; you can’t just leave at 5 in the morning and hope for the best. Not only do you need to make sure you have plenty of food and drinks, but you need to make sure you have the right equipment too. That’s where this Five on Friday comes into play. I won’t sit here and tell you what kinds of brats or beers to load up on, but I will provide a list of five necessary items (and some tips) that every tailgater needs to bring to the next big game.
- Heavy Duty Cooler
- Water Bottles
- Camping Chair
- Food Canisters
- Waterproof Jacket
The first thing every good tailgater needs is a nice cooler. Yes, you could opt to buy those one-and-done Styrofoam coolers, but why not get something that can last you for years? Not to mention, Styrofoam isn’t exactly the most eco-friendly option out there. Ideally, you should look for a cooler that features plenty of insulation to keep your meats, cheeses, and drinks nice and cool. The Yeti Coolers we sell may be a bit pricey, but they’re super durable and built to last you several years. For the price, you better believe you’re getting a cooler that was engineered for adventure beyond the tailgate, making a great camping cooler. And if that’s not enough, just take a look at the video below.
Last week, we did a Five on Friday featuring water bottles, so you’ll definitely want to check that out for a more detailed explanation on the perfect bottle for you. That being said, a solid water bottle is crucial to keeping you hydrated during the tailgate, especially during the early part of the season when the temps could still creep up over 80 degrees. You can opt for the easy to drink plastic squeeze water bottles or keep you water nice and cool with an insulated water bottle.
For those of you pinching pennies, you might opt for the mega mart 24-pack of plastic water bottles. Now, while that might not be the most eco-friendly option, there is a way to make those bottles stretch a bit further: instead of buying a bag of ice, just freeze about half of the bottles. Once frozen, toss the bottles in your cooler and have them act as ice packs. Not only will these frozen bottles keep you cooler cool, you’ll also have cold water ready to go when you head into the gates. No more buying both water AND ice.
Most of us start our tailgate early in the morning, so it stands to reason that at some point you’ll want to take a breather from standing around. Make sure you get yourself a nice camping chair, one that’s heavy duty and can withstand a lot of getting up and sitting down. The Big Agnes Chair One folding camp chair brings your favorite recliner into the realm of tailgating. It’s super spacious, easy to fold up, and supports over 300 lbs, so you know it’s going to be a durable chair. If you’re looking for a lighter, more compact option, check out the PackSeat from Gsi Outdoors. It might not be as durable or large as the Chair One, but the PackSeat is a great option if you plan on loading up your car with equipment and need to maximize space.
If you like using raw or fresh ingredients when cooking or you want to bring a few spices to your spot, think about picking up some food canisters to haul your goods in. They range from 8-16 ounces and are made from stainless steel, meaning your food won’t leave off flavors or aromas after a good cleaning. You don’t have to worry about what was put in the canister last time; just load up, and you’re good to go. There are even insulated versions in case you wanted to bring some cold liquids to use as basting sauces on meats or stock for stews or chilies.
No matter the weather, if you have tickets to the game, you know you’re going to tailgate. This includes during the occasional fall thunderstorm. Having a waterproof jacket with you will help keep you protected should Mother Nature take a turn for the worse. A great option at an affordable price point is the Marmot Precip Jacket. Not only do you get waterproof protection, but the Precip also stuffs into its pocket, so it barely takes up any space in your car. In fact, you could just stuff the jacket and leave it in your trunk for when you need it.