Tailgating is a tradition that dates back to 1861, according to the historians at the American Tailgaters Association. Instead of being for a serious football matchup among leatherheads – because they didn’t exist yet – people brought out wine, food, and whiskey for the Battle of Bull Run. It seems entertainment of the era was pretty lean, and a war was worth celebrating. Some have even supposed that tailgating might go back as far as public executions where people would gather for festivities before hanging condemned prisoners. While it is all literal fun and games now, it might not have always been.
Ignoring the bleak past, tailgating today has become an institution with its own bylaws, and doing a tailgate right means having the proper equipment. Odds are pretty good you already have your favorite beer and bratwurst, so we’re going to give you a few things that you didn’t even know your party was missing with the best tailgating gear.
Forget about your dinky little keychain bottle opener and get something that will let you open any drink like a pro. With an included magnet and cap removal system, you can be seeing double, triple, or quadruple and still crack a cold one without an issue. Guaranteed to be the talk of the parking lot.
BACtrack Keychain Breathalyzer
Never find yourself over the legal limit, cooling your heels in a cell just because you like to revel in victory and drown your defeat in the sweet nectar of alcohol. This simple keychain device will tell you whether you’re safe to drive or need one of your straight-laced friends to get you home.
Backpack Cooler Chair
You can load up a completely separate cooler and a camp chair, but why add weight when you can get a chair and cooler in one? This automatically turns you into the keeper of the brews and will guarantee that no one can snag the last lager without your knowledge. Plenty of foam insulation keeps you and your beverages comfortable while shoulder straps let you lug it wherever you may roam.
SpinChill Portable Drink Chiller
It’s tough to take a fridge out to a stadium parking lot, and not everyone remembers to pack their cooler properly. So that you aren’t stuck sipping a warm beer, wine, or soda, the SpinChill lets you cool off your libations in a minute or less with nothing but your own ice and this simple machine.
Drink Tanks Personal Growler
Never again be forced to drink the mass-produced swill of those other partiers. Take along a massive 128 oz. beer growler with double-walled insulation, a leakproof cap, and a tight seal for keeping the freshness of your craft beer locked in. Made right in Portland Oregon, it’s the thinking person’s drinking companion.
The Go Plate
The Go Plate answers the question of how you’re supposed to cart around beer, potato salad, six sliders, and a heap of chips while giving high fives or flipping off the competition. Made of high-grade plastic, the plate will fit most cups from 12 to 18 oz, bottles of all sizes, mugs, and some steins. It’s the only hands-free kit you need.
286 square inches worth of real estate makes the Elevate a massive briefcase grill that can be carried with one hand, yet unfold to offer plenty of space to cook for the whole team. Includes dual heat surfaces for creating a staging area or grilling up vegetables and succulent meats at the same time.
Mitchell & Ness Throwback Jerseys
Prove that you were a fan back before anyone else by getting a throwback jersey that will show your true colors in vintage glory. Authentic jerseys and replicas are available from nearly any era, so go ahead and look like a Steelers bumblebee or a Broncos road cone if you want.
You can’t wait until you get home to gloat about your crushing win over another team. You need to be live tweeting the entire time to make sure they taste defeat every step of the way. With the Karma Go mobile internet hotspot your whole crew can stay connected from anywhere with no contracts or lurking charges.
Spalding Never Flat Football
Even Tom Brady couldn’t (allegedly) deflate this bad boy. With NitroFlate technology that stops air leakage you need not worry about your own game going flat when you’re tossing around the old pigskin during halftime. A great grip and the perfect size, this begs for a game of catch.
Pizzacraft Pronto Outdoor Pizza Oven
Time to show those ordinary grillmasters a thing or two about how you cook out of doors. Able to reach up to 700 degrees this can cook a whole pizza in five minutes using only its patented cordierite pizza stone and an ordinary propane tank from any standard grill. Make sure you take plenty of toppings, because you’ll have hungry folks lining up.
Pendleton Stadium Blanket
At five feet long and bearing its own genuine leather carrying strap to ensure it’s always rolled up, this stadium blanket pure wool that has been milled and softened to perfection for a warm experiences even if you’re stuck at Lambeau or Mile High during the dead of winter. A snappy, simple, classic look means you’re always in style.
YETI Roadie 20 Cooler
Capable of holding fully 85 cans, this is a Coleman classic that has been outfitted with a solid steel latch, an unbeatable seal, and a rugged exterior that hides the severe insulation. Hard to dent or damage, this can keep ice cold for hours on end and can be drained without ever needing to tilt it over so warm water doesn’t stink up your brew box.
The Big Turtle Wireless Speaker
Sometimes the only way to get through a bad halftime show is to make your own party with a bumping Bluetooth speaker. Capable of withstanding tough weather and the abuse of the road, you can share play-by-play commentary with your friends or take the heat to the visitors with your patented dance battle moves.
Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater
A stadium blanket is fine when there’s no other choice, but don’t be a hero, braving the freezing temperatures if you can avoid it. Capable of running off a standard propane tank, Mr. Heater is a space heater that can go with you anywhere for a little extra warmth at your feet, your fingertips, or inside your car as you wait for it to warm up.