Football season is finally underway, and that means the party is on.
Tailgating is an American tradition as old as time. Ok, at least as old as the Civil War. The origin of tailgating is said to be the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861, when crowds of Confederate civilians showed up at the battlefield in wagons loaded with food and booze, ready to eat, drink and be merry before watching opposing armies duke it out.
Tailgating today has evolved into elaborate parties that might last the length of the game itself. Some tailgaters even set up a TV and just watch the whole thing from their spot in the parking lot, never setting foot in the stadium!
The car or pickup truck is the star player in any tailgating party. To get yours ready for the big game, stock up with these essential items.
1. Hitch and cargo carrier
Full-on tailgating calls for a lot of gear. Chairs, food, a BBQ and the rest can take up a lot of space in your car. If it’s getting tight, add some space with a hitch and cargo carrier.
Simple and easy to install, these racks fit right on the back of your vehicle. You can get one for $100-150. Just check that it doesn’t block your turn signals or brake lights.
2. Auxiliary speakers
Music is the lifeblood of any party. But if there’s one thing you can be sure of at a football game, it’s a lot of noise!
Make sure the music you play isn’t completely drowned out with a portable speaker. You can get one that’s Bluetooth enabled or that connects directly to your phone or car speakers. Some speakers can last for 10 hours when fully charged, so you might be set for the day.
A few top choices for tailgating speakers:
- Ion Audio iPA77 Tailgater & PA System
- SOUNDBOKS – The Loudest Portable Speaker
- Big Blue Party Speaker
- Ion Explorer Outback Speaker
- EcoBoulder GDI-EXBM901 Waterproof Speaker
Of course, in a pinch you can just make your own speakers out of two Solo cups and a paper towel roll!
3. Cargo mats
Whether it’s burgers, brats, chili or tacos, tailgating food is going to get messy. It’s all part of the fun.
Keep your vehicle clean by laying down cargo mats. These protect your car’s interior or the bed of your pickup truck from crumbs and stains. When the party is over, just remove the mats and brush them off: your vehicle is untouched.
4. Power inverter
Don’t let your phone die in the middle of the party! You need it for playing music, sharing your awesome set-up on Instagram or texting your friend who’s coming late to pick up another six-pack on the way.
A power inverter is a handy device that turns direct currents (DC) into alternating currents (AC). This means you can use it to charge your devices off of electricity from your car battery.
Some can charge or run multiple devices at the same time. You can even plug in a TV if you want to watch the game from your tailgate!
5. Tailgating toolbox
Every serious tailgater should have a tailgating toolbox packed with the essentials.
This makes it all so much simpler. Instead of digging through your kitchen Sunday morning, trying to remember everything you need (and usually forgetting the most important thing), you can just drive to the game, open up your toolbox and get rolling.
What exactly is in there depends on you. Here’s a sample list to start with:
- 2 pairs of tongs
- 1 spatula
- 1 large metal spoon
- 2 cutting knives
- Forks, spoons and knives
- Oil or cooking spray
- 4 metal bowls
- 1 or 2 cans of butane fuel
- Lighter or matches
- Aluminum foil
- Salt and pepper grinders
If you’ve done a tailgate more than once or twice, you’ll figure out for yourself what are the must-have items.
Get ready to throw an unforgettable tailgate party
These tips show you how to get your car or truck ready for the party, but of course that’s just the beginning.
There are tons of tricks and hacks to take your tailgate to the next level. Most important though is to relax, get everyone together and show your team spirit.
I hope you and your car have a blast this season. And if you’re looking for a new car or pickup truck, come over to Capital Motor Cars. We’ll help you find the perfect vehicle for tailgating, and for everything else.