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College football is now in full swing. That means that it’s time to tailgate! Whether your favorite tailgating spot is 20 miles from home, or 2000, it’s easy to forget to pack something you will need for that epic parking lot party. Here are five packing tips for tailgating success to help you easily remember all the essential gear so you can cheer on your team in style.
1. Put your tickets and parking pass in the glove box.
The easiest thing to forget when packing for your tailgate is your game tickets and/or parking pass. In my experience, we get so focused on tailgating that we tend to forget these two little, but important, things. More than once, we have had to turn around and go back home to get our tickets.
To prevent this from happening, put your tickets and parking pass in your glove box before you start packing up your tailgate gear. This will ensure you have them when you need them. Plus, the glove box will keep them safe from being lost or stolen from your vehicle.
2. Do food prep at home.
You can’t have a tailgate without great food. To get the party started sooner, do your food prep at home. You can either do this the morning of the game or the night before. How much prep you should do at home will depend on your menu. But I suggest doing as much as possible. I prefer to skip the grill all together and do all of my cooking at home prior to heading to the tailgate, especially early in the season when it’s hot outside.
Not only will doing food prep at home allow you to get to the fun faster, but it will also make packing for the tailgate easier too. If you do all your chopping and slicing before you get there, you won’t have to pack a knife and cutting board. If you measure out all of your spices while at home, you won’t need measuring cups or spoons. Advance preparation of the food means fewer things to pack for the tailgate.
3. Don’t forget the weather!
Tailgates are more fun when everyone is comfortable. So, don’t forget to think about the weather when deciding what to pack for your tailgate. If it is hot outside, throw in a few fans or some misters to help everyone cool off. If the temperature is much lower during your tailgate, consider taking some blankets or an electric heater. And, of course, a tent, canopy, and/or tarp will be useful rain or shine.
4. Create a tailgate box.
One of my best tips for tailgating is to create a tailgate box. Basically, this is a container where you keep a separate stash of things like plates, forks, cups, napkins, and other essential items for your tailgate. I include zip ties, rope, paper towels, drink koozies, and ziploc baggies in my tailgate box. With a fully stocked tailgate box, you won’t forget something you need. It also makes packing for the tailgate easier because you just have to grab the box instead of remembering to pack all of the things in the box.
5. Pack a table.
While it is possible to have a tailgate without a table, your tailgate will be much more successful if you pack at least one table. The best option is a fold-up table that is easy to transport. You will use your table more than anything else you pack. It can serve as a buffet, dining table, drink holder, entertainment center, or game table. If you have kids at your tailgate, you might even want to pack a kids’ size table too.
Tailgating is such a fun extension of the college football experience. It allows you to enjoy time with family and friends while getting excited for the game before it starts. But, in order to have a successful tailgate, you have to pack a lot of things. The above five tips for tailgating will help you remember everything you need to throw a tailgate you can be proud of. What are your favorite tailgating tips? Leave us a comment and let us know! For more tailgating tips, see our ultimate tailgate packing list and tips for tailgating with toddlers. Happy travels!