If you’re a tailgate vet you know how important it is to have all your gear packed and ready to go. And unless you’ve got a checklist, something always gets left behind. And it’s usually something important.
So whether you’re headed to the stadium this weekend, or have a die-hard tailgate fanatic on your holiday gift list, use this comprehensive checklist/gift guide to make sure you don’t forget a single thing.
TAILGATER’S CHECKLIST AND GIFT GUIDE:
Knives. Ever try to run a grill without a good, all purpose knife? Impossible. Pack this Dragon Dagger from Guy Fieri and Ergo Chef, and you get a multi-purpose utility knife with a serrated edge for slicing meat, bread, sandwiches and anything else you slide under it, and fork prongs on the front for picking up food. And at 5-1/2 inches, it’ll fit in any gear bag.
Cutting Board You don’t want to be slicing that perfectly grilled pork loin on your folding table. Pack this heavy duty glass cutting board made for gridiron parties.
Long Fork. Strictly for cutting, NOT for turning meat.
Spatula. This is for turning meat, especially burgers. Or better yet…
Tongs. You want to turn your meat while it’s grilling? Use tongs. They grab without piercing and letting all the juices out. These Pro Tongs
give you 3 ways to flip your food: a jagged edge for hearty foods like steaks, a scalloped edge for more delicate foods like fish, and a straight edge for handling those small veggies.
9″ ($25), 12″($25), and 16″ ($30)
Apron / Oven Mitt. You don’t want to get barbecue sauce on your custom jersey, and you don’t want to handle a still-hot grill grate with your bare hands. Pack this apron and oven mitt set, and you’ll also get a pot holder for that crawfish boil you were planning.
Cooking Fuel. Who needs to pack an entire bag of charcoal, or a bulky propane tank? FlameDisk fuel is made from solidified ethanol, a renewable biofuel that’s clean and safe. It lights instantly and burns for 45 minutes of grilling goodness. When you’re done, all you need to do is snuff out the flame with the grill’s lid or pour a cup of water onto the disk, and the flame will go out immediately.
Grill Light. Not every tailgate is going to take place in the afternoon. For night games, you’ll want to have a grill light, so you can mind your meat like a master. This cordless grill light from Maverick lets you shine 4 ultra-bright LEDs on your grill, powered by the 3 included AAA batteries. The clip attaches to just about anything, and the gooseneck lets you bend the light to your will.
Beer. Almost no one forgets to pack this tailgate staple, but there is an easier way. The Newcastle DraughtKeg contains 1.33 gallons (5 liters) of the amber elixer, in a compact area. Just drop in a cooler with ice, attach the included tap, and you’re drinking. And no cans or bottles to clean up.
Extra Cooler. You’ll probably have one you packed all the food in, but don’t forget an extra or two for the beer and other good stuff your friends will be bringing. This inflatable job will let you show your team pride while holding a ton of bottles or cans, and packs in a small space for easy transport.
Folding Chairs. If you’re gonna be tailgating for as long as you should be tailgating, you’re gonna need some seating. These folding chairs not only sport your team logo, but they’ve got a pouch to hold your beer, and a side table for your grub.
Inflatable Chair. There’s game day tailgate seating, and then there’s the game day tailgate throne. Made by the same folks who brought us the Aerobed, the Aero Tailgater Chair inflates in about 90 seconds from your car’s DC outlet, and not only holds you in extreme comfort, but has a couple of built-in cup holders for your job-well-done beer as well. Because after a long day of grilling, it’s good to be the king.
Football. You can’t have a tailgate without tossing the football around. And there’s no better ball than the NERF Weather Blitz All-Conditions football. Designed to stand up to the harshest stadium parking lot conditions, this NERF has an enhanced grip so it doesn’t slip in the rain, and reinforced tips so it won’t shred from your stone-handed buddy’s constant dropping.
SUPPLIES AND OTHER STUFF:
Garbage Bags. You don’t want to be caught having to cram stuff into the over-filled parking lot trash cans. Make sure to pack a box of heavy duty bags to keep your tailgate area clean after you’ve gone to the game.
Paper Towels. There’s nothing worse than spilling beer, ketchup or marinade, and scrambling for something to clean it up with. Throw a few rolls in the car.
Paper Towel Holder. It can get windy at the game. This bamboo paper towel holder from simplehuman has a variable tension arm that’ll let you tear off a sheet at a time, and a weighted base to keep it upright even in the parking lot at Soldier Field.
$29.99 for Bamboo, or $19.99 for stainless steel.
Toilet Paper. It’s the most forgotten item to bring along, but when you’re in that port-o-sewer after eating Lou’s firehouse chili, and see there’s none to be found, you’ll be thankful you packed some.
Cleaning Supplies. Stuff gets dirty during a tailgate, and you may have to use that knife/plate/cutting board more than once. And ever see that folding table after your buddies go into a feeding frenzy? Pack some multipurpose spray cleaner.
Hand Sanitizer. If you’re cooking between games of corn hole and tossing the ball (or done using that port-o-sewer), you’re gonna want to have some hand sanitizer handy. The sensor pump from simplehuman lets you get some without having to touch a button or pump. It’s battery operated so it can go anywhere, and is small enough not to take up too much table space.
Condiments. There’s nothing worse than grilling a bunch of brats to perfection, and there’s no mustard to finish them off properly. Keep your condiments handy and fresh in this caddy from TeamSportsDecor.com – $9.95.
Foil. Perfect for wrapping corn or veggies for grilling, or for keeping what little leftovers there are, fresh.
Cereal dispensers. They keep your buddies’ hands out of the peanuts and Chex Mix. Shaking is better than digging.
Storage Containers. Great for getting the food there, and getting the leftovers home. These logo storage containers let you bring some team pride along with the bean dip.
$16.99 – Set of 3
First Aid Kit. You’ve met your friends. This should go without saying.
Fire Extinguisher. Even the most experienced grill master can have a mishap. Because only you can prevent parking lot fires, pack a small point and spray model and make Smokey proud.