Living in Los Angeles affords the perk of being able to tailgate year-round, and, believe me, the residents here have made an art of the practice. Having been to such events at football games, baseball games, and even the off tennis match, I have learned a few things about being prepared for the pregame.
Here are some must-haves to make your tailgate epic:
I feel like this is a given, but no tailgate is complete without beer.
2. The beer coozie of your favorite team.
Showing off your school spirit is a great way to hide your beer choice (if you don’t want people to judge you for being smart enough to drink light beer at 10 a.m.) and keep your beverage cold.
Even if it’s foggy, overcast, raining, or worse when you leave the house, there’s always a chance the sun will come out (today). It’s an absolute must for those who don’t plan on having that giant “S” emblazoned on their chest for the next three months due to sunburn.
I cannot stress enough the need for a good supply of ice. Be it for drinks, food storage, or other, it’s the hardest thing to procure once you’ve parked and started your festivities.
5. A cooler.
This goes hand in hand with ice. Even as you leave your tailgate for the game, you can store drinks here so that when you return you’re not chugging 100-degree water.
6. Camping chairs.
You know the ones. They fold up neatly into a nice carry bag. The ones with the cup holders are the best; bonus points for the ones with footrests and/or canopies.
You’ve got to have a good playlist ready to go. Don’t forget the auxiliary cable, if you want to plug into your car’s speakers.
8. Car chargers for your electronics.
Nothing’s worse than realizing you used up all the juice on your phone, camera, or other device before the game starts.
9. A power inverter.
Short of having a generator, this little guy is the best thing to power your stuff. It plugs into your cigarette adapter and becomes a wall (and sometimes USB) charger.
10. A portable battery jumper.
After running your multimedia extravaganza for the whole of the pre-game festivities, you may return postgame to find your ride without juice. Granted, some bigger lots have roadside service trucks roaming about after big games, but be the hero and keep this DIY champ on you at all times. Some of the fancier ones even have attachments to fix flat tires.
11. Red solo cups.
Any color or brand is fine, but don’t you want a reason to play the song?
12. Disposable everything else involved with eating.
Go to the store and grab a picnic pack. They know people want to get all the fixings in one shot and offer sets that come complete with plates, bowls, and cutlery.
13. Cookable food.
Chicken, brats, veggies, burgers — whatever your food of choice may be, bring it.
14. One of those little propane grills.
Small, portable, and perfect for setting up in the back of your pick up or just to the side.
15. Portable food.
Maybe you shut down shop early or just want something to have during the game. Granola bars, energy bars, and small packages of mixed nuts are super portable for those with or without bags.
16. A folding table.
You’re going to need to put your stuff somewhere.
17. Accouterments to play games on that table.
Now, we can’t all be the guy who set up next to me at the Raiders game last season with a full-on tournament of beer pong, but you can get a game going easy if you bring a few ping pong balls.
A big one for shade and a little one in case the weather becomes inclement on your way to the stadium.
Always good to have.
20. Poster board and a sharpie.
It’s a good idea to have the tools necessary to make a sign. Whether it’s to alert others of your location or to make something to take to the game with you, these are some seriously handy supplies.
21. Your tickets.
This sounds silly, but make sure as you’re loading the cooler, the chairs, the beers, etc. that you’ve made sure to bring the tickets along.
I’m guilty of frequently pulling out plastic for $2 purchases, but most parking facilities require the green stuff to park your ride; an absolute necessity.
23. A fold-up canopy.
Excellent in all weather conditions, especially at the start of football season when the sun’s burning bright. It’s also a nice way to get other tailgaters to come over and socialize.
24. A scout who can seek out other parties to bond with.
Hey, you’re going to forget something, or run out of it perhaps, and you want to build that camaraderie with the car a few spaces down that has the extra supplies you need.
25. A football.
Bored? Show off your athletic prowess with the other tailgaters. C’mon, you know you want to let out your inner QB before the main event.
This is the experience of many tailgates talking. To be honest, my friends and I used to steal shopping carts, line them with plastic bags, fill them with ice and 40s and roll around campus at USC before we even got to the tailgate. We were golden gods of tailgating. Hopefully, this list puts you on your path to parking lot glory, too.