Tailgating before an NFL game is an American institution. In fact, if you have tickets to the game and skip the tailgate, you’re really missing out on a big part of the experience. Mastering the tailgate is no easy task, however — there are tailgate legends who have been doing this since the big game first kicked off in 1967. Whether you’re joining in on the party or hosting your own, here are some of the essentials to help you go down in tailgate history.
The Cooler: Yeti Tundra 65
Some of the best times tailgating are when you don’t even have a ticket to the game. You park hours before kickoff and spend the day with your friends, maybe even well past the fourth quarter. If you want to keep the drinks cold without replacing the ice, go with the king of coolers, the Yeti Tundra 65. Forget that these chests are so durable they can keep out grizzly bears — the Tundra keeps ice frozen solid for days. The 65 is plenty big enough for any Sunday, but Yeti makes them big enough to hold a whole pig.
The Grill: Weber Original Kettle Series
There’s no need to go fancy with grilling. Forget propane (sorry, Hank Hill), forget giant smokers and forget the trappings of the modern grill — the Weber Kettle is the classic charcoal grill that will cook your burgers, brats and steaks to juicy, smoky perfection.
Grill Tools: The Mangrate
Yearn for that perfect cross pattern on your grilled meat? Typical grates can stick and slide, but a Mangrate stays put. The Mangrate is an All-American cast iron grate that tops your grill and gives your meat that textbook cross pattern you only see in the most revered barbecue joints. The edges are sharp and the metal is non-stick, so your charred surface won’t slide or crack when you flip burgers or turn chicken wings.
Known in some areas as “bags,” cornhole is the definitive tailgate game. It’s nothing new or unique — just about every spot has them out before a game — but the key to making this game your own is to build your own boards. Why build your own? Well, pride, for one. There’s nothing better than building something with your own two hands. But more importantly, you can paint your team’s logo on a homemade board in any way you like. Come game day, you’ll have a set of cornhole boards unlike any other in the lot.
Generator: Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator Kit
Not to be confused with the Yeti coolers from above, Goal Zero is one of the very best electricity generators on the market. The last thing you want is a noisy gas generator drowning out good conversation over beers and brats, but at the same time you may need electricity for hours. The Goal Zero Yeti 1250 has you covered on both ends — a mammoth battery that charges in 16-20 hours and two solar panels to keep it running all day. It has traditional AC outlets, car output, and a USB so you can watch the game outside and charge your phones, music and anything else to keep the party going all day and night.