I created National Tailgating Day in 2016 to help share my love of tailgating with the nation. Tailgating with friends has always been my escape and, in today’s world, we all need an escape more than ever.
National Tailgating Day 2021 falls on Saturday, September 4th, which for many of us will be the first real kickoff to football season. I’m here to share 10 tips to motivate you to step outside your comfort zone, rethink your normal tailgate setup, and enjoy the sport of tailgating even more.
Top 10 Tips for National Tailgating Day
1. You don’t have to go big
Not everyone has big pickup trucks and trailers to haul elaborate tailgating setups to the game, and that’s okay. Even with limited space (or money), you can make your tailgate the place to be thanks to some of the latest innovations. Many of the newest products that serve dual purposes can help fit a big party into a small vehicle, like a cooler with a built-in sound system. Instead of hauling a big bulky grill to the tailgate, consider downsizing to a disposable one. Did you know there is now a portable grill with a built-in sound system?
2. Prepare for the elements
In September, it can still be blazing hot across the country. Bring sunscreen, hats and tents to help keep the sun off your guests. Wear breathable clothing that will make your day more comfortable. Did you know they make small hand-held air-conditioning units and air-conditioning coolers now?
3. Explore new things
I’m all for the classics, but there’s something engaging about showing your tailgating crew something brand new. Look for different games to play. Bring some local craft beer instead of the cheapest case from the convenience store. Try a new recipe to grill. Be the game changer this season, and your friends will thank you. What would you say to grilled lobster tails at the tailgate?
4. Sit back and relax
Every year at tailgates, I see broken folding chairs thrown in the trash. In addition to falling apart, these chairs aren’t really comfortable and are a safety hazard. Upgrade your seating with some true comfort, like the GCI Outdoor freestyle rocking chair—one of the most comfortable chairs I’ve tested. You can get even more relaxed with a hammock that fits in a backpack with everything you need to set it up. Did you know there are tailgating chairs with built-in overhead shade and fans? Rocking chairs and hammocks at a tailgate…I’m already feeling more relaxed.
5. Remain Cool
Keep those drinks cold. There’s no excuse for serving warm beer, period. You don’t have to buy a $400 cooler to have cold beer at the tailgate. Did you know that adding rock salt to your cooler can actually drop the temperature of your cooler to below freezing? There are also devices that take warm beer and make them ice cold in 60 seconds.
6. One size doesn’t fit all
There are many different allergies and lifestyles that we should all take into account when hosting a tailgate. From peanut allergies and gluten intolerance to veganism, we need to be mindful of everyone we interact with on game day. Have options for everyone. Did you know veganism has grown 500% in the U.S. in the last five years? They are now making burgers and brats that cater to vegans and “bleed” beet juice when grilled.
7. Power up
It’s a small crisis these days should our phones die. Keep a small, portable power station on hand to help charge phones and other electronics. You could be the hero of the tailgate.
8. Bug off
Bugs can ruin a tailgate. The good news is there are multiple portable devices that keep insects away or eradicate them on the spot without chemicals and pesticides. There is even a tool out now that uses table salt to kill flies.
9. Don’t be that guy
I like a cold beer as much as the next guy, but we all need to balance our intake so as not to over indulge at a tailgate. Keep water bottles handy to help your guests stay hydrated. If someone is intoxicated, make sure they don’t drive. Keeping a portable breathalyzer around can show someone exactly how intoxicated they are, and it may save a life.
10. Let your outfit speak for you
I always knew that if I couldn’t fit in, I might as well stand out. There are many people who agree and dress the part each and every game day. There are companies that cater to wild shirts and pants to allow you to express your fandom. Did you know there is a belt buckle that can hold your drink?
I hope these tips help enhance your tailgating experiences this season. And remember this September 4th, to tag your social media posts #nationaltailgatingday, and join me in helping showcase to the world how you tailgate.