Tailgate Essentials: Everything You Need For Your Next Tailgate

Tailgating Essentials: Everything You Need For Your Next Tailgate

If you’ve ever been to a tailgate before, you know much fun they can be. They’re arguably more fun than the game itself. If you’ve never been before, you’re certainly in for a good time. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. A tailgate can last for a few hours so you’ll want to make sure you are prepared and have all the essentials. Whether this is your first time or 100th time tailgating, we’ll provide you with a list of all the essentials for next tailgate.

Portable Grill

Kind of a no-brainer here, but food is a big part of a tailgate. You’re going to need something to grill those hot dogs and burgers on. You do not need to spend a ton of money, but a quality portable grill will bring your tailgate up a notch. Of all the tailgate essentials on this list, make sure you do not skip out on the grill.

“One portable grill that I like is the Weber Q2200 Liquid Propane Grill. The Weber Q2200 is small enough that it is easy to bring along to a tailgate. That said, you can easily grill for a big group with a cooking area of 280 square inches.”

“Portable vs Disposable Grills”

If you’re grilling for a crowd, definitely make sure you have enough propane on hand. The average 16 ounce propane lasts for about 90 minutes. If you’re going to be grilling a lot, I would keep an extra tank handy just in case. You do not want to run out of propane in the middle of your tailgate.

Do not forget the grilling accessories either. Bring at least a pair of tongs and a spatula so you can grill the basics like hot dogs and burgers.

Insulated Cooler

If you’re at a tailgate, the weather is probably going to be pretty hot. You’ll want to keep everything cold, which is why you will need an insulated cooler. It will also keep your ice from melting right away. Insulated coolers are a bit pricey, but worth the investment. The best one on the market right now in my opinion is the Yeti Portable Wheeled Cooler. The wheels make it easy to move and it can keep everything cold for hours.

If you need to keep some of the food cold, I would bring two coolers with you. One for the drinks and one for the food. Putting everything in one cooler could squish the food.

Canopy Tent

Having a canopy tent at your tailgate establishes your area in the parking lot. It will also provide you and your party with some shade from the sun. Canopy tents provide a place to lay the rest of the essentials out. It is not as much of a necessity as the portable grill, but it will definitely bring your tailgate up a notch.

Setting up your canopy tent will be one of the first things you want to do. From there you can take out your grill, table, cooler(s), a couple chairs and whatever else you bring along.


Another no-brainer here, but chairs are one of the tailgating essentials. The alternative being, standing the whole time. All you really need is a basic camping or lawn chair and you’ll be good to go. Having a couple of chairs allows the group to sit back, relax and have a good time.


Another one of the essentials for tailgating is a table. Again, you do not need anything too fancy here. Something that is foldable and easy to get set up will more than get the job done. You will need a table so you have something to put all the food out on. Some tables even come with a grill rack that you can place your grill on.

For a breakdown of some of our favorites, check out The 5 Best Tables For Tailgating Available on Amazon.

Portable Lights

For those tailgating the prime time games, it will start to get dark towards the end of your tailgate. Keep the party going with portable lights. You can opt for solar powered portable lights so you don’t have to worry about the battery. You do not have to bring a large portable light either. You can just bring a couple of smaller ones and put them out around your tailgate.

Portable Speaker

Having some music can make any tailgate better. Bring a portable speaker along with you to play some music while you party. You will especially want to bring a portable speaker if you are tailgating a concert. Just make sure that it is fully charged so the battery does not die on you at the event.


For some, this might be the most essential of all the tailgating essentials. Do not forget to bring your drink of choice to the tailgate. Tailgates are basically parking lot parties so go ahead and enjoy an adult beverage (if you’re over the age of 21). Make sure to keep them cold because no wants to drink a warm beer. Bringing drinks to your tailgate will save you a lot of money because once you go into the stadium, the drinks are going to be a lot more expensive than market value.


Like I said earlier, you do not want to drink a lukewarm beer. Keep your beer warm with a koozie. You can also get a koozie with your team’s logo on it to show your support. My favorite by far is the Yeti Rambler Colster. You can fit 12 ounce cans and bottles in the Yeti Rambler. This product will keep your drink cold for the entire tailgate.


Games like Cornhole, Ladder Toss, and KanJam are staples of any tailgate. Games are a large part of the tailgating atmosphere. You eat, drink and play games. If you are going to tailgate, you absolutely need to bring at least one game along. My favorite game to play at tailgates is Cornhole, but you can bring whatever games you like. If you are not going to bring a game, I would at least bring a football to give you something to throw around.

Sun Screen

Bring some sun screen to protect yourself from the sun. The sun is probably going to be beaming at the tailgate and you do not want to get a sun burn. Even if it is not sunny when you leave your house, I would pack some just in case. You never know if the sun is going to come out later and you will want to be prepared either way.

Rain Gear

On the other end, be prepared for bad weather too. If it is supposed to rain and you are still set on tailgating, come prepared. I would bring a poncho, an umbrella, and maybe an extra pair of socks to keep you dry. Always check the weather beforehand to make sure you have all the essentials for your tailgate.

Trash Bags

Do not forget to clean up! Bring some trash bags along so you do not leave all your trash out. Put out a a trash bag or two while you are setting up so you can clean as you go. This will make cleaning up at the end so much easier. You could also be fined if you leave excessive trash behind, so clean up your area to avoid those fines.

I hope you found this list of tailgate essentials helpful. If liked this article, be sure to check out our tailgating section for more tips!

Sam Rebinskas

Sam is the co-founder of Improve Your Gameday and loves all Boston sports teams.

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