When you think of tailgating you probably think of warm weather and clear blue skies. However, if you you’re a fan of a team in a colder climate (looking at you Buffalo) you know that the weather isn’t always perfect. Sometimes you end up tailgating in the rain or snow. It’s not all bad though. Sure, you would rather tailgate on a day where it’s 70 degrees and clear skies, but do not let bad weather ruin your tailgate.
You can absolutely tailgate in bad weather and still have a great time. I’ve tailgated in the rain before and still managed to make the most of it. Tailgating in the rain takes a little preparation but you can still make some memories. Don’t let a little bit of water ruin your tailgate. Rain does not cancel games so do not let it cancel your tailgate! If you follow all the tips on this list, you will be more than ready for some tailgating in the rain.
Check the Weather Beforehand
The easiest way to have rain ruin your tailgate is to not even realize it is going to rain. Even if everything looks great before you leave your house, check the weather to make sure the weather is supposed to hold up. There have been countless times where I have left the house completely unprepared to get caught in rain, don’t do that!
A quick check before you leave the house can really save the day. Even if it is just a small chance of rain, I would still come prepared. It is always better to be over prepared rather than under prepared. Quick tip, if you live far away from the stadium, make sure you’re checking the weather where the stadium is, not where you are.
Bring a Canopy Tent
A canopy tent is a must have for camping in the rain. The tent will provide you with some protection from the rain so you do not get soaked. You can set up everything you have underneath the tent to keep it all dry. If you have a lot of stuff or are tailgating with a large group, consider bringing two canopy tents.
Bringing a canopy tent will also let you grill in the rain. Obviously you won’t want to have the grill directly under the canopy tent. The smoke from the grill could burn the tent. You can place the grill just outside the tent so you can stay dry while you grill.
The canopy tent is basically your shelter if you are tailgating in the rain. If there is even a chance of rain, bring a canopy tent, just in case. If you need tips on how to weigh down your canopy tent, check out our article: How to Weigh Down Your Canopy Tent.
Few things are more uncomfortable than walking around in wet clothes. If it is going to rain, make sure you wear the right kind of clothing. I would bring a rain jacket with a hood to keep my clothes underneath dry. If you are watching the game at an outdoor stadium it will also help keep you dry during the game.
I would recommend wearing boots rather than sneakers. While they may be a little uncomfortable for walking, you will thank yourself when you are the only one if your group not walking around in wet socks. Tailgates are also typically on grass or gravel. When it rains, you might end up tailgating in mud. You will be glad you decided to wear boots when you accidentally step in mud or a giant puddle.
Bring a Change of Clothes
Even if you dress appropriately, you still might find yourself walking around with wet clothes. I would definitely bring an extra pair of clothes in case you do get wet. If you have a long drive home, it’s nice to be able to change into a dry pair of clothes. After sitting in wet clothes for hours it will be nice to change into dry clothes for the drive home.
If nothing else, at least bring an extra pair of socks. I think we can all agree that wet socks are the WORST. Maybe even bring a couple pairs of socks if the rain is coming down hard. If you do end up getting your clothes soaked, you will be glad you brought a change of clothes.
Ponchos are Your Friend
Canopy tents and rain jackets are great at protecting you from the rain, but not as good as poncho. They may not be the most stylish, but poncho’s are great at protecting you from the rain. It will keep your shirt 100% dry. If you are sitting outside at the game, I would definitely wear a poncho. The rain jacket will only do so much, and you will not have your canopy tent to cover you inside the stadium.
If you do not want to bring a poncho, I would at least bring an umbrella. It will be good for walking around when you do not have your canopy providing shelter from the rain. If you do end up sitting outside in the stadium, just do not use your umbrella during the game. You will absolutely get some complaints from the person behind you. Those complaints would be completely warranted if you were to actually do this.
Pack Before You Go
Before you go into the stadium pack all of your tailgating stuff back up. If the weather is nice, you can usually leave at least some of your stuff out before you go into the game. You can even leave it out so you can tailgate some more after the game. It’s a little different when it is raining though. If it is raining it is likely a little windy as well. You do not want all your stuff to fall over or blow away while you’re watching a game. Plus if the rain changes directions your stuff could still get soaked even under the canopy tent.
Packing before you go into the stadium will give you peace of mind that none of your stuff is going to blow over. It will also make things easier after the game is over. Unlike tailgating in the nice weather, I think after sitting in the rain for five hours you will probably just want to head home and change into some dry clothes.
Know the Area
Knowing the lot you are going to be tailgating in will help you prepare for tailgating in the rain. Some lots are made of gravel, others are grass lots, and some are just level concrete. Knowing which lot you are going to be tailgating in will allow you to better plan ahead.
If you know that you are tailgating in a grass lot and the rain is really coming down you know it will be mostly muddy. I would try to avoid going in a car because there is a chance it will get stuck in the mud. Having to push or tow your car out will really put a damper on your tailgate. If it is going to be mostly mud you will want to make sure you wear clothes that you do not mind getting muddy. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, you’ll probably still end up getting some on you. Your upper body should be fine with the exception of some strange accident or fall, but your shoes/boots and ankle area could get muddy. You might want to put the designer pants in the closet for this event.
If you do not know what the lots are like, you can usually check beforehand on the stadium’s website. Their website will have the information you’ll need to know about each lot, and pictures to get a lay of the land.
You can tailgate in the rain and still have a fun time, just come prepared! Just remember:
- Check the Weather Beforehand: Even if there is only a small chance for rain, be prepared for the worst.
- Bring a Canopy Tent: This will provide you and your group with shelter from the rain.
- Dress Appropriately: Wear some rain protective clothes and boots to prevent your clothes from getting soaked.
- Bring a Change of Clothes: Have something to change into in case your clothes get soaked. Nothing is more uncomfortable than sitting around in wet clothes for hours!
- Ponchos Are Your Friend: Bring a poncho along with you. It will keep your clothes dryer than any rain jacket or umbrella can.
- Pack Before You Go In: If you pack up before going into the stadium, you can prevent your stuff from being blown away while you are at the game.
- Know the Area: Make sure you know which lot you are going to be tailgating on so you can prepare before you leave. You do not want to expect to be tailgating in a concrete lot and end up in nothing but mud that used to resemble grass.
Hopefully you found these tips for tailgating in the rain helpful. If you need other tips for tailgating, check out our tailgating section!