Must-Have Items for Successful Tailgating

By Kacie Hughes,

College is as full of new adventures as your car is on the day you move in to your dorm. can help you tackle your college career with helpful tips or by providing you a safe storage solution for summer breaks.

You have waited long enough, football fans. After months of agony and anticipation, football is finally back. With college football returning in a week and the first NFL game on September 10, it’s time to light up the grill and restock the cooler. And if you already have all of these must-have essentials, then there’s no doubt that you’re the one everyone wants to tailgate with.


Some of these items may seem obvious, but game days can be hectic. Stick to this quick list and never become the worst person at a tailgate: the one who forgot the beer.


Have everything on the list? Great! Now take your tailgate from a good time to becoming the best party every game day with the essentials below.




You can always buy a standard 17″ charcoal grill to get the job done, but sometimes bigger is better. To label yourself as the ultimate tailgater, convert the back of your vehicle into a grilling haven! You can also go custom by creating a grill that’s in the shape of a gun, a pig, or a grill that doubles as a motorcycle (Yep, that’s a real thing). Become the crowd favorite by serving family-style and feeding everyone at the tailgate. The possibilities are endless!


Football themed food

It isn’t a proper tailgate if you don’t have at least one food item or accessory in the shape of a football. Whether you are making guacamole, cookies, or pretzels, make sure it is oval-shaped with white laces. You don’t have to stop at food, either! Create football themed DIY utensil holders or table cloths that look like the field your favorite team plays on. If you love all things football, why not show it?


The Crock-Pot

Chips and burgers are always a safe choice. However, if you’re getting tired of the good ole fashioned hot dog, there are plenty of other delicious recipes you can prep for the big game with the help of a Crock-Pot! From spinach dip and chili to meatballs and baby back ribs, crock-pots can transform a tailgate into a foodie paradise. Prep the night before. Then, once you’ve arrived at your tailgate destination, plug it in for 4-6 hours and enjoy!


Ladder Golf

Entertain kids and adults alike with classic tailgating games like cornhole and ladder golf. Create your own DIY Jumbo Jenga or a DIY football toss station to take your tailgating skills from advanced to expert. If you’re 21+, bring along some red solo cups and a table to play beer pong or flip cup!



Depending on what kind of tailgate you’re throwing, you may need more than just a red Coleman cooler. Paint your cooler to reflect who you are and the team you love with this easy DIY! If your tailgate is spread out, buy the Cruzin’ Cooler to get from point A to point B. But if your tailgate crowd prefers margaritas over beer, get the Coolest Cooler, which has a blender built inside plus other awesome features. Skip the Coleman and step up your game with one of these cool coolers.

​What are your tailgating essentials? Let us know in the comments!


If you like tailgating, be sure to check out The Best College Tailgating Scenes and 15 Most Epic Tailgating Vehicles.

All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.