It’s football season again. The weather is cooling down and the competition is starting to heat up. Whether you like to root for your favorite college or professional team, or just support the town’s high school, the season has finally arrived. But football season doesn’t just mean sitting in the stands. Some fans prefer to put on their lucky jerseys and make a feast at home, while many prefer to head out to the parking lot and tailgate with all the other diehards, no matter how cold it gets.
Before you chow down on barbecue, enjoy some of your favorite brews and talk football with your neighbors, you will want to make sure that you have all your tailgating essentials. Whether you are a veteran tailgater or are making it out for the first time, don’t forget the basics.
- Do all the preparation for the food — such as cutting portions, marinating meat and adding seasoning and spices — in advance. When you get to your tailgating spot you will just want to be able to throw the food on the grill and be done.
- Line your grill with aluminum foil so it is easy to clean when you are done.
- Bring water. Although beer may be your tailgating beverage of choice, you will want to stay hydrated as well. It’s an all-day event.
- Use a flag or canopy to identify your location to friends who are trying to find your spot.
- Get there early to find a good parking spot. If you want to set up an elaborate spread or plan on tossing a ball around you’ll need more room, so try to park on the end of an aisle or near grass.
As game time rolls around, you can close up your truck and cover all of your tailgating tools with a tonneau cover for your truck bed. This is an easy way to speed up the cleaning process. Just be sure your grill has cooled completely before you put it into the bed or you risk starting a fire.
Some tailgaters don’t even go into the stadium — they will watch on a TV or listen on a radio as they continue the festivities. Since the party doesn’t end just because you left, you will want to make sure you put away all your belongings in your truck when you leave. A tonneau cover will also help to protect all the food and tailgating essentials as you are driving to and from the parking lot.
For the heavier items that are hard to remove from the bed — like the grill — you will want to make sure that you have a tailgate protector installed on your truck. If you frequent tailgate parties during the season, preventing the impending scratches and dings that come with hosting a party out of the back of your truck is important.