Whether you’re pregaming a concert or partying before kickoff, tailgating takes a significant amount of preparation. Once you’re parked and your beer’s been cracked, there’s no leaving your space to retrieve something your idiot party neglected to bring. Go too hard in the first half hour? Your amateur ass will be face down in the grass before long. Avoid neophyte mistakes like these by taking heed of the following ten tips and suggestions that will ensure you’ll rock the tailgate.
10. Pack The Tools Of The Tailgate
If it folds, pack it. You’ll need an eight-foot folding table, a couple folding chairs, and perhaps a folding canopy if there’s rain or intense heat in the forecast. After that, bring extra everything — extra cups, extra pong balls, an extra cooler, and plenty of extra ice. It’s all valuable, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. Don’t be the novice who trades away half his beer reserve for necessities he could’ve brought himself.
9. You’ll Need Tunes
To ensure your camp is the lot’s premier drinking spot, you’ll need solid speakers and a good set of jams. Come equipped with a proper drinking playlist. If your music taste sucks, our boy Karl’s gotchu covered.
In general, anything goes at football tailgates. Pre-concert tailgates, however, are a little trickier. Avoid falling into the usual parking lot DJ trap of playing only songs from the artist[s] you’re primed to see later that evening. Unless you’ve attended one, you won’t believe how much Buffett you’ll hear at a Buffett tailgate. It’s enough to where you’ll want to scalp your tickets and make for the exit gates by concert time. Bring a good mix of different artists and genres and come prepared with a means of charging your phone and car battery, too. Speaking from experience, nobody wants to be the guy meandering through cars begging neighbors for a jump because his speakers sapped his battery.
8. Arrive In A Motorcade
Intuition should tell you the ideal tailgating vehicles are trucks, SUVs and Jeeps. Each can haul a grill, a keg, half a mid-tier sorority, and that one fat, shirtless brother who’s been wrecked since 7 a.m. who you considered leaving home to “guard the house.” You’ll need the biggest vehicle to lead the convoy and one or more smaller cars behind to follow.
The morning of my alma mater’s final home game last season — a 56–14 demolition of Duke, I’m pleased to add — I drew the short straw and got stuck driving the house guys to the tailgate spot. I owned a quick little two door at the time with only enough trunk space to carry a set of clubs, a 12-pack of cans, and a terrified, duct-taped freshman. Regardless, I was the placeholder car. I trailed the lead car and bought our camp more parking lot real estate in the adjacent spot. I also offered a backup plan should something unforeseen befall the lead car or should the lead pledge be relieved of his duties as the DD.
7. Own The Elements
Unless you’re a shameless member of Bills Mafia, the oft-overlooked variable of weather can derail many a promising tailgate. Up north, you better come equipped with a heater or fire pit and an extra set of dry clothes for the late-season games. Drinking for eight hours in sub-freezing weather takes its toll, and braving the snow can be a frostbitten bitch. Down south you’ll want some shade. Drinking in the sun all day is exhausting as well. I’m a little bitch who has to marinate in SPF 50 before I even board the stadium-bound car.
6. Supply Way More Beer Than You’ll Ever Need
You can always take it home with you. You’ll need cases upon cases, because beer is liquid currency at these kinds of events. A treasure trove of Silver Bullets allows you to merge with other tailgates and affords you the opportunity to trade for goods and services.
But don’t limit yourself to just beer. You’ll need plenty of water, too. As the mercury climbs, the premium on water trends with it. You can even trade your water for more beer. Beware of how much liquor you bring, though. A variety of intoxicants is a boon to any pregame, but too much liquor can level the lightweights and send the tailgate careening off track.
5. Don’t Forget: You’ll Need To Eat
Raise the sun with some kegs and eggs, stop at a Five Guys along the way, and roll some dogs around the charcoal grill after you set up camp. Pulling a shift drinking like it’s the end of the world is the best way to ensure you won’t see the party to its finality. Plus, a charcoal grill also functions great as a heater (so bring extra charcoal).
4. Balance The Ratio Yourself
Neighbors will be more inclined to interact with your party if you have a balanced ratio and don’t come across as the stumbling throng of horny, beer-soaked primates you most-assuredly are. Tailgates are excellent opportunities to build good will by joining up with a sorority in a rather innocuous setting, so talk to a girl sober for once in your life and set it up.
3. Pace Yourself
Even when we say we only came for the tailgate, most of us still want to make it inside the event just to drink more beer and jeer at opposing fans without passing out in a trough or being accosted by security. Moreover, a big win demands a bigger post-game celebration. Don’t blow your entire load before the game; save some beer and stamina for later.
2. Bring Something To Do While Drinking
Beer pong, flip cup, cornhole, stump — anything to break up the spells of shotgunning and piss breaks.
1. Monitor The Driver And Always Designate A Backup Driver
At some point in our lives, we’ll most likely be faced with the unenviable circumstance of wrestling keys off of a drunk compatriot and arranging an ad-libbed ride home. In lieu of either putting the driver in timeout whenever you see him within 10 feet of the cooler or melting your parents’ credit cards on Ubers when it’s time to leave and you realize nobody is sober enough to chauffeur, it’s better to just keep an eye on the DD and make sure he behaves responsibly while having a backup driver in the wings just in case (preferably one who can drive stick)..