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All the Essential Tailgate Gear You Need for Football Season

Whether you spend your weekends at your alma mater or in NFL parking lots, this gear will get you to kickoff and then some.

friends barbecuing during tailgating party
Thomas BarwickGetty Images

September can bring the remaining sweltering days of summer but also sees the return of one of America's greatest pastimes: leaf-peeping. Okay, just kidding, we're talking about something else. The end of summer means it's time for football season. For those of us who are (substantially) less physically gifted than your average linebacker, this doesn't mean suiting up and hitting the gridiron, but it does mean we're about to get back to what we, the fans, do best: tailgate.

Over the years, tailgating essentials have evolved from just a cooler and some food out of the back of a truck to gameday setups with multiple generators firing up a flat-screen and smoking ten pounds of brisket at 7:00 a.m. However you like to spend your gamedays, whether it is Saturday on campus or Sunday at the stadium, there are some must-haves for every tailgate party. We rounded up everything that we haul to our favorite tailgates and dropped them below to get you started.

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E-Z Up Patriot 10’ x 10’
E-Z Up
E-Z Up

Ahhh, shade on a sunny day. Don't get caught without it on those blistering early-season gamedays — or the days with a bit of rain. 

PK Grills PKGO Camp & Tailgate Grilling System
Huckberry
PK Grills

This grill is super mobile and even turns into two grills thanks to PK's Flipkit. 

Yeti Tundra 45
Yeti
Yeti

This really is the best of the best — just get one already.  

Lifetime 5-Foot Fold-In-Half Table
Walmart
Lifetime

These easy-to-move tables are essential for feeding everyone at the tailgate (and for smashing). 

GrowlerWerks uKeg 128 oz - Stainless Steel Growler (w/ CO2)
Huckberry
GrowlerWerks

Does your favorite beer only come on draft at the brewery? No problem, this mini keg holds the equivalent of 10 cans.  

Looft Charcoal Electric Lighter & Firestarter
Huckberry
Looft

Don't waste your time with a BIC lighter or matches — get something tailor-made for lighting charcoal in a jiffy. 

RTIC Insulated Tote Bag
RTIC
RTIC

Whether you need to haul extra beers, condiments, food or gear, you need a big, tough tote. 

Yeti Colster
Yeti
Yeti

Seriously, don't get stuck with a warm beer on a hot day. 

REI Co-op Camp Chair
REI
REI

Buy one, buy two, buy ten. Everyone needs somewhere to sit. 

ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE
ThermoWorks
ThermoWorks

The latest release from ThermoWorks, the Thermapen ONE is the cooking thermometer chosen by chefs everywhere. 

Sonos Roam
Sonos
Sonos

Listen to the pre-game coverage, other games or your favorite tunes. Nobody likes a silent party. 

Honda 2200-Watt Remote Gasoline Powered Inverter Generator
Home Depot
Honda

Keeping power on hand is essential, regardless of what you're powering up on gameday.  

RIDGID 100 ft. 12/3 Outdoor Extension Cord
Home Depot
RDGID

Don't get caught far from the closest outlet...most of which are not accessible in a parking lot. 

AYL Silicone Cooking Gloves
Amazon
AYL

Good for a ton of things around the tailgate site, you won't regret having a hardy set of gloves on hand. 

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