Tailgating Checklist

Who Doesn’t Love Tailgating?

Football games are always the biggest thing in a hometown, and give you something to root for as you go through your day.

It’s the best part about gameday

Sure, watching the game is fun and all… but there are some of us that enjoy tailgating & partying more than the game itself!

But it can be a lot of work!

Few and far between as they feel, those amazing game days tend to creep up on you very easily, so you want to be sure you’re prepared for the madness of running through the store on the day before the big game. 

History of Tailgating

Tailgating began long before the creation of America, but according to Yale alumni and professor Thomas Bergin, the first instance of American tailgating happened in the year 1906. 

What better distraction?

It likely provided a welcome distraction from the race wars taking place at the time prior to the first World War, and it was probably very exciting to be tailgating for the first time when the World Series ended with both football teams in the city of Chicago went head to head only for one to come out for the win!

Ivy League Tailgating 

However, professor Bergin also believed that the Ivy League was the first place that the modern concept of tailgating took place – talk about trendsetting for the Ivy Leagues, right?  

Tailgating Statistics

But did you know, when shopping for a big tailgate, about 40% of couples will go together but nearly 30% of husbands will go by themselves? 

And for each football season, just over 40% of people will spend more than $500 on food and supplies for their own tailgate?

Tools for the Tailgate

But that begs the question: what “food and supplies” do you need for tailgating?  


Well, of course you’ve gotta have some food.

Here are some classic must-have tailgate foods.

Grill food

What tailgate is complete without some burgers & hotdogs? Here’s some suggestions for grilling.

  • Burgers
  • Hotdogs
  • Wings
  • Bratwurst
Must have condiments
  • Ketchup
  • Lettuce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Pickles
  • Relish
  • Tomato
  • Cheese

Chips & dip

No tailgate meal is complete without a big bag of chips…or three or four, for the sake of variety.

Don’t forget the dip!

Some other suggestions

  • Boiled peanuts
  • Baked beans


You’re going to want to pick up tons of beer or whatever else alcoholic beverage you enjoy (white claws are acceptable).


  • Beer
  • Hard seltzers
  • Vodka


  • Water
  • Gatorade & other sports drinks
  • Soda & Juice for mixers

Solo Cups or Bust

Regardless of what your preferred alcoholic drink is, you’re going to want some classic red solo cups! Not only are they simple & not going to shatter glass everywhere, they’re also the best cups for playing any type of drinking game. 

Trust me, generic Solo Cups suck for drinking games (and they’re so easy to tip over!). Get the real deal unless you enjoy your drinks tipping over at the slightest gust of wind.

Styrofoam sucks

In my experience, the styrofoam cups make my drinks taste a little weird, so I tend to stay away from those.

Something to consider when choosing a spot to set up your tailgate

It also helps if you station your tailgate around a public park or the bathroom area of the stadium for the sake of all the children who enjoyed their drinks. 

Plus, this way, you don’t have to have a trash can, as those are always around in public areas! 


  • Spoons – So Many Spoons
  • Forks
  • Knives (Plastic Butter knives are better, in this case, as a disposable alternative)
  • A Spatula for Flipping
  • Ice!
  • Don’t forget the Napkins, too!

And all on a plate or two for each of the things you want to use as a topping in addition to the plate the burgers and hot dogs are going to be on straight off the grill. 

From there, just pile your buns high on a plastic platter and you’ll have people clamoring around you and praising your skill with the grill! 

Now that you’ve got the essentials

Now, the next question is what “supplies” you could possibly need for a tailgate? Well, something to keep your drinks and condiments cool, for one: 

A cooler

  • One for the uncooked meats and
  • Another for the sodas, nestled in the ice to keep it nice and cool for later in the day!
  • Finally, you can have a third one for keeping your condiments all in one place.

But then you have to remember that the heat of the day on the big game can really overheat the metal at the back of your truck, and you’ll also need some extra seating for the stragglers that drop by for a bit. 

So one of the other supplies you should remember to buy is: 


Tailgating can get messy, especially with all the drinking & cooking going on.

You’re definitely going to want some towels & paper towels to clean up any messes you might make in your truck.


Nobody tailgates for an hour or two– it’s an all day kinda thing!

You’re definitely going to want to have a few chairs (ideally with cupholders!) laying around for you and your friends to use.

Good Luck Tailgating!

By going out and shopping with these things in mind, you can make your tailgate a step above the rest and have the chance to show off your prowess and organization skills no matter how many friends come to take part in your epic tailgate life! 

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