5 Life Hacks for Stress-Free Tailgating
Tailgating is fun – In fact, I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who disagrees. After all, 80 percent of the U.S. population tailgates at least once a year, with many across the country participating nearly every weekend. John Sherry, a University of Notre Dame marketing professor and cultural anthropologist who conducted a two-year study of college tailgating, says, “The idea of getting out of your house and feasting and drinking somewhere else is a pretty old tradition. People eat and drink and build up community in the process. It’s one last blowout before we hunker down for winter.”
And a blowout it is! But despite the friendly faces, great food, and enthusiasm of game day, that “blowout” is also really hard work – after all it is a party, and parties don’t throw themselves. It can be stressful, draining, and a bit overwhelming if you’re not prepared.
Avid tailgaters will tell you that the keys to stress-free tailgating are advanced planning, organization, and coordination. To help you make the most of game day and ensure you’re not worn out before the game even starts, we’ve pulled together five great tailgating life hacks to ensure a smooth and enjoyable tailgating experience.
- Even the most devoted tailgaters will forget something on occasion. If you don’t already have one, I suggest creating a checklist to be sure nothing is left behind. You can find hundreds of templates online with a simple Google search for “tailgating check list” (here’s a sample from simpletailgating.com). Once you find a list, customize it to meet your specific needs. Not only will it help you pack your rig before heading to the stadium, but you can use it to be sure everything makes it home safely at the end of the day. *Bonus life hack: Laminate your list to protect it from BBQ sauce, beer, rain, or tears (if your team is on a losing streak).
- If you’re in charge of the party, take time the week before to plan your menu, shopping list, and job assignments. That’s right – job assignments! While this is a party and should be loads of fun, there’s nothing wrong with recruiting your friends to help out. After all, if they want to eat your food, drink your beer and hang out at your tailgate, they can pitch in too. Assigning friends to help cook, clean, set up, tear down, and monitor beverage, ice and/or condiment levels will help alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy the tailgate experience along with everyone else.
- Keep the essentials packed and ready to go. For instance, a toolbox is a convenient way to organize and store smaller items that you know you’ll need at every single tailgate party. Keep utensils (bottle openers, tongs, cutlery, can opener, etc.) in one drawer, while storing first aid supplies (Band-Aids, pain reliever, sunscreen, etc.) or favorite spices and seasonings in another. For larger items, you can use bins (I recommend clear ones so you can see inside easily without having to take the lid off) to store kitchen items such as dishes, aluminum foil, soap, and paper towels, as well as games, blankets, seat cushions, and more. Having the necessities packed and ready to go each weekend will save so much time, you just may have a shot at landing the best parking spot at the stadium!
- Bring extra! No matter what it is, bring more than you think you’ll need: ice, beverages, food, chairs, blankets, etc. This will help avoid a flurry of phone calls when you realize you’re almost out of hamburger buns or (gasp!) beer. And since half the fun of tailgating is making new friends, having extra to share with your tailgating neighbors and fellow fans is a bonus!
- So how do you get all of this stuff to the stadium?
Invest in a StowAway Cargo Carrier, of course! Mounted directly into your vehicle’s trailer hitch, StowAway carriers provide easy, ground-level access to your gear. Quickly and easily organize and transport all of your tailgating essentials, especially those bulky items like canopies, chairs, and even your cornhole boards or ladder golf. With either 12.5 or 16 cubic feet of storage space, a StowAway Cargo Carrier nearly doubles the average SUV’s functional carrying capacity – you’ll wonder how you ever tailgated without it!
And for those who really want to take their tailgating to the next level, check out the StowAway Hitch Grill Station that features a Cuisinart gas grill. The SwingAway frame pivots and locks at 90° to create a safe, convenient, and easily organized kitchen/grilling space, complete with a jumbo-sized (25.5” x 18.5”) commercial-grade cutting board. And the rack provides ample room for hauling coolers and other gear too.
Yes, tailgating is hard work… But with a little advanced planning and these life hacks, it can also be one of the most enjoyable, stress-free ways to spend a weekend this fall. You’re welcome! 🙂