Can you hear that? That snip? That’s the sound of Bill Bellichik cutting off the final sleeve of his game day sweatshirt, which only means one thing: Football season is finally here. Next weekend, fans across the country will rekindle their love affair, not only with their favorite college or pro teams, but with their favorite fall tradition: grilling meat outside a stadium. It’s tailgate time, which means it’s time to wheel out the best tailgating gear.
And while we can’t do anything to prevent your team’s starting QB from blowing his ACL on the first drive, we can help make sure your big-game day cookout goes off without a hitch. To do that, we’ve rounded up the most heavy-duty, versatile, and downright fun tailgating gear out there. From a high-octane tabletop grill and a cooler you can drop from the upper deck, to a pigskin variation on cornhole and a smart football that clocks throwing speeds, here’s gear to get your game-day party season started with a big fat W.
The cast iron Q1200 packs the guts of a full-sized gas grill in a transportable tabletop package. Light the Q1200 with a built-in battery-operated igniter and its 8500 BTU burner throws even heat across the mmedium-sizedgrilling surface. An on-lid thermometer displays temperature, while two handy side tables hold a tray of grillables, flipper, tongs, and hydration for the chef. The 30-pound grill runs off disposable LP cylinders and the aluminum body means it can take a few dings while you’re porting it from tailgate to tailgate.
Sure, tossing the old pigskin around the parking lot is fun while you wait for the dogs to grill. Even more fun: competing with your drunk buddies and/or kids to see who can throw the most accurate spiral. Inside Wilson’s X smart football is tech that connects to your phone via Bluetooth and records each throw’s speed, spin rate, and spiral accuracy. The app also helps users track progress and play real-meets-virtual football games. It’s
More of a portable kitchen than just another cooler, the Otterbox weekender not only keeps 36 beer cans (or 48 juice boxes!) plus ice cold for up to 14 days, but it also has customizable internal storage with internal divides and a dry storage tray separate meat from veggies and drinks from food. Outside, tracks let you mount accessories, including bottle opener, double cup holder, side table and more. As with all things Otterbox, the cooler is ultra rugged, with a waterproof seal and heavy duty construction that can survive all the dings it’s going to take on road trips to away games. Rubberized feet and tie down strap cutouts keep it from slipping and sliding.
This soon-to-be tailgating classic (maybe?) combines cornhole, football, and a weird folding camp chair with an attached goal post and basketball net. Game action is simple: Players take turns throwing a football at the opposing chair in an attempt to score a basket ⏤ although if it goes in, it’s actually a touchdown. You can also kick field goals and extra points, and the chairs double as either, well, chairs or a comfortable toilet. Come on, you know it looks like that.
And speaking of chairs, bringing them to the game eats up valuable trunk space, especially if you’re hauling one per child. Instead, invest in a portable bench. This heavy duty foldout can sit six, 250-pound people. Better still, you can take it to your kid’s soccer game and set it up alongside your Under the Weather Pod.
Yeti Colster Beer Koozie
While koozies are normally an inexpensive piece of lowtech to keep your suds cold, Yeti takes the concept to another level. Their $25 Colster is a stainless-steel container with double vacuum-insulated walls that bear-hugs your cans or bottles and keeps your drinks cold long after you’ve actually finished the beer inside. They also come emblazoned with college logos so you can show your team some love one sip at a time.
Your kids may not know the difference between a corner and a quarterback, but wearing one of these ridiculous beard hats to game should add to their level of fun. The hats come in varying beard lengths and in the colors of every NFL team. Even better, they’re built for warmth. So not only will Junior look like NFL legend Brett Keisel, but he won’t want to leave the game early because he’s cold either.