What to Bring to a Tailgate

If you or any of your friends go to a college or university with a big sports team, you will end up at a tailgate. Knowing what to bring to a tailgate is essential for having a great day.

There is nothing better than waking up the morning before a big football game and spending hours hanging out with your friends and getting ready for an awesome day. Below are the 15 most important things to bring to a tailgate.


Having alcohol available is a crucial part of the tailgate. Everyone wants to pregame before going to the stadium. This can be beer, wine, hard alcohol, and any other liquids that will get you ready for hours of standing around watching sports. You should also have water, coffee, or hot chocolate available if it is going to be cold or hot out.

Cooler or Bucket

Having a container that you can fill with ice is another crucial item, especially if it is going to be hot outside. There is nothing worse than drinking a warm alcoholic beverage when you are sweating outside in the hot sun. You can get creative and make a custom cooler or you can buy one from the store. My favorite cooler is the YETI Tundra 45 , even though it is expensive.

If you want to get a quality cooler without breaking the bank, you can look into the Igloo Polar Cooler. You can customize the cooler by sanding it down and then painting it with your school’s logo and any other designs that you want. 


Having food at your tailgate is going to save you from having to buy food inside the stadium and will also keep your energy levels up while you’re outside for hours. The preferred food for tailgates are: burgers, hot dogs, chips, dip, wings, and pulled pork.

Awesome food paired with tasty drinks will make your pregame experience some much better for everyone involved.


In order to cook all of the food that you will serve to your friends you need a portable grill. Finding one that is easy to move and is large enough to cook for a lot of people is key.

The best grill that I found is the Coleman RoadTrip LXE grill. It runs on propane and has wheels and a strong handle that allows it to be rolled to your car or closest storage spot before going to the game. Not having to deal with a coal fire grill is a major plus on game day.

Propane and Propane Adapter

If you are going to have a grill for your college tailgate you’re also going to need propane and an adapter. Most camping and outdoor stores sell propane, but you can buy a 4 pack from Coleman and a Coleman adapter.

Always make sure that you have enough propane and that the adapter does not have any leaks in it. Running out or not being able to start the grill can be a huge problem if you can’t get to a store to find replacements.


Make sure that you buy a ton of cups before going to the tailgate. Between games, people walking away, and cups being dropped, you can go through hundreds of cups in a day. You local grocery store should have a 500 pack for a few bucks, or you can buy them here.


It can be very easy to forget some of the small stuff when you are excited for an awesome day with your friends and family. Do not forget to grab plates, forks, knives, spoons, ketchup, and mustard. If you do end up forgetting something there is a good chance the group next to you didn’t, but try to avoid it.

Pack all of this in one big bag the day before so that you do not forget to bring it on gameday.

Proper Clothing

If you are not prepared for the weather you could have an awful day. Make sure you check to see what the weather will be like before you leave your dorm, apartment, or house. Wear a hat that covers your face and neck if it is warm out and make sure you have warm clothes and hand warmers if it is cold/snowing.

You should also make sure that you wear comfortable shoes. A pair of old sneakers can get dirty and protect your feet.

If it is going to rain you need to bring a poncho, waterproof shoes, paper towels, and garbage bags. You can use the paper towels to wipe off the seats that you will be sitting in when you are in the stadium and garbage bags underneath you so your pants do not get wet. Staying dry is critical.

Something to sit on

Remember to bring something to sit on. This can be your cooler, a tailgate, or an actual chair. Having to stand for hours can be rough and you do not want to end up on the ground. Amazon has a cheap camping chair  that will help you get off your feet.


This is one of my favorite parts of a tailgate. Between corn hole, Kan Jam, and just throwing around a football, you can spend hours playing without moving too much. A lot of people build custom corn hole sets and paint them in their school colors, but you can get them from GoSport and then paint them or leave them as they are. 

You can also bring a folding table to play drinking games. There are a ton of awesome games that you can play with your whole group of friends. Make sure you have enough ping pong balls and die.


If you are going to be in the sun for more than a few minutes make sure you bring sunscreen! Dehydration is a serious risk that could cause an emergency trip to the hospital. The combination of alcohol and a hot day is dangerous and you need to be prepared.

Trash Bags

You do not want to be the group of people who leave all of their trash on the ground and make everyone who is working there dislike you. By hanging garbage bags from the back of a tailgate or table you can make cleaning up easy for everyone.

Jumper Cables

If someone is the designated driver and brings their car to the tailgate make sure that they have jumper cables. There is nothing worse than coming back to the car after a long day and not being able to get it started. 

I personally have a car jumper that fits in my glove box that has saved me two times since I got it. It has jumper cables, USB ports, and a 12 volt outlet. This is definitely the best tool that I keep in my truck and recommend it to everyone!


Music is another key factor for an amazing tailgate. If you do not want to risk a car battery dying you should bring a large portable speaker that will be loud enough for everyone to hear. If you or one of your friends does not have one you can get a Sony Bluetooth Speaker.

We had 2 of these speakers that were used in different houses for each party and they never had any issues. They have a ton of bass in them and lasted through each party that we had.

Your Tickets

The worst feeling is when you are walking through security and reach into your pocket and realize your ticket is sitting on your kitchen counter next to all of the dishes piling up in the sink. Before you leave the house check to make sure everyone has their tickets, wallets, phones, and all of the items mentioned above. This extra minute of checking can save you hours of headache.

Being well prepared for your tailgate will save you a lot of stress on gameday. Make sure you know what to bring to a tailgate so you can have a safe and fun day at the stadium!

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