Summer coming to an end only means one thing – it’s time for college football. Every year around this time, I wonder how I lived the other seven months without it. The return of my favorite sport also means the return of tailgating, which in the South is a sport for the fans. As a girl who has spent most of her fall Saturday’s on Rocky Top since birth, I’ve done a lot of tailgating in my life. Being a Tennessee Vol fan is not always easy, especially in recent years. One thing I've learned though, is that even if your team doesn’t win the game, you can always win the tailgate.
Whether you’re new to the game or a tailgating veteran, here are some basic tailgating tips that you may not have thought of before:
1. Freezing water bottles to substitute for ice in the coolers. They will keep everything cold while they are frozen, and once thawed they can serve as (much needed) hydration to those who might need it.
2. Finger foods are a must with a large crowd. Not everyone wants to have to bother with a plate and utensils, especially when they are busy talking or watching football.
3. Have several bottles of hand sanitizer for the table. This is a must for any situation that includes finger foods. Not to mention, for many tailgaters the closest bathroom option is porta potties. Enough said.
4. You can never have too many trash bags. It’s amazing (and slightly sad) how much trash a tailgate can produce. Often times, you end up with more than you actually brought due to people passing by. Always be prepared for the trash so you don’t leave the area polluted.
5. Bring a large plastic tub to take home any dirty dishes. Depending on your tailgate menu, you will most likely have dishes or utensils you want to take back home at the end of the day. Having a large tub on hand will make it easier to transport them when they are dirty.
6. A helium balloon can serve as a great guide. Not only will it make your tent more festive, but if your tailgate is in an area packed full of tents, then tying a helium balloon to yours will help people find you.
7. Always plan for more people. This is a good rule of thumb, because when it’s Gameday, you just never know who might show up.
8. Pack the cooler carefully. One of the most important components of a tailgate is the cooler. Using a little strategy while packing it can make your tailgate even better. The graphic below is a helpful guide to a perfectly packed cooler.
Image source: Buzzfeed