Tailgaters and campers are two breeds of the same species. We all love barbecue, beer, and yard games. Load your stuff in the car, pick up all your best friends, pop up a chair around the grill or fire, and enjoy some good laughs and good food. What`s not to love?
There is an incredible amount of tailgating gear on the market. But that gear can also be used when you go camping. If you`re looking for a few new items for this season`s parties and your upcoming fall camping trips, we`ve got a list of the most useful items for both activities.
So cheer on your team from the stadium parking lot, a backyard barbecue, or your campsite. And do it in style, in comfort, and in the camping spirit with this list of the best tailgating gear out there.
Our Top Picks
Power Station: Goal Zero Yeti 200x Portable Power Station
Solar Charger: Goal Zero Nomad 50 Solar Panel
Charcoal Grill: Weber Jumbo Joe Portable Charcoal Grill
Gas Grill: Masterbuilt Table Top Gas Grill
Trash Can: Collapsible 33 Gallon Trash Can
Chairs: GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Chair
Canopy: Rawlings NFL Tailgate Canopy
Cooler: Coleman 70 Quart Extreme Cooler
Portable Growler: 64 oz Stainless Steel Beer Growler
Cornhole: GoSports Solid Wood Premium Cornhole Set
Beer Pong: GoPong 8-Foot Portable Beer Pong Tailgating Set
Tailgating Gear: Food
Food and drink are the heart of any good tailgating party. Now you can hold your food, your drink, and keep up your yard game skills at the same time when you add Great Plates to your tailgating gear. No table required. This uniquely engineered plate has a cup holder built in. They come in all different colors and the material is really durable. It fits cups, bottles, and cans in different sizes. And why not protect the environment while you’re bleeding your team’s colors? These plates are reusable so you can forget the paper plates.
Stuffed Burger Press
Why slap your cheese on top when you could have it melt out of the middle with every bite? That’s where the burger press comes in. Meat, stuffing, meat, press. This burger press makes perfectly round, well held together burgers. And you can stuff your favorite ingredients (cheese, bacon, onions, etc) inside to make the lava cake of burgers. It is easy to clean and dishwasher safe. And when you purchase it, you get a free e-book of delicious stuffed burger recipes.
Alpha Grillers Heavy Duty Grill Set
Every grill master needs his or her arsenal of tailgating gear. And this set has it all: a spatula, tongs, scraper, knife, basting brush, meat fork, 3 large skewers and 3 small skewers. All the pieces are made of stainless steel so you don’t have to worry about them rusting. And each piece has a loop so you can hang them for easy access right next to your grill. When you’re all done with them you can tuck them away in their carrying case to keep them from getting banged up.
Heat Resistant BBQ Gloves
Let’s hope you never get anywhere near 932 degrees F, but if you do, these gloves will still protect your hands. They are made of aramid fiber. What does that mean? Well according to Wikipedia, aramid is used in “…aerospace and military applications, for ballistic-rated body armor fabric and ballistic composites.” It’s the same material they use in firefighter’s outfits. Yea, they’re pretty strong. Add these to your tailgating accessory kit and no more worrying about grill flare-ups or popping grease.
Masterbuilt Table Top Gas Grill
The advantage of a gas grill is the same at home as in the stadium parking lot. A cleaner grilling experience and less time standing between you and your food. But before you try loading your Weber Genesis in your truck bed along with your other tailgating gear, try this tabletop propane grill. All the convenience of your home grill without the heft. Folding legs, locking hood, carrying handle and 305 sq inches of cooking space. It’s made of stainless steel, so rust won’t be a problem. And it works with the same small propane canisters you use with your camping stove.
Weber Jumbo Joe Portable Charcoal Grill
Maybe you’re old-school, or maybe game day just isn’t the same without that smokey charcoal smell when you’re tailgating. Whatever your reason, we’ve got your charcoal grill needs covered with this mini Weber. It has an 18.5″-diameter cooking grate to hold all your burgers, dogs, and goodies. It also has a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, aluminum dampers, and an ash catcher. This grill is the perfect size to sit on a tabletop or on the ground for the perfect arms reach from a camp chair.
Flame King Trailer Mounted BBQ Gas Grill
Ready to take your grilling game to the next level? This beautiful piece of tailgating gear connects directly to your truck hitch for a convenient set up when your buddy forgets the table. Not interested in hooking it to the tailgate? This grill is versatile and works great right on a table too.
Insulated Travel Bag for Slow Cookers
Grilling isn’t the only way to fill your tummy when tailgating. So what do you do when you’ve got your BBQ pulled pork all bubbly in the crockpot and no way to get it to the game? This thermal slow cooker cover makes a great tailgating accessory that will keep your fall-off-the-bone ribs warm and your slow cooker safe on your way to the party. The inner straps keep the pot in place to avoid spills. And the nylon straps make even the bulkiest cooker easy to carry.
Tailgating Gear: Cleanup
Portable Trash Can
Are you familiar with this scene: the floppy trash bag blowing around in the wind? It’s loosely secured to a makeshift hook that doesn’t hold or is anchored to a table by a beer can. The opening is stretched like a button hole so you have to manhandle it to get anything in and the outside is covered in an unidentifiable stinky liquid.
It’s time to invest in the portable, pop-up trash can. This extra-large version will keep the bag top open and prevent the bottom from rubbing on pavement and rocks and breaking open. It is super light, comes with a little carry case, and easily folds and unfolds for quick set up and clean up. Add two of these to your tailgating gear so you can use one for trash and the other for recycling.
Trash Bag Holder
Another option to keep trash where it belongs is this bag holder. It attaches to table edges, grill shelves, bleachers, deck railings, campers. Basically anywhere. It fits a standard 13 inch trash bag and keeps it up off the ground. No more tipping over or blowing away. It’s lightweight and you don’t need any tools to set it up. If this holder is anything, it is versatile.
Portable Camp Sink
When you go to events (like stadium games) you’ll often see those neat foot pump sinks outside theporta-johns. Well, why not have your own right at your truck. BBQ or butter fingers? Need to rinse off some plates or clean up the utensils? This sink will make the perfect addition to your tailgating gear and will take the hassle out of dirty hands and dishes. The simple design means you just need a few painter’s buckets and some water and you can set it up anywhere. It even has a built in soap dispenser holder so you don’t have to fumble for suds.
If you’re trying to avoid sending a bunch of paper plates to the local landfill after your next tailgating party, you will probably invest in some reusable plates and utensils. But instead of hauling home a bunch of stinky, grimy, used dishes, get them all cleaned up before you pack up. This double wash basin from Coleman makes doing dishes super simple when you’re tailgating. It has two sides to keep your soapy water and clean water separate. It folds up for easy storage and has three nylon handles for carrying. You’ll use much less water than if you were constantly running a spigot. In fact, wash them up in your basin and then give them one more rinse with your foot pump sink!
Tailgating Gear: Furniture
Portable Picnic Table
Folding chairs have their place in your tailgating gear, but sometimes you want to be right up at the table, elbow to elbow with your best bud. This all-in-one fold-out portable picnic table makes for an easy set up of both your chairs and your table. It comes in at 33″ wide and 26″ high giving you plenty of space for food, drinks, and maybe even some cards and chips. It is made of high-strength aluminum alloy and varnished wood slats. It folds up neatly into itself and comes with a protective carrying case to keep it looking great season after season.
Folding Rocking Chair
These foldable rockers are my personal favorite when it comes to outdoor chair options. Take them to the stadium, the campsite or your kid’s soccer game and watch your friend’s drool while you rock in comfort. They sit flat and use pistons to rock so you don’t have to worry about being on slightly uneven surfaces. You can fold them up with just one hand using the handle on the seat. A separate carrying handle keeps them from dragging on the ground or awkwardly banging your thighs. They are made of very durable material that dries incredibly quickly.
The hitch hammock is exactly what it sounds like. It is a two-chair hammock stand that attaches directly to the hitch of your truck. You’ll definitely get some looks from other tailgaters jealous of your sick tailgating gear. And those looks will be pure envy. While some folks might kid around, seriously folks, only use these when parked. The seats even come with foot rests to help you kick back.
Canopy and Canopy Weights
Nothing ruins a cozy fall tailgate party like sun glare or a downpour. A canopy is a necessity when it comes to enjoying some leisure time outside in unpredictable weather. But there are so many to choose from! The Coleman Instant Canopy gives others a run for their money for a few reasons.
The vent at the top may look decorative but it is actually letting heat out. It also helps to let wind up and through the top, so there is less chance it will blow over into your neighbor’s parking space. At 13 x 13 feet, it offers a ton of shade so you can get all your coolers, food, tables and chairs easily underneath. The feature that is really a stand out is the edges come past the legs. This means that when it rains you’ll have a few more inches of space between you and the pools of water, which makes a big difference when you’ve got a big group.
And while that top vent works pretty well to keep your canopy from turning into a parasail, it’s always best to tie it down with some weights on those blustery fall days. These weights add up to 40 lbs keeping your canopy secure. They work well on a variety of tents, canopies, and umbrellas. And best of all, they are made from recycled materials. Go Earth!
Tailgating Gear: Something to Drink
A one-handed bottle opener. This nifty pocket-sized gadget helps you easily open a brewski with one hand. It even has a magnet that will hold onto your bottle cap so you’re not left fumbling. If you’re into saving caps for DIY projects at home, this little opener doesn’t bend or dent the metal. It’s pretty affordable too, making it a great gift for your fellow tailgate compadres.
48-Can Cooler Bag
There are plenty of fancy coolers with nasty price tags that will keep your 12 beers cold for 3 days. But is that really what you’re looking for when tailgaiting? This soft cooler will keep your brews cold all day… all 48 of them! So there’s plenty to go around. And since it is a soft cooler it is easier to transport.
Camping Enthusiast Beer Koozies
We had to have at least one shout-out to our camping roots. Bring your camper’s pride to the game with these neoprene, insulated beer can koozies.
Keep your beers super chilly from the first fizz to the last gulp with these stainless, vacuum insulated can koozies from Thermos. The bottom even has a silicon layer to prevent it from slipping on smooth surfaces. This pack comes with four, so you can share with your friends, or change the shade based on your game time emotions.
Now, these won’t do so well if you’re surrounded by asphalt. But if you’re backyard tailgaiting or find yourself near a grassy or sandy area, these work wonders. Playing a yard game, grilling, or need a place to keep your beer during a touchdown celebration? These will hold your beer can, Solo cup, water bottle, or any other drinking apparatus while you join in the festivities.
Stainless Steel Beer Growler
Things can get a little rowdy when you’re tailgaiting properly. This simple stainless steel growler is a great way to bring your beer to the game, keep it icy cold, and not have to worry about caps, glass, and spills. It holds a whopping 64 oz and the swing top keeps it sealed up and safe from spills.
Tailgating Gear: Electronics
What’s a party without some tunes? If you’re waiting for the game to start or watching the crowds filter out of the lot, this speaker will keep the bass going. This speaker was made for outdoor parties with 360 degrees of sound. It even has an “outdoor mode” so it can adapt to an open-air setting. But probably the best part about this speaker is Heist Mode. Up to 5 folks can connect through Bluetooth at a time so you can take turns playing DJ till kickoff.
Portable DISH Antenna
While there is no super simple way to watch the game right from the parking lot (or campsite), there are some new options. The DISH Tailgater portable antenna is one of them. If you have DISH Network service, you can hook up this antenna and receiver package wherever you are. You can either add it to your current service or choose to do pay-as-you-go.
DIRECTV Satellite Dish and Tripod
Oh DIRECTV subscribers, we haven’t forgotten about you. But your system is just a bit more complicated. Because you need a whole portable satellite dish. The good news is, they have a whole kit that comes with a tripod. Created with RVer’s in-mind, it works just as well for folks who need some HD game time away from home. Again you have to be a Direct TV subscriber, and if you want games anywhere, that means NFL Ticket too.
Now that you’re all set up with your awesome HD service, you’ll need a screen to watch it on. You could rig up an elaborate way to keep your normal desktop screen in enough shade that you can see the plays. Or you could try this TV that has been specifically designed to be used outdoors. It’s weatherproof and delivers a gorgeous HD picture even on bright days. And don’t think you’re shelling out this kind of dough for 16 games a year. In addition to being a mainstay in your tailgating gear arsenal this TV can be used on your patio, sun porch, and camping too.
TV Padded Carrying Case
If you’re bringing your TV along for the ride you will want to make sure it is well-protected. After all, it will be piled in with coolers, yard games, grills, and folding chairs. This padded carrying case makes it much easier to handle and also keeps it from getting bumped and dinged on the way.
Tailgating Games to Keep You Entertained
When it comes to yard games, Kan Jam might be one of the newest on the market. But it is quickly growing in popularity. There are two teams, and partners face off on opposite sides. Your partner throws the frisbee toward your can and you slam it down into the can as it reaches you. Alternatively your teammate could be a quick learner and throw the frisbee through the slot in the can, automatically winning the game.
Another relatively new yard game to add to your tailgating accessories, this one features two poles with cans on the top separated by about 20-30 feet. Teams of two players join each other and take turns throwing the frisbee in an attempt to knock the can off the other team’s pole. The other team can then respond by catching the frisbee and can (no points for the throwing team), or one or the other (2 or 1 point for the opposing team), or to fall in a heap with nothing to show for their efforts (3 points for the others).
And oldie-but-goodie, cornhole is the ultimate tailgating game and has made a recent comeback at backyard barbecues. But it’s kind of hard to tote around two heavy wooden boxes. Enter – portable cornhole. Same great game in an easy to pack, super light little package.
Portable Beer Pong Table
Whether you play with beer or water, pong has become a classic party pastime. And what better place to enjoy it than at a parking lot tailgate party? This is the slightly classier version of the table you had in the basement of your college apartment. The cups sit nicely in little pockets so there is no slipping and spillage. The table conveniently folds up neatly into a box with an easy-carry handle.
Now that you’ve upped your tailgating game, let’s update your camping gear too. Check out our post on Luxury Camping Gear and be the envy of the campground. Just getting started camping and need the basics? Read our Complete Guide to Buying a Sleeping Bag and our Complete Guide to Buying a Tent to get started with the essentials.