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Unique Tailgating Essentials You’ll Love

Planning a picnic or tailgate party? We’re sharing our “must-have” tailgating essentials that make any outdoor meal amazing when you’re on the go.

One of our favorite fall activities is going to college football games at our kids’ schools.

We’ve both got season tickets and go to as many of the games as we possibly can.

Before the games, we love setting up amazing tailgates to feed our students and their friends.

Plus, since we park in the same lot each game we’re making new friends too!

Over the years, we’ve gotten better and better at making our tailgate spreads memorable.

We’ve learned that getting ready for a tailgate is so much easier when you make a tailgate bag packed and ready with all the essentials.

If you’re heading to a morning tailgate, be sure to check out our favorite ideas for a breakfast tailgate for some delicious recipes!

For mid-day and evening games, it’s always fun to whip up a batch of this crowd-pleasing snack mix to share with everyone.

It might not be healthy, but most of our fellow tailgaters don’t mind.

Now that we tailgate so frequently, we’ve discovered some gear that makes the parking lot party so much more enjoyable.

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Our Favorite Tailgating Essentials

Let’s get started with our favorite tailgate items to prepare, transport, and serve up the food.

22-inch Blackstone Griddle with Stand

Man grilling bacon on a Blackstone griddle under a popup canopy at a tailgate.

Our newest favorite for tailgates is hands down this Blackstone Griddle!

Talk about the perfect grill for a breakfast tailgate!

No more taking pans and frying up 4-6 slices of bacon at a time on a grill with uneven heat.

Now we can fry a whole pound of bacon all at once!

We’ve made pancakes, hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, and French toast for breakfast tailgates.

And burgers, quesadillas, and even hibachi fried rice for lunch and dinner tailgates!

Seriously, it’s our favorite thing to bring to our tailgates. We shared all our favorite Blackstone accessories too.

Insulated Cooler for Hot Food

Two men unloading gear from the back of a mini van for a tailgate party.

One of the questions we get most often about our tailgating essentials is how to keep hot food hot when you bring it from home.

We’ve discovered that using an insulated cooler for transporting hot food works perfectly!

So we bring one cooler to keep things cold, and another to keep things hot.

Simply cook the food before you leave, then stack the containers inside the insulated cooler.

Cookie sheets do a great job of separating the casserole dishes.

Anne was able to bring an entire Easter dinner to a tailgate using this hack: spiral ham, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, Southern-style green beans, and homemade biscuits.

The food is always still nice and hot when we unpack it 2-1/2 hours after loading it up.

If you need it to stay hot even longer, consider heating up bricks, then wrapping them in aluminum foil to keep on the bottom of the cooler.

We also love our VT printed collapsible trashcan for tailgating! but you can get a simple black one from Amazon that does the same thing.

You can find all kinds of tailgating logo gear for your favorite team here!

Champagne and Prosecco Bottle Stopper

Two women standing in front of a table at a tailgate party

When we go to a morning tailgate, we love setting up a make-your-own mimosa station!

I don’t have a picture of this stopper in action, but it’s the best one I’ve ever tried.

It keeps your champagne or prosecco nice and bubbly and has a latch that holds it onto the bottle really securely.

You can serve up your mimosas in these fun reusable stemmed plastic cups too.

If your crew prefers sodas or beer, keep them cold with insulated holders like these neoprene ones or these stainless steel ones.

How to Serve Food in Style at a Tailgate

Table covered with orange plaid table cloth displaying bags of snacks, platters of cookies, and bowls of food at a tailgate picnic in a parking lot

There are a few things we love to use when it comes to serving up our food at a tailgate.

The first thing is pretty obvious: folding tables!

This is our favorite folding 6-foot table because it folds in half for easier loading.

We always cover our tables with either a tablecloth or a fitted table cover like these from Amazon.

When it’s still hot out and the bugs are too, these popup mesh food covers are a great way to keep the bugs out of your food while still seeing what you’re serving.

If you need to keep a lot of food cold but want to have it sitting on a table, just add ice to these inflatable servers and you’re ready to go!

We love this warming tray to keep hot food hot too. This portable power station is another essential so you can plug things in!

Save plastic trays when you get them from the grocery store because they’re perfect for tailgating. You can also get some fun football-themed serving ware from Amazon or party stores.

We collect assorted baskets from thrift stores to make our tailgate display look a little pretty.

The Best Portable Tailgate Game

Two young men playing BulziBuckets at a college football tailgate.

Everyone’s heard of corn hole at tailgates, but let’s face it, those corn hole boards take up a lot of room!

And they’re really heavy.

This is why Anne’s family loves bringing BulziBuckets to their tailgates!

It’s lightweight, compact, and one of the few semi-athletic activities Anne is a little good at playing… LOL

AnnMarie and her husband might not love it as much as Anne and Kevin!

Portable Tabletop Firepit

This might be one of our biggest conversation starters at a tailgate!

Our portable tabletop firepit is fueled by 91% isopropyl alcohol and is super fun for making s’mores.

We love inviting other tailgaters over to roast marshmallows with us!

In fact, we take this firepit with us to lots of places, including our mountain trip a few weeks ago.

How to Stay Comfortable at a Tailgate

When tailgating season starts, it’s often really hot out, so a pop-up canopy provides some much-needed shade.

If it’s raining sideways, or if it’s cold out, these side walls for the pop-up canopies are life savers!

Something else that we love during hot weather is these giant battery-powered fans from Ryobi that use rechargeable batteries.

By the end of football season, tailgates can be downright frigid. These portable heaters that attach to propane tanks are amazing!

Even though we’re often standing, walking around, or playing games, it’s also nice to have somewhere to sit down. We always bring a bunch of folding camp chairs with us.

Do you have any favorites for tailgating we should add to our stash?

We’d love to hear about it….just leave a comment below!

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Collage of Simply2Moms favorite tailgating products.

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