From water to beer, sweet tea to soda, the best way to keep your cool while partying before the big game is with plenty of drinks.
When planning a tailgate, keep in mind that variety is the spice of life, and most of your tailgating guests will enjoy having options.
First off, remember when packing the cooler, it is only as heavy as what you put in it. If it doesn’t have wheels or a handle, make sure it is light enough to lug across campus.
Obviously, one of the top items on your list of drinks should be water. Try freezing it the night before to act as an ice pack to keep your coleslaw crisp, and take it out and put it in the sun for fresh ice water.
Next to water, the most popular refreshment for game day is an ice-cold beer. Avoid dangerous situations by leaving the glass bottles at home. Instead, stick with canned brews, and don’t forget your favorite koozie.
If your tailgating group prefers liquor, choose something a majority of people in your group will enjoy.
By setting up a bar table, you can keep everything organized and impress your friends, as well as prevent accidents and spills.
Also, remember to keep a designated driver on hand for post-game activities.
For a non-alcoholic option, double up on the amount of soda for people to drink by itself or to use as a mixer.
Good food is essential to any perfect tailgate. When choosing the menu for your ultimate tailgate, remember to consider a variety of food options.
Traditionally, a tailgate is incomplete without hot dogs and hamburgers, but other options, like steak and ribs, are just as successful.
For the less traditional, fish filets and assorted vegetables make perfect grilling food as well.
Even though a tailgate seems incomplete without a grill, they can be heavy and uncomfortable to haul around. For those without a grill, chicken fingers or deli sandwiches can be just as rewarding.
Once the main course has been established, it is vital to find sides that not only work cohesively with the meat, but also keep tailgaters satisfied for a long day in the heat.
For those on a low budget, everybody can bring a side of their choice, from homemade macaroni and cheese to a bag of potato chips.
The most important thing to remember about the sides is to keep them simple and inexpensive. Most people will be more concerned with what is cooking on the grill.
You can bring snacks as simple as chips and dip or something with more preparation such as an assortment of baked goods.
No matter what food is served at your tailgate, the most important thing is to remember to enjoy yourself, and bring home the leftovers.
Nothing is better at easing digestion than a little physical activity, and on game day, you will be faced with a multitude of options.
One of the most popular options for college students is a rousing beer pong tournament.
Find a flat surface and remember to keep plenty of extra Solo cups on hand. To avoid drinking dirty beer, fill the cups with water instead of your favorite brew, and just take your turn by drinking from the can.
Flip cup is another game perfect for getting tanked before kickoff. A student favorite, this game offers competition that requires honed cup-flipping skills and a tough stomach.
For those looking to step out of the box, splurging on a party game can add a bit of fun and rivalry to your tailgate celebration.
Tailgate Golf, a game consisting of two ladders and golf balls connected by string, has become a classic for tailgate setups. While only a two-player game, holding tournaments can get everyone involved. This game can also easily be turned into a drinking game.
Another party game that requires a little extra hardware is cornhole. This take on the classic beanbag toss requires coordination and technique and can be built on a budget in one weekend.
Finally, the classic party games are still as popular as ever. Horseshoes and bocce ball can be seen at tailgates all around campus.
The setup and equipment can make or break your tailgate. Be prepared to entertain friends and enjoy the day with all the necessary (and even the blatantly unnecessary) tailgate gear.
First, prevent the heat from spoiling your day and your food with a large tailgating tent. The high canopy will block the sun to keep your coveted tailgating spot shady.
With all the food you will be serving, plenty of table space is essential. Sturdy folding tables are perfect to set up and break down easily.
Where there is food, there are hungry tailgaters, so be sure to have plenty of seating available when old friends or random fans show up. Portable tailgate chairs are easy to carry and unfold where space is available.
Serious tailgaters get in the game day spirit and keep guests entertained with football all day on radios or televisions. Listening to games on the radio will suffice, but die-hard fans lug generators, televisions and even satellite dishes to stay informed about game predictions and other scores.
Proper tailgating takes a great deal of preparation and supplies. Some fans choose to stick to the basics, while others opt for the opulent. But don’t get too caught up in the details. All a great tailgate truly needs is friends, family and plenty of team spirit.