Football tailgating is an endurance sport.
College and pro schedules stretch from punishing, humid August afternoons to subzero mornings in early January. So eating, drinking, and carousing—while hanging out for hours in an asphalt parking lot—is a game best won with patience and planning.
Much of it, of course, comes down to having the right gear.
“When it comes to tailgating essentials, the best items are durable, practical, and mobile,” said seasoned tailgater Jason Starrett, deputy managing editor of The Athletic. Starrett has been tailgating at football games—at every level of the sport—for over 30 years.
“You want to be able to focus on the people and the experience,” Starrett said. “You want gear that isn’t going to kill the vibe of the day.”
Here’s everything that an expert tailgater uses to make it through football season.