The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.
Whether you tailgate because you’re a die-hard fan of your home team or you just show up for the snacks and camaraderie, one thing is certain: Tailgating is a sport in and of itself—at least it is where I’m from. Packing up the cornhole boards the night before so you can hit the road at the crack of dawn and snag the best spot in the lot is just the beginning. Since the tailgating festivities often last for most of the day, you’ve got to come prepared with snacks, drinks, SPF, and all sorts of other essentials to get you through to the end of the game.
In truth, there is just as much preparation that goes into the tailgate as there is for the big game itself, so we rounded up 15 essentials you need to have packed and ready to go to make your tailgates as fun and functional as possible this football season.
The weather might be cold, but your drink will be colder if you’re using a YETI Can Insulator. These come in three sizes, so no matter your can of choice, you never have to worry about going without one. The double-vacuum insulation and no-sweat design will keep your hand dry, and the stainless steel material can withstand even the wildest tailgates. Pro tip? Make sure to get a different color than your friends so everyone knows whose drink is whose.
8 colors available
20-Can Backpack Cooler
If you’re not up for lugging around a big hard-sided cooler, this backpack version is the perfect solution. The leak-proof interior can fit up to 20 cans, and the comfy straps make it perfectly portable from the parking lot to the tailgate and beyond.
4 colors available
Clear Crossbody Bag
If you plan on going into the game (no shame if you’re just there to tailgate and leave), you’re going to need a clear bag. In the past, these were never very cute, but since stadium regulations have changed and now require them, there are actually some great options. We love the chain detail and magnetic closure on this one.
4 colors available
Portable Gas Grill
Let your friends know you’re on cooking duty (or that you’ll at least bring the grill). This lightweight, portable grill can be easily packed into your car and set up on the spot. All you’ll need is the propane and whatever is on the menu.
Set up your tabletop grill, line up your appetizers, or play (drinking) games on this sturdy yet lightweight and compact aluminum table. It is easy to clean, has a carrying handle, and folds up for easy storage, so set up and teardown will be quick every time.
Bluetooth Portable Speaker
Play your team’s touchdown song over and over at the tailgate with this portable speaker. It’s totally waterproof, so rain or spilled drinks aren’t a problem, and it can play music for up to 12 hours on one charge.
4 colors available
Waterproof Chelsea Boots
Football means fall, and fall means rain. There is no way around it. Make sure you grab a pair of waterproof boots that are functional and sturdy and that will go with any of your game-day outfits.
7 colors available
Square Frame Sunglasses
Level up your game-day look (and protect your eyes from squinting all day) with these sunglasses. We love any and all sunglasses by Quay, but these bold, block-style frames with their tortoiseshell design can’t be beaten.
We don’t care if you’re going to a sunny, early-season game or a game in the middle of winter, don’t forget your SPF! We love this one by EltaMD because it has SPF 46 and it’s tinted so it blends easily. Wear it alone for a subtle look or under your makeup for game-day glam.
Roadie® 48 Wheeled Cooler
Show up to the tailgate with this heavy-duty yet compact cooler on wheels, and everyone will know you’re not messing around this season. The Roadie® 48 cooler is made with durable wheels, comfortable handles, and enough insulation to keep your drinks cold all day long.
6 colors available
Between being outside all day and having no other bathroom options besides a porta potty, you’re going to want to have your own hand sanitizer on deck. Touchland hand sanitizers are moisturizing (which will be life-saving for colder game days) and compact (so they fit in the tiniest of stadium bags).
10+ scents available
Wind, rain, snow, sleet, or shine, tailgating must go on, so you better have a canopy tent handy. We recommend investing in one that is durable because you don’t want to be the crew that is constantly picking up their tent and reassembling it on a windy day. This one comes with a top cover, side wall, carry bag, and sandbags.
9 colors and 3 sizes available
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Portable Pong Game
If you’re not playing games before the game, what are you even doing? This portable pong game has a sturdy tripod base, adjustable cupholders, and packs into a backpack for easy transport and storage.
Is it just me, or are foldable chairs one of those things that get forgotten constantly? This year, I’m keeping mine in the car so they are always ready when I need them. This one has two mesh cup holders, a carry strap, and a built-in organizer with a zip pocket, mesh pocket, and cell phone holder.
10+ colors available
Instax Mini 12 Camera
Football aside, the best thing about this time of year (besides the appetizers) is the weekly get-togethers with our favorite people. Make sure to snap lots of photos this season with your friends and family with an instant camera!
5 colors available