Intro to Tailgating: 7 Tips

By Allie Caton on August 31, 2017

Watching college football on television and attending a real college football game are two totally different experiences. Both have their pros, but one thing that you can’t do in front of your TV is tailgate.

Tailgating is a super fun way to hang out with friends while showing your school spirit and something that every college student should experience at least once.

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Tailgating can be overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. There are a lot of things that go into a tailgate that may not be the first thing on your mind. Here are a few things to get you prepared for your first tailgate.

1. Don’t forget the food!

Food and drinks are THE most important part of a successful tailgate. Without nachos and beer, your tailgate will likely fall apart.

Whether you’re hosting the tailgate or tagging along to someone else’s, always bring something to eat or drink that is easily shareable. This shows that you are contributing to the event, and will make others more likely to invite you along to their next tailgate. No one likes a freeloader, so make sure you contribute. People tailgating in close quarters will likely share their food and drinks with each other, so it’s good to be included in that sharing. The more the merrier!

2. Team colors

Don’t be the guy who shows up to a tailgate in your regular day-to-day clothing. If you are going to tailgate, you may as well go all out. Pull out all of your school merchandise and deck yourself out in your team’s colors. You don’t need to drop last week’s paycheck to buy a slew of team merchandise, representing the colors works just as well.

The biggest rule of tailgate attire is to never, ever, accidentally wear the colors of the opposing team. This is the biggest no-no of tailgating so if you aren’t going to wear your team’s colors, triple check that you aren’t accidentally wearing the opposing team’s colors.

3. Keep track of time

It’s easy to lose track of time between chowing down on hot dogs and playing cornhole, but make sure you keep track of time so you don’t miss the actual game. Set a time for which you and your friends are going to actually get into the stadium, and make sure you don’t miss it! Packing up a tailgate can take a bit of time, so make sure you manage your time well so you aren’t still cleaning when the game begins.

4. Bring the right gear

Make sure that you go to your tailgate fully prepared for the weather. Bring sunscreen and a hat if it’s a warmer day or bring a rain jacket and an umbrella if it looks a bit cloudy. You don’t want to be stuck feeling miserable because you weren’t prepared. You also want to make sure you are bringing the proper tools to cook and store your food. Bring a cooler, spatula, and don’t skimp on the ice. Check out this infographic of essential gear for tailgating.

5. Entertainment

Music is an essential part of tailgating. It livens up the mood and gets people excited. Prepare a playlist beforehand that you can play during the tailgate from your car speakers or portable speaker. You could even ask the people who you are going to the same tailgate as you to collab on a playlist, as that way everyone has a say in what music is played. Also, bring along some non-tech games like cards or cornhole to play. If you’re over 21, drinking games are a surefire way to get people pumped up, so bring the necessary items for a few different games.

6. Location, location, location

Choosing the right spot to camp out for your tailgate is a necessary part of the experience. If you end up in a bad spot, your tailgate is going to be less comfortable. For example, if you are far from any shade on a summer day, you’re going to be struggling before you really even get started. If you do end up with the sun blazing right down on you, bring along some umbrellas or canopies to try and offer a bit of shade. Try and get to the lot early to secure a good spot for your tailgate.

7. Clean up

Don’t be a slob. It might feel like a drag to have to clean up after a day of hanging out and playing games, but it’s all part of the experience. As with anything, leave your spot cleaner than you found it. Bring enough trash bags and wipes to clean up everything and try to recycle or save things where you can. If everyone works together to clean up, the job can be finished in a fraction of the time, so make sure you always stay and help to clean up.

By Allie Caton

Uloop Writer
Allie is a creative at heart. She loves to draw and fawns over comic book illustrations and animation. She hopes to be able to use the skills she has cultivated as a Communications major to bring value to the creative industry. Her goal is to one day work somewhere where she can be around creatives while utilizing her writing and illustration skills.

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