Everything You Need For the Perfect Tailgate     – CNET

Everything You Need For the Perfect Tailgate – CNET

It’s the most wonderful time of the year–football season! As any football fan knows, behind every great game is an even better tailgate. Whether you’re a big college football fan like my family (Go Irish!) or you’re an NFL die-hard, hosting the perfect tailgate makes a win feel even sweeter or numbs the pain of a tragic defeat. 

With hundreds of tailgates going on in every stadium parking lot, how can you make yours the one to be at? My sister’s friend’s parents hired Irish step dancers to come perform at their Notre Dame tailgate, but if you don’t want to go to that extreme there’s other options. I’ve compiled a list of the best items for every tailgate based on personal experience and reviews of other users to help make your tailgate the place to be.

The necessities

Before we can get into the extras, let’s make sure we cover the basics. 


This Bose S1 Pro speaker is by far the best speaker I’ve ever owned. The speaker is relatively lightweight and easily portable which is perfect for tailgating. The built-in tone match and auto eq features allows the sound to perfectly echo to all areas of the party. I first used this speaker for a soccer tailgate and the sound radiated throughout the parking lot. 

Not only does the compact size and explosive sound make the speaker a perfect tailgate buy, but this cordless speaker allows you to easily connect with Bluetooth while giving you the option to plug in an auxiliary cord or instruments. When you download the Bose Connect app, users can control the volume and songs all from their phone. My favorite feature is the party mode that can be accessed on the app which allows you to sync all Bose devices at the tailgate. This feature comes in handy at parties when you have a speaker outside and one inside, now both speakers can play the same song in tandem! 

Overall, the Bose S1 speaker is well worth the money. I have the one with the lithium battery which allows you to quickly charge, resulting in about 11 hours of battery life. I recommend investing in the speaker with the lithium battery so that your speaker can survive even the longest tailgate.


 Pulling up to a tailgate with the Yeti Roadie 60 Cooler will make you the envy of the party. This sleek monstrous cooler can hold up to 50 beer cans and has the ability to hold ice for days. I put this cooler to the test when I went camping in the Adirondack Mountains for two days and was able to keep my food and drinks cold the whole time. If the Roadie 60 works that well in the middle of a forest in 90 degree weather, it will definitely make for a stellar cooler in a stadium parking lot. 

One of my favorite aspects of Yeti’s updated Roadie cooler is the wheels and added drain plug. The cooler itself with ice and beverages can be pretty heavy, so being able to wheel it around without any heavy lifting takes away additional physical tolls a packed cooler can add. Additionally, the drain plug at the bottom of the cooler makes cleaning up ten times easier. The dry basket that also comes included with the cooler makes for a convenient way of storing your favorite tailgate snacks. 

Overall, the Yeti Roadie 60 is by far the best cooler for tailgating. The $500 price tag of the cooler may make customers wary at first, but keep in mind that this is a cooler that you will have forever. The durability, insulation and unique features of the Yeti Roadie 60 makes it worth the investment. 


The only thing better than a good drink at a tailgate is a good burger. Finding the best grill that’s compact enough to fit in your car but big enough to cook multiple burgers at once is hard, but the Coleman may have almost perfected the tailgate grill with RoadTrip 225 Portable Propane Grill

Coleman’s Roadtrip 225 features two adjustable burners, matchless lighting, sturdy legs and wheels for easy transportation. The grill takes up a minuscule amount of space allowing for more room to party at your tailgate. Although you may not be able to cook for your whole tailgate at once, you can for sure fit several burgers and sausages on the grill at once. My favorite aspect of the grill is the quick set-up and easy clean-up, allowing you to waste no time getting the party started! 

For drinking

Now let’s get down to business. These are the best items to get your whole tailgate ready to party. 


What’s better than one shot? Four. A shotski allows you and three others to all take a shot at once. It’s as simple as it sounds: four holes cut into one long ski, hence the name shotski. You can buy simple ones like the Generic Wood Board Shot Ski on Amazon, or you can get a customizable one like the Shotskis sold by Etsy seller Thehennhousebyjenn. 

When I first bought my shotski I also bought shot glasses sold at my college bookstore which definitely added a more personal touch and school spirit to it. A shotski is the best way to draw attention to your tailgate and always guarantees a fun time!


This one is a given. Beer pong isn’t just for frat houses or high school parties but is actually played best in stadium parking lots. While anyone with access to a folding table and a couple Solo Cups can play beer pong, I recommend the Go Pong Potable table for your tailgate. 

This beer pong table not only has a fun football design, but is easily collapsable and made of durable material compared to other collapsable tables. Additionally, the table is regulation size for any extreme beer pong players out there looking to host a beer pong tournament at their event. 

Other tailgating items

So what else is left to make your tailgate memorable? Here are some additional items you can buy to make your tailgate better than before.


The Polaroid At-Home Photo Booth brings your tailgate up another level. My sister’s friend had one of these at her tailgate and it was a hit. Everyone waited in line to take fun pictures to bring back home with them after the game. 

The small, portable photo booth can be propped up on any table and features a touchscreen monitor that allows you to add any border or stickers you want to your picture. Photos from the photo booth can be shared via the Quick Share feature that allows for instant download on your phone or can be printed out. I highly recommend this, especially for college tailgates.


Charlotte Maracina

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