Become Parking Lot Royalty with Great Tailgate Gear to Rule Your Pregame

Not all tailgates are created equal, and whether you’re on grill duty or in charge of pregame games and entertainment, you can set the tone with a few easy buys.

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Fall is a special time of year, and if you’re the type of person who prefers grilled kabobs and cold beer over pumpkin spice and haunted hayrides, you know that it means tailgate season is officially upon us.

The perfect tailgate starts with a few things—good friends, nice weather, and some overwhelming optimism concerning the prospects of the team you’re getting ready to watch (hopefully) run up the score.

That said, you can still have a great time regardless of the game’s outcome, and it all starts with coming to your tailgate correct with the right supplies. Not all tailgates are created equal, and whether you’re on grill duty or in charge of pregame games and entertainment, you can set the tone with a few easy buys. To get you started, we’ve sifted through droves of options on Amazon. From standard parking lot party accoutrements to modern, upgraded gear, we’ve got it narrowed down to your best bets to get the season off to a winning start.

Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-Up Propane Grill

When it comes to picking a tailgate grill, your first focus should always be reliability. Even if every other aspect of your tailgate party goes wrong, hot food is always your best shot at setting things right. 

The Coleman RoadTrip is a proven winner with three burners, grilling power up to 20,000 BTUs, and 285 square inches of swappable cooktops to work with. The grill has quick-fold legs plus wheels so it’s easily transportable and shouldn’t cost you much time on set-up.

Igloo 52 Qt BMX Cooler

While getting the grill hot is priority one, chances are your tailgate shopping list is gonna feature plenty of options that you’d prefer to keep cold. 

The Igloo BMX cooler is built with heavy duty blow-molded construction so it’s incredibly durable. Fortunately, it’s also lightweight and keeps everything frosty with four to five day ice retention and UV inhibitors. It’s available in 25, 52, and 72 quart sizes, plus a variety of color options to choose from. 

GoSports Classic Cornhole Set

No tailgate is complete without some friendly competition as an opening act to the big game, and cornhole—the everyman battle of bag-tossing—is sure to be a people-pleaser. 

This set comes with eight bean bags, a handy travel case, and even a set of game rules that you can ignore entirely while you explain the house rules of your particular parking lot. The regulation boards are made of sturdy faux-hardwood, and you can pick your favorite design out of a dozen different options. 

Coleman Camping Chair with Built-in 4 Can Cooler

You might think that a chair is a chair when it comes to tailgating, but it’s possible that you just haven’t found the right one yet. 

The perfect fit for the low-key tailgater, this Coleman camping chair is portable, convenient, and supports up to 325 pounds. A built-in cooler can keep up to four reserve drinks chilled at a time, and with extra side pockets, a mesh cup holder, and cushioned seat and back, there’s no real reason to get up at all. 

Wealers 11-Piece Camp Kitchen Cooking Utensil Set

Much like wizards and their wands, top-tier grill masters know that without the right tools to get the job done, you might as well just toss meat in the fire and hope for the best. 

This stylish and practical set comes with a few knives, tongs, a spatula, and more—everything you’ll need to prepare the perfect pregame feast. You’ll also have two reusable jars to store seasonings, and the carrying case is made of rugged woven cotton to keep your wares protected from the elements. 

LIFETIME Adjustable Craft Camping and Utility Folding Table

A table might not be the most exciting piece of gear you’ll ever buy, but the right one can last for years and allow you to focus on the more fun parts of your pregame, as long as you avoid overzealous fans (of certain fanbases that shall remain nameless) taking a misguided leap through the center of it. 

This LIFETIME table covers all the basics and should serve you well with powder-coated steel and high-density plastic. Its 48x24-inch size should cover most tailgate needs, and it’ll be easy to cart around with an attached carrying handle. 

Leader Accessories Pop-Up Canopy Tent

While we all hope for the perfectly brisk fall day, autumn is notorious for its unpredictable and inconvenient weather—from week to week and tailgate to tailgate, you know that you can expect everything from blistering sunshine to cold rain to inevitable flurries. 

A high-quality pop-up canopy will keep you ahead of (almost) everything. You can set this tent up in just a few minutes, and with 100 square feet of coverage you can comfortably provide sheltered space for up to 15 people. 

JBL Clip 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

We’ve yet to witness the advent of the silent tailgate, and no party worth its weight is complete without a reliable speaker, whether you use it to set the tone for the day or rhetorically argue with pregame radio broadcasters. 

If you’re looking for the ultimate convergence of portability, sound quality, and affordability, the JBL Clip bluetooth speaker is relatively unmatched. The battery is good for up to 10 hours, and its namesake clip-on attachment makes it an extremely convenient provider of vibes. 

Mr. Heater Portable Propane Radiant Heater

While a good hoodie and some Solo cup-aided warmth might hold you over for the most part, you’ll likely find yourself needing to supplement a bit as the season progresses. By the time the cold weather really hits, you’ll have everyone in your group thanking you if you show up to the lot with a portable heater. 

This Mr. Heater propane rig can provide warmth for up to 225 square feet and has an auto-shut off function if it tips over or the pilot light goes out. It offers low and high heat settings, an easy-grip handle, and runs on one pound propane cylinders. 

YETI Rambler Colster

This is not your father’s Koozie. Far from the traditionally flimsy foam liners of the past, the Yeti Rambler is made of stainless steel and features double-wall vacuum insulation to keep your can cold for as long as it takes. 

The Rambler is dishwasher safe and shares the same sleek look as Yeti’s wide catalogue of temperature-regulating gadgets.

Chad Rafferty is a Thrillist contributor.
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