10 Ultimate Tailgating Hacks

Hot cocoa in mugs and thermos

Crisp fall air meets the anticipatory buzz of an upcoming game: It's tailgating time! Make the mornings a breeze by prepping in advance, getting clever and following these organizational tips.

  • Marinate meat, shape burger patties and chop veggies in advance. Store in recyclable containers to minimize the after-party cleanup.
  • Refrigerate everything ahead of time. Ice in a cooler will last longer if it doesn’t have to work so hard to make room-temperature items cold.
  • Raise team color and football shaped balloons above your vehicle so friends can find you in the crowd.
  • Use storage bins or a tool box to keep all your tailgating essentials in once place. Food prep items should go together, and things like bug spray and sunscreen should be kept separate.
  • Pack for breakfast and lunch so you can avoid traffic (and hungry friends and family).
  • Make meals handheld to minimize dishes. Bring premade breakfast burritos or make pancake and sausage tacos. For lunch try corn dogs, hamburgers, kebobs or walking tacos.
  • Bring a thermos filled with coffee or hot cocoa for each person – fall mornings are chilly!
  • Set up a handwashing station with a recycled laundry soap container, and keep liquid soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels nearby.
  • Pack frozen water bottles in addition to ice—once they melt you’ll have ice cold water to drink.
  • Dedicate one cooler to drinks, one to cold food and one to hot food, and label each one accordingly. Pro-tip: attach the bottle opener to the handle of the drink cooler.