Here’s 10 Things You Do (And Don’t) Bring To A Tailgate Party

A tailgate party is one of the best ways to enjoy a sporting event. But no party is complete without the essentials, so here are some things to bring. 

Here’s 10 Things You Do (And Don’t) Bring To A Tailgate Party?

Some things people should bring to a tailgate party include food, drinks, a grille, cold weather gear, a satellite TV setup, cleaning supplies, games and entertainment, a football, chairs, tables, containers, and coolers. This should be everything needed to host a successful tailgate party.

Tailgate parties are a great way to get together with friends before the big game. They are also a great time to socialize and eat some good food. We have created this list of the best things to bring to a tailgate party based on some successful parties in the past.  

Here’s 10 Things You Do (And Don’t) Bring To A Tailgate Party?

A tailgate party is a pre-game celebration that takes place in the parking lot of a sports stadium. Tailgaters typically gather to eat, drink and socialize before a big game. 

They can be a lot of fun but require some planning and preparation. By bringing the right food, drinks, and equipment, we can ensure that the party is a success and that everyone has a great time. 

Just remember to be respectful of our surroundings and to have fun. Here are a few things to keep in mind when attending or hosting a tailgate party.

Food & Drinks

First and foremost, we need to bring some food and drinks to the party. Depending on the group size, this could be as simple as bringing a cooler filled with beers and sodas or as elaborate as grilling up burgers and brats. 

If we are hosting the tailgate party, it’s a good idea to coordinate with others to ensure we don’t end up with too much of one thing and not enough of another. There is no shortage of foods that can be eaten at a tailgate party. 

Some of our favorite food items include the following. 

  • Hot dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Chicken wings
  • Chips, dips, and salsa
  • Beef brisket
  • Pulled pork
  • Nachos
  • Chili
Here’s 10 Things You Do (And Don’t) Bring To A Tailgate Party?

Get creative with the food ideas or host a potluck-style tailgate party. This allows guests to bring one of their favorites for better food variety. 

Suggested Read: Do You Pay For Food At A Tailgate Party?

Grille & Grilling Equipment

We should not forget about the grille and grilling equipment when we are prepping for a tailgate party. Grills and the tools needed to grill food can be bulky, so they may not be the most convenient thing to bring. 

This is the most efficient way to prepare foods like burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and steak. Grilling equipment includes spatulas, propane, basting brush, tongs, and a grill brush. 

Cold Weather Gear

Regarding what to wear to a tailgate party, it’s typically best to wear comfortable, casual clothes and shoes. In most cases, the weather will be cold, too, so we always want extra clothing to stay warm. 

Remember that the party will take place in a parking lot, so we should avoid wearing anything too fancy or delicate. It’s also a good idea to wear our team’s colors or gear to show our support.

Satellite TV

Many people attending or hosting tailgate parties like to get a TV setup to watch the games during the party. This is common during football tailgates on a Sunday because there are multiple time windows for games. 

This can be done using a DISH Playmaker, TV, and a small generator for power. The setup is easy and the equipment is affordable and durable, lasting for multiple football seasons. 

3 Suggested Read: Here’s How People Watch TV At Tailgates | Here’s a DISH Playmaker vs. Playmaker Dual (Tailgating TV Comparison) | Here’s What Dish Playmaker Satellite Is All About!

Kitchen & Cleaning Essentials

In addition to food and drinks, we can bring a few other essential items to a tailgate party. This includes critical kitchen and cleaning essentials like plates, forks, knives, and napkins to make eating easier. 

They can be used to clean up any messes that happen during the party or just for general cleanliness while cooking in the kitchen area. It’s important to have these items on hand because they will make cleanup after the event much easier.


No party is complete without some entertainment. This is where we recommend bringing various games to the party like cornhole, beer pong, or jenga. 

A deck or cards and some plastic cups are essentials too. But there are plenty of other games worth considering. This includes some of the following. 

  • Flip cup
  • Ladder ball
  • KanJam
  • Spikeball

A Football

Here’s 10 Things You Do (And Don’t) Bring To A Tailgate Party?

Every tailgate party needs a football (or alternative) depending on what sporting event the tailgate is held for. It’s impossible to walk through a parking lot at an NFL game without seeing at least one group of people playing catch. 

We recommend bringing at least one football, depending on the size of the party. This is also a good way to get the blood flowing and some exercise to stay warm when it gets cold out. 

Seating & Tables

The tailgate party should have some seating and table space available for people to enjoy their food and drinks. This is ideal for comfort, and it makes serving food much easier. 

There are tons of different seating options and the best tables should fold up easily and fit in the back of the car or truck. 

Suggested Reading: Best Chairs For Tailgating Parties

Containers & Coolers

Lastly, containers and coolers are essential for keeping food warm and drinks cold. The containers can also be used to store the leftovers at the end of the party to avoid throwing food away and wasting it. 

tailgate party 1

What You Shouldn’t Bring To A Tailgate Party

Following these guidelines ensures that our tailgate party is enjoyable, legal, and respectful for everyone involved. The items everybody should avoid bringing to a tailgate party include the following. 

Glass bottles or containers 

They can be dangerous if they break and difficult to dispose of properly. Instead, bring canned or plastic bottles and containers.

Excessively loud music or noise: It’s essential to be mindful of the volume of our music and conversation at a tailgate party, as it can be disruptive to those not participating.

Illegal substances

It’s never a good idea to bring illegal drugs or controlled substances to a tailgate party or any other public event. This can ruin the party and get local security, or police involved. Avoid this mistake at all costs. 


While bringing our furry friend along to the tailgate party might be tempting, it’s generally best to leave pets home. The loud noises and crowds at a tailgate party can be stressful for animals, who may not be welcome at the event.

There is also lots of food and drinks around, so it’s not the ideal place for most pets. They can wander off into other areas, and the crowds are typically large, so we recommend keeping pets at home. 

Other Tailgate Party Tips To Keep In Mind

There are other things that we want to keep in mind when we are hosting a tailgate party besides what to bring. This includes proper planning, understanding proper setup, and being considerate to others around us. 

Plan Ahead

Make a list of everything we need, including food, drinks, chairs, tables, games, and other supplies. This will help ensure we have everything we need for a successful tailgate party.

It’s also smart to consider preparing some of the food ahead so we don’t have to worry about cooking at the tailgate party. This could include things like sandwiches, dips, and other finger foods.

Set Up A Designated Cooking Area

For anybody who plans to do cooking during a tailgate party, we recommend setting up a designated cooking area away from any flammable materials.

This will make it easier to cook without distractions while keeping guests safe and away from the grilling area. Tailgate parties are all about having a good time with friends and family. 

Don’t stress too much about the details and just enjoy the experience. 

Be Considerate Of The Surroundings

When attending a tailgate party, one important thing to remember is to be respectful of our surroundings. This means cleaning up after ourrself and disposing of any trash properly. 

It’s also a good idea to be mindful of the volume of our music and conversation, as tailgate parties can often be loud and disruptive to those not participating.

Get There Early

For some, the tailgate party is often the most anticipated part of a football game. However, for some people, it can be a disaster if they arrive too late and miss out on the best spots.

To avoid this and make sure the tailgate party goes as planned, it’s important to arrive early to secure the best spot. This is especially important for busy games where traffic and paid parking is expected. 

How Long Should A Tailgate Party Last? 

The tailgate party is a pre-game tradition for many football fans. The party can last as long as we would like, but it’s typically held before and during a sporting event, concert, or other outdoor event. 

Some parties will end before the game begins if everybody is planning to attend the game. However, this is not a requirement and they are often held a few hours before the game and last for a few hours after the game ends. 


Tailgate parties are usually held in the parking lot of the venue and can last anywhere from a few hours to an entire day. The length of a tailgate party will depend on the plans and the timing of the event we are attending. 

For example, if we are attending a morning game or event, we may want to start our tailgate party early in the morning and continue until the start of the event. Many NFL venues will open parking lots as early as 6am EST for 1pm EST kickoff. 

Ultimately, the length of a tailgate party is up to the party host and guest. Just be sure to plan accordingly and make sure there is enough food, drinks, and activities to keep everyone entertained.

Suggested Reading: Here’s What To Bring To A Tailgate Party!

Key Takeaways

  • The essential items to bring to a tailgate party include food, drinks, a grille, cold weather gear, a satellite TV setup, cleaning supplies, games and entertainment, a football, chairs, tables, containers, and coolers. 
  • Do not bring pets, glass bottles, glass containers, and illegal substances to tailgate parties. 
  • A tailgate party can start a few hours before the game when the parking lots open and last up until the game starts or beyond. There is no set length the party should be.