If football has overtaken baseball as America’s favorite past time, then surely tailgating is uh … a very good past time as well. Sorry for the obscure Simpsons reference.
Moving on … tailgating is very much a past time for the arm chair quarterback. It seems people remember more about their tailgating experience than the actual game itself, at least the people I hang out with.
So, what makes for a great tailgate party? Friends, food, grills, coolers, cornhole bean bag toss, tents… these are all fine items, but you need something to lug them to the game, you need a car too. But not just any car, you need one that can be the center of your entire tailgating party.
I’ve narrowed down three traits to look for when searching for the perfect tailgating vehicle: innovative storage, cargo room and entertainment.
Why bring a cooler? Both the Ram 1500 and Honda Ridgeline have innovative storage space to keep your drinks cold. The Ridgeline has a lockable in-bed trunk that can act like a cooler, while the RamBox can store over 240 12-ounce cans. Need to cool more drinks, no problem. The Ram also has in-floor storage for your beverages.
OK, if you don’t want your car to store your drinks, you’ll need room for a cooler and everything else you’re bringing. The Ford F-150 gives you plenty of space to haul your stuff and it even has a nifty tailgate step to give you easier access to all your tailgate goodies. Worried about leaving your stuff in the back of a truck, but like the truck bench seat, then you’ll love the Mitsubishi Outlander with its flap fold tailgate. Plus the Outlander can seat 5 or 7 fans for the game.
Looking for something smaller, how about the Nissan Cube? With 58 cubic feet of space and a swing-out tailgate that has a speaker, you’ll be a hit at the next parking lot fiesta.
What’s a tailgate without any music? Pretty boring. Which is why you want a car that can blast your party anthem to the masses. Something like the new Ford Explorer which has an available 12 speaker, 390 watt Sony Audio System. Want more wattage? Then you can opt for the Jeep Grand Cherokee with an available 825 watt Harman Kardon audio system.
If you want to watch a DVD or play video games, you’ll want a screen that drops down like in the Toyota Venza. If the screen is in the head rest, you’ll have a hard time viewing it when you’re sitting behind your car.
Plus, the Chevrolet Equinox has set the entertainment bar even higher by offering Wi-Fi, so can set your fantasy line-ups on game day.
- No matter which car you choose, here are some tips, based on my own personal experience, that can make your tailgate party the best in the lot.
- Remember, the most important aspect of any tailgate experience: the designated driver. Please don’t drink and drive when you leave the big game.
- If you plan on using your car’s battery to play music or run a TV, make sure to either turn your car on every once and awhile to recharge the battery and always keep a quick start battery jumper in your trunk. When the game is over, you don’t want to be the last one to leave the parking lot.
- Always bring more propane or charcoal for your grill than you think you’ll need, especially if you plan on cooking chicken or pork.
- Drink lots of water. You’re body will become dehydrated just from standing or sitting in the sun, even if it’s snowing.
- Don’t forget plates, napkins, spatulas, tongs, utensils and garbage bags. I can’t count how many times I’ve forgotten the spatula and had to flip burgers with my hand. It was not fun.
- Make sure you can lock up your coolers, tents, chairs and grills in your car. You don’t want to leave the game and find all your stuff is gone. Make sure you turn off your grill at least 20 minutes before you head in for the game. You don’t want to put a hot grill in your car.
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