The Tailgating Essentials You Need This Season

From Mini Kegs and Hot Dogs to One Fine Football


Another football season is upon us. 

And, more importantly, tailgate season.

Because with college games kicking off this weekend and NFL games not far behind, you will be inundated with opportunities to eat grilled meats and drink cold beers before the clock strikes noon.

It truly is the most magical time of year.

To commemorate the occasion, we've compiled this checklist of tailgating essentials, from food and drinks to items that help you make food and dispense drinks. Plus a football. Because you always need a football.

shinola leather football

As promised. But this isn't just any old football, it's a fine leather football from Shinola that's handsome enough to pass down through the generations. Or at least to pass around while the meat's cooking.

All good tailgates have a cooler stocked with plenty to drink. But the best tailgates also have a mini keg for craft beers or cocktails—the kinds of things you're happy to share with friends, but not the stranger who wanders over from the next parking spot. This one-gallon SquareOne Mini Keg has you covered, and it sits flat for easy dispensing.

oyster tempo cooler

That cooler we mentioned? This is it. The Oyster Tempo is aluminum, lightweight and uses vacuum insulation to ensure your drinks stay cold, even without ice. That means more room inside for all the necessary beers—36 to be exact.

nomad grill

You can't forget the grill. You also can't be bothered lugging around your usual patio grill. But you can absolutely haul this 28-pound portable briefcase-size Nomad Grill & Smoker with you. It opens to reveal two grates totaling 425 square inches of cooking space, or enough room to hold about 30 burger patties. You can also use this contraption as a closed smoker for slow-cooking brisket and ribs.

kc cattle co wagyu hot dogs
KC Cattle Co.

Here's some inspiration for that grill: wagyu hot dogs from KC Cattle Co. These famous, all-beef beauties are exactly what you want to bite into on a warm afternoon. Or a chilly morning. They're not concerned with contrivances like weather and time. They're hot dogs.

anchor bar wings

More of a wings aficionado? We understand. To make sure you feel seen, here's a bunch of wings from the famed Anchor Bar in Buffalo. You can also buy a literal gallon of sauce.

ben's chili bowl chili con carne
ben's chili bowl

You don't have to venture to D.C. to experience Ben's Chili Bowl, the famous shop that's been slinging half-smokes and chili since 1958. You just have to score some online, and wait for it to arrive. The Chili con Carne is available by the pint, so you can stock up and dole out individual pints of chili to your pals as they walk up. People love that.

carnegie deli black and white cookies
Carnegie Deli

Showing up to a tailgate with a whole cheesecake or a cherry pie is a bold move. A bold, weird move. So instead, opt for something that's easy to eat with one hand while the other is holding a beer or throwing a football. Like the famous black and white cookies from Carnegie Deli.

sonos roam speaker

You may require a bluetooth speaker for playing music or listening to pregame commentary. What you need: something small but powerful. The Sonos Roam is both those things, with rich, size-defying 360-degree sound. It's also drop-resistant and waterproof, which is helpful once the footballs and beers start flying.

dometic mobar

If you really want to go for it this season, the Dometic MoBar is an outdoor mobile bar with a dual-zone refrigerator and drawer that hold 22 bottles of wine or liquor or 32 cans. There's also dry storage, an ice bin, accessory trays and a work surface for prepping drinks. It also looks damn handsome. It's not cheap, but you can't put a price on tailgate dominance (well, they did, so we guess you can).

naturehike chairs

All you need now is a comfortable place to sit. Ideally a sturdy wood-and-canvas chair that folds up and fits into a carrying case, like this one from NatureHike. What's that? You want to know if it's easy to wash, just in case there's a wings-related incident? Why yes, yes it is.

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