griller fliips food at a tailgate party

Game Day Ready: The Ultimate Tailgating Checklist

Published on May 1, 2023 by Talia Mushinsky

Are you excited for tailgating season? It's that time of year when you can smell the delicious aroma of grilled hot dogs and burgers in the air, and the parking lot is filled with cars. You can hear the sounds of music, cheering, and social chatter all around you. It's a great time to hang out with your friends and family and enjoy some great food before the big game. If you want to have the best tailgating experience, here are some things you should make sure to bring:


A Portable Grill - You can't have a tailgate without a grill. Make sure to bring one so you can flip burgers and grill up some wings. If you have a special recipe that requires slow-cooking, consider bringing a slow-cooker too.


Grilling Tools - Don't forget to bring utensils to cook with. If you're using a propane or portable charcoal grill, make sure to bring a lighter, fire starter, and extra charcoal or propane tank. Some other essential grilling tools you'll need include a cutting board, high-quality knife, spatula, tongs, grilling spray or oil, grilling gloves, meat thermometer, BBQ sauce brush, and aluminum foil.


  • Cutting board

  • High-quality knife

  • Spatula

  • Tongs

  • Grill brush

  • Grilling spray or oil

  • Grilling gloves

  • Meat thermometer

  • BBQ sauce brush

  • Aluminum foil


Coolers - Keep your drinks, condiments, and refrigerated foods cold by bringing a reliable cooler (or two!) and plenty of ice to last until the end of the game.


Food, Drinks, and Supplies - You can't forget about the food and drinks! Bring everything you need for burgers and hot dogs, like buns, cheese, ketchup, pickles, hot sauce, onions, and sides like potato salad, deviled eggs, chips, and queso. Keep your drinks and refrigerated items cold with a reliable cooler and plenty of ice. Also, remember to bring napkins, plates, utensils, ziplock bags for leftovers, cups, tumblers, koozies, bottle opener, and garbage bags for cleanup.


  • Napkins or paper towels

  • Plates

  • Utensils

  • Ziplock bags for leftovers

  • Cups, tumblers, & koozies

  • Bottle opener

  • Garbage bags for cleanup


Portable Tables and Chairs - Make your tailgate more comfortable by bringing camping chairs with built-in cup holders and foldable tables. You can play games on the table and have a perfect spot to put your food when you're done grilling.


Pop-Up Canopy - Prepare for any weather condition by having a pop-up tent or canopy to protect you, your grill, electronics, and fellow sports fans. Look for a water-resistant cover and buy one with your team's logo on it to enhance your tailgate status.


Bluetooth Speakers - Bring a portable speaker or radio to listen to pregame coverage or play songs to keep your crew rocking until game time. Grab a Bluetooth speaker and power brick, and create a playlist that's sure to make you the game day MVP.


Games - Get in the competitive spirit before the big game with some tailgate activities like cornhole, ladder toss, giant Jenga, and flip cup.


  • Cornhole

  • Ladder toss

  • Giant Jenga

  • Flip cup

  • Beer pong


Portable Generator - Bring a generator to power up your electric grill, satellite dish, slow cooker, TV, radio, and whatever else you need for game day. Avoid draining your car battery by keeping a portable generator at the ready and bringing enough fuel for the day.


First-Aid Kit - Accidents happen, so be prepared with a first aid kit. Whether it's a minor cut, a burn, or a headache, having some basic medical supplies on hand can make a big difference. Consider including bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and other essentials in your first aid kit.


  • Bandages / band-aids

  • Gauze

  • Antiseptic wipes

  • Neosporin

  • Pain relievers

  • Antacids


Tickets - Don't forget to pack your game tickets along with all your tailgating gear!


Prepare for The Unexpected -  Bring Clorox wipes to clean surfaces, sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun, toilet paper in case of Port-O-Potty mishaps, wet wipes to clean your hands and face after enjoying the delicious tailgate BBQ, and blankets for when the temperature drops. Also, make sure to bring cash or a card for any last-minute purchases or parking fees.


  • Clorox wipes

  • Sunscreen

  • Toilet paper

  • Wet wipes

  • First-aid kit

  • Blankets

  • Extra cash or a credit card


Once you have all your tailgating equipment ready to go, ensure that your vehicle is also up for the challenge. From engine maintenance to car battery installation and replacement, your local Kunes Service Center will be there to ensure that your car is tailgate-ready today.

When it comes to tailgating, preparation is key. Don't wait until the last minute to gather your supplies or start cooking. Make a checklist of everything you need to bring and pack up the night before. Arrive at the tailgate early to claim your spot and set up your equipment. And most importantly, have fun and enjoy the company of your friends and family before cheering on your team to victory!