The return of pro football has brought a bit of normalcy to an otherwise abnormal year. Watching your favorite teams battle it out every weekend is the perfect way to deal with the Sunday Scaries. But while televised games with artificial crowd noise are a close approximation of the real thing, there’s one element of gameday that you just can’t fake: tailgating. One of footballs’s greatest traditions is hanging out in a stadium parking lot with hundreds of people who just became close friends, grilling tons of food, and sharing your love of the game. So if you’re missing that experience, it’s time you consider “homegateing,” and bring the Sunday parking lot party to your own home. The essentials of homegating aren’t all that much different than traditional tailgating. You need to cover three main points: food, drinks, and the game itself. We recently chatted with our friends at Good Day Chicago about some of our top gear picks for homegating.
Best Gear for Tailgating at Home
Yeti Cooler — Sure, the fridge is just over in the other room, but why risk missing a decisive play? Or, maybe you’re all set up in the backyard and don’t want to traipse in and out of the house every time you need a new beverage. Yeti Coolers are the next best thing to a portable refrigerator. The legendary hard-sided Yeti Coolers come in a range of sizes, letting you keep dozens of cans or bottles chilled for an entire day—even out in the sun. Don’t need to keep an entire case cool? Consider a Yeti Tumber or Colster to keep individual drinks at the perfect temperature.
Slow Cooker — Slow cookers are the MVP of homegating. Some of the all-time great gameday foods are birthed in the slow cooker, from quick snacks like this savory chex mix, to BBQ pulled pork that’s been simmering for hours. The best part about using a slow cooker is that it’s really difficult to mess up. You just throw a bunch of ingredients in, turn a knob, and come back in a few hours to enjoy a hot, satisfying dish.
Portable Grill — One of the nice things about homegating is that you don’t have to compromise on your normal cooking setup. If you want to grill brats on your double-decker natural gas grill, you have the option to do that. But if you’re prepping for homegating with a hope that true tailgating will return by next fall, a portable grill might not be a bad investment. They’re also easier to set up for an unexpected late-season grill session when your full-size grill has already been prepped for winter storage.
Big Screen TV — Obviously, the main bummer about not being at the stadium is, that you won’t be able to watch the game in person. The next best thing to being there? A big TV. And when we say big, we mean big—nothing less than 65 inches will cut it. If you’re worried that a towering TV won’t fit into your budget, we’ve got good news. Prices on big TVs have never been lower. If you want a big screen without the big price, there’s no better choice than the Samsung TU7000 75-inch TV. If you’ve got the wall space to support it, a massive TV will truly change the way you experience the game.
Klipsch Soundbar — For the full at-home viewing experience, you need big audio to match your big TV. A football game is about the sounds as much as the sights, and unfortunately, the speakers built into most flat panel TVs usually don’t deliver. If you need an audio system that can easily be moved outdoors when needed, a soundbar is a great option. They offer an excellent audio upgrade from your TV’s speakers, and are super easy to set up. Plus, Klipsch soundbars all offer Bluetooth connectivity, so they can do double duty as a way to easily stream music.
Bromic Heater — Some of the country’s best football cities (and fans) are in areas where fall can get a bit nippy, and winter is downright unforgiving. If you’d like to extend your homegating season when the temp drops, consider an outdoor heater. There are a variety of portable propane models available, or you can opt for something like a Bromic tungsten heater. These electric heaters are perfect for a back patio or garage, and can keep you warm through the offseason.