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Custom Can Koozies

Posted by Dave On October - 8 - 2013

Whether your tailgating crew hosts a handful of people or a few hundred, you want your tailgate to stand out. Because most people prefer to wear jerseys or at the very least the home team colors, trying to brand your tailgate with apparel can be difficult and quite expensive. But why not brand your tailgate party with customized can koozies? We recently discovered Expressimprint.com where you can design can koozies online for your entire tailgating group.

express imprint Koozie Design

I know it is cliche to say, “it’s easy as 1, 2, 3” but using the online design tools from Express Imprint it was just that simple.

Step 1: You choose the color of koozie you prefer.
Step 2: Add text to your koozie. It could be your tailgating crew’s name, your website, etc. You can even make it go straight across or arc up or down.
Step 3: Choose your graphics. Express Imprint has a wide variety of clip art to choose from that would fit with your tailgate party theme.

As you can see in the above photo, we chose a football themed graphic along with our website brand name to produce a pretty sharp looking customized koozie. And to be honest with you, the whole process took us less than three minutes to complete.

Another aspect of customizing your koozies is you have so many different koozie options to customize. They offer 10 different varieties of koozies including the thicker foam koozies and even koozies for bottles. So if your tailgating crew likes those expensive imports that only come in bottles, you can have a custom koozie for those folks as well.

Check it out and start customizing your can or bottle koozies for your crew in less than five minutes. Bulk orders reduce your unit costs and save you a little bit of money in the process.

Cooler Cannon Kickstarter

Posted by Dave On October - 5 - 2013

It seems as though we have been doing a lot of these Kickstarter campaign announcements for companies that can service the tailgating market. Yet again, here is another one that could use some crowd source funding that would be really cool to see in a tailgating parking lot soon.

I was first introduced to the Cooler Cannon a few years ago while out in Las Vegas for the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show. (At the time it was not called the Cooler Cannon but rather called the Shoot a Brew.) Simply stated it was a cooler that would launch a canned beverage out of the top into your hands to catch it. No more getting up and walking over, bending over and getting a beer out. Just hit the remote button and one will come flying your way.

Cooler Cannon is looking for $275,000 to get everything started. Of course, their Kickstarter campaign is underway to help them get funding to bring this product to market. If you want to help out and also get some pretty cool benefits of being a donor, click HERE. If you pledge $200 or more you can get your very own Cooler Cannon for free once it goes to manufacturing and they have coolers to sell.

Milwaukee Tool M12 Heated Gear

Posted by Dave On October - 3 - 2013

Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie Sweatshirt
It may not be getting chilly out here in Southern California but in other parts of the country it is starting to feel like autumn. A quick look at the weather map and we noticed that a lot of the northern Mid-western states like the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming all were dipping into the middle to low 40’s. With that said, the temperatures will only get colder as we progress further into this football season which is also prime tailgating season.

Weather Map October 3 2013One of the biggest apprehensions we hear when people do not want to go tailgating is being out in the elements. Either it is too hot or too cold or it is raining or the wind will mess up their hair… Those are just some of the biggest excuses we hear for not going tailgating. Milwaukee Tool just introduced a new line of heated jackets, hooded sweatshirts, high visibility gear and even heated hand warmers so now that excuse of the weather being too cold to go tailgating was just tossed out the window.

Take a look at Milwaukee’s demo video showcasing the features of the M12 jacket.

If you chose to skip the video, the Milwaukee line of M12 heated gear is powered by the Milwaukee M12 power tool battery. It’s basically not only wearing a sweatshirt or jacket, but it is like wearing an electric blanket that heats up and supplements your own body heat inside the jacket or hoodie. The same battery that powers about 60 different tools within the arsenal of Milwaukee Tool can also power up and keep you warm while out tailgating. If you brought along your Milwaukee cordless drill, you can use the battery from your jacket to chill a beer using the Chill Bit. Functionality meets wearability right there in the tailgating parking lot. We were sent a sample of the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie and we put it to the test to see how well it stood up to a real tailgating environment.

(Disclaimer: We did receive a sample of the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie for free. The fact this sample was provided to us free of charge in no way influenced our opinion of the product nor did it impact our ability to test and review the product fairly and objectively.)

ThermometerThe Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie arrived back in August. It came complete with the sweatshirt, the M12 battery and also the M12 batter charging station. We plugged in the charger and charged up the battery overnight. Because August in Southern California was hot as blazes we decided it would be best to test this product somewhere it is really cold. Rather than taking a road trip to the South Pole, we went somewhere closer. We hit the local ice rink.

The day we tested the Milwaukee M12 Heated Hoodie was actually on Labor Day. The outside temperature was in the middle 90’s here in Southern California but the temperature inside KHS Ice Arena in Anaheim, Calif was a balmy 42 degrees air temperature. We weren’t going to find someplace colder than that over Labor day weekend unless we hung out in the walk-in freezer at an ice cream shop.

Once we got inside the ice arena, I allowed myself to cool down from being outside. Once I started to feel cold I put on the Milwaukee Tool M12 Hoodie without the battery just to see how warm the sweatshirt was without the addition of heat. It was actually a very well made sweatshirt and to be honest with you was quite nice even without the heating aspect. But we weren’t there to just watch the youth hockey tournament. We were there to see how this hoodie heats up and see how much heat it produces.

I plugged in the battery and turned it on with one push of a button that is located on the left side chest area. The first push produced a red light which indicated it was on high. A second push turned it to white and with a third push, the light turned to blue. The white indicated it was putting out medium heat and the blue was low heat. A fourth push turns it off and you can wear it just as a regular hooded sweatshirt. (Click images in the gallery for a larger, more detailed view)

After going through the cycle of the different heat settings, I was interested to see how hot the highest setting would get. I turned on the red light and took a seat and watched a little youth hockey. I didn’t put a timer on it but it seemed like just a few minutes and I could really tell where the heating elements were located. I was warming up quite nicely and I even needed to turn it to the medium setting because it was getting a little too warm inside the hoodie on the high setting.

I then took off the hoodie and laid it down on one of the benches. I placed my cooking thermometer inside the hoodie to see how warm it was with the heat turned on but without any body heat adding to the reading to give an inflated number. As you can see from the last photo in the gallery, the sweatshirt was able to product 73 degrees all on its own without it being on a human body producing body heat.

Despite the fact we did not take this product to a tailgating parking lot and rather to an ice hockey arena we believe that it was thoroughly tested to label it “Tailgate Approved”. The sweatshirt was comfortable, the battery was in a convenient place but was not big and bulky that it was cumbersome to wear. I hardly even noticed there was a battery in the sweatshirt after wearing it for a few minutes.

Depending on the Milwaukee M12 Heated Gear you prefer, the prices will vary based on if you want a jacket or a sweatshirt. The heated jackets come in red, black and camo while the sweatshirts come in gray, khaki and red. For more information on Milwaukee M12 Heated Gear go to their Heated Gear section of the milwaukeetool.com website.

If you are ready to buy one online, note that Amazon.com has a wide variety of sizes, colors and styles to fit your needs.

Tunz Speaker

Posted by Rob On September - 30 - 2013

TUNZ Rechargable Speaker

Tailgating before a concert is a little different than tailgating before a big football game or other sporting event. While it is nice to have some food to grill or some games to play, the only thing you really need for a concert tailgate is music. As long as you have a quality sound system and don’t play the music of the band you are going to see (trust me, don’t be that guy), everything will be fine.

When I say “quality sound system,” I am stressing the ‘quality’ part. You do not want to just turn your car radio on, leave the doors open, and hope that your battery doesn’t die. You also do not want to rely on your cell phone, unless you want everyone to gather around you in silence trying to listen to the thin, tinny sound it produces.

Enter the TUNZ Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker. With its lightweight yet sturdy design and impressive sound quality, these speakers are perfect for tailgating. I recently tested out the speaker system while tailgating before a concert and came away very impressed with the device.

The TUNZ Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker, manufactured by TYLT, is a 12.9 ounce portable wireless speaker that delivers volume levels up to 80 decibels. The device is compatible with Bluetooth Version 3.0, which allows for Wi-Fi quality speed and a more efficient power usage. In fact, the TUNZ speaker can play music for up to 20 hours at 50% volume. If your tailgate is going any longer than that, I think you are going to have bigger problems than running out of music!

Check out their video demonstrating all the features of the UNZ Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker.

Upon arriving at the parking lot, I quickly turned the speaker on, set up my phone’s music player, and rested it on the roof of my car. The TUNZ speaker easily drowned out the music bleeding over from other tailgates, and we were all able to chat, laugh, and enjoy the evening while listening to crisp, high-quality audio.

TUNZ chargingThe speaker can play music from any Bluetooth-enabled device. This came in handy as the tailgate wore on and my friends wanted a chance to play some of their music. We easily switched between devices and kept the party going from rock to rap to pop and back. The sound quality remained consistently great across all genres (the bass was definitely bumping!). The TUNZ speaker can also connect to any device with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, so you can play music from a device that does not have Bluetooth. The back of the speaker has both an AUX input and output, and also a universal USB port for charging external devices, so you don’t have to worry about your phone dying before the night is over.

The TUNZ speaker compares favorably to other, more expensive portable speakers. I have tested other speakers and feel like it is the best value on the market for under $200. At $149.99, you are getting all of the features available in other speakers, with top-level sound quality and a sharp, easy-to-use design. When you start looking at products cheaper than TUNZ (and even some in the same price range or higher), you will notice a definite drop-off in the sound quality.

The sound quality is obviously the most important aspect when it comes to portable speakers, but there are some other features that set the TUNZ speakers apart. The speaker comes with 3 interchangeable vibration-cancelling Silicon Bands. While these bands help with the overall sound, they also add a little personal touch to your speaker (I opted for a red one to match my trusty Corolla).

…If your tailgate party lasts longer than 20 hours, I think you have bigger problems than running out of music…

The speaker also functions as a speakerphone when connected to Bluetooth, with a built-in noise cancelling microphone (there is a Call/Answer button on the top of the device). You can call the last number or answer an incoming call directly from the device – perfect for helping a latecomer find your tailgate. The TUNZ Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker is also NFC Enabled and includes the Tagstand NFC launcher App for Android.

Even though the TUNZ speaker is perfect for outdoor events due to its portable nature, I have found myself using it around the house as well. Whenever I am doing the dishes or folding laundry, I will turn on Pandora on my phone and have it play through the speaker. It really makes a difference hearing your favorite music on a quality speaker. And being able to control what is playing with a few swipes on your phone is very nice. You can also upgrade your TV and movie viewings by connecting the speaker to your TV. The lack of wires allows for a nice uncluttered look, and an action-packed movie or sporting event will sound great with the added boost the speaker provides.

Tunz RedIf you are in the market for an upgrade to your speaker system, the TUNZ Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker is definitely something you will want to consider. The size is compact enough that it will fit in your glove box or center console, yet the sound is clear, rich, and loud. The TUNZ Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker is the perfect mix of high quality audio and portability, and will instantly transform your next tailgate, picnic, or BBQ into a serious party.

The TUNZ Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker retails for $149.99 and includes the speaker, 3 interchangeable vibration-canceling silicon bands, micro-USB charging cable, 3.5 mm AUX cable, carry bag, and user guide.

For more information on TUNZ and other TYLT products, please visit the TYLT website at: www.tylt.com

FiAir Review

Posted by Brandon On September - 29 - 2013

When it comes to tailgate grilling most of us fall into 2 camps: Charcoal or Gas.  If you’re in the “Gas” group you probably appreciate the convenience and speed that you gain from that fuel source.  Our friends in the “Charcoal” group are prepared to forgo the ease of use you might get from gas, if it means that they’re able to get the smoky goodness that only burning wood products can produce.   Whichever side you find yourself on, you probably wouldn’t mind a little help with making things go more smoothly.  Unfortunately the bulk of the new grilling products seem to be aimed at gas-grillers, but every once in a while we’ll see a new product for the charcoal crowd.  The FiAir is one of those products.fiair-logo

(Disclaimer: We did receive a sample of the FiAir for free. The fact this sample was provided to us free of charge in no way influenced our opinion of the product nor did it impact our ability to test and review the product fairly and objectively.)

Quite possibly the biggest hurdle to using a charcoal grill is getting the stuff lit.  There are several options, but I would imagine that the two most widely used options in the tailgating world are going to be lighter fluid or a chimney.  Lighter fluid or those match light briquettes are probably the simplest option, but the smell of the lighter fluid can impact the quality of your food if used improperly, and using too much can cause a very large flame that burns quite large.  Chimney starters are great options in that they can light a large amount of coals without the need for accelerants.  Furthermore the coals are all contained and any flames outside of the chimney are going to be more contained.  But chimneys can take a good while to get going, especially if you pack them full.  That’s where the FiAir comes into play.

We all remember that the 3 ingredients for fire are Fuel, Oxygen (Air), and Ignition.  Just like a clean air filter in your car, the introduction of more air and thus more oxygen will lead to a hotter more intense fire.  The concept of adding more air to a fire is not new.  The earliest examples of this can be found way back in the ancient world, when ancient blacksmiths would stoke their fire with bellows made of leather to allow them to forge their ancient tongs and spatulas. All kidding aside, the FiAir works in much the same way, it uses a battery powered fan to direct a stream of air into a fire.  The claim is a hotter burning, and thus quicker lighting fire.  How quick? They say you can get your coals lit in half the time, which is what we’re going to test.fiair battery door open (480x343)

The FiAir is incredibly simple to operate.  Load 3 AAA batteries into the end, lock on the cap, and press the button.  What you get is a nice steady stream of air.  Not to mention that the nozzle is designed to direct the air where you want it.  From there you aim it at the fire and you should get a hotter burn.  Sounds easy enough, but how does it work?

To test the efficacy of this product it seemed quite prudent to light a chimney using just ambient air, and then to do the same test but adding air to the mix with the FiAir.  The chimney I’m using for this test is the Weber RapidFire Compact Chimney which is roughly half the size of their full size model.  This was done to save on fuel and test time.  Each run of the test consisted of 40 Kingsford “Blue Bag” Charcoal Briquettes, and a wad of paper crumpled under the chimney.  The chimney that will be stoked with the FiAir will be given roughly 3 minutes of burn time before the FiAir will be used to make sure that the lowest coals are sufficiently lit and that the paper has had a chance to burn off a little.  Each test will be conducted in the Weber Smokey Joe Gold model.

fiair-right-shadowThe control run produced white ash on the top most briquettes in roughly 22 minutes.  This may seem fast, but remember we are using a smaller chimney for this test so it’ll naturally be quicker than the standard chimney.  I should mention that the top most briquettes were not completely covered in white ash, but they had some which led me to know they were burning.

The FiAir stoked chimney produced white ash on the top most briquettes in about 17.5 minutes.  Remember that we gave this chimney 3 minutes of initial burn time so the final times could be viewed as (Time – 3 minutes).  It was difficult to measure how “lit” the coals were scientifically, so I based it on appearance.   I did take some pictures just before dumping the coals to show that the 2 test chimneys looked similar.  If anything the FiAir stoked coals were slightly farther along, so you might be able to assume that the coals were ready closer to 17 minutes, so roughly a savings of 5 minutes.  Those 5 minutes translated into pre-heating time mean you are cooking when the next guy is just dumping his coals.  Furthermore if you have a very large grill, looking at you with the 55 gallon drum made into a grill, and you need to light a lot of coals it would undoubtedly aid in accomplishing that faster.

For what it’s worth I decided to try the FiAir on another chimney, and using the product more aggressively I was able to get what I consider a lit chimney at 15.5 minutes.  I was unable to cut my light time in half, but I was able to get them lit in roughly 32% of the time it took without the FiAir.  Photos of all my test runs are below:

How else might the FiAir benefit your grilling?  Well for starters you can raise the heat of your grill pretty easily, and quite quickly. But it’s more than that.  Using the product on lit coals I dumped into the grill, I was able to achieve what I felt to be a very complete combustion of the charcoal, even getting some bluish flame from it. Complete combustion is a crucial element when talking about charcoal grilled foods.  Off flavors can be associated with coals that are not burning well.  And while it is possible that the observed flame may have been a result of binders in the coal burning off, I do believe that the fire was far and away hotter than it would be without the introduction of additional air.  This increase in heat would be perfect for searing applications when you neat a raging hot fire to get a nice brown crust, such as steaks or burgers.  On that 2nd test of FiAir I used the product, quite successfully, to raise the temp of the coals in the grill for searing steaks.

While the obvious time and temperature gains make this product seem like a no-brainer there are several other considerations that need to be made.  Firstly the hotter the fire burns, the more fuel that will be consumed and additional coals may be needed for longer cooks. Secondly the extreme temperatures may necessitate the use of heavy grill gloves, or at least very long tools, to prevent any burns to the hands and wrists.  It is important to remember the FiAir is not a toy, it is a tool.  I do not want to hear about someone getting seriously burned and rushed to the ER because they got carried away with a fire.  I don’t want you to read that as this product is dangerous, it just needs to be used responsibly to be used safely.  Blowing air can cause a fire to act somewhat unpredictably so do not overuse this product or use it in confined spaces. The other aspect of the FiAir that may turn some tailgaters off is that you actually have to be around the fire to use it.  I mentioned above how you could save time, but if you used that chimney time to set up your tailgate site or to prep food, you may find that you aren’t coming out much better.

When used properly I would definitely recommend the FiAir to tailgaters and grillers who use or want to use charcoal, or in other words, it is “Tailgate Approved.”  Despite not reproducing the results they claimed, the time savings make it a more practical option for those who don’t have a lot of extra time to wait for the coals to be ready.  The ability to boost the heat of your fire is also desirable for some direct grill applications, and the price point is seems more than fair at $29.99.  To find out more or to order the FiAir you can visit www.FiAir.net.





About Me

TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

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