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Product Review – Disc-Off

Posted by Brandon On November - 26 - 2012

It’s hard to believe that there just isn’t much tailgating left to do this year.  Sure there are a lucky few who will be able to watch their teams play well into January, but Bills fans like myself and those fans of other teams currently in the cellar are most likely looking at only a handful of home games left.  Now, it seems, the biggest question may be, what to do to make the most of the remainder of our fall tailgating season?

Personally, I’ve always found the addition of more activities for tailgaters to be a fun distraction from the standings, miserable weather, or whatever else is bringing your tailgate’s spirit down.  Here at Tailgating Ideas we’re pretty lucky in that a lot of manufacturers and developers bring their products to us, so that we can take a solid look at them through the eye’s of a tailgater.  So today I’m going to take a lot at tailgating game called Disc-Off.

Disclaimer: We were given a sample of Disc-Off, and we were also compensated for this review.  Rest assured that this in no way affected our opinion of the product, or our ability to provide a fair and objective review of the product to our readers.

Disc-Off, to put it simply, is basically a derivative of Polish Horseshoes.  I have to say that I was really happy to have the opportunity to do this review, because even though I had seen games of this type, I had never actually played one.

If you’re unfamiliar with this style of game it goes something like this.  Bottles are placed on poles that are some distance apart, and frisbees are thrown at them.  The objective is to knock the bottle off of the pole.  Simple right?

The paperwork that came with our Disc-Off sample gave us the following rules to use.  Poles would be set up 40-50 feet apart, hitting the bottle directly was worth 5 points, knocking the bottle off via hitting the pole was worth 3, and finally knocking the bottle off by skipping the frisbee off the ground was worth 1.  Catching the bottle one-handed before it hit the ground was worth what the other player(s) would have earned had you not caught it. Players take turns until someone hits 15.  Also included was my favorite tailgating rule of all time, “Make up your own rules…” Here is a video if you’re still unsure of what the game look like:

So now that you’re up to speed on what the game is all about I can start the actual review. The Disc-Off game came, disassembled, in a zippered white mesh bag.  This bag with contents was about 11″x11″x7″, so it’s not taking up much in the way of space.  After removing the product from the bag, all that was necessary to assemble were poles, and then attach them to the base.  Everything went together quickly and without frustration.  All that was needed from there was to place the poles where you want them, the bases allow them to stand on their own, and then play.  When it comes to tailgating I’m always fond of games were you can set it up, and then play in just a matter of moments.

I was very impressed by the simplicity, yet very nice personalization that was on the Disc-Off game.  As you can see from the photos the game I was sent features a game set with the colors of the Buffalo Bills, as well as decals to further show my team spirit.  I can only imagine that obtaining the licenses or permissions to use official logos is a costly endeavor, so this seems to be a great way to circumvent that, while still getting the same feel.  I also liked the construction of this product.  Since everything is molded plastic there shouldn’t be much of an issue with items breaking under normal use, and it weighs almost nothing.

When it came to actual game play, my friends and I found this game to be rather challenging.  Some of that stemmed from not throwing a frisbee in a long time. Even more came from the fact that it’s pretty difficult to hit an object of that size over a decent distance.  Even if you get into a good rhythm of just throwing the disc, any amount of wind is going to have an effect on the throw, so its a constant learning curve.  Among the 4 of us we launched the disc well off target more than we would have liked, and one even ended up with us trekking through the brush to retrieve it.  Those mishaps lead me to my next point.

The only concerns I can think of with this product are that, at least to me, it is a very situation dependent type of game.    I’ve been to tailgates where you can have all the space you want, but I’ve also been to many where you get your parking space, and maybe a few feet outside of it.  Even if you modify the rules to fit your needs, you’ll still have a frisbee flying through the air, which can have the potential to go outside of your boundaries.  Hitting other people/property and the disc flying into traffic are just 2 of the pitfalls that come to mind.  And I would have to think that these considerations would be even more important if you had less skilled or capable players, i.e. children, or your buddy who is 3 sheets to the wind.  This isn’t a deal breaker, just something to think about.

I’m going to deem the Disc-Off “Tailgating Approved” because it’s both a solid product, and a fun, albeit challenging, game.  All packed up it’s small enough to bring with you should you happen to get an area spacious enough to play in, and its easy assembly/disassembly means you can easily pack it up if something should change and you find you can’t play it anymore.  If you know you’ll have enough room this would make a great addition to your tailgate.  I look forward to taking it with me in the future.

Pricing for a basic Disc-Off set starts at $49.97, and the prices will vary from there depending on what options you choose.  Disc-Offs can be customized in just about any way, and any colors that you’d like.  To learn more you can visit their site at  http://www.disc-off.com/.

EnviroTabs Review

Posted by Dave On November - 8 - 2012

Gas pump rapeWhen you think of essential tailgating gear you will need to go tailgating, images of grills, pop-up tents, folding chairs and ice chests immediately leap to mind. Unfortunately the most important piece of tailgating gear is forgotten. Your vehicle that gets you to the stadium is paramount. Without it you wouldn’t be able to get to the game or concert and you can’t really tailgate unless you park and then start the party.

All too often the tailgating vehicle is an afterthought when it comes to tailgating. More than likely your tailgating vehicle also doubles as your grocery getter, your means of getting to and from work and if you have kids, serves as a parental taxi to bring kids to practice, piano lessons or to school. When tailgaters think of saving money on tailgating gear they want a killer deal on their next grill but don’t consider even bigger savings can come from their vehicle sitting in their garage.

Since starting this tailgating lifestyle blog back in 2007, I tailgated out of the back on my 2005 Lincoln Navigator. I recently sold that vehicle and bought a 2012 Nissan NV Van that not only gives me more cargo room for tailgating gear but affords me the space to take my kids to school, to practice and also I can load it to the gills with product and take it to my local swap meet on weekends. The new van considering the size is not too bad on fuel mileage. The owner’s manual said 12 MPG all the way to 16 MPG was the high end of what is to be expected. Because I do an even split of city and highway miles, my personal MPG average was about 13 MPG. The reason why I am sharing all of this is because I recently tested and reviewed Envirotabs in this vehicle and needed to establish a baseline fuel consumption in order to conduct a thorough and fair review.

My Envirotabs logo

I first became aware of EnviroTabs last month when gas prices here in California went through the roof. We were told the reason prices at the pump jumped so high and so quickly was because refinery and pipeline mishaps sent wholesale prices to all-time highs. Most stations were selling a gallon of gas for nearly $5 and other stations were already above the $5 threshold. I was on my personal Facebook account and was lamenting filling up at such highway robbery prices. I saw on my news feed, a friend of mine from high school was touting these things called EnviroTabs that claim to increase your MPG. Faced with the daunting idea of paying $5 for a gallon of gas, I contacted him and asked him to tell me more.

In layman’s term and simplifying a very highly technical process, my friend told me EnviroTabs are a burn rate modifier. By putting them in your gas tank your car will burn gas more efficiently and will burn more in the power stroke and less in the exhaust stroke. That sounded all well and good but I was still a little skeptical. After all, aren’t any of these octane boosters you can find at gas stations and auto parts stores doing the exact same thing? I did some research and visited the website to learn a little bit more as to how these are different.

Basically, EnviroTabs are these small green tablets that dissolve in any type of fuel. Once dissolved, EnviroTabs do not modify or alter the fuel in any way. They use the fuel as a delivery system to get to your combustion chambers. Once there is an organometallic metal conditioner that acts as a combustion chamber catalyst. That sounds like a lot of technical mumbo jumbo but in basic terms these little tablets change the surface-heat-absorption characteristics of metal. By doing this, the thin coating inhibits the transfer of radiant heat which is the No. 1 reducer of efficiency. This means your engine is creating higher-combustion temperature, greater expansion, and more power with reduced emissions. By increasing the burn in the combustion chamber (rather than as after-burn), performance can be increased, while reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Heat recovery is the single best method that can reduce harmful emissions, increase fuel economy, improve engine performance, and extend oil and engine life. Here is their instructional video explaining how these work.

The side effects of this increased efficiency was great in that I was expecting lower fuel emissions and was potentially saving on maintenance costs but the main reason I wanted to try EnviroTabs was the money I was going to save at the pump. I had my friend send me a test drive package to see if they really work. (I paid him for the test drive pack, by the way.)

I followed the directions and did a double dose on the first tank as per the instructions. I recorded the mileage that I started with and drove normally until the tank was nearly empty. I then filled up again and recorded the new mileage. I did the math and found out that on my first tank of gas using the EnviroTabs I had increased my mile per gallon to 17. That’s an increase in an extra four miles per gallon. My Nissan NV Van has a 26 gallon tank so four miles per gallon may not seem like that big of a deal but in a 26 gallon capacity tank, that adds up. I basically was able to go 100 miles further on one tank of gas using the EnviroTabs than had I not been using them. And at an average of 13 MPG I was getting before using the EnviroTabs, the extra mileage translated into a savings of about eight extra gallons. Those eight gallons as it relates to what I was paying at the pump, at the sky high prices of $5 a gallon during that mini-gas crunch, I saved about $40.

I then got the brilliant idea that I would pop an EnviroTab into the gas tank of my portable generator. I figured if these little green pills help my car’s engine burn gas more efficiently, why not my tailgating generator? By doing this I was able to run the generator for longer on a single gallon of gas than when I wasn’t using them. For tailgaters, the savings can come back to help you out in two ways that you are burning less fuel in your car and in your generators once you park. Think of the possibilities for you RV tailgaters out there with huge, monster capacity fuel tanks. Before you ask the question, yes, EnviroTabs work in diesel engines as well.

Based just on the simple fact I had to fill up less frequently, went further on one tank and the ability to save some money at the pump, I am going to determine that EnviroTabs are definitely “Tailgate Approved”.

To try them out for yourself, visit MyEnviroTabs.com

Burger Pocket Press

Can Covers

Posted by Dave On October - 29 - 2012

Can Covers Steps

Call it what you will. Stealth drinking. Covert consumption. Sneaky sipping. We all probably have wanted to be hitting the hooch while out in public but didn’t for fear of a ticket from Johnny Law.

Because of this desire, there are a multitude of stealth drinking devices that aid in smuggling in booze into a concert or sporting event that will avoid detection. (The Freedom Flask is one of those items that has gained popularity as being highly successful while being undetectable.)

But what if you want to have a beer out in public but want to disguise it as something socially acceptable… like drinking a can of soda? We were recently approached by a gentlemen who modifies soda cans to slip over a regular 12 oz. can thus concealing the can and giving the illusion one is drinking a soda.

Can Covers Featured

As you can see from the photo above, there are a sampling of three of these can covers. The Miller Lite on the far left shows how the Coca-Cola cover slips over the top. The Diet Coke cover shows the can halfway covered and the Sprite can shows the can covered completely. The Coke Zero on the far right is actually an unopened can of Coke Zero for comparison sake.

If you look closely, the Sprite can cover does show a little bit of the beer can coloring on the bottom but that will be covered by your hand and make that part undetectable. The same goes for the back of the can cover where it was split up the side in order to make it slip on easily. There is a very thin gap where the beer can could be visible. But for the most part, 90% of the can is shielded and gives the appearance to be a soda can from a safe distance. We would suggest choosing a cover that closely matches the color of the underneath can to greatly reduce the chances of detection. Also, by positioning the drinking end of the underneath can opposite where the slit is, you can then cover the slit with your fingers while holding the can and the cover together.

Can Covers SingleWith the sample we received we took a look at these can covers from the standpoint of would these be effective in disguising a beer can in a tailgating parking lot. The answer is yes because most authority figures will not come that close to inspect your can in your hand if it appears to be a non-alcoholic beverage. Of course if you are the only one using these can covers and everyone else is drinking beers out in the open, you can probably expect a cop to want to look in your can too.

Also, to fly under the radar, make sure you are not attracting too much attention to yourself. It doesn’t matter how well you cover up your beer cans, if you are doing chugging contests out in the open, cops are going to sense something is rotten in Denmark. But if you keep yourself under control and act responsibly, no one will ever know you aren’t drinking a Diet Coke.

Features I enjoyed about these can covers included how tightly they fit over the can and they did not slip off even if you put the can down. Also, the cuts on the top, bottom and sides are smooth and you do not need to worry the edges are sharp and could potentially cut you. They won’t. The corners are machine cut and the edges are sanded smooth.

The one detraction of these can covers is that they will not fit nor will they conceal Coors, Coors Light, Keystone and Keystone Light cans. Those brands are packaged in a thinner and taller can and the regular soda cans do not come in similar shaped cans. But other than that slight variation, these can covers are definitely “Tailgate Approved”.

If you are interested, you can buy these can covers, click HERE.

Burger Pocket Press

EZ Fan Feet

Posted by Dave On October - 19 - 2012

EZ Fan Feet Featured

It is a common acceptance that this phrase “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” is the motto of United States Postal Carriers. Although the U.S. Postal Service has no official motto and the above phrase is just the inscription found on the General Post Office in New York City at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street, this same type of determination could be applied to tailgaters. Inclement weather be damned, we are going to tailgate to the best of our abilities.

Inclement weather is not only reserved for precipitation no matter what the season but applies to wind too. Honestly, because the vast majority of tailgaters employ some sort of pop-up tent to provide shade and shelter from the elements, wind is the biggest enemy of these canopies. Many tailgaters will go to great lengths to ensure their canopy stays grounded by either driving stakes into the ground and anchoring them to the holes in the bottom of the legs or by strapping weights to the frame with ropes and bungee cords to keep a tent from flying away.

We were recently approached by the people who created EZ Fan Feet to test out their product and to see if it met with our approval. In a nut shell, EZ Fan Feet are four football-shaped canopy anchors that are intended to be attached to your canopy for tailgating. We recently received a sample of EZ Fan Feet and put them to the TailgatingIdeas.com test.

As you can see from the above photos, these are football shaped hollow weights that come with a screw on the top to be attached to the base of a pop-up tent leg. Prior to reviewing this product I would hang exercise hand weights wrapped in a bungee cord off the frame of my tent in order to give it more weight. I was honestly excited at the prospect of not having to do that anymore if the EZ Fan Feet worked the way the manufacturer claimed.

Upon receiving the samples from EZ Fan Feet, I took them to the garage and located the leftover bag of playground sand I had used to fill up the base of my son’s basketball hoop. I broke out the funnel and started scooping sand into the EZ Fan Feet. I filled each one full with what I perceived to be about 10 pounds of sand each and tapped in the cap with a hammer. I then applied the white decals that are made to look like the laces of a football in order to complete the look.

My first use was this past weekend at my local swap meet where I sometimes get a booth space and sell goods from our online tailgating gear store. The swap meet I attend is in Costa Mesa, Calif. and is rather close to the coast. Although not technically a “beach city”, Costa Mesa in the afternoons tends to get an off-shore breeze that can be quite brisk. A number of canopies have been known to fly away if not properly weighted or anchored. Taking the EZ Fan Feet to the swap meet would be a great first test.

While at the swap meet, I use a 10′ x 15′ EZ-Up canopy that stretches the length of my booth space. Because this canopy is a bit bigger than the standard 10 x 10 tents usually seen at tailgate parties, the holes in the feet of the tent legs are a bit wider than those smaller tents. Of course the screw fit into the hole easily but I could tell the included nut was too small and a gust of wind would lift the hole right through the nut. Luckily I had some washers in my tool bag and just placed a washer on each tent leg to narrow the hole and then tightened the EZ Fan Feet onto each leg using a socket wrench.

The afternoon times at the swap meet are those “danger zone times” when the wind picks up. This was the first real test for the EZ Fan Feet and they passed with no issue. Despite the wind picking up, the EZ Fan Feet kept the tent grounded and the legs did not move an inch. An extra added benefit of using these weighted feet was that they add about an extra six inches of height to your tent. I recently got a new vehicle which is a Nissan NV Passenger Van. It is a bit taller than my previous Lincoln Navigator and my tent would clear the roof of the Navigator when fully raised but the new van was still too tall. The extra height the EZ Fan Feet provided was just the amount of clearance I needed in order to clear the roof of the van. Bonus.

The next test was to take the EZ Fan Feet tailgating at the Chargers vs. Broncos Monday Night Football game. Once parked I installed the EZ Fan Feet on the bottoms of the 10 x 10 tent legs in a matter of a couple of minutes. There was no need for any washers this time around because the smaller tent had smaller holes which it appears the EZ Fan Feet were designed to accommodate. Outside of Qualcomm Stadium can get a bit windy as well and sure enough, we got our fair share of wind gusts that Monday. Again, the EZ Fan Feet held the tent anchored to the ground and they prevented the tent from moving at all during the strongest of wind gusts.

I am a tailgater and a blogger, not a weather person so it was hard to estimate the exact wind speed of the gusts I experienced while testing out the EZ Fan Feet. But I can honestly say with great confidence that the wind I did experience was quite in the normal range of what tailgaters experience and would be confident in the EZ Fan Feet that they would be able to handle more.

Besides being truly functional in that they prevented the wind from moving my tent around, the shape and style of the EZ Fan Feet brought a lot of attention to my tailgate. A number of tailgaters commented on how cool it was that my tent anchors were also footballs. Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of tailgating, stopped by my tailgate that day and remarked how he liked the EZ Fan Feet not only to be functional but allows fans to show off their love of football while tailgating.

Based on the ability to keep a pop-up tent anchored to the ground and for the stylish look and appearance of the EZ Fan Feet, we have the fullest confidence in labeling EZ Fan Feet “Tailgate Approved”. Although there are some small changes we would suggest to improve the product, even the way it is sold right now, it is tailgate approved.

The manufacturer did alert us to a slight change that instead of using sand to fill the feet, tailgaters can use landscape pebble rock as an alternative. The pebbles make it easier to fill and increased the total weight of each football to 12 lbs. So instead of 40 pounds holding down your tent, if you use landscape pebbles, you increase the total weight to 48 pounds.

A suggestion I would make would be to replace the regular nut with a wing nut. This would eliminate the need to bring a socket set to the parking lot and also might solve the issue of some tents having larger holes in the base of the legs. Since the wing nuts can be hand tightened easier and also flair out to accommodate a larger hole, this could eliminate the usage of a washer on larger tents and the socket wrench. The manufacturer told us we could hand tighten the regular nuts and it would hold the tent to the EZ Fan Feet just fine. We had the wrench set already in our vehicle so we decided to be extra secure by tightening them down with the wrench despite being told it was unnecessary.

A set of four EZ Fan Feet sells for $49.99. To get a set of your own, click HERE.

Smack Hat

Posted by Dave On October - 17 - 2012

Smack Hat Featured

As fans and tailgaters, we always want to show our support for our team. Whether it is in the parking lot sporting your favorite jersey or on the highway with traditional window flags, fans are never shy about showing the world who they root for.

We recently discovered a new way to show off your team pride on your tailgating vehicle and you can show that support at full highway speeds. We had a chance to test out and review the Smack Hat, a full sized football helmet that attaches to the roof of your vehicle via non-marking magnets.

As you can see from the accompanying photos, the Smack Hat is a football helmet that is fitted with heavy duty magnets that will not mark up or chip your car’s paint. It is designed to go on the roof of your car and allows you to show your team spirit on the highway.

The instructions tell you two things you should not do when using your Smack Hat. 1) Only use it on the roof of your car. I am assuming you should not use it on the hood because it could block your ability to see the road and therefore become a driving hazard. 2) The Smack Hat is certified to withstand winds up to 80 MPH. That means if you are driving into a 10 MPH headwind, you should keep your vehicle at 70 MPH or lower in order to ensure the Smack Hat does not come off your vehicle.

When I received my sample of the Smack Hat I was a bit skeptical that a pair of magnets would be able to hold it onto the top of my car at full highway speeds. Naturally because we tend to test things fully here at TailgatingIdeas.com, I placed the Smack Hat on the top of my car and took it out for a spin. (For those of you long time readers, you may notice that gone is the Black Lincoln Navigator and it has been replaced by a Nissan NV Passenger Van.) I hit the California freeways and immediately hit 70 MPH. I was paying attention to the roof of the van in case the Smack Hat did become dislodged it would make a noise along the top as it flew off. Never heard a thing and drove for about 10 minutes at 70 MPH. Once I exited the freeway and parked I checked to see if there was any movement or if somehow the Smack Hat had migrated a bit. It hadn’t moved. It was still in the same exact place I had placed it when I first got it out of the box.

The next test was an extended drive down to San Diego from Orange County this past Monday for the Chargers vs. Broncos Monday Night Football game. I set my cruise control at 75 MPH and was on my way. I was unsure if I was getting any headwind so I thought it would be good to play it safe and keep it at 75 MPH just in case there was a wind over 5 MPH coming at me. The whole 90 minute drive to San Diego the Smack Hat stayed on and was the subject of a number of motorists passing me with the thumbs up and pointing to the football helmet on top of my car. Obviously the other fans on the way to the game thought it was unique and pretty cool or they just would have passed me without any acknowledgement of it.

Upon arriving at my normal tailgating location at Qualcomm Stadium, those who normally tailgate around me first noticed the new vehicle and then asked me about the helmet on the top of my car. When I told them it was a helmet that attaches to your car via magnets and can be easily removed when you are not on the way to the game, they were stunned. I probably took the Smack Hat off the top of my car four or five times during the course of the tailgate because so many people couldn’t believe a helmet would stay on top of your car at such high speeds held on by only magnets.

Based on the fact the Smack Hat enables you to show your pride and support for your team not only in the parking lot but on the way to the game, we are going deem the Smack Hat “Tailgate Approved”.

The Smack Hat comes in all 32 NFL team helmets and 92 NCAA teams. In order to find out if your college football team comes in a Smack Hat, visit smackhat.com. Regarding price, there is no difference whether you prefer to buy an NFL or NCAA Smack Hat. All Smack Hats are priced at $88.50 with additional shipping added during checkout. The good news is that if you want to get a Smack Hat in time for this weekend’s game, they do offer expedited shipping including 2Day and Next Day delivery options.

For more information or to buy a Smack Hat for yourself, visit smackhat.com.




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.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.