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Review: DISH Tailgater

Posted by Dave On September - 25 - 2014

Dish Tailgate Featured

For years, tailgaters have upped the ante when it comes to bringing all the creature comforts of home to the tailgating parking lots. Satellite TV is just one of the modern day conveniences we can’t imagine living without while tailgating.

Unfortunately, setting up the satellite dish on a tripod, finding the correct angle and the azimuth, (what the hell is an Azimuth?) and locking in the strongest signal was such a pain. It took too long and frankly, detracted from you doing what you came to do; tailgate. We are tailgaters, not astronomers. Some tailgaters grew frustrated and would leave the satellite TV at home because it was too much of a hassle and took too long to set up. But, technology kept advancing and in 2009, we discovered the VuQube.

DISH Tailgater and VuQube side-by-side

DISH Tailgater and VuQube side-by-side

Thinking the VuQube was the answer to all of our prayers, we raved about it for years and even got one of our own. (We actually purchased a VuQube on our own and it was not sent to us as a sample to review.) We used it religiously while tailgating for years and always thought the small glitches and annoyances were just part of the overall experience.

The only complaints we had were the set-up time would take a little longer than what was advertised depending on our location. Pointing the dish and using the remote to find the strongest signal was time consuming and you would need to be watching the signal bars on your TV to see what was the strongest signal you could get. This sometimes would take 20 minutes because you would get a strong signal and not knowing if it was the strongest, would see if it could go even stronger, and would eventually lose it and have to try and reacquire it. Again, we just thought this was all par for the course if we wanted to have satellite TV at our tailgate, this was just something you dealt with.

DISH Tailgater portable satellite TV antena

DISH Tailgater portable satellite TV antenna

Last year, we heard about the DISH Tailgater and had heard rumors that it was easier to set up and was fully automatic. It looked exactly like the VuQube we had been using for years but we heard it was so much easier to set up.

You mean we no longer had to push buttons up/down and left/right to get the strongest signal? You’re telling me with the DISH Tailgater I just push a few buttons and I can walk away and the strongest TV signal will be found for me? If this is true, then sign me up.

After doing a little research and investigation on the DISH Tailgater, we discovered that it was essentially the same hardware, made my a company called King Controls in Minnesota, but had been improved upon drastically. Since the DISH Tailgater is made by the same company that made the VuQube, that is why it was about the same size and weight. You still powered the Tailgater by the single coax cable and did not require additional power. The main difference was in the set up.

(Disclaimer: We did receive a DISH Tailagater and receiver  for free. The fact these samples were 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.)

DISH Tailgater on roof of van at Qualcomm Stadium prior to the San Diego Chargers game

DISH Tailgater on roof of van with Seattle Seahawk fans walking by

We thought no better place to test drive the DISH Tailgater than while out tailgating an NFL game. We chose the San Diego Chargers 2014 home opener vs. the defending Super Bowl champions, Seattle Seahawks to test it out. We did what we normally do in that we parked, set up our tailgate gear and started to tailgate. Of course you will need a power source (we use a generator) and set up the DISH Tailgater. We placed the tailgater on top of the TailgatingIdeas.com van to get a clear view of the southern sky. We ran the coax cable to our DISH Network receiver and connected it to our TV. We turned everything on and the first screen we saw was a test screen asking us what part of the United Stated we were located. We selected Southern California and the DISH Tailgater proceeded to run through three tests.

DISH Tailgater on roof of van at Qualcomm Stadium prior to the San Diego Chargers game

DISH Tailgater on roof of van at Qualcomm Stadium prior to the San Diego Chargers game

Keep in mind, once we started the test, we did not have to stand in front of the TV and monitor it to make sure the strongest signal was being pulled. We simply walked away, checked on the grill, grabbed another cold beer and went over and greeted the new people who just pulled in next to us. Within this time, the three tests were completed and I came back to a screen informing me that the DISH Tailgater and receiver were acquiring the satellite signal. After that was completed in a total of about 90 seconds, the next screen said it was downloading the program guide. After the program guide successfully downloaded in a matter of about two minutes, up pops our programming. I picked up the remote, selected the pregame show we wanted to watch before the first set of NFL games started and we were off and running.

NFL Football game shown in the parking lot off of a DISH Tailgater system

NFL Football game shown in the parking lot off of the DISH Tailgater

The picture quality was superb and we were able to watch all the programming we wanted from my DISH Network account. Not that we watched anything else other than the early NFL football games while tailgating but it was good to know we could if we had kids that wanted to watch cartoons or something other than football.

Once it was time to pack up and head inside for the game, break down and storage was a breeze. We simply disconnected the DISH Tailgater from the receiver, wound up all of our cords and cables, took the Tailgater off the roof and packed it securely inside the van. It truly was extremely simple and fast to set up and was just as fast and easy to stow away.

After thoroughly testing out the DISH Tailgater, it’s ease of set-up and excellent picture quality, we are going to label the DISH Tailgater “Tailgate Approved”.

The time you will save by not having to search for a satellite signal will be worth the price alone. How much is 20 minutes of your time while out in the tailgating parking lot? To me, my time while tailgating is priceless, so any piece of equipment that enhances that experience that takes little to no time to set up, I am a believer.

We plan on taking the DISH Tailgater to this Sunday’s San Diego Chargers game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars and for the remainder of the season. The DISH Tailgater will be a regular piece of our tailgating gear no matter where we park.

The DISH Tailgater is available through a wide array of retailers including, Camping World, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Walmart, among others. For a complete list of retailers where you can find and purchase the DISH Tailgater, visit King Controls website HERE.

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Rolling Tailgating Baskets

Posted by Dave On September - 23 - 2014

Rolling tailgating baskets at Chargers tailgate
We can all agree that the invention of the wheel is probably the greatest invention of all time. Sure, sliced bread is pretty cool but when it comes to the overall advancement of society, the wheel wins going away.

When it comes to tailgating, anything that can make transporting your tailgating gear to your tailgating space easier is a winner in our book. Pop-up tents that come in carrying bags with wheels are much better than those that do not. Same thing goes for grills. Give me wheels any day of the week.

When we were contacted by a company called Lulu Monkey that sells small and large, rolling, multi-purpose tailgating baskets, we were interested in checking them out. Personally it made sense to see if their rolling baskets would be a good choice to place all of our tailgating gear odds and ends in them and then we could roll them to where we needed the gear to be set up. First a brief history on the company.

The idea for these baskets came about when the owner of the company took a similar basket to a Clemson football game and was asked constantly where she got it. Thinking it was a possibility to reach out to tailgaters, the idea was sparked and a company was born.

You may have seen these baskets with wheels at your local mini-mart. With the wheels, they are much better than the normal handle baskets you see at the super markets that only hold a few items. Depending on how much tailgating gear you plan on bringing, the two different sizes will fit your needs. The larger size is about the size of a laundry hamper. College students may find these baskets useful for game day Saturdays and then during the week to roll their load of laundry down the hall to the laundry room in the dorms. Also, these baskets could replace those plastic or paper bags at the market. Just bring your rolling basket to the store, load it up with items, pay for them of course, and then after check out, put them back in the basket. Going “green” has never been easier. (Just make sure the eggs and tomatoes go in last and are stacked on top.)

Of course, being the sticklers for always testing out tailgating gear for ourselves, we requested a few samples in order to test them out for ourselves. We needed to find out how well these are made, can they withstand the rigors and demands of a tailgating season and are they big enough to hold all of our tailgating stuff.

(Disclaimer: We did receive samples of the Lulu Monkey Rolling Tailgating Baskets for free. The fact these samples were 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.)

We received three rolling baskets. Two were the smaller baskets, one pink and one orange with the licensed Clemson tiger paw on it. The other was a dark blue large rolling basket. The specs on the smaller baskets are:

Pink Rolling basket loaded for tailgating

Pink Rolling basket loaded for tailgating

  • Capacity: 45 lbs.
  • Dimensions (inches): 23.5 L x 13.5 W x 14.125 H
  • Volume: 30 liters
  • Wheel Size: 1 inch
  • Handle Length: 20 inches
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs.

In reviewing the small baskets, these would be idea for just a few items that you wold be taking to join someone’s tailgate party. A 12-pack of beverages, small bag of ice, bags of chips, cheese or veggie tray, sleeve of plastic cups, paper plates, etc. Nothing too big and bulky but just enough to bring and contribute if you are unable to park right next to your friends. Small rolling baskets come in multiple colors including: pink, black, light blue, dark blue, green, purple, crimson, orange and red. The smaller rolling baskets have two handles. One handle is in the middle to pick up and carry and the other handle folds back for ease of pushing or pulling the basket when using the wheels.

Blue large rolling basket at Qualcomm Stadium parking lot

Blue large rolling basket at Qualcomm Stadium parking lot

The large rolling basket can hold quite a bit and would be idea for larger items. A bigger bag of ice, a full 30-pack of beer, family sized bags of chips, etc. As we mentioned above, we would compare this size basket to a laundry hamper that can easily roll down the hall or to a tailgate party. Specs on the larger baskets are:

  • Capacity: 65 lbs.
  • Dimensions (inches): 21.63 L x 17 W x 17.75
  • Volume: 66 liters
  • Wheel Size: 2.25 inches
  • Handle Length: 20.75 inches
  • Weight: 5 lbs.

Color availability: pink, black, light blue, dark blue, green, purple, crimson, orange and red. The large basket comes with a regular handle for carrying and also a telescoping handle to pull or push the basket to your tailgating spot. The handle telescopes down and out of the way once you have arrived or no longer are in transit.

It should be noted that Lulu Monkey already has licensing for the Clemson Tigers and you can get the large or small rolling baskets in orange with the famous Clemson Tiger paw logo on it.

Small rolling baskets outside of Costco

Small rolling baskets outside of Costco

After thoroughly testing the Lulu Monkey rolling tailgating baskets we are going to deem that they are “Tailgate Approved”. These baskets more than held up to the demands of our tailgating habits and were a great asset to load up all kinds of equipment and transport it easily. Wheels make everyone’s life a whole lot easier. These baskets will make your life in the parking lot a lot easier as well.

For more information and to check out these rolling tailgating baskets for yourself, visit: lulumonkey.com

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State Traditions game day apparel

Posted by Dave On September - 16 - 2014

State Traditions San Diego Chargers Hat
We as tailgating nation love to show our spirit and passion for our teams before, during and after the game. Whether it is officially licensed gear from our favorite college or pro team or just the official colors, we love to sport our pride and support in new and unique ways.

We recently discovered State Traditions apparel and they put a new twist on showing your support for your team. They start with a piece of clothing like polo shirts, T-shirts, hats, visors and even have neck ties, bow ties, dog leashes, belts and even phone cases and money clips. They then embroider the outline of the boundary of the state of your choice onto your choice of apparel and match it to the traditional colors of that college or university. A great example would be a Texas fan would get a hat with the state of Texas embroidered on it in traditional burnt orange. Of course it does not say “University of Texas” or have the traditional longhorn logo but fans everywhere will recognize burnt orange and the state of Texas is all you need to show you are a Texas Longhorns fan.

Take a look at some of the examples of how State Traditions can take your college or university and match it to the official colors and the corresponding state the school calls home.

We requested a few samples of State Traditions apparel to test out and see the quality and craftsmanship that goes into their hats and shirts. Seeing how during football season we primarily tailgate the San Diego Chargers games, we decided to get a bit fancy with our selection. To show our love for the Chargers and the fact they reside in California, we went with traditional blue and yellow colors with the state of California embroidered in it. Because State Traditions matches colors to colleges and universities we chose the hat from the University of California, Berkley because they have the same colors as the San Diego Chargers. Fans of other NFL teams that share the same team colors as a major college in their state can do the same. Some that come to mind would be the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants fans could get blue and red hats. Atlanta Falcons fans could get a red and black polo and Indianapolis Colts fans a blue and white cap. It just all depends on if your favorite professional team shares the same colors as a major college or university in the same state.

After testing out the samples provided to us we are going to deem State Traditions game day apparel “Tailgate Approved”.

We loved the ability to show your spirit and support for your team in a new way while still sporting the colors of your favorite team. It seems as though everyone can pay the high prices required to get officially licensed apparel but State Traditions has brought a new way of showing how much you love your team in a classy and subtle way. If you are patriotic or proud of your heritage that may be from another nation, State Traditions also offers apparel in their America Traditions or World Traditions categories.

Prices vary depending on your choice of apparel but overall are very affordable. For more information or to purchase some game day apparel for yourself or a fellow tailgater, visit statetraditions.com

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The BROpener

Posted by Dave On September - 15 - 2014

BROpener Featured

Have you ever been out tailgating and seen someone open up a bottle of beer using the edge of a table or a car bumper? It looks pretty cool to just strike the top of the bottle and the cap comes flying off.

We recently discovered the BROpener which allows you to turn nearly any surface into a bottle opener. The BROpener is an aluminum device that instead of marking up your table or counter top, is specifically designed to affix to a surface and turn it into a bottle opener. Take a look at their video they did for IndieGoGo.

As you saw in their video, BROPening beer bottles is pretty simple. Just instal the BROpener on a flat surface, notch the bottle cap in the slot at the top and hit the top of the bottle with your hand. Install the BROpener at waist height or lower on the edge of a sturdy counter, table, bumper of a car, etc.

BROpener Good and bad anglesUse the open hand technique at first and strike with the fatty part of your palm at the base of your thumb. The closed fist technique requires more precise alignment but is in no way difficult.

The key to BROpening is to have the correct angle on the bottle before hitting it. You can see in the image above it shows you the correct angle which is nearly vertical. The wrong angle is when the bottle is cocked further out which in turn makes it much harder and requires more force to get the bottle off. Don’t work harder, work smarter when using the BROpener. The proper angle will take the cap right off and the strong magnet on the BROpener will grab the cap and prevent it from falling to the ground.

We were approached by the folks at the BROpener to see if we could test out their product and offer up a review. We were sent a sample and chose to instal the BROpener on one of the tent legs of our pop-up tent we use for tailgating.

Our experience with the BROpener was a positive one. The BROpener was easy to instal and took seconds to apply to our tent leg. After seeing the proper way to angle the bottle in the BROpener we opened our first beer without an issue. No hitting it two or three times to get the cap off. One quick strike using our hand and the cap came off and immediately stuck to the magnet on the BROPener.

BROPener on hitchAlthough we chose to put the BROpener on our pop-up tent, there are hundreds of places you could instal one if you chose to get one. Places we thought of for tailgaters included, the bumper of your car, side of your grill, edge of your serving table, flag pole, cornhole boards, etc. The side of the beer pong table is just a no brainer as an obvious place that tailgaters would want to mount their BROpener.

After thoroughly testing the BROpener and based on it’s price ($14.99), portability, functionality and overall “coolness” factor, we are definitely going to deem the BROpener “Tailgate Approved”.

If normal bottle openers are just not your style or you hate it when you can never find one because someone walked away with it in their pocket accidentally, then the BROPener is for you. If you install the BROpener on the bumper of your car or the side of your beer pong table, as long as you are close by, you will never fear not having a bottle opener.

The Original BROpener Bottle Opener is red as you see in the images and is priced at $14.99. For a limited time, they are also offering the Silver Anodized BROpener Bottle Opener for the same price. Order two or more and get free shipping within the United States.

For more information including more videos of the BROPener in action opening up bottles in the British Virgin Islands or Alpine Meadows, check out their BROpener in Action section on their website. You can also check them out on social media including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, YouTube and Google+.

To buy a BROPener or two, visit thebropener.com

Shop the latest officially licensed NFL gear at Fanatics.com!

Lotion Flasks

Posted by Dave On September - 7 - 2014
Lotion Flask Pouring

Lotion Flask Pouring

You’ve heard the phrase, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”. How about, “The drug makers are always one step ahead of the drug testing procedures.”? That same mantra can be applied to smuggling in your booze past the security guards at a football game, festival or concert.

The unique ways to smuggle your booze past security has gotten more and more difficult as security guards have caught on to the multitude of ways to smuggle your booze past their pat downs and bag searches. Last year we did a blog post ranking the best ways to smuggle alcohol past security. We heard word that at the Stagecoach Music festival this year, security had a list of banned items that were intended for stealth ways to smuggle in booze.

But you can’t keep good people and tailgaters down for long. Now comes along the Lotion Flasks. Food grade plastic tubes that hold 4 oz of liquid, each designed to look like a tube of skin lotion. (Click images for larger view and product detail)

We tested the Lotion Flasks and they will not leak and the top screws on tightly ensuring none of your booze will leak out alerting security or law enforcement that it does not contain hand lotion. The cap flips up like a real tube of skin lotion and you can squirt a shot or two into your drink just by squeezing the tube.

  • Each Flask holds 4 oz.
  • Includes 2 Funnels for Easy Filling
  • Looks Like Real Lotion Bottles ensuring they can be taken anywhere
  • Includes 3 Unique Designs
  • Made from Food Safe Plastic (wash before using)

After testing the Lotion Flasks we are going to definitely deem them “Tailgate Approved”. You will not want to use them while out tailgating but rather inside the venue. Either way, these flasks are just another sneaky way to get a little extra hooch inside the stadium without paying those high concession prices.

Each Lotion Flask holds 4 ounces of liquid. Since the Lotion Flasks comes in a 3-Pack, that totals 12 ounces of liquor which is about half a 750 ml bottle of booze. Lotion Flasks cost $15 for the 3-Pack and can be purchased HERE.

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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.

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