Many of us, myself included, take our SUVs tailgating because it affords us a larger capacity for both passengers and cargo. Tailgating SUVs also offer the safety of having all your tailgating gear locked up inside the vehicle when you go inside for the game. Pick-ups are great too but many times tailgaters will have to place the expensive tailgating gear in the cab and the less valuable stuff in the bed of the truck and hope nobody swipes it while they are inside. Enough of the virtues of SUVs. There is a downside to tailgating with an SUV. Bumping your head on the lift gate is one of them.
I actually came up with this tailgating idea at one of the last football games of the season. Because the parking lot at Qualcomm Stadium fills up quickly and spaces are limited, the rules are you need to tailgate within the space directly behind your vehicle. Spreading out into adjacent spaces is not allowed and SDPD officers will come around and tell tailgaters to remove any stray tailgating gear encroaching on another parking space. Because of this, I tend to leave items like my beverage cooler inside the cargo area of my Lincoln Navigator. I just turn off the dome light on the dashboard so I can leave the lift gate open for five hours and it will not kill my battery. This way I can still get to stuff in the cargo area without having to open up the gate 20 times during the course of a tailgate.
Although this sounds all well and good it would be great if I was short and my head cleared the lift gate without any problems. My problem is that I am 6’5″ and I have bumped my head on the lift gate more times than I willing to count when trying to get something out of the back of the SUV.
Last football season after bumping my head yet again, my friend Jeff suggested, “You should install some sort of a pad or a bumper on the edge so that if you forget to duck, it won’t hurt your head.” At that point a light bulb lit up above my head and it wasn’t because I had just slammed it into my lift gate for the millionth time.
When I got home I started thinking of how to put some sort of a pad on the lift gate that would be removable when I was not tailgating and yet would not obstruct the lift gate from closing. While racking my brain for what I could use, it hit me when I looked outside in my backyard. There floating in the swimming pool was one of those water noodles floating in the shallow end. For once, my four year old daughter failing to put her toys away turned out to be a brilliant tailgating idea.
Since water noodles tend to have a hollow center, I thought if I cut one lengthwise it would allow me to slip it on the edge of the lift gate and it would hold on by itself. So I went down to Target and plunked down a whopping $1.99 and bought a blue water noodle. (Blue was the choice because it matches the colors of not only the San Diego Chargers but the Cal State Fullerton Titans. Those are the two teams I tend to tailgate the most.) As you can see from the photos below, I cut it using a regular pair of scissors and it held onto the SUV lift gate without any additional help.
Of course I field tested my newly fashioned head pad by intentionally bumping my head into the lift gate a few times. As you would imagine the water noodle stayed on the lift gate and it didn’t hurt when I bumped into it. The best part it cost me less than $2 and it doesn’t take up all that much room when transporting it to and from the tailgate lot.
For those of you tailgaters with an SUV that might be 6 foot or taller, a $2 investment might just save you from a major headache while out there in the tailgating lots.
If you have a great tailgating idea that you would like to share, make sure to email us and tell us about it. We’d love to share your idea with everyone else and help them to not only tailgate, but to tailgate better.