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Tailgating Gear in Review: September 2010 Edition

Posted by Dave On October - 1 - 2010

When it comes to new tailgating gear coming onto the market, the month of September is the time to do it. Common sense would draw the conclusion that companies use the start of football season and the enthusiasm that comes with it to carry over to the launch of their products. That said, we had quite a few tailgating products and games to check out in September and here they are:

GrillGrate with SpatulaThe GrillGrate – The GrillGrate is a series of 13.75″ x 5.25″ interlocking anodized aluminum panels that create a new cooking surface for your grill. The interlocking design allows you to connect as many of the panels as you would like. The panels are designed in such a way to allow perfect searing but avoid burning of many foods such as lean meats, fruits, vegetables, fish, and even pasta. This is accomplished by using a raised rail design that focuses most of the grill’s heat through those rails. In addition to this, the rails are spaced in such a way that by using The GrateTool, you can go underneath your food and pick straight up rather than try and jam a spatula underneath. The bottom of the GrillGrate has spaced elliptical holes for excess liquid to fall through, but also reduces flareups. The areas between those holes allows the fats and juices to sizzle and steam. The steam naturally moves upward and contacts the food, restoring some of the flavor that has leaked out.

Grillgrate Illustration

Should you decide they aren’t for you, they offer a 30 day, no questions asked warranty. You can’t argue with that. For all the advantages with no obvious disadvantages, the GrillGrate gets the TailgatingIdeas.com stamp of approval.

Clear View LPG Tank TiltedClear View Propane Tanks – Since starting TailgatingIdeas.com over three years ago, I have come across a number of products that have made me say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!?”. I’ve also discovered tailgating gear that has made me say, “Why didn’t they think of this sooner?”. Clear View Propane Tanks By Ragasco fall into both the “Why didn’t I think of that?!?” and the “Why didn’t they think of this sooner?” categories. Truly a remarkable product with 100% upside and zero downside for tailgaters who choose to grill with propane.

Simply stated, Clear View Propane Tanks by Ragasco are translucent composite fiberglass propane tanks with a protective outer plastic casing. Safer than steel propane tanks, the Clear View Propane Tank will not rust, has a wider base than steel cylinders and when empty, is 50% lighter than old fashioned propane cylinders. The best part is that the composite fiberglass allows you to see the fuel level inside, ensuring you will never run out of gas. By actually seeing how much propane is left in your cylinder you’ll never have to guess how much is left in the tank by picking it up and feeling how much is in there.

Clear View Propane Tanks are:

• Lightweight in design and is 50% lighter than steel
• Translucent cylinder provides visible fuel level so you won’t run out unexpectedly
• Easy to transport design has ergonomic handle and tip-proof, flat base
• Corrosion-free, non-marring material keeps your vehicle and tailgating space clean
• Proven safety – fire-tested cylinder will never burst
• UL approved OPD valve
• D.O.T. approved for safety

In all honesty, I am failing to see how a steel propane tank would ever be better than one of these. The price of a Clear View Propane Tank might scare you off at $99 plus shipping. Then again, consider these tanks will never rust or corrode over time. You could buy a Clear View Propane Tank today and still be using it tailgating 15 years from now. I doubt anyone would want to take a 15 year old steel propane tank tailgating with them no matter how well they took care of it.

Because this product is brand new to the American market, the 20 lb. standard sized cylinders are currently on sale. The smaller, 10 lb. tanks will be coming soon. To get your Clear View LPG Tank, visit shop.tailgatingideas.com. The price of each tank is $99 plus $10 shipping. Buy two or more and we’ll waive the shipping fee on all tanks. To get your own Clear View Propane Tank, click HERE.

Willy WashersWilly Washers game boxTailgating games are as much of a part of tailgating as are grills and the food you serve. Washers is an extremely popular tailgating game but there are some hazards to playing washers while tailgating. Retrieving errantly thrown washers or just the constant bending over and picking up the washers that did land in game box can be back breaking. I know a lot of tailgaters that choose not to play washers strictly because they have back problems. I recently discovered a new product that will have those that have sworn off washers in the past, playing washers again. It’s called Willy Washers Pick-Em-Up Stick and Caddy.

Willy Washers is a retractable, magnetic stick that retrieves washers without having to bend over or get on your knees. The stick extends to about 30″ and easily picks up washers with its magnetic tip. The caddy portion of the Willy Washers will hold your washers tightly when not in play. It also retracts up small enough to fit in your game box when not in use. Another cool feature is the hook on the back of Willy Washers allows you to hang it from your back pocket, off your belt loop, a nearby fence, car door handle, etc. and stays easily within arm’s reach. The magnet on the end of Willy Washers is plenty strong too. Take a look at their video of Willy Washers in action.

I would highly recommend Willy Washers to any tailgater that likes to play washers and wants an easier way to pick up thrown washers. Now you don’t have to dread if a washer rolls under a car. Get a Willy Washers and you can grab the washer without having to crawl on your hands and knees on a dirty parking lot.

Willy Washers is normally priced at $19.95 plus shipping. In honor of football season and of course tailgating season, Willy Washers is being offered at a special price of 20% off plus free shipping when you select the free shipping option in checkout. To buy one or two, make sure to visit their home page, playwasherswithwilly.com, and select which Willy Washers you prefer. From each individual Willy page, you can then add it to your cart. If you do end up buying a Willy Washers, make sure to let them know you heard about their product from TailgatingIdeas.com.

Freedom Flask GirlsThe Freedom Flask – First on the scene was the Floppy Flask then The Beer Belly and Booze Belly and even the Wine Rack. Other stealth and concealable drinking devices include Disposable Flask, the The Body Bottle and most recently we reviewed The Bootlegger. So when I was approached by the folks at Freedom Flask to review their product, I was a bit skeptical. After all, we’ve seen this type of thing before ad nauseum. The only way to be considered the best brand in the space is to either be the first on the market or to improve on previous versions so much that all the predecessors then become obsolete. Although the Freedom Flask may not be the first on the scene I believe they have built a better mouse trap than those who have tried previously.

Freedom Flask

In looking at the photo, you’ll probably say, “Big deal. It looks like a Floppy Flask or a Booze Belly”. That’s true but the design of the Freedom Flask has take that concept and improved upon their shortcomings. There are two major flaws with both the Floppy Flask and the Booze Belly.

1) The rectangular shape and wearing it around your stomach/mid-section area
2) The drain valve is located at the corner of the flask.

First, let’s hit on the drain valve flaw. Once you’ve had a few tall ones and start to run empty, you have to lean your whole body over to the side and jump up and down slightly in order to pour out the last drops into your cup. The Booze Belly added the hose extension, but it doesn’t solve the issue of having to lean over to get the last bit out.

The rectangular shape does not have a natural body shape to it. Most guys I know that have a little beer gut do not have a layer of fat in the shape of a rectangle. This shape and the location of wearing it around your stomach enables easier detection.

The Freedom Flask has taken the overall concept of these previous designs and made simple but far reaching improvements. Improvement No. 1: Offering a curved bottom edge to allow all of the liquid to drain directly into the drain valve until completely empty. Improvement No. 2: Placing the drain valve in the middle of the flask so it lines up perfectly with your zipper. Instead of wearing the Freedom Flask around your stomach, it tucks into the top of your pants or shorts. I have been through my share of security pat downs and never has anyone patted me there. Check out this two minute demo video of how to use the Freedom Flask properly.

The Freedom Flask is manufactured right here in the USA which is not the case with some of the other game day flasks on the market. I am sure they would probably be able to manufacture them more cheaply in China or Mexico but the makers of Freedom Flask feel very strongly about manufacturing them here in the USA.

A single Freedom Flask will run you $24.99 plus shipping. Orders of multiple units range from buy 2 for $23.75 each, buy 3 for $22.49 each, buy 6 for $21.25 each or buy 12 for $19.99 each and get free shipping.

In all honesty, with the prices of food and drinks in the stadium, buying one Freedom Flask could pay for itself on your first time using it. Wash and rinse it out after use and the next time the money you’ll have saved can go towards other tailgating gear.

To learn more about the Freedom Flask or to buy one, visit their website: FreedomFlask.com

Keg-a-Que Propane Football GrillKeg-A-Que Football Grill – The latest product that Chris had a chance to sample (and now review and introduce to you) was the Keg-a-Que Propane Football Grill. In the end the product performed very similar to the play of the Philadelphia Eagles QBs. The start wasn’t too great, but the end was certainly a lot better.

During football tailgates we usually pack up the “full-size” grill from the back yard. The larger grill allows for more food to be cooked in a shorter amount of time. But given the opportunity to sample and review the Keg-a-Que Propane Football Grill we decided to go portable for Sunday’s tailgate.

Prior to jumping ahead to the actual tailgate and use of the grill I wanted to first provide some feedback on the assembly of the Football Grill.

Yes, I realize that putting together a grill isn’t rocket science and should be pretty self explanatory and easy to assemble. Despite this fact I was disappointed with the lack of assembly instructions provided with the grill. The written instructions were sparse and the various parts and screws were not numbered or labeled (I was even missing two washers for connection of the handles). Even more frustrating was the fact that the “straight” grill handles were being screwed into the curved areas of the grill. The end result was handles that did not have fully inserted screws. Regardless, everything was securely put together within 30 minutes.

The next step in the process was attaching the portable propane tank. Not wanting to screw myself the day of the game (while in the parking lot) I did some testing from the house. What I found out was that despite securely attaching the propane tank to the grill it didn’t always ignite. To get the grill lite it required a “perfect” attachment of the propane tank to the grill. After two consecutive, successful starts of the grill I was confident that there would be no issues come Sunday (I had mastered the required “perfect attachment).

Well so much for being a master of the attaching!

When we went to go start the grill on Sunday, in the parking lot, we couldn’t get the grill to start. Thankfully Pops and I are persistent (plus we had shrimp and steak that needed to be cooked) and after about 5 minutes and several attempts at attaching the propane tank we were finally able to get the grill going and the food cooking.

On to the good news… once the grill was started, I was very impressed. In a few minutes the grill was hot and the food was cooking. Adjusting the level of the flames was easy and worked without issue. The grill grate was large enough to cook both the steak and shrimp together. The flame and heat were evenly distributed over the grate, resulting in perfectly cooked / grilled food.

After enjoying the grub, the grill continued with positive marks for clean-up. The various pieces of the grill were easy to remove, clean, and then reassemble for packing back into the car. If only the end result of that day’s Eagles’ game had a similar, positive ending!

As you can see the Keg-a-Que Propane Football Grill had some ups and some downs. But with the low cost of the product (regularly $69.99 but on sale right now for $59.49) that is to be expected. And maybe there was some human error in the attachment of the propane tank or maybe this particular grill was a one-off. Regardless, if you are looking for an inexpensive, portable grill for the occasional tailgate I would still recommend going with the Football Grill.

Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler – As even an amateur tailgater will tell you, keeping your food and beverages cold on your way to and during your tailgate party is of the utmost importance. The most common form of transporting and keeping tailgating food and drink cold has been the old fashioned ice chest. The trusty old cooler that you fill with ice and you’ll eventually end up tossing out at the end of the day because it is either melted or no longer needed. What if there was a tailgating cooler out there that kept your food and beverages refrigerator cold and dry and you no longer had to buy ice? There is and it called the Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler

Koolatron 12 Volt Cooler Stocked

I was sent a sample of the Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler and I was impressed right from the start. The instructions manual was a single sheet of paper. I like things that are simple to understand. And honestly, the only reason it was that big was because it had instructions in both English and French. The Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler is very simple. You plug the cooler connection into the connection that plugs into your cigarette lighter. Because it works just like a refrigerator blowing cold air, you’ll want to have it plugged in for a few minutes to get it cold first. Much like placing items in a brand new fridge that has not been running, for maximum benefit, you want the cooler to be cold first. Then all you do is transfer those items you want to keep cold into the Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler and you are good to go tailgating. If the cooler is loaded with warm items, it will take quite a while for the cooler to do all the work to cool them down. So it is suggested that you placed already chilled items in the Koolatron cooler.

The Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler also has the capacity to get hot as well. Just reverse the polarity of the connection to the red dot, and you are keeping items hot on your way to the tailgate party. Again, all you need is to make sure you have it plugged into your car’s power outlet and you are good to go. The things I liked best about the Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler is that it worked well, kept items cool on the way to and during the tailgate, there was no clean up or getting rid of unmelted ice and the best part, I saved money but not having to buy any ice. By using the power that my car battery was already producing, I not only saved money but this could be considered a “green” product. By using the power of my car battery I was saving water by not purchasing a 10 lb. bag of ice.

The price on the Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler is normally $199 but right now they are running a sale. You can get the Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler for $169.15 plus free UPS or FedEx shipping. To get your own Koolatron 52 Quart 12V Cooler visit CompactAppliance.com or just simply click HERE.

Monster Pong – Although I, nor any of the writers and contributors to tailgatingideas.com have not personally tested this game out it does look to be challenging and quite fun. We can not personally vouch for the craftsmanship or durability or portability of the game. With that said, it does warrant a look as a possible new tailgating game.

Monster Pong

The game is called Monster Pong. From what I can gather from the website, Moster Pong can be played with up to six players or just two. The individual Monster Pong board has an angled playing surface, guitar pick shape and a goal recessed cup. Rather than trying to win points, players face off directly and fight to retain their starting 12 point score. I came across a video on YouTube showing how the game is played.

The cost of a Monster Pong game set which includes two (2) boards, two (2) paddles and two (2) balls for $129.95. It doesn’t say if that price includes shipping or not.

To learn more about Monster Pong go to monsterpong.com

Tailgater StrapTailgater Strap – Many tailgaters choose propane to power their grills. For those that choose to use 20 or even 30 lb. propane tanks, transporting them can be a real hassle. Whether they are full or empty, propane tanks sliding around in the back of your truck or SUV can be really dangerous. Most people will use bungee cords, milk crates, ropes or wires to keep their tanks from moving around but none of those options are really effective.

I recently discovered a piece of tailgating gear that will secure your propane tank to the back of your truck’s tailgate and provides stability, security and will prevent the tank from flying through your back window, or worse, exploding. It’s a simple strap system built and designed to hold your propane tanks built with 1200 lb. breaking strain webbing. It’s called the Tailgater Strap. To see a demo video of exactly how to use the Tailgater Strap, you’ll need to visit their website: tailgaterstrap.com

In all honesty, I was very pleased with the Tailgater Strap. It was made with heavy duty materials and in testing I was confident that it would secure my propane tanks not only when I was to get them refilled but on the way to the tailgate party.

You can get your own Tailgate Strap for $14.95 plus $4.95 shipping. Not too bad for an item that can keep you and others safe from a sliding and even worse, exploding propane tank.

To get your own, make sure to visit: tailgaterstrap.com

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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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