A common misnomer about tailgating is that unless you have a truck or an SUV you really can’t host a tailgate party. Not true. No tailgate? No problem. Sure, a fold down tailgate on a pick-up truck provides a nice flat surface to sit on or to use as a serving table. It’s also the main reason how this pre-game activity got its name. With gasoline prices well over $3.00 a gallon, more and more tailgaters are leaving their gas guzzling trucks and SUVs at home and driving a smaller, more gas efficient car to their tailgate parties.
Many smaller cars these days offer quite a bit of trunk space and can easily accommodate all your tailgating gear. A great example is that I typically will drive my Acura TL to the game because it gets much better mileage than our Lincoln Navigator. The gear I typically bring with me is a 10′ X 10′ portable canopy shade, four folding chairs, a square folding rolltop table, the Coleman Road Trip Grill with two fuel canisters, a blongo ball game, a large cooler, a tailgating utility box and my 25-Piece Stainless Steel Grill Set. All of these items will fit into the trunk of my Acura along with utilizing the space in the back seat. Two adults can ride comfortably in the front two seats with everything packed. By using a smaller car you are good to go tailgating without having to take a second mortgage out on your home before hitting the gas station.
The example provided is just a suggestion of what tailgating supplies I prefer to take to the game. You can add or subtract the items you feel might be necessary for your next tailgate party. The fact remains that just because you don’t have a truck or SUV or choose not to bring your gas hogging vehicle doesn’t mean you can go tailgating. When selecting your tailgating gear with a smaller car in mind, here are a few suggestions:
1. Choose a gas grill over charcoal grills. Since the grill will be riding in the trunk or an enclosed space, gas grills will have less dust and dirt associated with them. Charcoal grills are fine if you can put it in the back of your truck and let the wind on the ride home get the charcoal residue out of your grill. Not such a great tailgating idea if you will be transporting your grill back in your trunk.
2. When selecting chairs, choose folding chairs that fold into a cylinder or a tube shape. Old school aluminum lawn chairs that fold into a square will take up too much room and do not travel as well.
3. The same can be said in regards to your tailgating table. Typical card tables that have legs that fold out are too bulky and take up too much room. There are numerous folding tables that fold up into a tube shape and take up as much room or even less room than your tailgating chairs.
4. Try to find a sturdy plastic storage box with a lid that you can keep all of your miscellaneous items in one place. I choose to use a Rubbermaid brand storage box because they are sturdy and good quality and has withstood years of abuse. You can shop at Rubbermaid.com and save 10% on your next tailgating utility box. Items like your matches, napkins, plastic forks, trash bags, cleaning wipes, sunscreen, etc. will all fit in nicely if you choose the right size. You may want to do a ‘dry run’ and pack all of your supplies in your trunk to gauge just how big or small your all purpose tailgating box should be.
Just because you don’t have a vehicle with a traditional tailgate doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. With a little planning and creativity you’ll be tailgating with the big boys in no time. The only difference is you can use the money you save at the gas pump and spend it on beer.