Tailgating Gear in Review: January 2010 Edition

2010 opened with a bang not just because it is the start of a new decade but because a lot of cool tailgating gear was introduced to us all. I spent the last month digging up some cool gear on my own but attending the Sports Licencing & Tailgate Show really opened my eyes. And there are more products from that show soon to be revealed right here on TailgatingIdeas.com next month. There was just too much good stuff to overwhelm you all with gear in January. So without further delay here are some of the coolest gadgets and gear from January.

REF125x125 Ref You Suck T-Shirts – As sports fans we tend to disagree with anyone that supports the opposing team. As tailgaters we typically can disagree on the preferred doneness of a grilled steak. One thing was can all agree on is that we can’t stand it when the ref screws up a call that costs our team the game. That’s why Ref You Suck! T-shirts and the perfect way to express how you really feel in the tailgate parking lot.

Ref You Suck! shirts are a high quality, 6.1 oz., pre-shrunk 100% cotton shirts that come in different options. All four of the major sports have their own Ref You Suck! image. The football ref is wearing the ref’s ball cap, the hockey ref is wearing a helmet and the basketball ref has no head gear. The baseball umpire has the behind home plate protective mask on and that shirt says “Ump you Suck!”. All shirts with the images of officials are printed on a black shirt and the image and lettering is in white. They do offer one in bright orange (so that the ref can spot you in the stands) and just says “Ref You Suck!” across the chest with no image of a referee. Simple, yes, but effectively gets your point across.

Trunk Sports – We all like playing tailgating games like cornhole, washers, ladder golf, etc. The problem is if you like to play them all, bringing them all can take up too much space in your car. While out in Las Vegas at the Sports Licencing & Tailgate Show I discovered Trunk Sports. It is a complete tailgate game system that combines all the tossing tailgating games on one frame with interchangeable target covers. You’ll notice that Playboy Playmate Laura Croft is in the booth demonstrating how Trunk Sports works.


Induction_cooker_veggiesFrigidaire Portable Induction Cooker – While tailgating unless you can place it on a grill, more than likely it is going to stay cold. Tailgating is outdoor cooking at it best and that means that sometimes the comforts of home have to stay there. But that is not 100% true. If you want to boil water or fry an egg or even make a stir fry, you’ll need to get a Portable Induction Cooker by Frigidaire.

Induction cooking is different than the regular cooking styles you are most familiar with in that there is no transfer of heat. The brief science lesson for today is that induction is the process of heating an electrically conducting object (usually a metal) by electromagnetic induction. So a powerful magnet inside the cooker makes the pot or pan heat up which is then transferred to the food. There is no heat transferred and the actual cooking vessel is the part that gets hot. The key here is that whatever cooking vessel you use, whether it is a pot, pan or skillet, it needs to be iron based and able to hold a magnet.

All you’ll need is a power source, either a generator or a powerful inverter and you can cook using the Frigidaire Portable Induction Cooker. The beauty of this product is that the unit is small and easily transportable and for safety reasons, never gets hot. The only drawback is you need electricity and metal pots or pans that can hold a magnet.

The Fan Basket – Although this product is not currently on the market it is truly the one piece of tailgating gear you need in time for next season’s football kick-off. The Fan Basket is a trash can/recycling bin that is shaped like a football on the bottom and has a helmet on top. The cool part is that the facemask shield opens and closes with a motion sensor and the entire unit can be customized complete with logos of your favorite college or pro football team. I had a chance to discover this tailgating product out in Las Vegas while at the Sports Licencing & Tailgate Show. Take a look at the video:


The Snack Palette – Seating and table space at a tailgate party can be scarce. Many tailgaters will choose to stand and walk around with their food while visiting with friends or their tailgating neighbors. This “eat, drink and be mobile” lifestyle inhibits the ability of tailgaters to truly enjoy their food and drink. Having to balance a plate on your lap or putting down your drink to shake a hand is a royal pain in the ass. The Snack Palette allows you to hold a plate of food, a drink, a condiment dipping cup and your fork with one hand while leaving your other hand free.


What you can’t see in the photo is the ergonomic design of the Snack Palette. The plate is designed with two separate thumb holes for right or left handed eaters. The other hole not used by your thumb fits a small condiment dipping cup perfect for ketchup for fries or extra BBQ sauce for those fall off the bone smoked ribs. The ridges of the back of the plate nearest your hand has curves that allow your index finger to rest and support the Snack Palette whether your extend your finger or prefer to tuck it backwards. And the sturdy plastic design will hold quite a bit of food allowing you to load up on “heavy foods” like potato salad or that turkey leg.

The Snack Palette comes in a variety of different colors and you can choose from medium or large sized plates. The medium package runs $14.50 while the set of large Snack Palette’s costs $16.25.

Instant Tailgate – Here is yet another product I discovered while out at the Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show in Las Vegas. It’s called the Instant Tailgate and it is an inflatable tailgating space that includes four captains chairs complete with drink holders. The entire unit unfolds from a size that a large cooler would occupy and inflates in about five minutes. Also, there is no need to have constant running air. Once it is inflated you pop in the stopper plug and it stays inflated until you decide to take it down. I had a chance to speak with the inventor and brainchild of this tailgating invention and he describes how the idea came about.