What Is a Tailgate Party, and What Should You Bring?

Ready to join the party? 

Tailgating is a fun way to celebrate your favorite team, concert, or event. Whether football, baseball, a music festival, or something else, tailgate parties are a great excuse for friends and family to come together and start the celebrations early. 

Whether you’re heading to Las Vegas to watch the Superbowl, taking in a ball game, or watching an event on the big screen, tailgate parties are a North American tradition that millions take part in every year… 

But before you head out to the stadium parking lot with just a cooler, you need to double-check what you need and consider upgrading your gear for a next-level tailgate experience. 

Bringing along a portable solar generator can change the game by making your tailgate easier, safer, environmentally friendly, and noise-free.

EcoFlow River 2 Pro can power devices like a big screen TV, a portable satellite antenna, Bluetooth speakers, portable wifi, a mini fridge, slow cooker and decorative lights.

From coolers and speakers to grilling essentials, here’s what to pack for the ultimate tailgate that will make yours a winner this season. 

What Is Tailgating?

Tailgating — or a tailgate party — is a social get-together that usually takes place in the parking lot of a stadium, arena, or venue before an event starts. The pre-game party typically includes music, food, (alcoholic) beverages, and games to kick off what’s sure to be an unforgettable day. 

Also known as pre-gaming, tailgating is a warm-up for the main event. It’s a beloved tradition in North America that’s now a national holiday celebrated by 80% of the US. 

How to Tailgate

A successful tailgate requires thoughtful preparation and the right equipment. 

You don’t need to provide everything yourself – tailgates are often potluck and your guests will be more than happy to pitch in. Double-check that everyone knows what they need to bring to make the pre-game party complete. 

Portable Power Supply

You’ll need a portable power supply to make the most of your tailgating experience

That’s why it’s first on the list.

Most entertainment, cooking, and consumer electronic devices used in tailgating require electricity — and EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro is the ultimate portable power station for tailgating.

You can tailgate without electricity, but it won’t be nearly as much fun.

Even if your tailgating site has an electrical hookup, extension cords and partying rarely mix. And traditional fossil fuel generators kill the vibe. How can you enjoy a party with:

  • Hazardous fumes
  • Deafening noise (not from your speakers)
  • Bulky and requires a potentially dangerous extension cord for electric start
  • Extra fuel that’s a pain to transport

Many tailgating sites don’t even give you the option and ban gas generators outright.

EcoFlow solar generators and portable power stations deliver all of the off-grid electricity you need without the disadvantages of gas and propane generators.

On the other hand, EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro is lightweight, quiet, and doesn’t produce any fumes.

Ditch the gas and enjoy a better tailgating experience with families and friends.

With 768Wh of storage capacity and up to 1600W AC output, RIVER 2 Pro can charge all your entertainment devices and run many cooking appliances, including a big screen TV, a portable satellite antenna, Bluetooth speakers, portable wifi, a mini fridge, a slow cooker, and decorative lights.

Charge EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro from 0-100% before you hit the road in just 70 minutes using household electricity. Or add a 220W or 2 x 110W portable solar panels to stay charged up on-site.

You’ll have enough electricity and storage to power all of the entertainment devices above and the electrical cooking appliances mentioned below.

EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro Portable Power Station


No matter what you’re pregaming for, entertainment is at the heart of the tailgating experience — even when the tailgate is the main event!

Be prepared to entertain your family, friends, and even strangers. After all, a sense of community is part of what makes tailgating fun.

Your tailgating party pack should include:

  • Television and portable satellite antenna: Pregame with the pregame show. Or watch the whole game
  • Portable sound system: You can’t rock a tailgate party without sound
  • Portable hotspot or wi-fi router: Stream the event (and your tunes) with a laptop, tablet, or phone

Of course, none of these will do you any good without electricity. To get the party started — and keep it going — check out EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro.

Here’s a taste of what it brings to the party.

Speaker50″ TVPortable Satellite AntennaPortable WiFi/HotspotPhoneLaptop
Power Consumption10W110W150W10W11Wh60Wh
Run/Charge Time23.7 hr5.6 hr4 hr23.7 hr57x10.2x

Tailgates are also an awesome excuse for more old-fashioned fun. Bring a frisbee or a football for a quick toss back and forth. Or, get more people involved with something like cornhole if you have the space. When in doubt, a deck of cards is a great multi-purpose game to keep on hand.

Essentials for Eating & Drinking, Cooking & Grilling

Tailgate essentials are the must-haves for a pre-game party to remember. 

You won’t get the most out of your tailgate experience without the things on this list.

Review this checklist as you prepare for your next tailgate to ensure you don’t forget any essential items.

  • Food and Drinks—Favorites are hamburgers and hot dogs, beer, hard seltzer, or canned cocktails — and don’t forget the water.
  • Slow Cooker—If you’re a football fan, you’ll be well aware that many of the season’s biggest games take place in cold weather. What better to heat up your tailgate party guests than hot soup or stew? A slow cooker is ideal for tailgate parties. You can do most of the cooking beforehand and keep food warm long past half-time and even deep into OT.

    EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro can keep a slow cooker piping hot for 5 hours or more.
  • Refrigeration—Coolers work, but they lose their “cool” after a few hours. Especially if you keep opening them up to grab more beer Camping fridges are an option, but they need an electrical hookup or propane tank to stay cold.

Take your tailgate game up a notch with the EcoFlow GLACIER portable refrigerator. It’s the world’s first portable freezer/fridge combo with a built-in ice maker and rechargeable battery designed for true portability. You can upgrade even more by plugging in a 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panel to charge the Glacier directly with solar power.

Even better, EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro runs Glacier for an additional 3.4 hours after the built-in fridge battery runs out. Buy them as a bundle for big-time savings.

With no need for a nearby plug, Glacier is the perfect solution for keeping food and drinks cold on long tailgate days and nights!

Grilling at a tailgate is one of the best parts of the pre-game celebration. Considering that over 90% of tailgaters prepare their food at the event, grilling is an essential part of pre-gaming. 

Plan your tailgate party to have enough delicious grub for everyone to enjoy and avoid overpriced concessions inside the stadium or arena. Whether you’re grilling up some burgers or hot dogs or just snacking on chips and dip, there’s something special about cooking out with friends before a big event. 

Here’s what to bring to ensure you can fill everyone’s bellies:

  • Portable Grill—You won’t have access to a gas line for your tailgating grill, so get one that’s portable and easy to use anywhere.
  • Propane or Charcoal—Bring the appropriate fuel for your grill of choice, and bring extra just in case you end up cooking more than you planned!
  • Grilling Utensils—Don’t try to flip those burgers with your hands or a paper plate. Bring tongs, a spatula, skewers, and anything else you need in your grillmaster arsenal.
  • Disposable Plates and Napkins—We recommend using disposable plates and napkin options unless you want to wash dishes and run laundry when you return from the game. Look for recyclable products to go green!
  • Condiments—Bring the best toppings for your food of choice. For hamburgers, bring pre-cut tomato slices, onions, and lettuce leaves. Don’t forget the ketchup and mustard! Salt and pepper are always good to have on hand as well.

And don’t forget a table and chairs. Bring enough for your entire crew so everyone has a place to sit, eat, and relax.

Clean Up

A tailgate’s not over until you clean up, so bring everything you need to eliminate any mess. You want to leave the area better than you found it. 

Pro Tip: Clean up after the tailgate but before the main event. You won’t want to deal with it when you return to your car, so do your future self a favor and finish cleaning before the event starts.

  • Trash Bags and Cans—Don’t forget much-needed trash bags and cans to keep your area clean. You can hang bags up on the corner of a canopy or place them into a plastic trash can, whatever method is easier.
  • Aluminum Foil—Don’t throw out those extra burger patties or other food! You don’t want to attract pests to your tailgate site or let good food go to waste. Bring a roll of aluminum foil to wrap up anything and send it with your guests back to their cars—or save it for yourself for later! With your Glacier portable fridge, it will still be fresh when you get back to the car.
  • Food Containers—If you brought dips, spreads, and sauces, bring a Tupperware container for the end of the tailgate. Condiments can’t be aluminum wrapped, so glass or plastic containers can preserve them until later.
  • Paper Towels—Wipe your table, chairs, grill, and other items with paper towels.
  • Cleaner—If you want to do more than wipe away grime and clean and disinfect your equipment, bring a gentle, non-toxic cleaner that’s safe for cooking equipment and food.
Photo by Jade Masri on Unsplash

Photo by Jade Masri on Unsplash


While these items might not be essential, they’re especially great to have on hand if you have room. Or, make them a part of your tailgate essentials kit and keep them available in case you or someone else needs them.

  • Wet Weather Gear—Even if the weather report shows clear and sunny skies, always pack a poncho or umbrella if things change for the worst. Keeping a pair of rain boots in the trunk is never a bad idea.
  • Canopy or Shade Device—When sitting out in a parking lot enjoying a freshly grilled hot dog, the last thing you want is hours of direct sun. A pop-up canopy provides shade and an area where party-goers can relax, even without natural shade. Other shade options include sails or umbrellas to attach to your truck’s bed.
  • Decor—Represent your home team with a flag or jazz up your spot with twinkle lights so your friends can find your tailgate when they arrive.
  • Insect Repellent/Sunscreen—Whether you’re partying day or night, you’ll want protection from the elements — and from insects! Bring a bottle of sunscreen and another bottle of bug spray to protect yourself from the sun and mosquitoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Purpose of a Tailgate Party?

A tailgate is a pre-game party that gets everyone hyped for the main event. Tailgating usually takes place in the parking lot of an arena or stadium and lets fans and friends get the party started early in preparation for an exciting sports or music event.

What Happens at Tailgate Parties?

Tailgate parties typically consist of grilling out, eating and drinking, listening to music, and talking with friends about the upcoming event. It’s a relaxed party atmosphere suitable for adults and kids alike.

How Long Do Tailgate Parties Last?

Most tailgate parties last at least a few hours. Arrive at least two hours before the event for a shorter tailgate — stretch it out to a 4+ hour pre-party event to celebrate all day with family and friends in anticipation of the main event.

Final Thoughts

A tailgate party is the perfect way to get hyped up about an event with family and friends. 

Having fun should always be your top priority when tailgating, so don’t stress about getting every little detail right. You can have a fantastic tailgate with a few essential items, such as food + drinks, a reliable cooler/refrigerator, and a grill! 

Make your next tailgate a party to remember with EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro powering your entertainment and cooking appliances.

Enjoy tailgating in a whole new way — and remember to drink responsibly!

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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