The iPad (and the tablet in general) is fast becoming a must-have device for many of us. And while it may still take a backseat to the grill and cooler at a tailgate, it is one of the more versatile devices to grace a parking lot party. No serious tailgate should be without one.

Many fine vendors have figured this out as well. There are a gazillion accessories for an iPad; you name it, it’s probably out there. But when you’re plopping down those hard-earned dollar bills, you want something that serves a purpose. So which ones are worth it, and which ones will you actually use? Tailgate Fan has some iPad accessories to get you started.

Photo Credit: Ballistic

Photo Credit: Ballistic

Ballistic Tough Jacket ($69.99)

The parking lot can be a rough place, particularly for iPads, which don’t take too kindly to cement. This case delivers full jacket protection through multiple layers of silicone and impact resistant polycarbonate that insulates against shock and drops. The removable cover can be used as a kickstand. And laid face down, the screen never touches the surface. There’s even specialized corner bumpers to ensure a drop-zone dead response.

Buy the Ballistic Tough Jacket.

EyeTV Mobile USA Solution Frontal

Photo Credit: Elgato

Elgato EyeTV Mobile ($99.95)

Why lug a TV to the tailgate? This antenna system pulls in the network signal to turn your iPad into a television screen. Just plug the EyeTV into the dock connector and adjust the antenna to get free network TV. Pick your local channels with touch-taps rather than dial flips. Watch wherever the party takes you. Oh yeah, and it works on an iPhone too.

Buy the Elgato EyeTV Mobile.

Rain Design, Inc. iSlider Portable and Adjustable Stand for All iPads

Photo Credit: Rain Design

Rain Design iSlider Stand ($49.90)

Now that you’ve turned your iPad into a TV, it’s time to prop it up like one. Besides, you’ve got lots to take care of but only two hands. This compact aluminum cradle slides out and adjusts to pretty much whatever position you could possibly need. And the tough construction means it doesn’t have to be babied either.

Buy the Rain Design iSlider Stand.

Photo Credit: HMDX

Photo Credit: HMDX

HMDX Jam Plus Portable Speaker ($59.99)

You want loud, but you don’t want heavy — this rechargeable three-inch speaker weighs only eight ounces. Connect it right to your iPad via Bluetooth, so no wires to get in the way. It comes in your choice of five colors too (blue, grey, pink, purple, yellow). And if one speaker isn’t enough, add another to the setup.

Buy the Jam Plus Portable Speaker.

Happy tailgating!

Get all your team gear for the big game.

Find more cool gear for your next tailgate.

Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology, gadget and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast.

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