Ever been to an overly crowded tailgate, one with so many people that you actually thought about leaving? Almost seems impossible, but it can happen. Make sure your tailgate isn’t one of those.
Sometimes smaller — and simpler — is better. Party with a few fans and enjoy the time spent with good food, good drink and good friends. Here are the basics you’ll need to host a small tailgate.
Char-Broil TRU Infrared Grill2Go ($179.99)
The TRU is extremely portable, weighing in at under 20 pounds, so it can be lugged anywhere and placed on a tabletop without any trouble. Yet this little dynamo still manages to include 200 square inches of cooking space. It’s got a cast aluminum firebox, stainless steel burner, hinged lid and grates, with built-in handles and legs for easy placement. This grill doesn’t cook like other tabletop grills, which tend to rely on convective heat. The TRU, with its 9500 BTU main burner, uses infrared to cover the entire grilling area with an even heat. This eliminates hot or cold spots on the cooking surface and helps to prevent drying out. It also reduces the chance of flare-up, a big deal when you’ve got people leaning in and asking “Is it ready yet?” The TRU is easy to turn on, with a one-push no-battery ignition switch inside one of the legs. There’s also a built-in temperature gauge. It’s also a breeze to clean up and store until the next occasion.
Koolatron Travel Saver Cooler ($189.95)
Keeping drinks and snacks cold with ice is a pain, and can become a mess when time comes to toss out the water Plug the Koolatron into the car’s 12V outlet (yeah, the good old “cigarette lighter”) and let thermoelectric tech take over. This 45 quart-capacity cooler can cool to 40 degrees below the ambient temperature and has a domed lid so bottles don’t have to be placed sideways. Keeping things warm, rather than cool, may be the bigger challenge in the dead of winter. Surprise… this cooler is also a warmer.
Braven Mira Portable Wireless Speaker ($99.99)
A portable speaker is a great convenience at a tailgate. Use it indoors or outdoors without worrying about power, because this thing has a 12-hour battery. Even better is the built-in kickstand that doubles as a hook; hang it on a door or outside by the grill. Add extreme water resistance (IPX5), a mini-jack for plugging in audio (if needed) and good sound at high volumes, and all that’s needed is the music. That’s where you come in.
What are your favorite tailgating gadgets? Let us know in the comments below.
Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology, gadget and lifestyle writer based on the West Coast.