Get your ride ready for tailgating season



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Tailgating has become synonymous with American sporting events, with some people taking even more stock in the pregame festivities than the game itself. 

And who can blame them for wanting to hang out in a parking lot ablaze with the mouth-watering aroma of hot dogs, brats and burgers?

One common philosophy when it comes to tailgating is the bigger, the better. Each year, fans find new and creative ways to one-up their tailgating experience

One popular way to do that is by adding tailgating accessories to your vehicle. Whether it’s a magnetic koozie that sticks to the side of your vehicle, an attached grill or even a TV stand, the sky appears to be the limit for what’s possible to get your ride ready for gameday.


The attached grill

It isn’t a tailgate unless there’s food on the grill, right?

One way to give your vehicle a makeover for tailgating is by adding an attached grill, instead of loading the grill into the vehicle.

“The most popular and best product I’ve seen are the tow/hitch grills,” says Dave Lamm, president of Tailgating Ideas.

Part King Grills, for example, showcases grills online that can either stay attached to the hitch and swing out to the side or grills that can be mounted on the tow hitch but taken off completely while tailgating.

The Part King Grills start at $829 and go up to $1,299.

However, depending on your budget, grills with a hitch are available online for as low as $200. Walmart advertises a grill with a trailer hitch mount for $240.

Bill Hoeper, who heads up a tailgate before each Indianapolis Cathedral High School football game, says they’ve constructed a 22-foot long trailer that includes two built-in grills — which are built to feed a lot of hungry football fans.

“We generally feed anywhere from 400 to 800 on any given Friday,” Hoeper says. “We even take our tailgate on the road when we play out of Indy. We definitely our proud of our tailgates.”


Don’t leave the TV at home

Before it’s time to make the walk to the stadium for your game, catch up on the other games with a TV mounted to your truck or SUV. 

A TV stand allows you to connect a flat-screen TV to your truck’s 2-inch tow hitch so you won’t miss any of the action. 

“You can mount it to the back of the tow hitch and it rotates 360 degrees so you can watch the early games,” Lamm says.

The Original Tailgate TV Stand advertises them for $170 to $200.


Portable kitchens

Maybe one grill isn't enough for all the food you plan to serve. If so, another option — albeit a more expensive one — is a portable kitchen with a built-in 2-inch hitch. 

“It’s a really cool thing,” Lamm says. “The outdoor kitchen attaches to the vehicle and has an arm pulley on the back. The wheels roll it around. They come with an adjusted side burner, a stew pot, a trash bag holder, smoker and a grill. This is good if you want to go big time.” 

According to GoGalley, a popular manufacturer of the portable kitchens, the kitchens have the ability to grill, fry, stew, smoke and bake. They are secured to the tow hitch on the back of the vehicle and lifted off the ground with an auto lift.

"To match GoGalley's capabilities, you would have to go buy, pack up and haul your grill, smoker, oven, deep fryer and then unpack it and repack it to haul back," says Gary Troupe, vice president of sales for MORshade, which owns GoGalley.

"At the touch of a button, you have a complete kitchen ready to cook in three minutes."

GoGalley advertises the fold-out kitchens on sale for $1,295.


Last but not least

• Lamm says a smaller, but popular, accessory is a magnet koozie, which can stick onto any of the vehicle’s metal, such as the side. Some of them even come with an LED light at the bottom. 

“This way [your drinks] won’t get spilled” Lamm says. 

The koozies typically retail for less than $17. 

• A dual tow hitch extension is another possibility for your tailgate. A dual hitch allows the tailgater to have the grill swing out one way and the flat-screen the other. They sell for $30 to $75 online.

• If there’s not enough room in your vehicle for all the people or supplies, one option is buying a smaller trailer to store all of your tailgating needs. These can be simple trailers to store items or larger, custom-made trailers that include grills. 

“A cooler can cause ice to melt in the back of the vehicle,” Lamm says. “You can put things that are dirty in the trailer like a pop-up tent or any of the metal items.”


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This article was written by Tom Moor, Angie’s List.

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