Whether you’re a seasoned tailgater planning to attend every game this season or you’re just putting together your first tailgating party ever, there’s always something you forget to pack or never even think to take that will make setting up, cooking, and cleaning that much easier.
We asked The Home Depot tailgating experts (or the tailgate-obsessed friends of The Apron blog) for the things they’ve forgotten and regretted. Here are their picks:
1. Duct tape — You really never know when this might come in handy at a tailgating party. Maybe you have a table cloth that keeps getting caught in the wind. Maybe you want to hang a banner from your canopy. There are a million things you may need this handy stuff for, so it’s definitely worth having around. And did you know that The Home Depot carries college-themed duct tape?
2. Extra propane — Since many tailgating spots frown upon charcoal grills, you’ll probably be using propane. There’s nothing more frustrating than discovering an empty propane tank when you’re stomach is growling for a juicy hamburger. Take an extra tank with you just in case.
3. A Homer Bucket — This is another one of those things that may never have a specific purpose when you’re pulling together supplies for your tailgating party, but it always gets used, whether you’re carrying odds and ends from the car to your favorite tailgate spot, or you need an impromptu trash can. Our Homer Bucket can handle whatever mess or dirty job you throw at it.
4. All-purpose cleaner — Spills and sticky surfaces are bound to happen when you combine excitement, food, football, and trash talk. Keep some all-purpose cleaner handy for those rowdy game days.
5. Hand sanitizer — If you’re tailgating, you’ll probably go from shaking a buddy’s hand to cleaning off the grill to preparing food to eating — all in the span of 30 minutes. Keep some hand sanitizer on hand for hand-washing without the sink.
6. A fire extinguisher — Maybe this item is a little overkill for a tailgating party, but it’s something you might want to have on hand just in case your crazy cousin Joey decides to man the grill this week. A simple $20 fire extinguisher can stay packed away in your car or your storage tote just in case emergencies happen.
7. Velcro cable ties — Again you might not foresee a use for Velcro cable ties, but they’ll certainly come in handy more often than you expect. Maybe you have an extension cord that needs to be coiled up to prevent trips. Maybe the figurine of your team mascot keeps falling off your tailgate table. Maybe you just need to attach that thing to this thing over there? Solution? Duct tape or Velcro. Every time.
8. Trash bags — This one needs no explanation, but you’ll certainly be kicking yourself if you forget them. Just grab some extra to have on hand.
9. A first aid kit — Especially if you have kids around or are prone to forgetting the grill is hot. A small first aid kit, or at least some band aids and ointment, is a nice thing to have just in case. We sell first aid kits on our safety aisle.
10. Paper towels — You can’t have too many paper towels. It’s just a fact of the universe. Have an extra roll, or five, on hand.
You can find these and more on The Home Depot’s online Tailgating Essentials page.
ESPN’s College GameDay was built by The Home Depot, and now The Home Depot’s Facebook page has a College GameDay app. The app features tailgating DIY projects, including how-tos for a tailgate table, ladder golf and cornhole game. It also helps fans find great tailgating products at great prices. For even more tailgating ideas and inspiration, follow The Apron blog’s two-week Tailgating series. We’ll gear you up for game day with tips, like a sweet tote for tailgating essentials, and more awesome DIYs, like a custom flag pole for your tailgating camp.