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Tailgate like a pro: 9 inexpensive gadgets to improve your game day

The art of tailgating is a skill mastered through years of training and dedication to the craft.

Like football, tailgating is all about reps; the more you practice, the better you get at surviving the 12-hour parties. Trust me, it doesn’t come naturally.

Luckily, we at SB Nation have spent years selflessly dedicating ourselves to this art form and all the fun that comes with tailgating. And with that experience, we’ve created a short guide to help better your tailgate experience without breaking the bank.

The magnetic koozie

Using a koozie to cover your beverage is a tailgate tradition. But as all tailgaters know, there’s a lot of variables you can’t account for — like the drunk guy who accidentally hits your arm and spills your drink everywhere. That dude sucks.

While we can’t predict tailgate antics, we can help your beverage stay safe with a magnetic koozie. It may not account for every possibility, but for less than $10 it’s worth the shot.

Collapsable folding table with cooler and food basket

This is efficiency at its finest, and it’s less than $50. That’s tough to beat.

The game day flask

This is bold, cotton. But hey, who ever recommended tailgating conservatively. You play to win! (And hide your beverage of choice in a sunscreen flask.)

For all you NFL fans out there, here’s an equally effective (but far less flashy) flask. Don’t worry, there’s options available for all 32 teams.

The speaker

A tailgate without music is a sin that can’t be rectified. YOU NEED MUSIC! So, what’s a good option?

Our friends at The Verge have tons of recommendations, but if you’re looking to stay within a budget, check out the UE Roll 2. It’s waterproof, has 100 feet of Bluetooth range and is $99.99 on Amazon.

The inflatable serving tray

Tailgates are a perfect example of why we can’t have nice things.

So instead of spending tons of money on a big, fancy tray, why not use something that’s inflatable? It serves the same purpose and can stand the weekly test of the tailgate.

The grill

Grill master chefs, look away for a minute. There’s a lot of tailgaters who prefer to pay the big bucks to cook their brats, and that’s fantastic. But for those of you who aren’t trying to pay an arm and a leg to cook a hamburger, we have you covered.

The bottle opener

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made the mistake of forgetting a bottle opener, which has forced me to rely on my lack of charm to borrow one from the party next door.

Don’t be that person! Have a bottle opener on your checklist, and preferably one that goes on a keychain. It doesn’t have to be sexy, it just has to do its job (shoutout to Bill Belichick).

Looking for alternative options? This bottle opener is also a cap launcher. I did a double take when I saw this, because it’s $7.65. Stay safe, kids.

But if you’re new to the scene and are looking to make a splash with gifts for your fellow tailgaters, here’s a five pack that’s less than $6.

The portable umbrella

September may be the dawn of football season, but it’s still hot in much of the country. You don’t want to wake up on Sunday morning asking yourself why you didn’t have some sort of protection against mother nature and the glaring sun.

A portable umbrella won’t solve all of your problems, but consider it more like an offensive lineman — someone who will get the job done and won’t bask in the glory either.

The hand warmers

The drunk blanket can only do so much. When it’s cold, you need something (anything!) to help you survive the early morning fall tailgates. Hand warmers are cheap, and they make a huge difference when it’s 10 degrees outside. Right now, this might not seem like a worthwhile investment, but come November, you’ll be glad you have them.

The time has come my fellow tailgaters. Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Here we go! It’s tailgate season!

Looking for more product reviews, shopping guides, and good deals on sports merchandise and apparel? Check out our new Buy Stuff section.

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