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The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Tailgating

The beginning of fall has a completely different meaning for sports fans than it does for the general population.

For most, the beginning of fall means crisp nights, foggy mornings, falling leaves, hot chocolate, a trip to the pumpkin patch, fall gardens, etc. However, for football fans, Fall marks the end of a 7-month countdown to the beginning of football season or more accurately: tailgating season.

Sports fans in the United States are estimated to spend nearly $12 billion annually on tailgating activities. In fact, each year it is estimated that nearly 50 million American sports fans participate in tailgating activities, 35% of which are so devoted to the pregame festivities that they never even attend the actual sporting event.

Just like any other party, a successful tailgating experience takes planning and preparation to enjoy it in a safe and fun manner. So, before you pack your cooler, grill and camp chairs you may want to read this list of our top tailgating tips to ensure your tailgating party is a hit:


  • Make sure meat is cooked to the correct temperature to lessen the risk of food-borne illness.
  • Properly store both hot and cold food- Typically food is safe to eat within 2 hours of food prep unless it is over 90 degrees then eat it is only safe to eat within 1 hr.
  • Incorporate veggies and fruit- These foods are healthy and easy to serve.
  • Stay Hydrated- This is especially important when consuming alcoholic beverages. Make sure you pack non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Prep food before you get there- Marinate meat, form burger patties, cut toppings, etc.
  • Finger foods are the easiest and a sure hit.
  • Put a little dry ice in your cooler to prolong ice.

What to Bring:

  • Cooler
  • Grill
  • Charcoal or propane for the grill
  • Easy up tent for cover
  • Large storage bins for organization
  • Camp chairs
  • Eating and Cooking utensils
  • Blankets
  • Warm clothes
  • Toilet paper
  • Trash bags
  • Games
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Radio
  • Metal bucket for hot coals
  • SmartCells anti-fatigue stop mat

When You Arrive:

  • Arrive early- 4 hours before game time is recommended
  • Know the rules of your venue
  • Be a good neighbor- introduce yourself
  • Do something to uniquely identify your drink
  • Wear team colors
  • If you’re new to tailgating walk around and take notes from successful tailgaters
  • Try to park in the same spot each time you tailgate
  • Have a designated driver
  • Pick up after yourself

With its portable design and built-in hand holds the SmartCells anti-fatigue STOP mat makes the perfect surface to stand on while grilling and tailgating for extended periods of time.

The unique SmartCells® cushioning technology consists of a rubber surface layer integrated with an underlying array of cylindrical rubber cells that soften in response to surface pressure to provide maximum fatigue relief. The SmartCells act like springs that cushion as weight is applied and then rebound when the weight shifts, which returns energy and reduces fatigue associated with standing.

For tailgating activities where you are simply too mobile to enjoy the benefits of a SmartCells anti-fatigue STOP mat, we recommend our new line of Zelus Insoles. You can learn more about them at

Let us help you find the right solution

Not sure where to start? Our customer service and sales representatives – who are just as knowledgeable about the product as the scientists who created it – would be happy to help you understand more.