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Don’t Forget These 9 Must-Have Tailgating Basics

School’s back in session, which means it’s time to get back to the basics. And what’s more basic than tailgating at a football game in the fall? We say nothing.

Tailgating takes place all across the country for sports fans who just can’t get enough of their favorite athletes. There are the obvious tailgating basics—the grill, the drink cooler, and the meat—but with all the excitement, it’s easy to forget other necessities you wish you would have had later. So just be sure to pack your truck with our list of most commonly forgotten tailgating items and enjoy the game free from worry!

1. Bottle Opener

This little guy is often left behind. Instead, we suggest a cooler with a bottle opener attached (like this one) so you’ll always have a bottle opener handy. Or even one better: a bottle opener on your hat!

2. Ice

Plan on ½ pound to 1 pound of ice per person. This might sound like a lot, but you will need to fill coolers with ice and have enough for your thirsty tailgating crew. Here’s a tip: line the cooler with frozen bottles of water. Your cooler will stay cold without using so much ice, and later when you want a drink, you’ll have bottles of ice-cold water.

3. Plastic Bags/Trash Bags

Do you really want to be hunting for trash bags when it’s tied in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter? Remember: a good tailgater picks up his trash, so just buy a box of trash bags and keep it in your stash of tailgating gear!

4. Toilet Paper

Because, well, you know. When nature calls, you want to be ready.

5. A Knife

Slicing hamburger buns and cutting meat is going to be tricky without a good knife on hand. So unless you want to be that guy sawing a burger in two with your pocketknife, we suggest you pack a sturdy slicer.

6. First-Aid Kit

You’ll wish you had a band-aid or some gauze when your neighbor hits you in the eye with the football he’s tossing around while holding a beer in the other hand. Or maybe you get clotheslined going for that last burger and need a bandage. Let’s face it: it’s just a good idea to have a first-aid kit on hand.

7. Rain Tarp

Rain has a way of showing up at the worst times. Keep a poncho and rain tarp handy and don’t be caught in a downpour.

8. Tool Kit

Expect the unexpected. Whether it’s fixing a loose screw on your buddy’s folding chair or nailing the tarp into the ground, it’s nice to have tools on hand so you can do the job right.

9. Jumper Cables

At the end of the night, win or lose, it’s time to head home. But sometimes that big-screen TV you hooked to your car battery leaves you in a tight spot. Make sure to keep jumper cables in your trunk to keep a tailgating session from turning into an outdoor sleepover.

Did we forget anything? What are your must-have tailgating items?

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