Predator Generators: How To Prep, Run and Maintain Them for Years of Service

generator with wheel kit - brand new

You just bought– or are about to buy– your first generator. Good move, it’ll be a valuable asset to you and your family, especially in times of emergency. But, even though it’s got a gas engine and a pull cord, a generator isn’t the same thing as a lawn mower or weed whacker. There are a number of steps involved in the prepping, running and maintaining of your generator that you should be aware of before you try to do anything with it. Here are a few tips to make sure you get a smooth, safe operation, and the power you need:

generator outdoors

  • CRUCIAL– If you take anything away from this post, it’s that you NEVER run your generator in a garage (even an open garage) and NEVER run it in the house. Keep it outside, at least 15 feet from the house, and way away from all windows. As valuable as your generator is to keeping things going, it’s also a carbon monoxide machine. But of course, when used properly, it’s invaluable.

generator manual

  • Before you do anything, read the generator’s manual, from cover to cover. The more you know about your portable gas generator, the more apt you are not to do anything wrong, and it will provide many years of low-maintenance emergency power.

grounding rod

  • Prior to setup, you’ll need to ground the generator. This is done by connecting a #6 AWG grounding wire from the Grounding Terminal to a grounding rod (above) which is at least 24 inches in the ground. The grounding rod must be an earth-driven copper or brass rod that can adequately ground the generator. The grounding wire and rod may not be included with the generator, so make sure you get those as well when you make your purchase.
  • A great feature that some gas generators have is an electric start, because they can make starts fast and effortless. If yours has an electric start, now’s the time to make sure the 12v battery is installed and connected.

generator oil fill

  • Next you need to add the fluids. A key to a generators long life– as with any engine– is oil. It’s also helpful to know that without oil, the generator won’t start. Check the manual and make sure you’re using the right oil type and changing it according to manufacturer’s specifications. SAE10W30 is often recommended for general-purpose, all-temperature use.

generator gas fill

  • Add fuel to within 1″ of the rim of the tank. Be careful never to overfill. Unless otherwise instructed, use regular Unleaded 87 Octane gasoline.

generator startup

  • Now you’re ready to start the generator. Note the slight difference in the above chart between the Manual Start and the Electric Start.
  • Let the gennie run briefly before you plug anything into it, and make sure when you do plug something in, that the appliance is off. Plug in appliances one at a time, and power each one up before you plug in the next one. You want to make sure you’ve got the power to accommodate them. Pay attention to the watts of each unit before you plug it in after the other; you want to always stay under the generator’s max. If the generator overloads, it could damage the appliances.
  • Now you’re ready to rock n’ roll!

Other tips to keep in mind…

  • Never connect your generator with a power cord into an electrical outlet in the house. This power will “back feed” into the utility lines running to your house, and in the event of a blackout, this could kill a utility crew member called to restore power to the neighborhood.
  • Only use  a proper power cord. The power provided by your gas generator is measured in watts. A power cord is measured in amps. If, for whatever reason, you need a replacement power cord, choose one that matches the most powerful outlet on your generator. The power cord would need to be heavy-duty, at least 12 gauge, and less than 100 feet.
  • Never refuel a running generator– or even one with a still-hot engine! The heat could ignite the gas. Shut it off and let it cool for at least 10 minutes. And only refuel in a well-ventilated area.
  • Change the oil during lengthy outages. Check your manual for the proper intervals. If your generator doesn’t have an hour meter (telling you how long it’s been running), keep a log so you don’t lose track.
  • Conserve your gas! If the neighborhood power went out, chances are local gas stations are also down. Only use whatever appliances you need to and, if possible, turn it off overnight. A refrigerator can handle no power for 3-4 hours.

When you’re done

  • When the power comes back, drain the gas from the generator. If you leave the gas in, it can ruin the carburetor.
  • Change the oil one last time.
  • Every month, feed the generator a 1/2 gallon of gas and run it for at least 30 minutes. This will prevent blockage in the carb.

Your portable gas generator will be ready for the next emergency, and will last for years!

When you’re ready to purchase your generator, but need help determining what size to get, here’s a GENERATOR BUYING GUIDE to help you out. And don’t make any decisions until you’ve had the chance to look at the award-winning Predator Generators at Harbor Freight Tools! Read the reviews and research the YouTube videos, and you’ll learn for yourself what a great value they really are.

Hyperbole aside, in the event of an emergency, having a portable gas generator can mean the difference between life and death for you and/or a member of your family.

33 Awesome DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

merry christmas DIY

Buying any well-thought item from a store will certainly make guy or gal’s Christmas, but nothing says “wow” like the gift someone makes for you. For some reason, knowing they spent their time crafting something just for you is especially awesome. Plus, if you’re comfortable working with your hands, the homemade gifts can be made very inexpensively and help you cross several names off your list with just one project.

Over the years we’ve written a number of DIY project articles for the purpose of making something for yourself. This time we’re going to take a moment and share some DIY activities you’ll enjoy both making AND giving. Some of them are really easy take little time and are inexpensive to make. Others might challenge your skill set a bit more, as well as your budget. Whatever the case, you’re sure to find one that fits your comfort level.

Recently, the Art of Manliness came out with “33 DIY Gift Ideas For Men,” a compilation of several previous articles that they thought would make a great gift guide. We at Harbor Freight agree, but we’re pretty sure there are some craft-minded women who would also find this interesting, fun and contain at least a few great ideas for the significants in their lives.

field phone

If your hobby is electronics, how’d you like to turn a WWII field phone into a Bluetooth phone?

diy dining table

Or if woodworking is your thing, how about this rustic heirloom-quality dining room table?

altoid tins flavored toothpicks

Or if you’re looking to take care of a bunch of folks in one fell swoop, they offer 22 Altoid can kit ideas or custom-flavored toothpicks!

Those are just a few of the wide-ranging ideas The Art of Manliness offers in its comprehensive DIY Christmas Gift Ideas post. You’re sure to find at least a few that fit your skill set, timetable and budget. If I could anything myself, it would be to choose a project that will be fun and rewarding for you. After all, it’s Christmas, and where’s the joy in a project that’s gonna make you stress n’ sweat? And when you find you need a certain tool or supply to make it happen, swing by Harbor Freight Tools for quality, cost-conscious garage gear.

How To Make a Rustic Party Ice Chest From Wood Pallets

pallet cooler complete

Yup, it’s getting colder and wetter, and DIY warriors are retreating behind closed doors for the winter. The LAST thing you want to do is curl up on the barcalounger and remain in a vegetative state ’til the thaw. How about a fun garage project to keep you engaged, limber and rewarded with a cool, new addition to the yard for when the sun comes back out?

This actually really is a fun project (well… minus the breaking-down-the pallets part, but it’ll keep you warm) and the effort is well worth the pleasure and admiration you’ll get for your labors. So, without further ado… the Vintage Ice Chest!

Cost:

Because most of the materials will be coming from (hopefully) salvaged pallets, the expense should be minimal. If you don’t already have one, you should pick up a 48-qt. cooler.

pallet

Materials:

  • 5 reclaimed pallets
  • Wood glue
  • 1 box 2″ wood nails
  • 1 box 1½” wood nails
  • 2 large hinges
  • 1 qt. polyurethane, non-glossy

circular saw

Tools:

Time:

  1. Finding pallets
  2. Pallet breakdown – 45 minutes per pallet
  3. Assembly – 4 hours approx.
  4. Use cooler – Every shindig, ’til sunup

Once you’ve dismantled your pallets, sort your wood: the heavy 2×3 supports, the 30” wood slats (will vary). There are an average 6 boards per pallet side. Choose the pieces you want to use for the front. As you see here, ink-stamped pieces were chosen. Using pieces of various shape is best to give it that rustic look.

pallet cooler - openpallet cooler - closed

OK, you’re ready for the fun part, putting it together! This is where I pass you on to Instructables.com, and “miamitreasure,” who shows us how to assemble our classic pallet ice chest cooler. Also, check out these other pallet wood projects on Instructables!

 

If you’re missing any tools or supplies for this awesome project, don’t forget to swing by Harbor Freight where you’ll find just what you need at low, low prices!

The $55 DIY Fancy, Functional X Desk

x desk diy

Owning a miter saw brings with it a world of opportunities for DIY home repair, home improvement and building projects that can add so much to your home. Take, for example, a treehouse or playhouse for the rugrats, a new deck for the patio or adding crown molding to the house– all for so much less than if you had someone else doing it. As one becomes comfortable with their miter saw, it soon becomes the most used power tool in their arsenal. 

Chicago Electric has an excellent 12″ miter saw (#61969) with a number of useful features: double-bevel so you don’t have to flip your work over and reset cutting angles; sliding compound so you can cut larger pieces; laser guide for more accurate cuts. And this best-selling unit can often be found on sale at Harbor Freight at a much lower price than you’ll find elsewhere.

miter saw 12 blog

Recently, this X Desk project caught my eye. Here’s a great example of a doable miter saw project, even for relative newbies who want to spread their wings, for a very approachable price: $55 in materials. I found it on Ana White’s site, a source for so many inspiring DIY projects. She re-posts a plan shared by Whitney from Shanty2Chic, but I chose to reference Ana’s site for its graphics. I also like how folks who follow her example post their creations on her site with all kinds of variations and added ideas.

What You Need

Materials:

5 – 2×4 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1×4 @ 8 feet long
2 – 2×12 @ 6 feet long OR 4 – 2×6 @ 6 feet long
2 ½” wood screws for countersinking
2 ½” PH screws

 

Before You Start

  • Take the time to read through the whole article before you start mobilizing.
  • You want to make sure you’ve got a good working area, including a clean, level surface.
  • When you pick out the wood, make sure all the boards are straight.
  • Always pre-drill your holes before attaching the screws.
  • Use glue with finish nails for a strong, solid hold. Wipe excess glue off the bare wood so you can stain it.
  • ALWAYS exercise workshop safety!

Here’s a diagram of the X Table with the dimensions. If this looks like a project you might be interested in pursuing, take a look at Ana White’s plan. It’s extremely detailed and easy to follow– and the graphics are awesome!

Check out Ana’s site for other projects as well, and make sure to visit Harbor Freight Tools for all your tool needs!

Paranormal Activity Gear at Harbor Freight

simpsons paranormal

You may be surprised to hear that Harbor Freight Tools is a favorite “haunt” among paranormal investigators. Strange but true, bonafide ghost chasers stalk our shelves to find many of their tools of the trade. What, you say, could a paranormal investigator possibly want at Harbor Freight? Camo blankets? Variable speed jig saw? Glad you asked. As Armando Nunez, co-founder of the Paranormal Research Organization Of Fayetteville (PROOF) said more than once. “HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS IS YOUR BEST FREIND.” Here are just a few of the items we found among the arsenals of active apparition artisans:

The West Houston Paranormal Society, a dedicated group of otherworldly investigators who hunt and engage the eerily unknown, use the Predator 8750 Watts Max/7000 Watts Rated Portable Generator to power their exploits:

“We are West Houston Paranormal Society and this is our official generator. Running power where we need it in powerless buildings and houses that we investigate. It runs our equipment (cameras, audio, trip sensors, monitors, DVRs, computers, recharging packs, etc) throughout the house, as well as our trailer base command/review center. Fist pull operation, no drain or surges and super quiet…. the last thing we need is a loud generator interfering with our EVPs and video evidence, that is why we chose this one because that was high on our list of NEEDED features.” Caps included.

Why the Predator generator? Could it be it resonates with entities from across the veil? Or, is it the high-quality performance and low prices? Perhaps it’s all of the above… or perhaps it’s something far beyond mere mortal understanding.

The Predator generator isn’t the only Harbor Freight product of choice among paranormal investigators. The Southeastern Paranormal Society, located in Salisbury, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC, and the good folks at IHuntGhosts.com, favor the motion-activated Bunker Hill Security 4-Camera Surveillance DVR when looking into poltergeists and sundry presences. A representative at the SPS commented:

 “I bought this package to do surveillance for our paranormal research group. The cameras perform great in near pitch black conditions. Considering buying another system for our group.”

dvr 8 channel

Everyone who’s seen those paranormal movies knows why this is an important contribution to the investigative process. On the other hand, do you really want to know what’s hovering over you while you’re sleeping?

creepy dummy

Among the most popular Harbor Freight products in spook-seeking circles is the Cen-Tech Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer, which is used in the measuring of ambient air around “cold” and “hot” spots. While so-called “professional” ambient air thermometers cost around $130, Harbor Freight’s is under $40. BOOOOoooOOOOO-yaah!!

ir thermometer 61894 blog

Self-proclaimed “paranormal enthusiast,” Jocelyn S. Mackie, also takes a Pittsburgh Non-Contact Pocket Thermometer with her, for “ambient” temperature gauging.

non contact temp gauge customer

Another cool (as in cold spot) tool for the phantom finder, according to Paranormal Adventure Radio , is the Bunker Hill Motion Detector as “good for basic investigations.” As opposed to über-intense investigations, we suppose, like flying cutlery.

 Other paranormal investigators have testified about the value of a wireless inspection camera ” for “tight spaces” and “a very good idea for a room that has noises coming from it with the door closed.” A ghost hunter who recommended the Cen-Tech Digital Inspection Camera was using his to check out a mausoleum he’d been curious about. We’ve been curious if he’s been seen since.

 Research:Paranormal recommends keeping an RF detector on hand to weed out “false” radio frequency hits on the EMF (electro-magnetic field) detector. That way you can know it’s not a spirit from beyond infringing on your comfort zone, probably just your daughter calling, wondering when you’re going to pick her up. One of the Research:Paranormal followers volunteered that they duct-taped their Bunker Hill Wireless RF Detector to their EMF for prime detection.

wireless RF detector

Finally, as Ghost Journeys advises in its Investigation Guidelines:

“Shop smart – save money. Check… Harbor Freight for mini LED flashlights, batteries and hard cases to tote your equipment.”

The Ghost Hunter Outlet took it one step further and provided a link on their site to our Storehouse 18″x6″x13″ Aluminum Case, admitting,

“We don’t sell cases to protect the gear you buy because Harbor Freight has a great case for about $30.”

aluminum case 69138

So, when it comes to quality tools at incredibly low prices… who you gonna call?

HOW TO BUILD A CUSTOM TOOL BOX FOR YOUR EXTRA CAB PICKUP TRUCK

Extra Cab Tool Box - customer

There’s always a way to build a better mousetrap. Or, in this case, a better tool storage. If you have a pickup with an extra cab, you’re well on your way to getting there.

Trucks are the perfect vehicle for transporting tools and gear, but the storage alternatives, not so much. You can get a tool box for the back, but by so doing, you rob yourself of bed space– and expose yourself to getting robbed. You could throw them in the extra cab, but the run the risk of them getting mixed up, piled on each other and thrown around with every turn.

If you usually don’t have passengers in the back seat, then you’ve got some prime tool real estate just waiting for an apparatus of organization– in other words, a custom-made tool box behind the front seats. First thing, take out the back seats. This is usually pretty easy to do. Then, get the measurements of the extra cab space, from the floor to the top of the back of the front seat,  back of the cab to top of the seat, and then door-to-door. Using these dimensions, cut out a box from 3/4″ plywood.

If you ever need the extra cab for a group trip or you’re ready to sell the truck, you can easily remove the tool storage box and replace the seats, restoring the vehicle to its original condition.

Watch this video from FineHomebuilding for a detailed breakdown on how to design and secure your custom tool storage box for your extra cab.

You can find all the tools you need to make this simple project happen at Harbor Freight Tools!

How To Create An Organized Stackable Parts Storage Cabinet

If you’re like me, you’ve got a kind of “Winchester House-like” system for keeping all of your screws, bolts, nuts, washers, hooks, nails, brads, tacks and parts in a place where you can get at them… usually thrown all harum-scarum in the smaller upper workbench drawers and coffee cans. I’d hate to actually audit the time I’ve spent looking for everything whilst in the middle of projects.

stackable organizer complete 2

So, what would you think of having your hardware– every single cotter pin, rivet, fuse, lock nut– sequestered in its own bin, in labeled cases stacked 12-high in a portable cart? Well, that’s exactly what Dave Wirth did with his huge inventory of parts and fasteners, employing the Storehouse 20-Bin Portable Parts Storage Case from Harbor Freight.

20 bin storage case

Made of rugged ABS plastic, each case houses 20 removable bins and has a clear lid so you can see what you got inside without opening it up. It also comes with a handle for easy toting.

sorting the bins

Dave actually got a kick out of going through his stuff, dumping everything out, sorting them into their own trays, and then deciding which trays should be grouped together in the same case.  In the process, he found things he never knew he had.  Also, it was a treat knowing he’d never have to spend all that excess time looking for just the right sized bolt.

building the cart

So, how did Dave Wirth tackle this extremely cool modern marvel? Check out his detailed “how-to” video here:

And while you’re at it, visit his Blog for a quick pictorial of how it’s done. It really is a neat project and a work of art.

As for the table saw, miter saw, wood glue, clamps, nail gun, compressor, belt sander and casters— whatever you don’t already have in your arsenal– you can find at Harbor Freight at great prices.

How To Save On Car Repairs With an OBD II Scanner

Do Your Own Diagnostics BEFORE You Take The Vehicle In

Five Ways to Save Serious Money on Car Repairs

There’s a growing popularity these days for DIY OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics, the diagnostic and reporting tech used in most vehicles 1996 and newer) scanners you can use to diagnose your own car issues. When the “Check Engine” light comes on– or your car starts beeping and/or flashing like the dickens– more often than not there’s an OBD code associated with it. The OBD-II scanners read those codes and beeps, and convert them into plain language so you can understand what’s wrong with the car. Many of them let you do your own health checks on your car, and others will even record data while you drive and help you figure out if there’s a problem before it becomes a serious issue. So, with the effort of a short learning curve, you can be diagnosing your cars for problems early and save mucho dinero.

Something to keep in mind is that there are two types of OBD II diagnostic trouble codes: generic “P0” codes and enhanced “P1” codes. All 1996+ vehicles use the same basic definitions for the generic codes, but the enhanced codes are vehicle-specific and could very well change from one model year to another. So it’ll likely be out of date by the next model year and have to be updated or replaced. What’s more, some types of faults will set a P1 code but not set a P0 code. That’s why you need a tool that can read both types of codes, not just the generic ones.

OBD-II with ABS

There are several OBD-II scanners available at Harbor Freight Tools which provide varying features, including multilingual language (English, Spanish, French). One of the more popular , the Cen-Tech OBD II & CAN Scan Tool with ABS, can also read the special diagnostics software for antilock brake systems (on most post-’96 vehicles), as well as the generic and model-specific codes– and other troubleshooting features– making this a great addition to the garage. This one can diagnose most of the issues you’ll experience.

autel

For those who want to cover all contingencies, the Autel MaxiDAS® DS708 is the Swiss army knife of home automotive diagnostic tools. Developed by a team of the best engineers and technicians in the industry, the DS708 is a state-of-art vehicle diagnostic system that delivers a more accurate, stable, comprehensive, easier and faster diagnosis and provides incredibly high performance for the DIYer. This tool offers home workshops and auto technicians an OE-level diagnostic solution rarely seen outside a high-tech professional shop. Not only does it read all 5 OBD-II protocols and all 10 test modes, it can be used wirelessly with connectivity throughout your shop. But, like I said, it IS a Swiss army knife, so it’s worth checking around automotive websites and see if this is the ticket or overkill.

OBD selection

There are a number of other OBD-II scanner models at Harbor Freight, all at great prices for the features they offer. Take the time to review each one, including reviews and even Google other sites for what they have to say about them. HFT is sure to have the right scanner for you.

HOW TO PREVENT OVER-TIGHTENING AND STRIPPING WITH A TORQUE WRENCH

torch wrench header pic

Some folks might look at this and say, “I’ve already got a socket wrench” or “I’ve got plenty of ratchets (and I don’t need one that big).” But what makes the torque wrench stand out– and why you absolutely need to have one in your arsenal– is that it measures the precise amount of pressure you use to tighten down a nut or bolt. Why is that important? Because in certain situations (as with lug nuts and oil drain plugs) it’s important that the tightness is definite.

torque wrench engine 2

Many sub-assemblies of the car, such as the engine and transmission as well as the vehicle itself, are built to exact tolerances, and it’s up to the torque wrench to deliver that specific tolerance. It’s even more crucial with newer vehicles thanks to the advent of a lot of aluminum, soft metal and plastic parts on cars. The last thing you need is to strip or over-tighten. In fact, both under-torquing and over-torquing can have unfavorable consequences. For instance. under-torquing a wheel lug could result in the nut loosening and eventually falling off. Over-torquing a lug can actually weaken the wheel stud and cause it to crack and break which can lead to the same results. So, it’s obvious why every DIY mechanic should own a torque wrench.

torque wrench dial

Take the example of oil drain plugs and wheel lug nuts. Check the manual for the recommended torque. Set the torque setting on your wrench by twisting the handle to the desired settings. Listen for the click, which indicates you’ve reached your set torque, then stop.

Something else you should be aware of with your torque wrench. Never drop it or use it as a hammer. That’s a sure way to seriously mess up its calibration, which could seriously mess up whatever it is you’re torquing.  When you are done using your torque wrench, back the torque all the way down before you store it away. That will help maintain the settings a lot longer.

To see the calibration and use of a torque wrench in action, check out the video below. 

Harbor Freight carries a number of high quality torque wrenches at great, low prices. The Pittsburgh Pro 1/2″ Drive-Click Type Torque Wrench is a bestseller and one that Car Craft magazine endorsed as having “impressive accuracy” and “amazing value.” Check out these and other heavy-duty hand tools, all with a lifetime warranty.

How To Tailgate the Harbor Freight Way

tailgating 2

Guess which one’s been doing Sea Breezes since 9 AM.

Tailgating is always an excellent idea, but if not well planned, could result in a busted play. The tailgate party is a sacred ritual, much like a holy pilgrimage or pantsing the new kid. And like any ritual that requires serious reflection, one must decide how to best prepare for it (go with the beer shorts, don’t go with the beer shorts?).  But with just a few pre-game adjustments and some new free-agent acquisitions from Harbor Freight Tools, you’ll be drop-kicking this baby to victory! We call this our “PAC 12”:

 1. The Tailgate Tool Bag

tool tote 19-inchAlways keep a tailgate bag in the trunk of your car. This could include a spatula, bottle/can opener, tongs, toothpicks, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, ziplocks, pimento olives, drink umbrellas, condiments, etc. Harbor Freight’s got a wide variety of tool bags, so you’re sure to find the one that’ll make you the Batman of the party. Pictured above is the 19″ Tool Tote with 13 outer pockets as well as generous inner storage. This baby’s rugged and you can pack it to the gills with confidence. rollaway tool bagOr, if total mobility’s how you roll, the Voyager 20″ Rolling Tool Bag is your ride. Two wheels and an extendable handle make this rollaway tool bag extremely easy to transport your tailgating supplies without strain or heavy lifting. This super-duty nylon bag’s got pockets inside and out for organizing all the shtuff and taking this party into overtime.

 2. Megaphone– with Siren!

megaphone with siren‘Cause you gotta make your team pride heard! This 50-watt noisemaker will carry over 2,000 ft– great for taunting opposing fans, alerting the crowd to bad cocktail weenies, or getting the attention of that blue-painted hottie with the foam finger. And you and your friends will have even MORE fun with your Western Safety Megaphone as the beer cooler gets low. We will, oh yes, we will, rock you.

 3.  Gimme Shelter – Popup Canopy

popup canopyStay chill from the sun or rain under this sturdy, 10 x 10 Popup Canopy from Harbor Freight. Easy enough for one man to put up, and it comes with a wheeled storage bag for smoooth, effortless transport. We’ve got you covered, bro.

 4. Turn Up the Heat! – Dual Burner Propane Stove

two burner propane stoveYou’ll be the quarterback of quality cuisine  with this rugged, portable Two-Burner Propane Stove. Cook up the brats and keep the nacho cheese hot whilst regaling your friends with buddy banter and gut-busting zingers. This little guy will go up to 11 with its whopping 15,000 BTUs, and features fully-adjustable brass burners to deliver just the right amount of heat when you need it. At a comfortable $39.99, this’ll keep the party fired up!

tailgating 3

Of course we’re just models!

5. Dutch Oven

dutch oven tailgateThe Dutch Oven is the offensive lineman of outdoor cooking. I have no idea what that means, but when it comes to stews to s’mores to 3-alarm nacho dip, the Dutch Oven will tackle just about anything you stick in it. Its secret weapon is its ability to evenly distribute heat, allowing you to cover it with charcoal briquettes, position it in the hot coals near an open fire, or place it on the stove top. Harbor Freight’s 6-quart, cast-iron beauty really needs no introduction, but at a fraction of what the competitors’ cost, it demands the attention of any frugal tailgater. Big enough to feed a crowd and heavy-duty enough to take anywhere, HFT’s Dutch Oven cooks, bakes, fries… and stays hot for a long time with its snug-fitted lid. Just nestle that baby in the glowing coals and prepare to be dazzled.

 6. Magnetic Paper Towel Holder

magnetic paper towel holderIt ain’t a party if you’re not making an epic mess. At the same token, you ain’t no party god if you don’t have something to wipe it up. Presenting one of the neatest inventions since the MacGyver paper clip– the Magnetic Paper Towel Holder! Just stick this modern marvel onto something metal and you’re locked and loaded for any muffed meatball. This one’s a no-brainer, folks.

 7. Sports Chair

foldable sports chairThere are chairs and then there are CHAIRS… and Harbor Freight’s Foldable Aluminum Sports Chair is the latter. A cocktail of convenience and comfort, this sports chair features a strong, lightweight aluminum frame (weight capacity 250 lbs) with an extra-wide seat for… how to put this delicately…. ample coziness. Features include three side pockets for stuff like air horns, cell phones, pong balls… a bottle holder and a folding side table for the grub and libations. At a relaxing price, you’ll be sitting pretty with budget for the more important things, like a cornhole game and bail money.

 8. 5-in-1 Power Pack

5-in-1 power packThis bad boy makes so much sense, I can’t believe I’m taking up space pitching it. The Cen-Tech 5-in-1 Portable Power Pack is equipped with jump start cables, an air compressor (up to 300 psi), two AC plugs with up to 20 hours of charge, a USB port, two cigarette lighter ports and emergency lights– all wrapped up in a tough, rubberized case. So, the blender, the crock pot, the sound system, the iPod, the dead car, the flat tire… all covered with one sweet scoop n’ score! You’re welcome.

tailgating 4

Hi, Mom, it’s Travis! Send money!

 9. Trunk Organizer

trunk organizerFace it, pal. If you’re heading for a tailgate party, you’ve got junk in the trunk. Well, Harbor Freight has just the thing for you to keep it together– the fabulous, “5-star-rated” Trunk Organizer! Comes with both large compartments and side pockets to hold your barbecue tools, groceries, paperware and body paint, all in one safe place while you drive. It’s got non-slip pads that prevent shifting while on the road, and folds up neatly when not in use. Grab it for $11.99. Grab two.

10. Hamburger Press

hamburger pressUniform means more than just wearing the team colors, it means serving consistently perfect burgers to the buds. With this kickass aluminum Hamburger Press from Harbor Freight you’ll be drop-kicking a pile of perfect patties in no time! And for the particularly rabid carnivores, there’s a depth adjuster that lets you make them up to 1/2” thick!  Best of all, with pre-made meat pucks you can go right from the freezer to the cooler to the grill without thawing. Boo-yah!

11. Folding Trash Bag Stand

trash bag standOK, here’s the deal… you can’t do a tailgate without talking trash. This is one of the handiest gadgets for the tailgate, campground, beach party, family reunion or any other occasions of civil unrest. The Folding Trash Bag Stand makes it easy to keep the garbage out of the way and in the bag. Its heavy-duty metal stand has a weatherproof enamel finish and folds flat when you’re done with it.

12. Generator

700-900 watt storm cat generatorYou didn’t actually think we’d do a “must-have” countdown without any mention of a generator, did you? It’s practically a tailgater’s mascot! Here’s the one we like, the perfect size and power for your garden variety tailgate soiree: The 700-watt, 2 HP Storm Cat Recreational Generator. Its 63 CC air-cooled gas engine will deliver up to 5 hours of run-time (at 50% capacity), plenty to run a nice-sized TV, some fans, a microwave, laptop or sound system. A tried-and-true favorite among tailgaters, campers and RVers, the Storm Cat keeps the bash bashing.

Tailgate Like a Boss

Here are some basic rules to make your tailgate successful:

  1. Enough food and libation for friends and wander-in strangers. Getting friends to chip in is ideal
    1. Paper and plasticware
    2. Meat
    3. Starch
    4. Cheesy stuff
    5. Sweet
  2. Keep it friendly. Be a good guest/host. Be helpful. If a guest, bring something extra, like hooch.
  3. First aid kit: Tums, Tylenol, Band-Aids, hand-sanitizer, alcohol wipes (no, the beer doesn’t do it), sunblock, aloe
  4. Extras: Extra cooler with at least one bag of ice, bottled water, non-alkie beverages, bottle opener, scissors, pocket knife, cork screw, wet wipes
  5. K.I.S.S.: Simple grub, simple recipes, simple set-ups.
  6. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting messed.
  7. Stay in touch. Make sure you come with a fully charged cell phone.

So, at the end of the day, if you’re thinking tailgate, think Harbor Freight Tools! While you’re there, pick up low-priced extension cords, tarps, first aid kit, bug zappers, ceramic knives, rope, flashlights and more! More than just a great tool store, we’re also your tailgate party source!  tailgating 1