Tailgating is always an excellent idea– but if not well planned, it could turn into something tragic (like the Helsinki episode of 1919– and I think we all remember how THAT turned out ). 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 won’t even want to leave the parking lot! We like to call this our “PAC 12″:
1. The Tailgate Tool Bag
Always keep a tool bag packed with tailgate gear 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. Priced at $19.99 Or, 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 heavy-duty nylon bag’s got pockets inside and out for organizing all the extra shtuff. A mere $24.99– ¡no problemo!
2. 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! For just $24.99, we will, oh yes, we will, rock you.
3. Gimme Shelter – Popup Canopy
Stay 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. $69.99 will cover it– and you.
4. Turn Up the Heat! – Dual Burner Propane Stove
You’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!
5. Dutch Oven
The Dutch Oven is the miracle worker of outdoor cooking. From stews to s’mores to 3-alarm nacho dip, the Dutch Oven will allow you to make just about anything you might stick in your oven at home. 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 only $28.99– 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
It ain’t a party if you’re not making a 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 and your friends are locked and loaded for any messy mishap. At just $8.99, this one’s a no-brainer, folks.
7. Sports Chair
There 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 $29.99, 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
This bad boy makes so much sense, I can’t believe we’re even talking about 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! Just $89.99. You’re welcome.
9. Trunk Organizer
Face 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
Uniform means more than just wearing the team colors, it means serving consistently perfect burgers to your buds. With this kickass aluminum Hamburger Press from Harbor Freight you’ll put out a pile of perfectly uniform, round and flat meat 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 patties you can go right from the freezer to the cooler to the grill without thawing. Just $9.99. Boo-yah!
11. Folding Trash Bag Stand
OK, 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.
You 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: 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 and some fans, a microwave, laptop or sound system. A tried-and-true favorite among tailgaters, campers and RVers, the Storm Cat sells regularly for $129.99, but can often be found on sale. As of this writing (Sep. 2014), you can get it with coupon for just $99.99!
So, if you’re thinking tailgate, don’t forget the great tailgating gear and deals you can find at 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!