The Do’s And Don’ts Of Winter Tailgating [Tailgater’s Guide]

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Tailgating is the foundation of the perfect football “pre-game.” Nothing kicks off a great game experience like the smell of hot dogs sizzling on the grill, a beer in hand to wash it down, and a group of friends and family to enjoy it with.

Unless you live in Arizona or somewhere else with a year-round temperate climate, there’s a time in the football season where the air gets brisk, and the puffy coats and wool socks come out of the winter closet.

We have compiled a do’s and don’ts list for winter tailgating to make sure frigid temperatures don’t ruin your fun, and you can have a successful winter tailgate.

Do: Dress in Layers

There’s a certain point in the football season where you can visibly see the breath of every person in the crowd. So let’s face it, you can never have too many layers. This is not a time to be fashion-forward.

Start by wearing a comfortable t-shirt, followed by a sweatshirt and topped off with a winter coat. Depending on your comfortability level in the below-freezing temperatures, plan on bringing another jacket, because why not?

The most important thing to remember, after you’ve layered up, is to top off your outfit with your team’s merchandise, such as a jersey, so you can still show off your team spirit while being warm. Logo merch should always be worn on top; don’t cover up your team pride!  

Showing off your team spirit is a very encouraging priority, but nothing is worse than standing out in the cold and not being able to feel your fingers and toes.

Putting on wool socks and wearing gloves could potentially save you from being the “fire pit hog.”

Don’t: Forget to Move Around


While it’s tempting to post up next to the fire pit and sip on a perfectly made cup of hot cocoa, it’s vital to keep the body moving.

One of the go-to ways of heating up the body is to grab a football and start playing catch with a buddy. Plus, what better way to kick-off watching your favorite team play, then to toss the pigskin around yourself.

Another great way to keep yourself active while also helping out the rest of the party is to participate in preparing the food. Flipping patties, preparing appetizers, or even throwing together that special guacamole recipe you learned from your grandmother, can all help keep that blood flowing.

Do: Remember to Bring a Koozie

Whether you choose to drink the classic go-to tailgate beer or are an avid fan of diet coke, you can never go wrong with bringing your lucky gameday koozie.

If you happen to be that one person who forgot to bring your gloves, the last thing you want to be doing is holding onto an ice-cold Bud Light, you just grabbed out of the cooler.

Don’t let your freezing cold hands ruin your great time, pack up your gameday koozie with the big mascot head front and center to show off to the crowd and keep your hands from sticking to the can.

Don’t: Forget to Bring the Activities


Food and great company are essential to a well-developed tailgate, but another thing to take your mind off of those freezing temperatures is to bring plenty of games for you and the party to play.

The classic game that is a must at any tailgate is cornhole. If the New York Times declared that it’s sweeping over tailgates across America, you know that it is a trend to hop onto.

Another easy way to get 10-plus people involved in a game is to bring a folding table and set up a game of flip cup. This takes little skill and keeps you moving (sort of) at the same time.

Beer pong is another great option, just don’t forget to bring a few extra ping pong balls!

Do: Share the Warmth

Hanging out with your friends and family is what tailgating is truly all about. Getting bundled up and tossing on that blue and yellow beanie you wear to support your team sets you up for a great gameday.

Why not make some more friends while doing so?

You throw the football a little too far over the hands of your buddy, and it rolls over to the tailgate next to you. The guy who is repping the same jersey as you picks it up and tosses it perfectly into your hands.

The next thing you know, his friends and your friends are all sitting together, eating food and watching the game. It never hurts to make some new friends, and you never know, you could have possibly just earned yourself a weekly free hamburger with your new best friend.

It’s essential to remember to bring extra layers of clothes, activities to play with friends and to keep moving during a winter tailgate. These tips will help you forget that your fingers and toes are completely numb and lead to an enjoyable winter tailgate.

Now, go forth and cheer on your favorite team!

Christine Devereaux Evangelista

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