If you’re like most sports-loving Americans, you’ve probably seen or been to one or two tailgate parties in your life. Starting in fall for football season, celebrating before the game by eating, drinking, and talking about the best and worst plays has become something of a tradition for many.
If you want to be part of the scene and attend a tailgate party, it’s good to know which vehicles are perfect for tailgating.
What Is a Tailgate Party?
A tailgate party can be held for almost any social event, although they’re most common before sporting events like football or baseball games. Primarily an American event, tailgating involves grilling food and having drinks in parking lots at the arenas and stadiums before the game starts. Not everyone is required to have their own car, but people who attend park their vehicles and open up their trunks where they play music from a stereo and keep their food and drinks in coolers for easy access.
It’s custom to bring your own food, barbeque, and beverages to share with the rest of the tailgate party, so everyone can sample all the food and drinks that are brought. Usually, the food at a tailgate party includes hot dogs, hamburgers, bratwurst, and salads like potato salad or coleslaw.
To keep it exciting, some tailgate parties include lawn games like cornhole, ladder golf, horseshoes, and sholf (a cross between shuffleboard and golf). These games are popular when tailgating because they’re simple and easy to set up. When alcohol gets involved, beer pong and flip cup are also played.
Tailgate parties are usually non-commercial events, so you won’t find any merchandise or anything similar being sold while fans are attending. Vendors who come to tailgate parties to sell merchandise are not looked upon highly, so although it seems like a good opportunity to find some customers, it’s frowned upon.
Tailgate parties initially were just for partying before a football game, but they have now gained in popularity and spread to other sporting events like basketball, hockey, baseball, and occasional concerts, barbeques, and even weddings. At the more sophisticated tailgate setups, you may even see a television set hooked up to an electric generator so attendees can watch other sports while they’re tailgating.
Which Vehicles Are Best for Tailgating?
Any vehicle works in a pinch, but having the right vehicle for a tailgate party can help make it easier to set up and manage. The best tailgating vehicles ideally have an actual tailgate, which you can use as a seat, buffet, food prep station, and a bar. You probably also want a good sound system and lots of storage for your coolers, grill, tables or folding chairs.
Chrysler Voyager – Three rows of seats mean there’s lots of space for partygoers. Plus, if you fold down the last row of seats, you’ve got plenty of storage space for all your equipment and supplies. If you equip your Voyager with hands-free power sliding doors and liftgate, it’ll make loading and unloading effortless.
Ford F-150 – Pickup trucks make great tailgating vehicles, as long as they have the right features. The F-150 has lots of storage space and an optional audio system with ten speakers and a subwoofer that you can sync up to your phone. There’s also a hidden tailgate step to help you load up the bed of the truck. With the SuperCab and SuperCrew configurations, you can take up to six people to the tailgate party.
Ford Flex – This wagon is quite roomy, offering enough space for up to seven partygoers. The back row of seats can fold down for extra storage space, and once everything has been unloaded, you can lift the seats back up and flip them around, so they face backward. It’s perfect for extra seating while still being part of the party. You can also get the optional second row refrigerated console to keep your beverages cool.
Subaru Forester – For those who don’t have too much equipment to lug to the tailgate party, this SUV has the perfect amount of space for both tailgaters and tailgate supplies. Transport up to five people, or fold down the back seats to increase your cargo space from 34 cubic feet to 74 cubic feet. If you want to blast some tunes at the party, the optional eight-speaker audio system will do the trick. Plus, there’s an option to equip a 110-volt power outlet to plug devices into, like if you wanted to charge your phone or plug in a television to watch other sports while you tailgate.