Growing up in the one of the most northern parts of the U.S, it can get cold. Extremely cold. So cold that vehicles won’t start and frostbite on exposed skin and occur quickly. But, we’re not about to let that ruin our fun! If you’re like me, you like to tailgate during any and all weather forecasts. For those of you who live in the colder parts of the country, or plan on traveling there, here are some tips to help you enjoy and get through some cold weather tailgating days.
My first tip is to layer up. The amount of layers you’ll need can vary depending on your cold tolerance, but starting with a base layer of something that stays close to your skin, is light and stretches, wicks sweat away, breathable, and allows you to move easily is a great start. There are many great options available for both the upper and lower body.
Focusing on the upper body, the next step is finding either a warm thermal button up or a sweatshirt. You’ll next want to complement that with a cold weather jacket. It’s also important to not neglect the head and the hands as well. A stocking cap, bomber hat, beanie, face mask, scarf, gloves, and hand wamers will be vital to keeping your body feel comfortable.
For the lower body you may be able to get away with wearing just jeans, but on the coldest of days you may want to consider some sort of snow pants or bib overalls. Long socks, either wool or cotton, and a good pair of winter boots will complete the rest of your ensemble.
It’s always better to dress in more layers than you think you may need as you can always remove layers throughout the day if need be. This is a good rule of thumb to follow, as nothing is worse than being too cold to have some fun.
The right tent/canopy
You’ll want to consider the type of shelter you have as a great necessity. Keeping out of the wind and other elements will go a long way to keeping yourself and your group more comfortable. Any standard tailgating tent or canopy will serve well to keep the snow or rain off of your head, but you’ll want to consider something that is closed in around the sides as well. Creating a barrier from the outside will give people a place to congregate and is also a great place to keep food and beverages. This also provides a lead into our next tip… heat!
Heat, heat, and more heat
Within your tent or canopy there are a variety of options to keep yourself and your patrons warm and comfortable. A popular option is to utilize a portable propane heater. A very common option is the taller, stand up patio heaters as they don’t take up a lot of space, are easy to maneuver, and can generate a lot of heat. Another great option for larger tents or areas would be a forced air heater, as these models can generate a substantial amount of heat. These heaters can also be fueled by either propane or kerosene, making them as portable as the patio heaters. And for the areas that may be smaller but you still want to keep warm, a portable space heater should do the trick. Just make sure you have an electrical source to plug it in to.
Warm food and drinks
While you may have your go-to menu for tailgating, you may need to alter it during the cold weather days for foods that are more convenient and generally warmer. Soup, stew, and/or chili are great options to consider. You can make them at home beforehand and warm them up in the crock pot on game day. Hot dips (such as queso), kabobs, and pasta dishes are also great.
Drink options are important to consider as well. While you can never go wrong with cold beer it can turn into a frozen slushy fairly quick. Consider warm cider, hot chocolate, or coffee to help to keep you warm. And for those who would like to add a little something extra into their drink there are variety of liquor choices to consider (Irish creme and coffee, peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate, to name a couple). Even hot mulled wine is a great option. You can get pretty creative in this realm, just make sure you have an insulated mug to keep your drink nice and hot.
When the temperature dips during the later part of the year it doesn’t need to be the end of your tailgating season. Some of the best experiences I’ve had have been when it’s below 0 degrees. I find that it almost brings people together even more, having this type of shared experience. With the right gear, attitude, and group of people you will be able to embrace and survive the elements, make some fun memories, and continue to enjoy tailgating! Personally, my coldest tailgating day was -10 degrees, what are some of the most extreme conditions that you’ve tailgated in?! Sound off in the comments below.
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