Best Novelty Drink Dispensers For The Tailgate Party

Well, heck, your tailgate party needs to be fun, doesn’t it?  Add an element of surprise in the way you serve up those drinks-other-than-beer.  Yeah.  There are some.

Here are a few ways to make people gasp at your ingenuity.

The Final Touch Watermelon Keg Tap - just add tequila.

The Final Touch Watermelon Keg Tap – just add tequila.

Let’s start with a keg made from the humble watermelon keg (or even a pumpkin).
Here’s how you do it –  The Final Touch Watermelon Keg Tap:

Cut a really neat hole in your pumpkin or watermelon towards the top/back of the fruit and carefully remove the pulp and seeds leaving the pith for stability.  I also cut so that the skin part of the hole is wider in circumference than the pith.  You can then secure the cut hole so that it has minimal leakage.  Attach the bung and tap as per the instructions on your kit.

You can use this for margarita mix (take to the site in a heavy duty baggie with the crushed ice in the mix too if you want), or if you are using a pumpkin for Hallowe’en or Thanksgiving tailgate parties, fill it with eggnog.  Of course, you can fill with non-alcoholic drinks – watermelon, cucumber, iced coffee, cocoa etc. and these are always a hit with the young people.

The great thing is that at the end of the day, you can just put the dispenser (save the tap, obviously) in the trash, lightening the load for the trip home.

Is the Fizz Saver Refrigerator 2-Liter Soft Drink Dispenser a total fizzer?

Is the Fizz Saver Refrigerator 2-Liter Soft Drink Dispenser a total fizzer?

Now here’s another oddball.
Not 100% effective, but kind of fun at the tailgate party and you can prime it with the alcohol before leaving home.  Looks like a normal bottle of drink so …. I will leave that part to your imagination.

Fizz Saver Refrigerator 2-Liter Soft Drink Dispenser

The Fizz Saver gets mixed reviews but I kinda like the idea.  You can make it more leak proof by using some plumber’s tape (teflon tape) to tighten up the joints.

You can add the tap at the party or you can take it already attached.  Just test for leaks and you will be fine.

I am thinking you could put a tap into almost any oversized fruit or vegetable.  Pineapple is good, large marrows, canteloupes, pomelos.  You could stock each with its own juice for a really cool cocktail bar.

Then there’s the Jelly Belly Beer flavored jelly beans:

Draft beer in a Jelly bean? I can think of lots of uses ...

Draft beer in a Jelly bean? I can think of lots of uses …

I can’t imagine why I have never noticed these in the store.  But they certainly seem like a great idea.  Can’t wait to try them.
Then there’s a way to dress up your kegerator tap handle.  Such as this delightful dragon … particularly suited to some of those noxious home brews my friend Paul specializes in.

Dragon Tap Handle

Dragon Tap Handle

Of course, the only NFL team you could tailgate for would be the Barcelona Dragons but that’s quite a long way to go.  And you’d need to serve Tapas.

This tap embellishment fits all standard kegerator handles and makes quite a statement about the brew within.  It’s made of strong plastic resin.  I found a range of these, more on a Goth/Hallowe’en theme.

But I digress – back to the drink dispensers.

All right, you asked for it: allow me to introduce …

Little Whizzer Novelty Liquor Dispenser

Little Whizzer Novelty Liquor Dispenser

Little Whizzer Novelty Liquor Dispenser

So here we have the veritable ‘a picture tells a thousand words’ situation.  All I can tell you is that it is battery operated and it is modeled after the famous Manneken Piss fountain.

Has a bit of an issue with squirting too hard and also some motor noise, but it is a cheap fun item for a raunchy tailgate party.

If you’re into Margaritas and have the Benjamins to fund one of these, check out the

Margaritaville Mixed drink dispenser.

You can churn out the margaritas in an effortless motion, several flavors at a time.

Umpteen flavors at a time

Margaritaville professional drinks dispenser.

This is a remarkable machine, everything at the touch of a button, easily cleaned and maintained and entertaining.  There’s an ‘I feel lucky’ button you can press which chooses the drink and strength for you.  A fun party game.  Theme your drinks in your team colors for an extra buzz.

There are 48 drink options (16 at a time) in this very well made appliance and it is so solid state that even a drunk can operate it.

You can choose which spirit to base drinks on and then put the mixers into the other canisters and it will create your drinks at the press of the button.

Tailgate Party games will be so darn easy with this amazing machine they will be twice the fun and so much less of a bar-tending chore. It’s kind of flamboyant in action, too and will certainly impress your buds.  They’ll want to drink more to see this thing in operation.  Really simple to clean up after the party too. The only disadvantages are that it doesn’t do the frozen margarita for the Ladies. Or the hair of the dog Bloody Mary for my Uncle Peter.

Check it out by following the links as there is quite a bit you can read and get inspired by in the manufacturer’s description.

There are also helpful videos on margaritavillecargo.com. 

Oh, I can’t believe we just went from a watermelon to a pissing fountain to a professional dispenser in one short article!

But talking about drink dispensers is kinda like that.

 

Best Portable Bars For Tailgate Parties 2015

Best Portable Bars: GoPong

Ah yes, the GoPong Portable Bar … Ay Margarita!

Portable bars are the stiletto heels of the tailgate party industry. They will pretty up your space and make it sexy. And they are practical steps towards removing a lot of hospitality angst from the host. In fact, it was quite fun putting together my latest list of Best Portable Bars for Tailgate Parties 2015. In this list, I have taken the criteria for Best Portable Bars for Tailgate Parties and isolated specific bars demonstrate that characteristic best.

It’s all about that booze, ‘bout that booze! How do you put out all those drinks and service it without having to wait on the gang hand and foot at your tailgate party? Hire a barman? Nahhh. The only ones who work cheap are underage. It’s more practical to lay it all out on a portable bar you set up easily in the parking lot and then most of the work becomes DIY. And picking one from my list of Best Portable Bars will guarantee a great gathering point at a tailgate party. It’s the Will Call for booze. When you’re trawling through the Best Portable Bars list, don’t forget to check out some of the devices you can use to take the stress off the big day. We have lots of ideas on tailgatepartysite.com that will help you have a great party with the minimum of stress.

After all, the host gets to play a bit of beer pong too, no?

Best Portable Bars for Tailgate Parties 2015

This is an updated collection of the latest and greatest ideas for actually serving up the booze with some style rather than just layin’ a few cans and bottles out on tailgate or in a cooler. It’s never too early to get yourself organized for the summer sports calendar.  I’ve made the task easier by concentrating on the best portable bars – easily affordable for the most part, though some of you may be attracted to the high end ones.

Some houses come equipped with a bar, especially if they were built in the 1960s. Very ‘Mad Men’. But let’s face it, many people don’t really have space for a permanent full service bar in their homes these days unless they’re an NFL star. Hey, even if they do, they may prefer to have one of these portable bars for setting up in the back yard, by the pool or as part of the outdoor kitchen. There are so many occasions for tailgating or home-gating that you can consider one of these a good investment. Anyway, with the east coast weather being as miserable as it has been, it makes perfect sense to have a portable bar, take it outside in summer or non-snow days, take it tailgating with you and leave it set up in the man cave for the rest of the year. Or fold it up and put it right away when you are not drinking. Ha ha. I see a bar never being folded up.

There are very practical, portable bars on the market. And inexpensive compared with the built-in. Oh, and you can embellish them with your team logo and switch them around for other conferences. Some will even customize your bar wraparound skirts and umbrellas.

Let’s start at the top of the range in portable bars. 

Best Portable Bars: Delux

DELUX by BEST is a Spectacular Portable Bar with Amazing Light Effects

Best Portable Bars: Delux

The Delux has a lot going for it and is the benchmark. The guys who buy these would have to celebrate every drinking occasion even St. Patty’s Day. Yeah, they are not cheap but you have to balance up how much you will use this little beauty. It is very portable as you literally build it in place (a quick process). Imagine the impact at a tailgate party when you rock on up with this piece of Richie Rich-ness with its 3-D Hologram LED lighting effects and stainless steel finish. Super slick.

Anyway, you can see by the pictures that it is a pretty plushy affair, not exactly shrieking sport or tailgating. More King of Manhattan than King Peyton Manning.

Surprisingly portable, you actually CAN disassemble in in ONE minute, load into your vehicle and take it to a parking lot reassemble in ONE minute and lay out the food and booze. Just don’t wrap it in a team skirt and ruin the effect of the lighting.  Just program the lighting to your team colors. Though you could put a banner on as long as it had eyelets and you clipped them on with clamps and bungees.  It even has a foot rail and is solid enough to support any alcohol challenged drinkers. The price? Ummmmmmm. Beautiful gift for a tailgate party hero though. (hint! hint!)

Now let’s hunt around for something more down-and-dirty, more practical. Something where a collection of beer-bongs won’t look out of place. You can set up your brews, snacks and vittles on your choice of these bars to make a fine centerpiece for your tailgate party. You can choose generic, emblazoned with your team logo and colors, tiki bar, lightweight or solid state. Cheap or expensive. Me, I prefer to go mid-range somewhere but not so high end that, if a new fad comes on the market, that I can’t ditch the one I purchased and upgrade without pangs of guilt.

HERE’S AN ILLUSTRATED  CHECKLIST OF PREREQUISITES FOR MY BEST PORTABLE BARS PICKS

Look for the following features, and I will give examples as we go along.

Best Portable Bars: Trademark with 2 skirts.

Trademark Portable Bar with 2 Skirts and Carry Bag.

Is it light enough to carry? You may have to walk a little ways carrying your kit. Some models have wheels on their bags. Portable bars range from around 12 pounds to over 100 pounds.  Best portable bars weigh under 20 pounds.
This one – the Trademark Innovations Portable Bar Table with 2 skirts and a carry case – weighs around 9 pounds. (no umbrella).

Is it so light that it won’t support your alcohol and food?  Many are flimsy but have shelves that could maybe be replaced with something less saggy. A quick trip to Home Depot could deluxe up your el cheapo bar in a couple of minutes by adding a panel of MDF to the shelf as they will cut to size.

 

Can its appearance be customized? The Best of Times Patio Bar’s Team logos and colored skirts can be interchanged to suit your event, even looking like a tropical bar. Sports wraparounds are a little extra but are worth it for giving your tailgate party a real focus.  The Delux has a customizable stainless steel logo that can adorn your bar.

Umbrella or no? At least you need a secure space for it. The holder should be able to be made windproof.

Best of Times Patio Bar and Tailgating Center Deluxe Package- Solid White

Best Portable Bars: Best of Times Tailgating Bar

Best of Times Portable Tailgating Bar waiting for your team colors. Includes the umbrella!

Easy to attach Portable Bar: weights on legs?

Best Portable Bars: weights to keep them secure

Use weights to stop Portable Bars from toppling


You may find that where you set up is windy. I always recommend that there is some anchor. It could be a sandbag, weights or you can just attach to your coolers. Either way, always have some bungee cords in your kit for this.

Appearance – you want your portable bar to look cool.

Easy to set up/take down. You don’t want to be struggling with hinges and skirts. Just flipping open may seem a good idea, but is that sturdy? Note that at setup time you will be sober. Not so much at taking-that-bar-down time.

Dimensions that make sense to your own particular situation. If you can’t haul a big bag, don’t buy a large bar. If you won’t have the space in your tailgate party setup (ie. Some lots only allow you one 10 foot wide space and that includes your vehicle) then maybe just serve from the tailgate or flat surface of your vehicle or just pop open a card table!

Matchability with your game set up. If you are going all out for team spirit, then the changeable skirt with team logo is a must. Look for one with an industrial strength Velcro.

Cutting to the chase, here’s a short list of Best Portable Bars:

1. Best Portable Bar: GoPong

Best Portable Bars: GoPong

Best Portable Bar: GoPong

Here’s an affordable and versatile bar that is ‘high top’ which means it is a good bar to stand at for service. Normal bar height, that is. This one is a perennial, nothing much has changed since it was put on the market quite some years back. But it has many uses from parties to trade shows.  More specifically, it is well suited to tailgating and the rigors of the numberless red Solo cups that will be poured on its counter top and the storage beneath for coolers, food or what you will. That’s why I included it in this current list of Best Portable Bars for Tailgate Parties.  It’s cheap enough to replace should you, in your inebriated state, leave it behind.

Dimensions: 39 x 36 x 15 inches (W x H x D) when open.

There are three front skirts included and you can also get replacement skirts in your team colors and for all the sports you support.

Materials that make it up are tough, easy to clean with a pro-style top and a waterproof MDF surface on the top.

I was surprised to see that this one only weighed 14 pounds including the case. At that rate, you do expect a bit of flimsiness in the shelf area. The frame is aluminum, but the shelf is MDF and it is a little thin. If you intend putting heavy items on that shelf, do what my mate Seth did and go down to home Depot and get a piece of solid MDF cut. Use it as a brace.

At the end of the day, the GoPong Portable Bar folds up and fits inside a handy carrying case that measures 39 by 15 by 3 inches (W x H x D). Very compact and light. (No wheels on the case but not needed as even my Ma can carry this one). The stitching on the case is a bit flimsy and can undo so pay attention to that. A bit of reinforcing would be advised here too, not just the shelf. Your local dry cleaner may have a mending service so keep that as an option should the stitching unravel.

It is easy to erect and take down (they say less that a minute for each process but that’s a bit of a stretch. Still, it is sort of like putting up a card table.

Negatives are that the case is a bit flimsy, the shelf may sag but it has pizzazz and is OK for starters. Maybe use WD-40 to make sure the joints and hinges are easy to open and close. Return to manufacturer if damaged in transit and they will replace it without a fuss. Fulfilled by amazon.com will give you an extra guarantee.

It also has secondary uses – you can use it at markets or trade shows but don’t expect too much solid state. In my book it is OK for the money though and I am all for using bargain-basement items for a tailgate party.  Yes, I have committed that crime of leaving items behind.

2. Best Portable Bar: Budweiser Two Shelf with Case

Best Portable Bars: Budweiser

Best Portable Bar: Budweiser Portable Bar – it shouts ‘beer!’

You want your tailgate party to look grown up and not like a corner of the school prom. And serving purely from the tailgate can be restrictive and messy. So go with the sport or beer theme and invest in a great-looking portable bar. Here’s how Budweiser earned its spot on the Best Portable Bars list. It shouts ‘quality beer’ to all who pass it and looks great.  Don’t feel restricted though as you can use any team skirt but hey, that Bud portable bar is cool, don’t you think?

This portable bar has two shelves and that will make sure that you can keep all the drinks and food contained and fit into a small tailgate party space (ie. A standard parking bay). Lay out all your drinks paraphernalia on one and food serving equipment on another. It sets up and breaks down in minutes.

A metal frame, four sturdy legs and carrying case are pretty much standard but this Officially Licensed portable bar seems sturdier than comparable models. Bud doesn’t put its logo on just anything.

The Budweiser is tough and bigger all over at 39 x 15 x 36 inches, metal construction with four tough legs bigger than many on the Best Portable Bars list. Even so, it can be put up and taken own without stress (use the provided Allen Key to install the horizontal bars that give it a high degree of stability).

It has a carry case (use that to protect it when not in use).

Weighs around 3 times as much as the GoPong bar and has two shelves. It is easy to assemble (around 5 minutes) and the wrap around skirt is far more solid state.

You can get other branding on the skirt (hey, some printing companies will put your own face on there which makes this a great gift). Small bungees and eyelets in the skirt may just outlast the Velcro IMHO. So consider that if you have a spare or custom skirt made. Order the eyelets and hammer them in yourself if you are a handyperson.  Otherwise, tick that box when you order it.

3. Lifetime 4-Foot Commercial Adjustable Height Folding Table

Best Portable Bars: the Alternative

Best Portable Bar Alternative

Here’s an alternative to a bar – this adjustable height table. So how did this get onto the list of Best Portable Bars for Tailgate Parties?  Well, it’s solid and versatile, you can add your own skirts and put the coolers underneath to double as shelves. You can tart it up with a skirt.  Sets up in seconds. It doesn’t make a statement like a real bar but it is affordable and does the job.

You can secure it at 3 heights – 22-inch children’s height, 29-inch table height and 36-inch countertop height. Use this last height as the ‘bar’ setup.  Also, it has a ten-year limited warranty.

The frame is made of rust-resistant powder coated steel and it actually exceeds ANSI/BIFMA standards.

It’s easy to clean and you can use it in between tailgate parties for other purposes, such as for craft fairs or other parties.  Kids’ table at Thanksgiving.

 

4. Kitchen Cart, Trolley with Wine Storage Rack and Table

Best Portable Bars: Drinks Station

Excellent Multi-Use Drinks Station

OK, so here’s something a bit off the wall. It combines wine with beer and allows for a row of ten bottles of wine (or other 750 ml bottles eg. Bourbon) and you can put the beer on top – and I’m thinking a couple of small kegerators there.

You can switch the bottles out and make more room for coolers, and also use the lower shelf to hold more drinks, food and glasses. The top shelf is perfect for resting full glasses and plates of appies and mac’n’cheese.

It’s a useful piece of wooden furniture for home-gating rather than tailgating as the small wheels will make this a bit of a stretch out in the parking lot. In summary, a good alternative to a bar. Not super heavy duty.  Doesn’t have that tailgate party vibe but in the Man Cave – very useful. It does double duty in the house and that is a good feature especially for condo dwellers who need every item in their houses to be multi-use.  Not good in the rain.  But deserves a place on the Best Portable Bars list as it is a handsome, booze-centered piece of furniture at low cost.

Size: 18.5 x 30 x 33.2 inches – ie. Not bar height. But in the Man Cave, very handy for transporting drinks and food from the kitchen to the comfy seats.

5. Best Portable Bar: Tailgaterz Tailgating Tavern Table

Best Portable Bars: Tailgaterz

Best Portable Bar: Tailgaterz take anywhere portable bar.

Wow, wow and more wow! This one is my favorite. It folds and unfolds just like a camp chair, is really nicely made and worth the extra bucks to get something this well-designed. I timed myself putting this one together – 20 seconds from the get-go. And that was without pressure.

It checks all the boxes for efficiency and I really like that campsite feel about the design.

You can lay out and serve drinks and food on it, it has a tough table top area that you can use for prep and insulated side trays are built in. You just provide the chiller blocks and ice. Shelves are built in to the layout PLUS a hanging organizer section so you can stash the Solo cups and bottles there.   It is so compact and is a whole serving station with the same footprint as a camp chair. . Just slide your cooler into the space beneath and there you have it.

It is very stable when in use (on level ground) and versatile and that’s why I am including something that looks like campsite furniture in a tailgate party Best Portable Bars list.  Tailgaters who have small cars – yes, compact or smaller – will love the fold-away aspect.

You can shout your team pride by embellishing it with some logos. The color is black which lends itself to dressing up.

No problems with the stitching on the seams  – it appears well-made and the zipper is fine even though Made in China, the designers seem to have kept an eye over the process.

The carry bag is perfect for stashing it and you can hang it in the garage when not in use.

Weighs 18.6 pounds so will be easily lifted and transported.  Secure as with all bars against the wind.

6. Best of Times Collegiate Patio Bar and Tailgating Center

Best Portable Bars: Interchangeable livery

Best Portable Bar: Best of Times Customizable With Interchangeable Logos and Skirts.

We’ve looked at ‘Best of Times’ bars before but they are such a classic that I can’t ignore them in this 2015 shout out. No Best Portable Bars list would be right without these featured. Though a little more expensive than many others on the market I think that if tailgate parties are your hobby and you fill out the calendar with righteous convivial occasions, then this L-shaped, steel-framed bar is a great investment. It is also such a good-looking bar, that a position around your pool would not be out of place.

Sets up in minutes and no tools are required to set it up. I usually keep some WD-40 in the car to keep the joints nice and easy.

Best Portable Bars: WD-40 for the joints

WD-40

Logos a-plenty available for all codes and conferences. There’s a drop-down list of all the logos and colors you can order and you also can mix and match for other teams or whatever interests you. Yeah, I’m thinking Ms. Tailgater’s Book Club may even rate a mention here. I’m sure the makers can do a pink skirt … The company is more than happy to do custom wraps.

While we are on the subject of the fabric: 500D polyester makes it tough as nails and it’s water resistant. If you want to take that to another level, you can get a spray water repellent and give it a fresh coat every year.

Best Portable Bars: fabric protection

Fabric Guard to protect your equipment.

Made in China but USA designed, there are three levels of shelving, a wide umbrella, and built-in shelf-positioned cooler that holds a whole case of drinks and a wheeled carry bag to get it from point A to point Z …. Anyway, the size is: 63 x 19 x 44 inches and it weighs around 75 pounds so do factor that in when you are loading up the trunk of the car. Oh, but you have a Dodge Ram, don’t you? The perfect tailgating vehicle.

But back to the Best Portable Bars for Tailgate Parties – again, the Best of Times portable bar would benefit from a couple of weights on the legs and anchor that umbrella well in its holder. But it is a roomy and versatile centerpiece for the best tailgate party evahhhhhhhh (hello, Boston). It is highly recommended and versatile and therefore, gets a high rating on our Best Portable Bars for Tailgate Party list.  The range of available skirts and customised decor is impressive.

But now for something entirely different ….

Wyndham HouseTM Dual Tank Double Beverage Dispenser Backpack-7.4 Liters

Best Portable Bars: backpack dual tank dispenser.

Wyndham House Dual Tank Drinks Dispenser

OK, so you don’t drive a RAM or equivalent? Impulse-bought that Mini-Cooper? Limited space for your tailgate party furniture? Well, packing the mini-grill is good but ‘portable bar space’? Nada.

Give every fourth guest one of these. Hands free, adjustable shoulder straps and a nifty cup pocket built-in. Play on, dudes and drink at the same time. Never miss a brewski or a margarita.

Does it warrant a spot on the Best Portable Bars for Tailgate Parties list?  Not really, but it is a fun drinks delivery system when space is an issue and drinking is being carried out at Olympic level.  This is a dual backpack drink-dispenser and holds two 3.7 quart clear beverage containers which you can customize to your taste and need. Yeah, you can even put water in one and alternate drinks during the day so that sobriety wins out in time for that long drive home.

OK, we are not talking sold state here and you need to get used to the issues such as spillage, lids popping off mid-game and running out once you have drunk that 1.5 gallons of beer. Not great on hot days as the beer will heat fast so here’s my thought:

Put some of these beersicles in the tubes to retain the chill:

Best Portable Bars - the personal touch

Beersicles for keeping your brew cold.

Look at this as a bit of fun and not a permanent solution to how to serve your beers. Good for home brew as you can treat it like a growler – fill up at home, transport carefully in a cooler and drink on the run. Keep the lines clean and unkinked and that should avoid any leakage and dripping, and make sure that you click on the lids till they snap into place or they will fall off. Don’t be bowing to anyone. The booze will tip out.

In summary, there are many options at all price points in the range of Best Portable Bars but by the far the most popular tailgate party portable bars in 2015 are the Best of Times range of L-shaped bars with the umbrella. Kind of conservative but they definitely check all the boxes and the initial investment will be repaid over and over again as they are well-made specifically for the tailgate party industry so hey, they have your best interests at heart!

Tailgate Party on!

Best Hot Dog Cookers For Tailgate Parties.

Lovers of beer and brats (*and who isn’t one?) will be thrilled to know that hot dog cookers are available now in all kinds of shapes and sizes, even that small version of the pro-hot dog roller cooker style ‘as seen on television’.  The hazards of cooking hotdogs, especially those shiny brats, include that they constantly fall off the grill onto the flames if you’re grilling, or they fall in the dirt, or that they just burn on one side.  You need a specialist gadget to prevent that. They run between low cost and professional to über professional super high end, but all are worth a look and I know you will find one that is perfect for your tailgate party requirements. To make things easy, we’ve put together this list of the best hot dog cookers for your tailgate party.

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Nostalgia Electrics pop up hot dog cooker

Best Hot Dog Cooker Review Nostalgia Electrics Hot Dog Cooker

Nostalgia Electrics Hot Dog Cooker


This one is a bit of fun.  I wouldn’t recommend for the tailgate party as it only holds enough hot dogs for one person.  And you can’t fit the nice, fat juicy brats in.  OK for kids though. And would make a great gift for a teenager and he/she could keep it in the rumpus room.

Of course, you want something smallish that ensures a juicy bratwirsty hot dog result every time.  Not a dinky toy.  Something that says ‘I’m a chef’. Yeah, well, hot dogs need some kitchen lovin’ too!Especcially at a tailgate party because IMHO (again, forget the H) people are very judgemental and there’s a level of crushing cool entering the realm of tailgating.

We love to host tailgate parties and what we have found is that apart from dropping into Chipotle en route, the best and least stressful event involves getting in a supply of snags, bread rolls and toppings and letting everyone build their own mound of deliciousness.   Easy as pie.  No. Easier by far than pie. Which generally gets soggy before the game commences.

I decided to take a look at some hot dog cookers and their pros and cons so check out these reviews of the best hot dog cookers for tailgate parties.

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Hot Dog Express Countertop Hot Dog Electric Cooker

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Hot Dog Express

Hot Dog Express Countertop Hot Dog Electric Cooker

They say this one cooks up to 8 sausages or hamburgers and is versatile and reliable.  There’s a bun warmer in the lid, most can be put in the dishwasher and it’s about the same size as a panini maker. They advertise it as ‘now you can enjoy the great taste of stadium-style hot dogs at home’ but I’m thinking that is the worst way to advertise.  I know that most of you would prefer a really fine bratwurst or spicy Tex-Mex sausage not just the mystery meat offerings.  The main feature is that it allows you to cook slowly without burning or drying out your sausage and it keeps your dogs and buns warm and toasty until you are ready to eat. The removable tray drains away fat, and the special lid warms buns and you can shove most of it in the dishwasher.

Very inexpensive. One of the best hot dog cookers for its versatility, price and ease of use – plus it’s portable!

The power drain from a generator would be minimal (60 watts) if you are on unpowered sites and it weighs just over 7 pounds.  You could even run it off a battery pack and it would last till cooked.

Takes quite a while to cook (up to 30 minutes) and when they say it holds 8 hot dogs, these would be of the Ikea-size small sausages, not the big, fat brats I am used to.

Anyway, so I am marking this as the base rate.  It’s OK but there are better out there (and there are worse).

Here’s the cheapest:

Cuisinart Hot Dog Roller

 

Best Hot Dog  Roller

Cuisinart Hot Dog Roller

It’s also the low techest.  If that’s a word. Pretty much just a non-stick grid onto which you can balance up the hot dogs and cook on the stove or BBQ top.  To rotate the snags, you need to give the plate a bit of a forward and backward juggle from time to time and the sausages will turn around.  An niexact science.  But it’s really an OK BBQ accessory.  Not great for cooking a heap of dogs at the same time.  If you just want to cook a small quantity  at a time, this Cuisinart Hot Dog Roller is good enough.  At the budget end of life, this is extremely cheap.  It holds up to 5 dogs (smallish ones) and stops the sausages from rolling off during cooking while making it easy to keep them on the move to cook evenly.  The unit is easy to pack and operates off your grill so on a gas grill this would be a nice combo. Cuisinart is a reliable brand, too. I really like the wooden handle which is angled away from the heat and many other roller ‘pans’ don’t have that so you need to pack some long Oven mitts so you don’t get burned, with fingers and definitely not any of those slippery silicone versions.

But if you are a real fan of brats, beer and sport and want to combine those heavenly elements at tailgate parties, then you need to take the game up a notch.

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Great Northern Commercial Quality 18 Hot Dog and 7 Roller Grilling Machine

 

Best Hot Dog Roller - Great Northern Hot Dog Roller Grilling Machine

Great Northern Hot Dog Roller Grilling Machine

A commercial machine, this is perfect for hosting a large party.  Not that expensive either.  It has 7 rollers and you can comfortably fit 18 standard hot dogs (I would say 12 fat brats) on it.  At 1400 watts, it is in need of power so a generator is advised (minimum 2000 watts. Which can run a small TV as well.  See our reviews of the best portable generators here.) This is one of the best hot dog cookers for smaller tailgate parties.

It has an optional sneeze guard.

Sneeze Guard For Hot Dog Roller

Sneeze Guard For Hot Dog Roller

Many have these built in.  I rather like that idea better.

Oh, and it’s so darn solid state that you could run a little stand and it would pay for itself on the first day.  Get a health permit, of course!  (great for helping the kids out at a school fairs and hot dog days too.)

The power for this one is very even and your brats not only do not burn, they also stay relatively moist.

The Great Northern Popcorn Company (the maker) calls it ‘a masterpiece’ and it is the original machine designed by the corporation.  Note that they also actually DO make popcorn machines so they are really into this foyer food.  But I think it is a valid addition to the tailgate party.  There’s an awesomeness about hot dogs that is hard to compete with. You get a 1 year limited warranty. The material is a solid state Stainless steel, easy to clean. The rollers are premium grade non-stick stainless steel. It has a heavy duty motor and safety temperature control and actually, there’s a nifty dual temperature control which allows you to roast or cook on the front rollers while at the back, you just keep the first batch warm to the correct ‘warmer’ temperature over 145 degrees F. The rollers rotate a full 360 degrees.  Some of the cheap units do not do that.

Surge Guard

Surge Guard

It has a built-in fuse for safety purposes but to protect it while running it off a generator, get a surge guard.
I like the one with an extension cable to keep the generator away from the party.

There are built in rubber feet for tabletop use so the hot dog roller sits with some stability and won’t jiggle off the table.

Removable and easy to clean stainless steel drip tray and cleaning is really simple.

Tecchy Specifications: -110V/50Hz. -Power: 1400-watt.

Maximum capacity: 18 hot dogs per batch (6 rows of 3).

The tray dimensions are: 11-inch W by 17.75-inch D.  but the overall dimensions are 23-inch H with cover, by 13-inch W by 15-inch D. So allow some space.

Hard to beat that one for a tailgate party or for home-gating!

Unless you get its big brother which is somewhat the same only more expensive and will grill 30 brats at a time.

This is the

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Great Northern Commercial 30 hot dog 11 roller Grilling Machine

(sneeze guard is built in and included).

Best Hot Dog Cooker Great Northern Commercial 30 hot dog 11 roller Grilling Machine

Great Northern Commercial 30 Dog Roller Grilling Machine

Basically, I reiterate everything I said about the 18 hot dog model except for the power pull which increases in direct proportion to your capacity to grill. It has the same features and benefits, but is bigger, is all.  I do like it, but then the power suck-up will be greater so this may be better for home-gating. One of the best hot dog cookers for those who need to cook large numbers of dogs.

Now for something that is just for fun.  But it works.  To some extent.

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Nostalgia Electrics Coca-Cola Series Hot Dog Roller

Best Hot Dog Cooker - Nostalgia Electrics Coca-Cola Hot Dog Roller

Nostalgia Electrics Coca-Cola Hot Dog Roller

What can I say?  It’s kind of dinky and only fits 8 Ikea sized hot dogs, or 4 footlongs, and the brats will fit in the grooves but only just.  But it is fun.  Again, you need power, so if this is your thing, then go for it.  A nice feature is the bun warmer (that’s a box just under the awning) and it rescues this from being a total novelty.

It has an adjustable heat knob, plus is built to American standards so it won’t blow up like some cheap appliances.  It’s cute.  Now if only there were a beer one rather than a Coke one. Time to break out those Martha Stewart skills and repaint this sucker with some team logos!

It is very inexpensive so maybe inflict it on a friend as a host gift when you turn up at his tailgate party. Definitely wins points for novelty value – I’d say it’s the best hot dog cooker for a gift for those who like Coke™.

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Roller Dog Commercial 12 Hot Dog Roller Grill Cooker Machine

Best Hot Dog Cooker - Roller Dog  Commercial 12 Hot Dog Roller Grill Cooker Machine

Roller Dog Commercial 12 Hot Dog Roller Grill Cooker Machine

This guy has all the features of the 18 hot dog machine above but is smaller, for 12 hot dogs, includes the cover (which you need to assemble with no instructions) and is slightly heavier and bulkier but here’s the thing: it only draws 750 watts which means you could take a large battery pack to run it instead of a generator.  But apart from that, it is under $100 at the moment which is around a 60% discount, to purchase and probably enough for most tailgate parties.  It also has the 360 degree rotation and dual temperature zone so these really can’t be faulted.  Easy to clean, easy to re-equip with the sneeze guard should you break that.  It has the same guarantee.

Just on price alone, I probably would go for this as the best solution for the hot dog cooking dilemma. One of the best hot dog cookers for convenience and size.

Then there’s this:

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Benchmark Mini Cart Hotdog Steamer

Best Hot Dog Cooker - Benchmark Mini Cart Hotdog Steamer

Benchmark Mini Cart Hotdog Steamer

Now before you rush out and buy one, remember that if you are tailgate partying in an unpowered site, this one is limited by what ever sized generator you own.
Having said that, it is clean, hygienic and you can start a business (note: health permit needed for that) churning out the brats and beer (liquor license required). Possible one of the best hot dog cookers for novelty value!

Ahhh do I hear dreams of not working for the man ever again?  Hot dog cart here I come.

It’s more about steaming the hotdogs and holding them at a safe temperature.  I think it has its place but steamed brats are not as nice as grilled.

The weight is around 24 pounds too so it will add to your kit quite a lot.

For my money, this one is a no, because I like something a lot less cumbersome, and prefer grilled doggies, but it certainly has its uses and may just be what you are looking for.

Garnishes and Fixin’s

Almost anything goes with a brat no matter what the flavor profile.  It’s en vogue to have Korean Mexican profile fixin’s so think about that. Ms. Tailgate always has a great bowl of finely manicured salads and pickles so that they fit perfectly on the plate/fork/fist/bun.  That’s a start.

For your fillings, some mustards of your liking in squirty bottles, ditto the relish, maybe some kimchee, tomato ketchup, sriracha, finely sliced up rings of red onion (or white) which you can soak overnight in some rice vinegar for that Asian flavor profile, dill pickles and you’re experiencing gourmet heaven! Line them up on a board so that guest can help themselves.  Provide lots of paper napkins for the messy eaters(or recyclable cloth ones if you are thinking ‘green’).

Naturally, it is your obligation to provide lots of beer to wash the food down with and a kegerator will have your back on this aspect.

You can present the fixin’s in chiller trays like this one that has a layer of ice at the base to keep everything snapping fresh:

Chilled Condiment Server

Chilled Condiment Server

Or in the traditional squeeze bottles – You can buy 12 chef styled squirt bottles here. They are among the handiest things you can have in your tailgate party kit.

Squeeze Bottles

Squeeze Bottles

Sectional Dish for the Tailgate Party

Sectional Dish – perfect for tailgate parties!

Or in a Sectional dish.  This one also has ice at the base.

It’s up to you. There are plenty of travel-easy options.

So there you have a simple guide to what I think are the best (or oddest) hot dog options out there.  I will add to this list as I stumble upon new machines so do call back occasionally for a look.

Best Portable Generators For Tailgate Parties Reviewed.

I’ve had a truckload of experience with generators at the user end. One of the sites belonging to the place I worked had no power at one stage and I bought a nifty little red Honda 2000W generator to run a heap of electrical appliances and lights which worked really well. Oh, until some idiot put diesel in it and it smoked like crazy. But we cleaned it out and it was as good as new. And we made a tidy sum renting it out to others. The Honda is a great and reliable unit, if a little spendy. That’s why it doesn’t make it to my list of Best Portable Generators.  It’s a good machine, but not as much bang for buck.  I learned a lot, such as cleanliness is vital. So treat your generator like a kegerator and keep those lines clean and clear. And, in my list of best portable generators, you’ll find a way of getting a 4000W generator without the massive expense of buying a biggie. Rather than do a scatter-gun long list of contenders, I’ve whittled down the choices to make it more manageable and included my top choices. So, to find a current list of best portable generators, read on ….

What Makes the Best Portable Generators for Tailgate Parties?

Factor #1 is that most sites are not powered. They are parking lots full of improvised tailgate party sites.  We all know that there are many times at a tailgate party when you need power, but there’s just nothing to plug into. If you want to cook on site such as in a small pizza oven, keep food and booze refrigerated, be there for the long haul, play music, watch television, run a satellite link, hey, you are going to need a generator. Minimum 2000 watts. Most likely more.

Read on, as here’s some stuff you may not know. I have looked at many models as contenders for Best Portable Generators and the ones below are my final recommendations for tailgate party use. You don’t have to wade through heaps of portable generator reviews.  I have done that for you. Oh, and all these portable generators will come in handy for the zombie apocalypse too. Oh, but if it is just a light or something small you need to rev up, there are some awesome battery packs we have reviewed earlier. Keep it charged up and it is great for a little power. But they just don’t do it for powering a kegerator though.

Best Portable Generators: Duracell DRPP300 Powerpack

Duracell DRPP300 Powerpack

Here is a range of generators that will be suitable for tailgate partying and made it to my list of Best Portable Generators. These have the added bonus that in this global warming situation where doomsday prepping is at an all time high, you WILL be prepared. That is, if you remembered to buy some fuel.  It qualifies as one of my Best Portable Generators as it is simple to use, compact and cheap.

Hyundai HY2000siCa Portable Inverter Generator, 2200-watt

Best Portable Generators: Hyundai HY2000siCa Portable Inverter Generator

Hyundai HY2000siCa Portable Inverter Generator

The Hyundai HY2000siCa generator has an average running time (on full tank) = 4-6 hours. The makers claim 5.5 Hours at 50 percent load. You won’t need to run it at 100% very often though. Most uses are intermittent peaks of power.

Starter is Electric. But the Hyundai HY2000siCa generator does have a manual recoil as well. The electric starter requires batteries. It starts easily whether hot or cold.

Quiet?:   Yes. 65 dB which is louder than the Honda generator but not unbearable.

Note that there is a non-CARB and a CARB compliant model, the latter costing a few more bucks. But hey, you want the CARB model, EPA and CSA Certified. Otherwise, your tailgate party will be noisy and gassy. You don’t want emissions of any kind as it can overtake your beer taste. So do select the CARB Hyundai HY2000siCa generator and the world (and your nose and ears) will thank you.  A Non-Carb really should not be on the list of Best Portable Generators but it’s OK in some situations.

Tank Capacity = 1.2 gallons.

Price: Around 40% cheaper than the average popular equivalent.

Uses: You can run multiple small electrical items all at once or an air-conditioner using the Hyundai HY2000siCa generator. Great for a tailgate party and it will run the kegerator. Maybe not the TV at the same time unless yours is a small one. In other words, you can cook or you can watch TV. But you could cook and plug in an iPod and some nifty speakers. On the non-party days, you could also run any single large power tool (table saw, small 1 to 1.5 hp pancake compressor) with the Hyundai HY2000siCa generator and hey, it’s suddenly a business expense and you can take it tailgating at weekends.

Outlets:  The Hyundai HY2000siCa generator has two 120V 16.6A AC and one 12V 8.3A DC outlet. That’s average and all you need. Plug in more and you will drain it fast. Its dependable circuit breaker system with overload protection is good to have as these gadgets can surge a bit due to dirty fuel or just problems . Low Oil Indicator for additional protection but note that by the time it activates, the oil may have all gone. Suggestion is that you top up the oil on a regular basis and keep the unit clean. 12V DC power for “On The Move” battery charges. Vehicle battery charge cables included

Fuel: Unleaded Gasoline. Use a smaller can (say, 1 gal.) for filling rather than the 5 gal. as then you can easily spill the fuel.

Weight: The Hyundai HY2000siCa is a lightweight generator and easy for one person to wrangle. Manufactured from 3mm Polypropylene to keep that weight down. I really like these poly generators more than I thought I would. They are resistant to dings whereas the steel ones scratch and dent quite fast.

Service: Make sure you clean the unit and check the spark plugs as these can wiggle loose with use. Tighten them up from time to time. Just as you would a lawnmower.

Running Time is stated as 5.5 Hours. With a spare can of fuel this will be enough for most tailgate parties. This unit is an actual ‘2000 watt – 16.7 amp output’ – whereas both the Honda and Yamaha 2000 inverter generators are actually only rated at 1600 watts – 13.3 amp. This makes the Hyundai HY2000siCa generator a better deal.

Maker’s guarantee: 2-Year Limited Warranty. It’s backed by a 2-year warranty for commercial or non-commercial use. Has a manufacturer’s help line and they are very attentive. Will replace the unit if they can’t make suggestions for fixing any problems. Made in China.

Comparable with the Yamaha and Honda 2000 W. but cheaper.

Users have advised taking a flashlight to light up the control panel as it is not lit at all. Also, it has no fuel gauge. You just need to keep it topped up each time you use it. However, as the cheapest at this level, it may be worth it to sacrifice the convenience for something that runs just as well.

What’s included:

Instruction book, tools for removal of access panels and draining of oil for storage. It has standard oil but you may get a better result using a good 5/30w Synthetic Oil instead.

Now let’s pause for an educational moment …. You’ll see CARB referred to a heck of a lot in relation to all sorts of products that may affect the environment. So ….

WHAT IS CARB?

The California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB or ARB, is the “clean air agency” in the State of California. Emissions rules in California are very stringent and CARB comes under the jurisdiction of the Californian EPA. They have made great inroads into Los Angeles’ clean up of air and noise and now you can see the Hollywood sign from almost the coast. unheard of in the bad ol’ smoggy days. Could be something to do with the invention of the Prius.

Bottom line is that CARB has some good insight into noise and air pollution, so whether you live in California or not, it would be wise to go with their call on what generator is good. In that spirit, I would not recommend the non-CARB model at all. A few extra bucks for the CARB approved model is way worth not getting COPD or tinnitus in your middle years.

BUT IF YOU INSIST:

All Power America APG3014 2,000 Watt 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Generator

Best Portable Generators: Best cheap generator: non carb

All Power America 2000 Watt Generator NON CARB

NON CARB compliant. Ie. NOT for sale or able to be freighted to California. Made in China: Jiangsu Jiangdong Group.  You may ask, why does it get on a list of Best Portable Generators ?

Well, the All Power America APG3014 is dirt cheap. The only way I could buy this one, though, is if I had a farm or plot of land surrounded by nothingness.

However, it is a good buy for a generator this size. 2,000 Watts Surge/1,400 Watts Continuous, 3 HP 4-Stroke Engine. The All Power America APG3014 is noisier than the equivalent Hyundai with 68 dB of grunt and that could be the main reason why it is not for sale in California. It would not be a perfect tailgate party purchase for the reason of noise pollution alone. You would need a long lead to keep the noise away from your tailgate party or you could baffle it with acoustic panels.  However, it does come into the class of ‘better than nothing’ and everyone needs a bargain sometimes.

The All Power America APG3014 generator is lightweight, framed for easy portability durability as that metal frame protects it from dings.

Average running time (on full tank): It is claimed that it will run for 9.5 hours on a 50% load but I am skeptical in general about these predictions as there are so many variables. However, users do rate this highly and that is a good indicator.

Starter:  Electric. Plus Manual recoil.

Quiet?: The All Power America APG3014 is not super quiet but more like the roar of a lawnmower – 68 dB but seems louder. Needs a better muffler. But then it has a powerful 3 HP OHV engine so there’s a trade-off. You COULD house it in a sound attenuating box and these can easily be made with some panels of specific acoustic material. Be sure to allow ventilation though.

Size of fuel tank: All Power America APG3014 ‘s Tank Capacity is 1.3 gallons.

Price: Around 60% cheaper than the average popular equivalent which gives it a place on the Best Portable Generators list.

Uses: The All Power America APG3014 would be OK on a building site or a power backup for storms but not really my pick for a social occasion like tailgating due to its noise and emissions. But it is really at the low end of costs.

Outlets: Two AC 120V outlets, one DC 12 V output Voltage as measured (not as claimed) is actually 122.5 Volts

Fuel: Unleaded Gasoline. Again, use a smaller can (say, 1 gal.) for filling rather than the 5 gal. as then you can easily spill the fuel though this fuel tank is more accessible that the Hyundai.

Weight: 54 pounds which is a bit of a hefty load.

Service: As with all vibrating motors, make sure you clean the unit and check the spark plugs as these can wriggle loose with use. Tighten them up from time to time. Just as you would a mower.

Running Time is supposedly 9.5 hours at half load allowing for peaks. I don’t think it would really last that long consistently.

Maker’s guarantee: All America has a manufacturer’s help line and they do respond to problems rapidly.

Not comparable with the Hyundai, Yamaha and Honda 2000 W but a lot cheaper and there is some discrepancy between their claims of 2000W and the reality of the power output.  However, as a super cheap buy for emergency use or as a backup for your tailgate party, I can’t really object to it. High up on the Best Portable Generators list?  Well, only just.  But be sure to clean it, use quality gas and oil (avoid ethanol) and it should perform well.

What’s included: Instruction book, oil. Details on link to website for helpline. The actual size of the unit is larger than advertised: height 14 3/4 in., width 13 3/4 in., and length 18 1/16 in.

A HANDY WAY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT SIZE GENERATOR YOU NEED

You can use this handy calculator to help estimate how many watts you require to run your appliances. Are you asking my why I don’t recommend Briggs & Stratton and why they are not on the Best Portable Generators list? Well, they are more expensive and also, are not the B & S of old days. My ol’ Pa had a self propelling slasher, for instance, from the old Made in America days and it is still going strong even though it’s almost the same age as I am! But now …

If you are running a kegerator, and I hope you will be, then substitute that for the refrigerator category.

Once you’ve done the math, you would realize that 2000 W – the most popular generator – is really not an optimum choice for a full service tailgate party power source.  They are no longer the world’s Best Portable Generators but do have some good insight into what generators can do.

I ran through that list and calculated on my appliances – kegerator, electric pizza cooker, TV, a light for the gloomy days, tablet charger – at minimum I figured on ramping up the Watts to 3000.

So here’s my pick of the 3000 watts generators. Anything BIGGER than that is going to need a bigger truck to haul it and also going too large means it is harder for one guy to wrangle unaided, and I am thinking of the post-party pack-up here.

Champion Power Equipment No.75531i Inverter Generator, 3100-watt

Best Portable Generators: Best generator: 3100 watt

Champion 3100 Watt Generator

Bear in mind that this little beauty is over 80 pounds so it will be a bit of a power lift every time you take it to your tailgate party. The wheels are rubber and smooth so that’s a help so it’s made it to the list of Best Portable Generators on the basis of its user-friendly design.

Having said that, the Champion Power Equipment No.75531i is quieter than the Honda or the Hyundai 2000 W and that is quite amazing. I’m not exactly sure what difference a few dBs will make because usually, our tailgate parties are raucous enough to drown out any generator. Shame on us for not being CARB compliant and don’t get me started on our tailgate party emissions.

My pal Seth, a faithful tailgate party pioneer, swears by the Champion Power Equipment No.75531i as it easily can run the kegerator small to medium sized, and a small TV plus has the capacity to plug in and charge everyone’s i-whatevers. Phone, pad, pod etc. etc.. The inverter (that bumps the price up) is actually worth it as it ensures clean power to sensitive appliances (eg. a smart tv, ipad, computer). Quiet, lightweight and portable by virtue of the aforementioned large rubber wheels and stowaway handle, the Champion 3100W Inverter Generator is really versatile and can be the centerpiece (off-stage!) of your tailgate party. Note that the description says it is 2800 Watts Rated, 3100 Watts Maximum output which is powerful enough to run a 15,000btu air conditioner so with that in mind, the gadgets of the tailgate party are a snap.

Inverter Technology provides clean power which means it won’t have the sort of surges most cheap generators have so will be safe for sensitive electronics such as your small smart TV (eg. A 32”).

The engine of the Champion Power Equipment No.75531i automatically idles lower when electrical load is reduced, which gives you a saving of fuel and engine wear. I like that feature a lot and it is a reason I added it to my Best Portable Generators list. Does not power 220 volts. That’s a whole different ball game.

Mysteriously, it says it will run for 8 hours on a full tank of gas at 25% load. I’m thinking that its performance is way better than that.

Note that the Champion Power Equipment No.75531i is EPA/CARB approved for sale in 50 states including, of course, California.

Quiet – only 58 Dba. Powered by a Champion 171cc OHV engine designed specifically for the 3100 Watt inverter generator will run 8 hours on a full tank of gas at 25% load.

Average running time (on full tank) it will go all day powering a 25% load but really, the power pull can be higher than 25% just not flat out all the time. Overload Protection, Low Oil Sensor and Economy Mode Switch.

Starter:  Recoil. This generator has a choke, but remember not to run it on full choke. Flooding will occur and the auto cut-off will kick in. Auto choke saves your poor handling into being a major problem.

Quiet?: At 58 dB the sound of the Champion Power Equipment No.75531i can be drowned out by anyone’s Jimmy Buffett downloads.

Tank Capacity: 1.6 gallons which is a little bigger than most.

Price: Under $1000 which makes it a lot cheaper than the 2000W Honda! Bargainacious!

Uses: Strong enough to run a kegerator, TV and even a small air con for a few hours. Can be noisy when it is outputting a lot of power but very much an all rounder.

Maker’s guarantee: All product technical, service and warranty inquiries must go through Champion. There’s a 24/7 tech line. Note that Champion products cannot be returned to a retail store or e-tailer, but you can email the company for the procedure for any replacement. All Champion products are cover by a Lifetime Free Technical Support and 2 Year Limited Warranty. Made in China.

Outlets: 1 – 120V Duplex outlet (5-20R), 1-12V DC Outlet w/cables included, and 1 – TT30 Receptacle – RV Ready.

Fuel: Unleaded Gasoline.

Weight: 80 pounds.

Size: 19.7 inches x 24.2 inches x 18.5 inches – seems manageable.

What’s included: Instruction book, oil, handy funnel.  You will need a screwdriver.

Bottom line: This generator gives you that extra oomph and seems to me to be the right size for tailgating. You would look after your beer, your food and your games, plus the visual entertainment (TV) and music system and they would all run off this for the duration of the party. It won’t fit in the trunk of a sedan but would be OK in your SUV or truck.

Is this THE Best Portable Generator for tailgate parties? Yup!

Powerhouse PH2100PRi 2100 Watt 125cc 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator With Remote Start (CARB Compliant)

Best Portable Generators: Best generator: Powerhouse 2100 watt

Powerhouse 2100 watt generator

Here’s my top pick for Best Portable Generator. One of the great selling points of this CARB compliant unit is the remote start – a perfect system for tailgate parties when you are stuck at the grill or playing a game. You don’t want to leave that beer unattended. After all, that is what you are there for. The remote start works up to 75 feet away. It’s a unique design which also features an electric start. Prime and switch on and you’re up and running.

The second great feature is that you can buy two of these for less than most other generators to give you 4000W. That’s enough to run a heap of gear you would need for a tailgate party. See the note below on the parallel option which gives you versatile and compact power and the great thing about that is that you and your buddy can buy compatible systems and link up only when you need that extra grunt.  And I’m looking at you, Matt! Rather than categorize Best Portable Generators as ‘the most expensive’, I have figured out ways to get more power to your site for less money.  This is definitely a great way to do it.  More money for beer.

Average running time (on full tank) of the Powerhouse PH2100PRi is versatile. Continuous run time (hr) Full load; 3.0 hrs; 1/4 load; 7.5 hrs. This is a conservative estimate. Other users have reported better results due to the variable speed which conserves fuel as your use ebbs and flows.

Starter:  Electric. You need to charge the battery when you unpack the box. The Powerhouse PH2100PRi generator has electric start, recoil and remote, an Auto choke that switches off to prevent smoking. There’s an easy primer. Some users have reported that the unit is difficult to start especially in extremely cold areas. We didn’t find that but if you have problems, call the service number immediately. It also has an engine-reset button that will automatically restart the engine if the unit shuts down due to engine overload, and an internal circuit breaker. The other thing I did notice was that users have some nifty ways of getting around this. #1 read the instructions. #2 check out some of the really long posts about the unit on amazon.com which explain about cleaning and little cheats to prevent flooding. Most are applicable to all generators and are handy to know. The more you can get to know your unit the better!

Quiet?: Users say the Powerhouse PH2100PRi is quite acceptable, not silent but not intrusive. A longer lead will keep it away for the tailgate party fun. Keep it under the 75 feet so that you can use the handy remote.

Tank Capacity: 1.3 gallons.

Price: You could buy two Powerhouse PH2100PRi generators plus the optional connector kit for a lower RRP of one 3500W Honda from some sellers who cost these at way over $2000. That feature alone makes it a natural to be on the list of Best Generators and the invertor will stop your appliances from frying.

Best Portable Generators: Connected Powerhouse generators

Connected Powerhouse Generators

Uses: The parallel-ready PH2100PRi inverter generator can be connected through an optional kit to provide over 4000w of power. All you do is connect two compatible Powerhouse generators. For example, you could connect two PH2100PRi models for 4000 watts, or pair the PH2100PRi with a PH2700PRi generator for 4600 watts of total power. Follow the links to the parallel kit here.

Outlets: A full range. As pictured.

powerhouse-PH2100PRi outlets

Powerhouse-PH2100PRi outlets

Fuel: Unleaded Gasoline.

Weight: 75 pounds – heavyish. And if you had two …    invest in a cart you can stand it on, but use bike locks to secure that cart well against thieves who may just decide to wheel it away.

Service: As with all vibrating motors, make sure you clean the unit and check the spark plugs as these can wriggle loose with use. Tighten them up from time to time. Just as you would a mower.

Run time: Continuous run time when powering a full load is 3.0 hrs; 1/4 load; 7.5 hrs but that’s conservative. Has variable and constant speeds and conserves fuel when the load is lower.

Maker’s guarantee: 2-year consumer warranty (1-year for commercial use); EPA, CARB, and CSA compliant.

It is important to keep the fuel and the generator clean. Any grit in fuel lines will make starting very difficult so keep it clean and covered when not in use and make sure you service it regularly. Don’t over-prime when you start it. One push is enough.

What’s included: Powerhouse PH2100PRi portable inverter generator; oil jug; two keys; two remotes; oil drain pipe; spare fuse; spark plug wrench; screwdriver; spare spark plug; internal charging cable; battery charge kit; operating instruction book.

IN CONCLUSION:

This is by no means a listing of every generator available just those I believe are the Best Portable Generators suited to tailgate parties, and in general, not the high end machines. Better to spend your dollars on beer.

GENERAL ADVICE

Don’t ever run a generator inside. They are designed for outdoor use only, be sure they are well ventilated. You can die of the fumes so keep plenty of air around them.

Be sure to read the instructions. EVERY generator has its own little quirks. Another good way to gather information is to read reviews on amazon.com as many of the users have some unique ways of dealing with issues such as hard-to-start or flooded systems.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the exact fuel recommended for your model.

Buy a good container for gas storage with a funnel top to avoid spillage. Keep it safely away from your house in a garage or shed. I always recommend a small bottle as it is too easy to spill fuel from the large ones.

Justrite AccuFlow 7210220 Type II Galvanized Steel Safety Can with 5/8″ Flexible Spout, 1 Gallon Capacity, Yellow is great and they have larger sizes for longer term storage.

Best non-spill fuel can

Justrite One Gallon Safety Fuel Can

High quality synthetic oil

Synthetic Oil

Upscale the oil that you use. Get the best 100% synthetic oil you can buy.

Make sure that wherever you site your generator, you place it on a level surface. Wobbly generators, even slightly, will be way noisier. Plus it does affect the spark plugs’ performance by loosening them.

Buy a long lead and also I would recommend some kind of heavy duty bike lock with something you can secure the genny to a tree, a pole or other non-removable post. They do get stolen! We recommend double chaining it with two tough locks. At least it will slow down any attempts to hijack it.

Keep it very clean. Wipe it down after every use and store it in a box once it has cooled down.

Flame retardant foam panels are good at being silencers for the generator. Doesn’t have to be a total white-trash fix-up – you can make them quite professional looking without a little thought.

Panels for noise blocking

Acoustic panels

F’rinstance, you can clamp these together to make a simple blimp:

Or buy these more upmarket ones that are a NASA spin-off:

Buy a generator a size up from what you think you will need if you can afford it, but DON’T scale up beyond what you actually need to run your tailgate party. Factor in a place to store it, the time to clean and service it. But of course, you will almost always find other uses and people will want to plug in to charge phones, iPads etc. and mooch off your power. If you want to run a TV of a decent size, then 4000 (which can also be sold as a 3500W) is most likely what you need. Having said that, remember the more appliances you plug in, the shorter your run time and you will go through gas much faster which will cost mucho dinero. So there you have it: the current crop of generators that will make your party zing.

But the use of a generator in a powerless tailgate situation can lift your party into a complete stratosphere of awesomeness. IMHO. No, remove that ‘H’.

Happy tailgating!

25 Best NCAA College Tailgate Party Accessories

NCAA fans are often the most passionate of all the conference groupies. They are either still in school, straight out of school, devoted parents, alma mater fans in every area – oh, you know why you love the team! You can show your love in so many ways, but what better way than by following the guys around – one tailgate party at a time? What? You can’t get to every match? I believe that if you are an NCAA fan – and let’s just start with football (I’ll get to the other sports) you can go crazy with selecting items to enhance your tailgate party.  For the BEST tailgate party set up, start small and work your way up to the big items.  Say, with selections from the list below of 25 of my picks for the best NCAA College Tailgate Party Accessories. Most are small enough to transport to a tailgate party in a normal vehicle.  They get you in the mood with little cost and effort involved.

Well, at least you can home-gate, decorating your yard, man cave or even your balcony with appropriate fanliness. This can be as tiny as a themed napkin. These NCAA themed napkins of course, weigh almost nil and you can tuck them into your kit as padding.

Or as excellent as a kegerator with a fan tap!

The NCAA beer taps cover most teams and add a real touch to the top of your beer tap.

Tennessee Volunteers Beer Tap Handle Kegerator

Tennessee Volunteers Beer Tap Handle Kegerator

Whether you are a fan of the Broncos, Bears, Cougars, Volunteers, Chippewas or Huskies, or any of the other 100+ exotically named NCAA football teams, there is some great branded merchandise out there that will enhance your tailgate party. And that’s not even looking at all the other sports, basketball, hockey, baseball and so on. At any given time someone somewhere is rooting for an NCAA team because they attend that college, their kids do, their Pappy or Gramma did or they just prefer the name or colors. NCAA fans are passionate and loyal. They love their logos, colors, names and mascots. To say nothing of the cheer squads. Anyway, they like to wear their hearts on their sleeves and take those emblems to their tailgate parties. So here are a few ways you can do that.

Firstly, my golden rule (and don’t call me a party pooper) ‘no piracy’.

Only purchase fully licensed gear. This way, you can support your teams and also you have a guarantee of quality. The pirate stuff is mostly cheaply made crap anyway as the teams have a standard to which manufacturers need to adhere. The money from licensing goes back to the teams and overall, I think it raises the standard of the games.

Note that the items I list below are generally available for all the top teams. If your team is at the bottom of the conference ranking, then it is possible they don’t have all items – but most teams have at least some. So just follow the links and specify your desired team at checkout.

Where do you start?

Start with a chair and while you are sitting in it, check out the rest of the list! We have a number of chairs on specific listings but what I am looking at here is a couple of inexpensive ones. The logos on these are nicely screen-printed in both cases.

 

1. NCAA Louisiana State Fightin Tigers Folding Canvas Chair

NCAA Louisiana State Fightin Tigers Folding Canvas Chair

NCAA Louisiana State Fightin Tigers Folding Canvas Chair

Super cheap, takes up little space (it’s 22” x 22”) but it’s nicely made, this little chair is a great gift for any avid fan.   Comes ready packed in its own carrying case and folds away compactly. It is also comfy enough to prop in all day and has a space for a drink built in to it. Ships fast and efficiently. The fabric is 600 denier polyester.

The makers say that it will seat up to 225 pounds. Note that the cup holder is for a right-hander only with the space on the arm rest. If you drink left handed, you may want to check out another chair or sit on this one backwards. The logo is on front AND back of the headrest.  It is light to carry and folds to almost nothing so easy to transport.

2. NCAA Sports Folding Chair NCAA Team: Army / US Military Academy Black Knights

NCAA Sports Folding Chair NCAA Team: Army / US Military Academy Black Knights, Color: Black

NCAA Sports Folding Chair NCAA Black Knights

I like the look of this officially licensed Black Knights folding chair – the polyester fabric is actually padded for additional comfort over a lightweight aluminum frame. The removable, adjustable shoulder strap makes for easy carrying.

Here’s another good feature – a 300 pounder can slump in this NCAA themed chair.

The overall height from top to bottom is 19” and side to side it is a broad 33.25”. It weighs 10 pounds.

AND there’s a nifty fold-out side table. You can line up a few of these with the tables in between for a really functional effect.

You get a lot of bang for your buck on this compact, folding chair and side table.

3. NCAA 4 Piece Barbecue Set

NCAA Alabama Crimson Tide 4 Piece Barbecue Set

NCAA Alabama Crimson Tide 4 Piece Barbecue Set

It’s great that even the essential BBQ set comes with a team logo. This officially licensed NCAA collegiate product has 4 pieces and the team logo is laser etched into the spatula blade with the team logo on each handle. The metal is stainless steel and these will last a lifetime of tailgate partying.  You need to take BBQ tools if you are BBQ-ing so you may as well get the ones that shout NCAA ‘TEAAAAAAAM!’.

4. NCAA Folding Picnic Table

NCAA Folding Picnic Table

NCAA Folding Picnic Table

Here’s a folding picnic table you can use indoors and outdoors and I reckon it has so many uses you’ll be glad you bought it. I have a couple of these (with different logos/team affiliations) and they are light framed Aluminum alloy construction with tough as nails sturdy ABS Plastic on top. Altogether it weighs only 20 pounds and you can seat 250 pounds of weigh on the fold-out seats and 20 pounds of beer, mac’n’cheese and nachos on the table top.   Oh, and Kale chips for the hipsters.

Length is 32 inches, Width is 36.375 inches and it is 26.5in high. That’s a good size for most folk from kids to adults and when it is time to pack up after the tailgate fun has finished, it is only 4 inches wide and 26 x 33.5 inches, slots into any car trunk and takes up little storage. It is available in many colors to suit your school’s logo.

The good thing here is that it has a lifetime warranty! It is smallish – no fatty boom-bahs at this table so look for something tougher for those burly guys. But if it breaks, the manufacturer has a good name for quick and easy no-fuss replacement.

Lots of NCAA football team logos can be selected just as decals and you can just replace the ones you don’t need.

5. NCAA Logo Chair College Round Tailgating Table

NCAA Logo Chair College Round Tailgating Table

NCAA Logo Chair College Round Tailgating Table

The Logo Chair company was founded as a real garage manufacturing company in 2001 by Bill McCauley and his family near Memphis, Tenn.. Logo Chair Co. was one of the first companies in the U.S. to hold a Collegiate Licensing Company license and that was for a folding chair. In less than a year, Logo moved into their first warehouse and expanded their products to include stadium seats, personal bags, tents, blankets, games, and more. In addition to the NCAA license, they acquired the MLB license for roughly half of their product line in 2005. For the past five years, Logo has been a top 10 non-apparel licensee for CLC and currently ranks No. 3. Now based in Franklin, Tenn., Logo continues to be an industry leader for new and unique tailgating and team spirit products. Because the McCauley family understands the whole tailgating/fan culture, their items are designed perfectly for that use but they also can be great for many other functions. They fold really well and are easy to store.

This is a highly recommended table made of heavy-duty 600-denier polyester. Licensed NCAA logos and colors and screenprinted logo make it a wow for a fan and it has 4 cup holders. It comes with carrying case as you can easily fold it up into almost nothing for easy transport. And you can clean it easily too!

Dimensions: 30 diam. x 24 H inches.

6. NCAA Iowa NCAA Iowa Hawkeyes 24 Can Soft Sided Cooler

NCAA Iowa Hawkeyes 24 Can Soft Sided Cooler

NCAA Iowa Hawkeyes 24 Can Soft Sided Cooler

I must admit to being a cooler junkie. I take ‘em shopping when buying cold stuff too and when we go on Puerto Vallarta vacations as melting is always on the cards for all food in Mexico. I have a range of coolers from soft-sided to the Yeti range and the Colemans I have had since scouting days. (well, I sometimes stashed beer in there).

Anyway, this one is a nice looking, well-made team logo style soft sided cooler that holds 24 cans. The liner that has any potential contact with food is FDA approved material so you won’t get any off flavors if you choose to carry food in it.

The embroidered logo on the front is smart and durable and the adjustable carry strap makes toting it easy. A nice feature is the caribiner which can hold your keys, bottle opener and so on or a leatherman tool and it also has mesh carrying pouches on each side.

It measures 12.6 x 9.9 x 3.7 inches and weighs under 3 pounds and folds down when it is empty for easy storage.

So consider this for that scaled down tailgate party where everyone brings drinks and their own meal. It will all fit in very nicely. Ideal for apartment dwellers and it still shows your team allegiance off well.

7. Montana Griz Portable Football Barbecue

Montana Griz Portable football Barbecue

Montana Griz Portable football Barbecue

Here is the ultimate NCAA football BBQ. It actually IS football shaped but is a good size portable grill that has a cooking surface of 20″ X 12.5″. It stands 18” from ground to top of lid and from handle to handle, measures 23 inches.

There are five logos on this grill – one on each side of the lid, and one on each of its three handles. These logos have been applies in a 600 degree burner so that all the colors and logos are hard core. It is a unique concept to BBQ IN a football! It is very heavy duty and yet portable and compact. Limited edition.

It operates with charcoal so check with your parking lot or tailgate party venue whether they allow charcoal grilling or whether you need a gas BBQ. Some apartments for instance, will not allow naked flames on balconies.

It’s perfect for game day, for a gift to that sports fan and has been designed in such a way as to minimize the spilling of ashes during transport.

On the top of the lid there is even a great feature of real white metal laces across the ‘football’ – very arty and definitely worth knowing about for that über-fan guy who appears to have everything. (but you can bet he doesn’t have one of these).

Specify your logo at checkout.

8. College “Line” Logo Fleece Throw Blankets

College "Line" Logo Fleece Throw Blankets - Kansas Jayhawks

College “Line” Logo Fleece Throw Blankets – Kansas Jayhawks

Here’s a lightweight but warm NCAA football themed blanket which you can use at a tailgate party in many ways or you can decorate your team-themed house or man-cave with throws over the sofas.   It measures 50” x 60” and is 100% polyester which means you can treat it roughly and it will forgive you. It’s a terrific gift too and is inexpensive enough to bring along as a hostess/host gift to any tailgate party or event.

9. Nebraska Husker NCAA Artisan Wine Glass

NCAA Nebraska Cornhuskers 33-Ounce Artisan Wine Glass

NCAA Nebraska Cornhuskers 33-Ounce Artisan Wine Glass

Here’s something really off the wall – it’s a hand-painted one-of-a-kind Artisan Wine Glass featuring NCAA team logos. This is really for the die-hard fan who prefers wine over beer. It’s a specific market but the product is so interesting that I wanted to include it. The exterior only is painted – just plain glass interior so that the wine does not degrade the image. It is FDA and Prop 65 compliant.

The detail and workmanship are impressive and as people are always looking for great gifts for tailgate fans, you wouldn’t go wrong with this for the man-cave or the location tailgate event. They are collectible. Dimensions are: 12 x 4.5 x 3.5 inches.

10. NCAA TCU Horned Frogs 1 Liter Macho Mug

Great American Products Great American NCAA Liter Macho Mug

Great American Products Great American NCAA Liter Macho Mug

Well, from the sublime to the … oh never mind!

This 32 ounce NCAA themed drinking mug is the largest officially licensed sports mug in the universe as far as we or Stephen Hawking can tell. It’s 7 inches tall and half as wide.

Decorations on it are in hand-crafted metal, featuring your team logo, and it’s made in the USA. None of that cheap sweat shop trash!

11. University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish “ND” Stud Post Domed Earrings with NCAA College Sports Team Logo

University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish "ND" Stud Post Domed Earrings with NCAA College Sports Team Logo

University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish “ND” Stud Post Domed Earrings with NCAA College Sports Team Logo

Now a cute one for the Ladies.

Stud earrings are a subtle and more stylish way to demonstrate your team lerv and these hard enamel/cloisonné post/studs make a great gift or just a self-indulgent NCAA team purchase for the gals. Officially licensed for sure.
We are assured they are top quality by wearers. They won’t make your ears go black as they have surgical grade posts.

12. Duke Blue Devils NCAA License Plastic Plate Vanity Car Graphics Sign Tag Officially Licensed NCAA Merchandise

Duke Blue Devils NCAA License Plastic Plate Vanity Car Graphics Sign Tag Officially Licensed NCAA Merchandise

Duke Blue Devils NCAA License Plastic Plate Vanity Car Graphics Sign Tag Officially Licensed NCAA Merchandise

A license plate does not have to go on a car – you can place in on your coolers, your tables or your tailgate party canopy.

Here’s a durable plastic NCAA license plate measuring 6” x 12” featuring the official team logo and full color graphics with 4 pre-cut mounting holes.

Just a fun bit of decoration!

13. New Orleans Privateers 5’x8′ Ulti-Mat Floor Mat (Rug)

New Orleans Privateers 5'x8' Ulti-Mat Floor Mat (Rug)

New Orleans Privateers 5’x8′ Ulti-Mat Floor Mat (Rug)

If you don’t have enough seating at the tailgate party, this is a really good accessory. It’s a high quality decorative 5 x 8 foot Ulti-Mat suited for indoor and out and perfect as an area rug or floor mat. It features the team logo (specify yours and check availability at checkout before placing the order). Fan Mats have been selling these for some time – locally made in USA and high quality with all printing by Chromojet. Colors are true and of curse, officially licensed.

Technically, it is 100% nylon with non-skid Duragon latex backing which can be machine washed.

Measures 5’ x 8’ and it is the largest tailgater floor mat area rug available. This fits nicely within a parking lot car space and will set your area.

No need to do anything more than roll out this rug to mark out your territory, gentlemen!

14. Logo Chair NCAA Pinwheel 9 x 9 Pop-Up Canopy

Logo Chair NCAA Pinwheel 9 x 9 Pop-Up Canopy

Logo Chair NCAA Pinwheel 9 x 9 Pop-Up Canopy

There are two types of Logo tailgate tents. A 28 pound one and a 50 pound one. Go for the better quality tent. The frame is so much more sturdy than the 28 pound tent and honestly, the light ones don’t take too much erecting and dismounting.  It will drive you nuts after a while.  I do always recommend quality, especially where an extra $50 will make such a difference.  Anyway, I don’t need to tell you that in peak NCAA season the addition of a nice shelter at your tailgate party can really make your day.  Stay out of the sun, rain, wind with this little treasure.  Usually, I recommend the California Palms brand but that is not as easily transportable as this one.  This fits in a vehicle easier.  And as I always say, test run it and practice putting it up before you arrive at the party.

15. NCAA Florida State Fan Collection Hard Case Cover for Samsung Galaxy S4

NCAA Florida State Fan Collection Hard Case Cover for Samsung Galaxy S4

NCAA Florida State Fan Collection Hard Case Cover for Samsung Galaxy S4

Made from durable material. Select your own logo at checkout!

This fitted hard shell plastic/rubber case is covered with an easy-to-grip fabric that is printed with your favorite design in bright, true inks. It has access to all sensors, ports, and controls on your phone/ipad.

16. University of Connecticut 2014 NCAA Basketball Champions 2-piece Carpeted Car Mats 18″x27″

University of Connecticut 2014 NCAA Basketball Champions 2-piece Carpeted Car Mats 18"x27"

University of Connecticut 2014 NCAA Basketball Champions 2-piece Carpeted Car Mats 18″x27″

Protects your vehicle’s flooring while showing your team pride with car mats by FANMATS which fit all cars, trucks, SUVs, and RVs and are made of 100% nylon face with non-skid vinyl backing. The officially licensed mat is chromojet painted in true team colors and designed with a large team logo and are proudly Made in the USA.

17. NCAA College 2014 Team Logo Football Look Bottle Coolie Koozie Cooler 2-Pack

NCAA College 2014 Team Logo Football Look Bottle Coolie Holder Koozie Cooler 2-Pack

NCAA College 2014 Team Logo Football Look Bottle Coolie Holder Koozie Cooler 2-Pack

Designed to look like a laced up football, these koozies are …cool. Very cheap little gift for a fan friend. Leather look and feel.

18. NCAA College 2014 Team Logo Color Can Kaddy Holder Koozie Cooler 2-Pack

NCAA College 2014 Team Logo Color Can Kaddy Holder Holder Koozie Cooler 2-Pack

NCAA College 2014 Team Logo Color Can Kaddy Holder Holder Koozie Cooler 2-Pack

Here’s yet another cute koozie to add to your collection. We have a heap of these to match all conferences. Not sure how we got them all. Probably gifts. But they are all really useful and there have been occasions when they have all been in use at the same time. You never know!

 

19. NCAA UCLA Bruins California Wheeled Portable Travel L-Shape Umbrella Basic Bar

NCAA UCLA Bruins California Wheeled Portable Travel L-Shape Umbrella Basic Bar

NCAA UCLA Bruins California Wheeled Portable Travel L-Shape Umbrella Basic Bar

A steel frame means that your booze and food will not collapse under the weight of all the deliciouslness.   There are 49 levels of shelving plus an attachable umbrella, a drop-in food-grade cooler and it all packs into a deluxe and compact travel bag with wheels. And it sets up fast with a few flicks of the wrist. You can wheel it or sling the bag over your shoulder – even a girl can carry it. Cooler Measures: 24″ x 11″ x 10″.

Here are the measurements:

63 inches long. 44 inches high. 70 wide. The depth of the bar top is 18 inches. It is L-shaped and very attractive.

Make sure that your team is represented in the list when you get to checkout. The logo and colors are printed onto the 500-D Polyester skirt (logo on front) and you pretty much have a full bar without that gi-normous cost. It is water and sun proof so the weather won’t beat it to pieces. Note that a few additional shelves will make this even more awesome but the shelves that are provided should be enough and they lock into place. It’s easy to clean too. Treat it gently and it will last for years. Get two and keep one for the man cave and leave one in your trunk for tailgate party football season.

20. NCAA UCLA Bruins Kickoff Cheese Board

NCAA UCLA Bruins Kickoff Cheese Board

NCAA UCLA Bruins Kickoff Cheese Board

The more the merrier with your team branding, right? So here’s a great cutting board that celebrates fandom and fun. It’s dark bamboo, made to the shape of a football and has a laser engraved logo with pale bamboo inlays. There’s a neat groove around the edge to catch any liquid. Measurements are 20-1/4 by 12 inches. A perfect host/hostess gift or essential equipment for slicing those limes to insert into your Corona bottle.

21. NCAA Portable Stadium Seat

NCAA Arkansas Razorbacks Portable Stadium Seat

NCAA Portable Stadium Seat

Sick of sitting on the butt-numbing bleachers when you get into the actual match? Two remedies for that … don’t go in, just stay at the tailgate party. Or invest in one of these polyester canvas seats which are even useful for extra seating at the party. It’s a well-designed portable stadium seat in team colors and has a digital print team logo. The padded seat has above average support for your back and you can relax rather than shifting from buttock to buttock through the whole game. It’s tough, light to carry, made to last and you can wipe it clean. It has multiple pockets and folds into an easy-to-carry tote. Polyester canvas. If your backside will fit into a space 17″ x 15″ x 3″ then this is for you.

22. Picnic Time Picnic Time Collegiate Reclining Ventura Seat

Picnic Time Picnic Time Collegiate Reclining Ventura Seat

Picnic Time Picnic Time Collegiate Reclining Ventura Seat

Here’s a different version which folds into a space of 20 Inches x 2 Inches x 32 Inches. It has 6 recline positions and the steel frame x 300-D polyester combo means it is built to last. I can think of many uses for this. Suits home-gating as well as you can line these up on a low garden wall around the BBQ area for a heap of inexpensive and easily stashed extra seating. Or take it to the beach. Very comfy. Oh of course, officially licensed.   Note that if you are over 175 pounds it may not fit you.

23. NCAA Metallic Travel Tumbler

NCAA Metallic Travel Tumbler, Stainless Steel and Black Vinyl

NCAA Metallic Travel Tumbler

This NCAA branded stainless steel tumbler is well made. Heavy and steady. Not likely to tip over. Great with hot or cold drinks from beer to water to hot coffee but wash by hand so that the color is still vibrant down the track. Dishwashing machines can ruin these printed logos.

24. Florida State University FSU Seminoles College Football Oyo Mini Figure Lego Compatible NCAA Licensed

Florida State University FSU Seminoles College Football Oyo Mini Figure Lego Compatible NCAA Licensed

Florida State University FSU Seminoles College Football Oyo Mini Figure Lego Compatible NCAA Licensed

This is an Oyo Sports Toy Mini Figure which is not LEGO but is compatible. These are great party favors. At present there are only 21 NCAA teams represented but check them out well before you hit that finalize purchase button. Oyo Figures measure almost 1 3/4″ tall. Each package includes the player, football, helmet and facemask, water bottle, football cap, rectangular stand, and a unique OYO DNA number. They are really collectible and are great for decorating the bar with too. SO what if kids love ‘em??? That’s just a side effect. The unique ball design snaps onto the figurine’s hand and allows your OYO to grip and throw. Your mini player can cool down with the attached water bottle after making the great play. Knees and elbows swivel and bend. Each OYO comes with a stand, so that you can collect and display on any flat surface. Or, snap your stand onto a building block grid and build your own NCAA (or other conference) scenes!

 

25. NCAA Oregon State Beavers Mascot Bobblehead

NCAA Oregon State Beavers Mascot Bobblehead

NCAA Oregon State Beavers Mascot Bobblehead

OK, where would life be without an appropriate bobblehead? These are great, you can find most teams represented and they add to the fun of the tailgate party, homegate party, man-cave or sporting themed BBQ. Check for your team but most are represented. Note that they are made in China these days so delivery can be a little slow so stock up at the start of the season and get those decorations and novelties in place in a timely manner.

Most of all, no matter what conference(s) you support, the more branding for your team, the more singing of team songs, wearing of team gear and saluting of team mascots, the better your day will be. Oh and a few cheer-leader moves are just great at the end of the day after the imbibing of chilled amber fluid from a finely tuned kegerator has occurred!

Tailgate party on!

The Best Beer & Booze Accessories For Tailgate Parties

We’ve written a lot about the trials and tribulations of getting your booze and vittles to the tailgate party.  One of my buddies says that instead of this being a chore, you need to use the exercise as a way of adding random fun to your game plan. OK, so we have been quite serious about our tailgate party equipment so far.  Technical.  Scientific. But you want to get straight to the point: What are the best beer and booze accessories for your tailgate party?

What if one of you stumbled upon this site and want something not quite so somber?  You like to have fun with your beer and with your guests.  Of course, ‘fun’ is what a tailgate party is all about.  So here are a few things you could unexpectedly pepper your party with to spice up the day.  It’s just a list of nutty stuff that will make transporting food and drink to the parking lot, the man cave, your buddy’s place or anywhere good sport is played (by others) easy. Don’t feel you have to buy the whole list.  Don’t use them all on the same day.  Just an occasional burst of craziness will do.  After all, timing is everything. So, here are the best beer & booze accessories for your tailgate party madness!

The WineRack

The Wine Rack: Booze Accessory

Here’s a novel and eye-catching way to bring the booze into the party, to keep it close to your heart, as it were.   You’re looking at a stunning rack … OK, it’s really a comfortable sports bra with polyurethane bladder which holds 25 ounces of your favorite beverage.  There’s a long drinking tube with easy-to-use on/off valve to control the flow and of course the enhancing effect is obvious.  And impressive.  And just to show you how new-agey and egalitarian I am, guys who like to dress up can use one of these.

It’s also super handy for those picnics held in communities that ban alcohol.  Who’s gonna risk patting you down for a booze check?  It’s all washable and comes in sizes 34C to 38C.  Not big enough for most beefy guys but the ladies can tote the beverages. A couple of usage notes:  test it with water prior to use (you’re gonna want to wash it well anyway) and if you find you have any leaks, either return for a refund or just remove the tap part on the hose and put a little Teflon tape around it to strengthen the seal.

But imagine the howls of laughter when Grandma turns up wearing it and sucks on her Pimm’s while playing cornhole.  Worth any amount, I’d say, not just the few bucks it actually costs.  In fact, you could buy a few and fill them with different liquids and pass them round the whole party.

Don’t overfill it or you could burst the bladder.  Just use a backup rack.

You can use it to tote warm fluids which would be handy in mid-winter.  Just remember that there is a health issue with anything dairy that is not kept at the right temperature.  And the visual pun of that would be way too obvious. Mamacita’s chicken soup would be more appropriate.

The BeerBelly: “The 80-Ounce Beer Belly”

The Beer Belly Review

The BeerBelly: Beer Accessory

This polyurethane bladder looks like a beer belly when worn under your shirt (change to a larger sized shirt for the day, preferably a team shirt in “burly’).  It holds up to 80 ounces of any hot or cold beverage.  It fits a person up to 6 feet 8 inches tall and up to 40-inch waist – male or female. Yes, women can have beer bellies too…

It is easily cleaned and it is just for novelty use.  Seems a bit flimsy in construction but that’s OK for a few belly laughs!

Note that you need to drink the booze very fast as it will warm up quickly.  Not sure how you can combat that problem apart from quick and efficient downing of the liquid within.  OK for hiking but it’s not sturdy like those Camelbak bladders.  It also may take a bit of pre-washing to get the neoprene smell and taste out of the beer.  Probably better for spirits such as vodka and a rinse out with vodka will remove the vinyl taste fast.  Again, treat any leaks with plumbers’ Teflon tape.

Go Pong The Booze Belly – Concealable Flask

Go Pong The Booze Belly Concealable Flask

Go Pong The Booze Belly Accessory

This one is small, only 750 ml. (a pint and a half) but if you resent the gouging at the concession stands for a beer, you can use it to sneak in your own brew.

Food grade materials so that will be a comfort to some but most people who want to buy this item aren’t really all that concerned with a few chemicals from a GuangZhou factory.

To use it, pour from the retractable spout.  It’s not a suck-through-a-straw model which is a mercy as beer through a straw can have its own problems and side effects.  OK, it’s a glorified beer bong in that case …

Test it before filling with beer.  Check for off flavors and flush with vodka (well, not much – but if you don’t want to waste the vodka, save it in a jar, put a vanilla bean in it and you have an acceptable flavoring).  If you have leaks, use the Teflon tape or place the whole thing in a large Ziplok bag.  Come to think of it, maybe you could just use a Ziplok bag.

Double Sided Binocular Flask

Double Sided Binocular Concealable Booze Flask

Double Sided Binocular Flask: Beer or Booze

Holds 2 x 8 ounce serves of your fave booze.  It probably wouldn’t pass a careful gate check and you definitely shouldn’t try this with the TSA.  I would class this one as a novelty item, stocking stuffer only and you would get one or two uses out of it before heaving it out.  However, if you are sick of waiting in lines for your booze at concession stands, it is useful and if you are careful and can extend its life to a few tailgate parties and stadiums, you will more than pay for it in just a few uses by filling with your own beer rather than paying the inflated costs on site.  Plastic – so read the above notes on cleaning.

Drinker Beer and Soda Guzzler Helmet

Red Drinker Beer and Soda Guzzler Helmet

Red Drinker Beer and Soda Guzzler Helmet: Beer Accessory

The stock, standard cartoon boozer helmet with straws leading down to the mouth, this model comes in three colors and does just what it claims. Holds two cans (be careful when putting them in their holders as they can tip over – you need to retain the balance),

It delivers booze in an effortless way, hands-free, leaving you to play your tailgate party games at the same time, thus doubling the fun. Homer Simpson would be proud to wear this cap. One size fits all.  Unusual for a novelty item, it even has a one year guarantee!  Again, any leaks can be handled with the addition of a small piece of Teflon tape, that white trash fix-up staple.  Where would we be without it?

Yeti Roadie 20 Quart Cooler

Yeti Roadie 20 Quart Cooler

Yeti Roadie 20 Quart Cooler: Beer or Booze Accessory

So here’s a little extra in the posting. Remember, most of us only go where beer can be overtly brought in.   Yetis are great coolers, there’s no denying that. And after all, what tailgate party would be a success without the conspicuous imbibing of a brewski?  So if you want to flaunt the best darn cooler in the world, this range should do it.  The  Yeti brand of coolers is pretty awesome.  THey are engineered like no other version of cooler I have found.  I’ve been checking them out lately and it seems like today’s groovy vendors at farmers’ markets choose these to keep their products cold.  Then they go home, repack with beer and off to the tailgate party.  This 20 quart capacity model is a smallish one,  but is modular and really easy to pack no matter how small your car.  Yeti is fully guaranteed, beautifully designed and functional.  The Yeti guys have also created a heap of accessories to make the storage and packing simple and secure.  There are dividers, which will keep your food apart and easy to access, tie-downs to keep everything secure and even a Yeti bottle opener.

You’d feel pretty stylish kitted out with this whole pro cooler gear.

The coolers feature a special material which doesn’t sweat on the exterior.  They are a joy to transport.  Each cooler is rotomolded and tough to the core.  It is exclusively designed with Bearfoot™ feet which stops the box from slipping.  Easy to drain and clean after the tailgate party too.

Yeti Tundra 65 Cooler

Yeti Tundra 65 Quart Cooler

Yeti Tundra 65 Quart Cooler: Beer or Booze Accessory

The 65 quart model is outstanding and you can fit everything inside and it is wheelable but heavy duty so the wheels don’t snap off mid party.  Allow for the weight in your vehicle.  You can use it for transporting both hot items or cold including ice cream.  One of the vendors at our neighborhood market sells popsicles from hers and they never melt.

It is worth trawling through the Yeti range to figure out which one suits your tailgate partying needs best.  Just bear in mind the size of your vehicle and where you will stash it when party season is over.  But then, for most of my buddies, that season is all year round and it stays in the living room.  At worst, you can line ’em up and use them as a coffee table if you happen to buy the big size.  3 in a row.  Now there’s a novel thought.

Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Water Bottle and Beer Growler

Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Beer Growler/Water Bottle

Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Beer Growler/Water Bottle

For some people, a growler is all they need to supply drinks at a tailgate party.  If everyone brings a growler, there’s enough for all.  There are some excellent designs on the market but the Hydro Flask is the best I have seen and really does what the company claims.  You can swing by your favorite boutique brewer and have it filled up with your hipster amber liquid and it will last up to 12 hours without losing its zing.  The key is to make sure your growler is well insulated and easy to carry at the same time.  The Hydro Flask is premium grade 18/8 stainless steel, double walled and comes in some cool colors fabricated from matte finished powder coating.  Note that you can actually keep water or beer cold for up to 24 hours (though you will lose the fizz a bit after 12 hours).  I take one of mine to Puerto Vallarta to keep beside the bed, to use for pure water for teeth cleaning and midnight rehydration and even there in the tropics it has kept cold for 24 hours.  Alternatively, you can fill it with some hot, strong coffee to swig at the end of the tailgate party for that all-important sobering up process.

Hydro Flask is an ethical company and donates 5% of sales back to charity of your choice.  Perhaps Alcoholics’ Anonymous ….

No BPA because there is no plastic involved and a Lifetime guarantee.

The addition of the Juglug handle is highly recommended. Designed for the Wide-Mouth Hydro Flask Bottles and specifically the Flip Top cap, the JugLug handle makes it easy for you to carry your bottle with you wherever you go. JugLug fits 18oz Wide Mouth, 40oz, 64oz flasks or any other flask with a similar diameter mouth. (Note: These are placed under the lid of the bottle not around the body/neck of the bottle).  JugLug is not part of the Hydro Flask company, just a clever accessory company and you can use this carrier with other similar shaped bottles.

Here’s their legal disclaimer which I had better include just for the heck of it.

“JugLug, LLC is not affiliated with Hydro Flask or any other flask/bottle manufacturer. JugLug products are intended for use with multiple bottle manufacturers. All trademarks remain the property of their respective owners. Use of trademarks does not imply any affiliation or endorsement of JugLug, LLC by Hydro Flask or any other trademark holders, nor does it imply that these trademark holders endorse JugLug LLC’s products. JugLug, LLC does not endorse the use of any other product.”

 

Bundle-81 Electric Cruzin’ Cooler

Bundle-81 Electric Cruzin' Cooler

Bundle-81 Electric Cruzin’ Cooler: Beer or Booze Accessory

I’d like to find the guy who invented this little gem and shake him by the hand.  How great is this? Could it be improved?  Well, maybe by making an entire train out of it by attaching more ‘carriages’ (coolers) and filling them with beer and excellent food.  I have mentioned other mobile Cruzin’ Coolers in the past but the latest models are sublime.

This little beauty is not just for beer and booze.  Make every second one a heater and fill it with mac’n’cheese and other goodies, say, some warm tortillas, and the fixings for some tacos and your tailgate party is made effortless.  Some Borrego Barbacoa, frijoles, chopped onion, sliced cukes, shredded cabbage, limes, cilantro, pickled red onions and habanero peppers, tomatillo sauce…. Aw gee, I’m salivating at the very thought.  Then, my friend, you can park anywhere on the lot and ride over to where your friends have their vehicle parked and you can be the bringer of all things jolly and fine.  No more arguing over spaces in the lot before the tailgate party commences.

Don’t leave it sitting in the sun as the cooler part of it will be affected.  The manufacturers will guarantee that it cools to around 40 degrees lower than the exterior temperature so if you are tailgating during a scorcher, here’s what you can do.  Wrap the box in a space blanket or two at the party site, or put up a canopy to create some shade.  This isn’t an issue if you are at a parking lot where there is plenty of shade available.  Note that you can buy replacement batteries and I recommend purchasing a couple extra, keeping them on charge so that the party is always ready to kick in.

NCAA Texas Longhorns Casserole Combo with Carrier Bag

NCAA Texas Longhorns Casserole Combo with Carrier Bag

NCAA Texas Longhorns Casserole Combo with Carrier Bag

Too expensive?  Then here is something for you.  The simplest, cheapest way to carry your mac’n’cheese is in this tote, available in team livery with logos and so on.  Show your pride in your boys (gals) and carry that food at the same time.

The 9” x 13” Anchor Hocking casserole dish, the staple of all Mac’n’cheese chefs, is included.  It is heat proof glass, oven, microwave and dishwasher safe.  There is a matching plastic cover (don’t put that in the oven, and only wash it in the top of the dishwasher).

Note that the team logos etc. are officially licenced.  You are supporting your team when you buy one of these.

The exterior is an insulated carry bag suited to hot or cold food and will maintain the desired temperature throughout the tailgate party.  Won’t spill, just don’t overfill.

 

Tailgate Party Recipe: Beer Punch & Spicy Hot Dogs!

Check out this video from Nicole and Ari of Drink and Dish with two great recipes for your Tailgate Party. If you love hot dogs and you love beer then you’ll want to see this (so, basically that’s everyone!). It’s a nice twist on two traditional tailgate party staples and looks like a lot of fun to prepare. Plus it only takes them about 5 minutes while chatting…

Oh, and I looked into what beverage dispenser they are using because I wanted to know where you can get one like that with the cool little spout build-in. Looks like it’s the Anchor Hocking Beverage Dispenser.  I’ve already ordered mine!

If you have any tailgate party recipes that you want to share leave a comment below with your favorite food, recipe or go-to site for tailgate party recipe ideas.

Review: Best Portable Kegerators For Tailgate Parties.

One of the questions I am asked constantly is ‘what’s the best portable kegerator available that I can take to a tailgate party?’ It seems to be a perennial problem for most of my hard-partying, beer-swilling funster-dude friends.   They obsess over the details. Me, I used to be quite OK with slinging a few freshly filled growlers in a cooler and keeping life simple. After all, at the end of the day when the beer is warm and flat, you are generally in no condition to notice the quality of the brew. Oh, you are? Really? Well, OK then. The answer to keeping your brewski chilled, fresh-tasting and on tap is to transport it in a kegerator that you can set up in the shade (never in the sun) and fill it with a keg or two of your favorite beer.

There are not so many options in truly portable units so here are my three picks in large, medium and small size with a bonus improvisation that I recommend to the budget-challenged among us.

Let’s start at the ‘Go big or go home’ level. This assumes ownership or access to a Silverado or equivalent and maybe a canopy to erect to create shade over your dining experience. It also assumes that you will be sharing the tailgate party with a mob of your rowdiest friends that the designated driver is content to scrape up the remains of the party at the end of the day and hand out the hangover cures.

Tailgate Party

Raise your hand for the best portable kegerator!

Yeah, well that’s most people isn’t it? Here’s the best one on the market. It is also a little pricey, but you will save its price in beer in just one sporting season if you are a committed Beerophile. You may even qualify for an environmental warrior award in some states, say, Portland Or. – just by virtue of the fact that you will be avoiding using so many bottles and cans. Your drinking is doing the world a favor ….

The Best Portable Kegerator – High Budget

Some might call the Summit Stainless Door Portable Beer Dispenser the ultimate in portable Kegerators. For some it’s aspirational. To us, it’s just simply the best portable kegerator and it’s perfect for outdoor tailgate parties.

The Summit Portable Beer Dispenser / Kegerator (SBC500SSST) is a freestanding full size beer dispenser with a stainless steel top and wrapped fingerprint resistant stainless steel door. It is very definitely portable and has been designed using really tough casters on which you can roll your kegerator to wherever you want it.

Summit Stainless Door Portable Beer Dispenser

Best Portable Kegerator: Summit Stainless Door Kegerator

So for starters, you may need to invest in a dock plate, which can be adjusted as a ramp to wheel all the gear onto your truck.

BLUFF All-Aluminum Dock Plates

BLUFF All-Aluminum Dock Plates

This will make loading and unloading your gear an absolute breeze and really doesn’t cost much at all. You will find lots of uses for this nifty ramp around the party site.

The cheaper ones like the Eagle 1795 are made from heavy duty plastic but are still very durable.

But back to the kegerator. It is sleek and contemporary and will fit in with any décor so you can use it at the tailgate party, take it home and put it back in the man cave. By the way, in referring to ‘man’ cave, I am being in no way sexist. I appreciate that many women are great tailgate party givers and participants and have a beer-cetric corner in their mostly Martha Stewart kitchens. So please don’t judge me. It is just common terminology for a haven, a chapel to malt and hops. But I digress,

The Summit SBC500SSST Beer Dispenser/Kegerator comes with everything to enhance pulling a beer: a 5 pound CO2 tank, a Regulator, a Draft tower, a Sankey American tap which you can switch out for one of your liking, say a team logo tap or something cheeky or just one of those chalkboard taps where you can write the name of the brew, a top guard rail, wooden keg slats, drip tray and basic cleaning kit.

The SBC500SSST accepts half, quarter or mini kegs and allows you to serve ice cold beer on tap and the beer stays fresh for months. It is 100% CFC Free!

Oh, and just remember that if you are in the company of folk who recognize the name ‘Summit’ these are people of QUALITY. And if they recommend you upgrade to this little (or, should I say “big”) beauty, they are even more likeable IMHO.

The Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator is probably better than the best portable kegerator in features and size. It outclasses them all – but, it’s also expensive! So, it can’t really take the place of the Summit SBC500SSST for poll position in the race for best portable kegerator. But, if you have the money… by all means – get this one!

Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator

Summit SS Outdoor Serving Cart w/ Kegerator

The Summit company has a good name too and they stand behind every kegerator they make with a 1 year ‘parts and labor/5 years compressor’ warranty.

You supply the keg of your choice from the sizes mentioned – half, quarter and mini keg only. Don’t try to force a larger one into the interior as if you don’t keep the door shut snugly, you will never be able to keep the beer chilled. The result – one foamy mess. The appliance is quiet while operating and has been designed to run economically with an adjustable thermostat and regulator. I would highly recommend shelling out for a really great cleaning kit and build the cleaning regimen into your keg-maintenance routine. The other recommendation would be to make sure you have something soft (removalists’ blankets for instance) to protect it while on the road. I also would plug it into a battery pack to keep the cool happening till you set up at the tailgate party site.

The weight is 150 pounds without the beer and dimensions are 35 x 23 7/8 x 25 ¼ so you’d better have that Silverado as it won’t fit in a SmartCar.

Now let’s scale down to a small kegerator. This one may just squeeze into a SmartCar.

The Best Portable Kegerator For The Money – Low to Medium Budget

The Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

Koolatron Beer Mini Kegerator

From time to time, you see an average-good appliance that has attracted some vicious negative reviews on selling sites. And other people have nothing but praise. In the kegerator world, the handling of the appliance is as important as the choice of which to buy. You need to keep them out of the sunlight, keep the lines and so on spotlessly clean and maintain it.

In other words, teach the designated driver some of these skills and most kegerators on the market, at any price point, will give you good service. Many problems could just be a maintenance/rough handling issue. Read the instructions and remember that cleanliness is next to beeriness.

So back to the Koolatron. It is neat, compact and eminently carryable. Will fit in the back of a car. My advice is to pack it in a box, cover that box so that sun doesn’t heat it up and also keep it plugged in during the journey to the parking lot. You can do that by purchasing a battery pack. We have a Duracell PowerPack and it runs for hours.

You will find this little beauty will keep any small kegerator chilled so that you will avoid the foaminess associated with a rise in temperatures. Handy as a light source and will charge your phone too.

But I digress …. The Koolatron Mini Beer Chiller is just 9.5 x 9.5 x 17.8 inches. It doesn’t hold a heap but gives you beer on tap. It has a removable drip-tray. It runs quietly and has been nicely designed with a bit of style to it. Only weighs 11.7 pounds without the beer so it’s a natural for a small car, small tailgate party. Will fit a mini keg.

The Best Portable Kegerator – Medium Budget

The similar sized Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Party Pub is such a great price (under $300) that everyone could bring their own when there’s large tailgate party happening. It may not be the best portable kegerator but, what it lacks in features, it makes up for in price! The Avanti is very popular for those who don’t want to make a massive investment in their kegerator and it will definitely get the job done without breaking the bank.

Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Kegerator

Avanti 2 Mini Keg Portable Kegerator

The company claims that you can bring the party with you wherever you go with the Avanti Portable Party Pub (CB350S-IS). Two (2) mini-kegs can be stashed in this little cutie and they can be different beers. Interior LED lighting with an on/off switch will light up the Avanti inside to make setting it up really easy. Some other kegs do not have this feature and it makes it quite hard to set up. Not for the Avanti which is a breeze! There’s a glass storage shelf to chill mugs/glasses and that is a really useful feature. The design is pretty nice and while there is a stylish draught style handle and tap for convenient pouring, you may like to switch that for something that supports your team. Hey, if you are tailgating, then dress your kegerator to match your party.

You’ll love the digital temperature control for easy temperature regulation. As it is really vital to keep the temperature chilled and constant, there’s a safety latch to ensure the door stays closed while you’re dispensing your brewski. Plus, it also has a see-through window to showcase and identify your beer menu as you can clearly see the side of the keg. It makes a good storage space for the kegs and so this means that when those ‘2 for 1’ offers happen at your beer store, you can take advantage of the cheap price and keep the beer a-coming for months. The CO2 regulator and pressure gauge may take a little bit of adjusting but all instructions are included. Do a test run before featuring this at the tailgate party.

Some users have reported problems with the Avanti. As with all others in this range of portable kegerators, I must emphasize that keeping the unit clean, out of the sun, plugged in at all times and chilled will avoid most of these dramas.

The warranty will ensure that any parts that may snap off (well, some of your drunken buddies may not be as gentle with the unit as you, the proud owner, are …) can be replaced by the manufacturer so keep all your paperwork handy.

Dimensions are 21 x 18.25 x 20 x 25 by the way and the input voltae is 115V/60 Hz. It weighs 35 pounds empty.

I think that this is a really great little unit suited particularly for a tailgate party where you may have guests who like different beers. You can give them a choice of two. At a low cost, this is a step up from the smallest unit but is not a massive outlay. A nice gift for that guy in your life as well. (Pick me, pick meeeee!).

Bonus round – the Low Tech Version: A Portable Growler Bag from KegWorks.

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

KegWorks Insulated Beer Growler Bag

The Best Portable Kegerator – Low Budget

From time to time, growlers come on the market at really low, low prices or in such cool shapes as to make them irresistable such as this cutie that looks like a real keg.

While it is not as awesome as having draft beer on tap with your own kegerator, it’s is a low cost insulted growler tote that keeps your beer at a reasonable temperature for the duration of the tailgate party. Sure, it’s not the best portable kegerator but, for some it’s better than the best of the best portable kegerators because it’s simple, ultra-portable and very convenient. You can buy a few of these and sling them over the back of your car’s headrest, but we all know that in most states of the US of A, this is a no-no. So here’s a warning to young and old, do pack these in the trunk of the vehicle as you cannot carry an open (or even refillable) bottle inside the car as it is against the Highway Code.

Stainless Steel Keg Style Growler

Stainless Steel Keg Style Growler

I know folk who take these when they go on micro-brewery crawls in the Portland Or. area, buying a growler or three on the way. One for each bottle of course. Anyway, they do keep the beer cold and require nothing in the way of power or technology. The dimensions are 7″W x 12″H x 6″D. Logically, you could sling a whole range of these into your picnic box and gently transport them to a parking lot where the merriment and beer menu will make your tailgate party memorable.

Ultimately, though, the beer is not a patch as good as draft beer no matter where you source it and the only way to get draft out on location is to transport a portable kegerator. The choice is yours as is the maximum fun!

Kegerator Review: EdgeStar KC2000 vs Keggermeister KM2800BK

There’s huge trend for tailgate party fans to equip their own homes with kegerators, setting up their BBQ/grill areas as a perfect homegating venue. Isn’t that the Great American Dream? Well, it’s reality for so many people now that I have a few reviews of the more fixed kegerators. The ones below – the Edgestar KC 2000 and the Keggermeister KM2800BK are mid-range price-wise, both are single taps but fall into the category of small café size/big party size (as you will see in their specs).  They are well-priced and actually will save you money on your beer purchases over time. Since the beer stays chilled and fresh for up to three months, it seems like a way to go. So, read on for this very detailed kegerator review in which we compare the Edgestar KC2000 with the Keggermeister KM2800BK and find out which one is right for you!

Note that these are not for outdoors but in the man-cave or even the kitchen or just a bar area. They kind of both polarize their customers so I have set out to try to figure out why. In my experience, and after reading more than just one kegerator review, some people will either LOVE the Edgestar KC2000 and hate the Keggermeister KM2800BK or LOVE the Keggermeister and hate the Edgestar. Why? Yes, there IS a reason.

Kegerator Review: Edgestar KC-2000.

EdgeStar Full Sized Kegerator

EdgeStar KC-2000

Can’t for the life of me work out why this model, made at the same place as other Edgestar Kegerators, has received so much negative feed-back. All I can say is that occasionally in manufacturing, there is one lemon. One of these may be it. And yet it also gets glowing reviews. It is made with the same solid-state attention as others we review but somehow, there are problems with sizing and with the temperature.

I spoke with my pal, Seth, about this conundrum and what he said seems to make sense. The KC 2000 is specifically made for certain kegs that are listed on its specs and also are well identified by name, capacity, cup quantity and any problems you may encounter (such as the rim around some of the kegs in their designs). If you use this list as a guide (ie. do your homework) you should be quite safe with this kegerator. Another aspect he stressed was that all kegs need to be pre-cooled before use. Many users skip this step, but it is vital. Every time your kegerator welcomes its load of sweet amber nectar, the kegerator needs a 24 HOUR cooling period, no cribbing on the time, please, your lines and so on must be spotless and gunk free and the beer itself needs to be pre-chilled. It is pointless loading a warm keg into the kegerator as all it will tap is foam and that will overflow and waste beer.

It’s a nice, black finished kegerator and it does look darn suave in the man-cave.

Firstly, you must be aware that this kegerator CANNOT be used outside. It is strictly for indoor use. If you use anything apart from an outdoor kegerator I say, a BBQ area or even in the parking lot, out in the sun, you will compromise the temperature, your beer will bubble and froth like a witch’s cauldron and you will waste your brew. It will not be kept cold. Pure and simple.

However, in an indoor application, this is really good if you treat it right.

Owning a kegerator does require some dedication and logic. You must clean it regularly for a start.

Follow the instructions, check the interior size in the specifications sheet and you should be fine. Especially in regards to pre-cooling before any keg is installed.  Also use only the keg specified to slot easily inside – there’s a list of recommended sizes. For instance, the Kegerator KC 2000 specifies that half barrel will fit. So don’t go trying to fit a full sized barrel in it! The interior is 14.5 inches deep–from the condenser shelf in the back to the front edge at the door. If you intend using kegs with the additional rim, they will not fit, so make sure you select the keg to suit this model. Pony size, for instance will not fit due to the temperature gauge at the top and the hoses inside.

This is considered a mid-budget kegerator and, as such, is not going to be in the league of say, a Viking industrial refrigerator or your Miele imported kitchen appliances. However, it is engineered to last and another hint is to check it all over when you remove it from the box. Make sure that any screws, bolts etc. have not jiggled loose in transit. There is an element of assembly in owning one of these. I have not a lot of skills in that area and I sort of figured that a heap of owners may have just jammed it together. If you don’t put the door on right, then nothing will fit properly. Again, read the instructions and if you can’t figure it out, find a 10 year old child to do it for you. Never assemble while drunk. Drinking and assembling is a beer hazard.

Some reviewers say that the materials used in couplings and spellings are inferior. If this is the case, call the company who sent it to you and get them to pressure Edgestar as I get the impression the manufacturing company doesn’t have great people skills. Sounds like they’d rather make or use kegerators than deal with their customers. Well, that’s a crying shame as they have a large chunk of the market share.

So if you don’t have the courage to take all this on, what is the alternative? Maybe this will do it ….

Kegerator Review: Keggermeister KM2800BK Kegerator

Keggermeister KM2800BK Kegerator Full-Size Single-Tap Beer Refrigerator

Keggermeister KM2800BK Kegerator

Designed for home brewers or just regular beer drinkers, the Keggermeister KM2800BK is a full-size single-tap refrigerator. The makers claim it will keep your beer chilled and prevent it from going flat for up to three months. Bingo! Make or buy beer to put in it. (Be sure to check keg sizes). The stainless steel tower features a black and chrome spout that can accommodate a variety of different height beer glasses, mugs, Red Solo cups in all sizes, Mason jars if you’re a hipster or even bottles. There’s a chrome guardrail on the top so that you can line those glasses up on the counter-style top. The black exterior adds a very stylish finish and it is durable. Four tough casters will make it easy to move for cleaning or just for changing position. The temperature control is adjustable and of course, there are instructions on what temp is the ideal for beer.

This is labeled ‘full-sized’ so a full sized keg should fit. The specs say it accommodates a full-size keg, pony keg, or 2 5-gallon kegs. These, by the way, are enough for a decent party and there is a great chart on how many glasses you can tap from each keg here:

(http://www.kegerator.com/article?cgid=Kegerators&aid=keg-sizes-chart)

This is by far the best reference on the web for keg sizes and what each can deliver.

Note that this is a single tap beer dispenser and you won’t have the choice between beers.

As with all the larger models, the 2.5 pound CO2 bottle is included. I had a lot of specific enquiries on where to access CO2 for refills. Most areas have a dealer in gas and the best people, I find, to provide this service on a reliable basis are your paintball companies. The fill only costs around $10 at present. Cheap! Whoohoo, check out the paintballing and maybe you will want to spend a day splattering each other with something other than beer!

http://www.hollywoodpaintball.com/
Tempting ….. though it does take time away from the beer.

At 35.5 x 28.1 x 23.5 inches it is a large kegerator. While the item is around 80 pounds, when shipped it weighs almost 100 pounds. The shipping packaging in this kegerator is awesome. Double boxed with poly in between and small components and instructions in a small container, well-wrapped – so they don’t get lost. I liked the instruction book for this one as it is clear and has pictures that actually relate to the kegerator. It is a simple job to put it together. That gets 5 stars from me as so many units are damaged in shipping. The makers label this well with ‘This side up’ and ‘fragile’ so someone is taking care.

Be sure to invite some burly friends on delivery day, unwrap, read the instruction book together, christen it with a red solo cup of bottled beer, follow the instructions in regard to leaving it to cool down for at least 24 hours (many recommend 3 days prior chilling) and don’t add the (pre-cooled) keg of beer until it has reached Beer Chill Optimum temperature. Good hand-brewed (boutique) beer is generally drunk at a temperature of between 38° to 45° F as like cheese, it needs a little bit of warmth for the taste-buds to snap to attention. Of course, serving it warm as they do in the U.K. is not an option in my neck of the woods.

Just so you know, the unit is virtually silent. There’s a slight motor sound when you switch it on, but after that, it just quietly chills and serves the beer without complaint

Here are a few hints from other users. If you are opening and closing the door a lot, this will impact on your overall temperature. So don’t. But maybe you need to? A good idea is to add a little cooling fan in the back of the unit to circulate the air.   This tiny fan (http://www.amazon.com/IO-Crest-Powered-Desktop-SY-ACC65055/dp/B006L6ZL8I) runs off a computer, or any power outlet that is USB compatible (think chargers) or your computer or solar charger. You can run the cable through the kegerator quite easily. Outdoor kegerators are definitely tricky in regard to maintaining optimal temperature but the fan certainly helps.

Some users like to customize by adding a small motor to force cold air up the tower for super-chilled beer which you can do with any of the manufactured brands (any that have ‘Ice’ in the title, for instance or those you purchase at Ralph’s).

The unit is only available in the U.S. at present.

You could add a dual or even triple tap conversion kit but in that case, you would be restricted to really small kegs which may not fit so I don’t even advocate a dual. Better in that case to buy a couple of small kegerators (under $100) on the side and set up your beer smorgasbord that way. Say, Guinness style in one and a Pilsener style in the other. You can run almost any beer through it Pyramid Hefeweizen, Budlight, Budweiser, Dos Equis, Corona, Stella, Heineken and more. Just check the keg size each time on the comparison chart or you may strike trouble.

When you do your first pour, don’t open the CO2 valve to the maximum. This will over-pressurize the keg and you will have a foamy overflow. With the valve in closed position, adjust the regulator to a position that is minimally open to begin with and pour your first glass. Take a moment to sip. If you ever accidentally over pressurize the tank, pull the pressure release pin on the coupler, release the built-up CO2 in the keg and start again. No problems! Drink another test glass.

Some people like to pour a jug of beer for the table. Pre-chill your jugs for a nice frosty drink and the head will be perfect and will stay for the life of the beer in the jug which, in my Grillstation area is an easy task. Those Corkcicle Chillsner Beer Chillers can add a nice touch!

The tap handle can be changed to one of your own choosing, say a customized one or a team one for your homegating …

Don’t over chill by the way. Beer popsicles are not that nice. And hard to get out of a keg.

If you have ANY problems, no matter how small, call the manufacturer. Make sure that you have followed the advice above and read all instructions well. Be patient. You are dealing with some gases and temperatures here which need adjusting and balancing.

Note that with the Keggermeister, you can buy a stainless steel version if you so desire. The Keggermeister is shipped with additional parts and a dual regulator so that is a plus.

EdgeStar KC2000 or Keggermeister KM2800BK: Which is better?

Ok, you’ve read the kegerator review of the Edgestar and the review of the Keggermiester. But what is the conclusion here? They each have their avid fans, they each have their haters. It certainly seems that installation could be the main problem as the pressure set up is a little vague in the instructions. Do not run at full open position (on the CO2 tank. Just start small. After a few changes of position and a few foamy beers (yes, go on, you know you want to drink it!) you will find the right position. It just takes time and experimentation. If you are one of those rare buyers who received a broken kegerator, complain! Raise the roof till you get good service. And remember that cleaning is just a small price to pay for beer that stays fresh and chilled for three months.  The payback is that you will save 50% of beer money by using the kegerator.  Either one.  I have no preference.  They each seem to suffer from the same critiques and the users who are diligent about the installation/cleaning/setup rules seem to do OK.  So here are some videos that will assist you in that crucial set up step.

Video: How to set up the Keggermeister Kegerator

Video: How to set up the EdgeStar KC2000

Let the drinking begin!

The Best Food Coolers & Warmers Reviewed

Call it what you like – ‘Ice chest’, ‘Ice box’, ‘Car Fridge’, ‘Esky’, ‘Chiller’, ‘Cooler’, you name it, the box you carry your food in needs to work its butt off.  The best tailgate party tip is to find a box that can transport the goods at the correct safe temperature, be easy to lift, wheel and withstand a bit of rough-and-ready treatment.  Without the box, your beer is warm, and who likes warm beer outside the British Isles???? Nobody of course.  Ideally, a cooler needs to fit in the back of your vehicle and a bonus is if it is strong enough to double as seating or flexible and compact enough to fold up to store in your house.  Oh, those last two are mutually exclusive. Don’t sit on a flexible cooler especially when it is full of deviled eggs.  Power is optional, in fact it is an affordable option these days.  Yet, most coolers just do their job with the addition of ice in the right quantities and will get you through anything from one to five days as long as you don’t keep opening the lid.  Buy a cooler that is made of food grade plastic rather than a cheap knockoff that may pollute your food. The powered models can keep you on the road, tailgating from city to city.  Don’t laugh.  I know people who do just that!  The ice filled ones can be managed to do the same though so below are some really good buys and some hints on how to manage your portable food carrier.

Just remember when you are packing the car to allow for the weight of the cooler.  Most large ones weigh around 20 pounds on their own, before you add those 16 dozen cans of beer … before you buy, take a tape measure to the trunk of the car and figure out how many of these you can comfortably fit in. So, that’s enough of an intro! Now read on for the reviews of the best food coolers and best food warmers!

The Best Food Coolers & Warmers Reviewed

Let’s start with the coolest of coolers, the Cruzin’ Cooler.

Cooler Review: Crazy Coolers Motorized Cooler

Crazy Coolers Motorized Cooler

Crazy Coolers Motorized Cooler

OMG, so you didn’t get the parking space you wanted in the lot!  You’re not next to your mates.  In fact, you are way over the other side.  Heck, that has to be a long walk.  Oh no, and you have a large cooler packed full of sublime amber fluid and hey, it was your turn to bring the ribs.  Sit on this little beauty. Start it up and cruise your way to Tailgate Party Heaven. Crazy Coolers created these innovative motorized coolers that kind of sound like a lawn mower or mo-ped when they are running. They feature unique all-terrain tires, a 2HP 4-stroke engine, 48L Cooler and that combo can be a full bar on wheels.   Just don’t speed while driving it.   The cooler is fine too, but really, aren’t you just buying this one for the fun?

Cooler Review: Bundle-47 Electric Cruzin’ Cooler

Bundle-47 Electric Cruzin' Cooler

Bundle-47 Electric Cruzin’ Cooler

Here’s the Greenie, Tree-Hugger Tesla style version …. OK, so it’s not a Tesla.  It’s from Cruzin’ Coolers and they are the guys who started this mobile cooler ride-on craze.

NOTE TO SELF: Add to Wishlist for Christmas, Birthday, hey any day with ‘day’ in it.

There are 300 watt and 500 watt versions and the whole kit and caboodle weighs around 64lbs..-Nicely finished with aluminum and chrome on exposed metals, it also features a built in cup-holder and an overall quality design and manufacture.

The Top speed is 13 mph.- This model holds 24 x 12oz cans with ice.

Rider Capacity is limited to 250 lbs.-It has easy brake and throttle control and is great personal transportation.

Compatible with: Cruzin Cooler Powered Coolers, Cruzin Cooler Coolagons.

It also has accessories such as this neat cover tailor-made for the Cruzin’ Cooler. which comes in a couple of nice colors.

Too lazy even to drive the Cruzin’ Cooler?  Then sit in a chair and tell the drinks to come to you:

Cooler Review: Interactive Toy Concepts Radio-controlled Cooler

Interactive Toy Concepts Radio-controlled Cooler

Interactive Toy Concepts Radio-controlled Cooler

This is a Canadian invention.  Why am I not surprised?  This elegant radio – controlled, battery powered Cooler, lets you just sit back and take the controls on your next beer delivery. Its insulated sides keep your drinks cold for the big game, 12 bottles at a time, allowing the RC Cooler to cater your friends’ drinking needs without you doing more than jiggle the controls.   Ice-cold precision: 30′ RC range; 4 sturdy and stable sure-grip wheels; Bottle-cap shaped controller.

Send it back to the kitchen for refills if you need to.

It’s collapsible down to only 6 1/2″ h. for easy storage but I am thinking you’ll be getting this one out every weekend and using it a lot.

NOTE: Uses 6 C batteries in cooler and 2 AA batteries in remote (batteries not included).  You may want to get a stash of rechargeable batteries to avoid the cost and pollution of replacements.

Dimensions:  12″ diam., 14″ h. Weighs 3 lbs., 10 ozs.;

OK, now to the serious stuff.

Cooler Review: Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler

Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler

Coleman 54-Quart Steel-Belted Cooler

This tough-as-nails Coleman was designed for camping but it is great for tailgate parties – strong enough to sit on.  Kind of retro in appearance, it holds 85 cans so you and your three best friends will be set for a day of tailgating. This could very well be the best food cooler of them all!

Its stainless steel handles are covered in grippy rubber making it is a breeze to pick up, at least when empty. The retro look isn’t just for decoration: the steel (which is painted) makes it super tough and easy to clean.  It is rust-proof, leak resistant and the drain hole is designed for ‘no-tilt’ emptying.  Hinges and screws are also steel and tough.  Locally made, from USA and foreign made components, it is guaranteed and anything that breaks under normal wear can be replaced.  The latch and gaskets make it seal securely which means cold stays in much longer.

Measurements:           26” x 18” x 17”

Cooler Review: Coleman 62 qt. Xtreme Cooler

Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme Wheeled Cooler

Coleman 62-Quart Xtreme Wheeled Cooler

The Coleman 62 qt. Xtreme Cooler features Xtreme 5 technology and the capacity to hold up to 85 cans. It features two-way handles for easy lifting and carrying, a tow handle and its rustproof, leak-resistant channel drain allows for no-tilt draining. The lid is hinged and high-quality plastic construction from Xtreme 5 technology with Thermozone insulation makes it durable. The corners are curved to prevent the gathering of bacteria as it is simple to wipe out after use.

Wheels are ‘all terrain’ making it a perfect choice for tailgating.

Dimensions: 31.5 x 17 x 15.5 inches (W x H x D)

Sturdy for sitting on, but maybe not Bubba and his sister, Ten Ton Tessie…

Cooler Review: Coleman 100 qt. Xtreme Wheeled Cooler with Tow Handle

Next size up holds up to 160 cans.  Wow, this tailgate party is getting better by the minute!  Very durable, again the ice won’t melt for 5 or even 6 days.  A couple of these will see you through – one for drinks, one for food.  The insulated walls are 2 inches thick and the snug insulated hinged lid has a gasket seal.  It has two tough all-terrain wheels and the tow handle will make dragging it around the parking lot a breeze.  Though sand may be a struggle for the wheels particular when the cooler is packed high with brewskis.

HINT: Look after that seal on the lid.  Just as you clean the gasket seals of a refrigerator, do the same with these and they will last for many years.  Don’t let your guests leave the lid ajar.  You need to be quite tough closing it to preserve the cold temperature.

.Dimensions: 36.5L x 16.75W x 18.25H inches.

Drain plug works well.  Very efficient cooler nicely designed for tailgate party use. Buying from this local company is an advantage as their after sales service is great (for instance, if the handles break, they can be replaced easily and fast).

Good value for the price.

Cooler Review: Coleman 120-Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler

Coleman 120-Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler

Coleman 120-Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler

Here’s a massive cooler that, according to description, will keep ice for 5 days.  The way to do this is to pre-chill everything you put in there and also make the ice you put in there quite dense.  For instance, you can freeze a deep aluminum pan full of water and put it, pan and all in a large Ziploc plastic bag which you seal well.  This stays cold for days.  Or you can buy various sheets of refreezable gel packs. In a parking lot at a tailgate party, despite up to 90 degree heat, 190 cans of beer or the equivalent food will stay chilled.  Or buy two and pack those 190 beers and use the other cooler for food.  Be sure to measure the space in your vehicle allowing for the hinges of the trunk.  This cooler is tall enough for wine bottles to be packed, standing.

Another nice feature of this outstanding cooler is the hinged lid with its can holders.  It’s rustproof and has the Coleman designed drain so it is practical for dealing with cleaning and letting out melted ice.  The 2 large all-terrain wheels make it simple to transport and tugging its tow handle is a breeze. It’s tough and OK for your guests to sit on.  A handy feature is that you can tether additional stuff to the top and the lid has been designed to fit cords to fasten items (dry goods, other small boxes).  You can buy these cords separately.  The interior has no toxic CFCs, HFCs, or HCFCs.  Made in the USA.  Full warranty.

Dimensions: 39.75 by 13.75 by 19 inches (L x W x H) (Exterior), 32 by 12.5 by 15 inches (L x W x H) (Interior).

Cooler Review: Igloo Polar Cooler (120-Quart, White)

Igloo Polar Cooler (120-Quart, White)

Igloo Polar Cooler

This cooler only fits 188 cans – aw gee!  It’s another version of the 5-day ice-keeper and I see a lot of these in use though I have never owned one.  I know that they keep fish and meat frozen for days, so beer should be a cinch.  It doesn’t have wheels but it is probably the toughest one around.  It has snap-fit latches to keep the warm air out.  Very tough walls and well insulated.

I have seen these stacked 2 high made into an amazing table with contributions from all the party guests who coincidentally, happen to have bought the same cooler.  It’s 36 inches high (a stack of two) and you can bank them up and throw a team logo cloth over them.  Good for playing tailgate party games if you have enough of them! Just get the food out BEFORE you set the table.

Dimensions: 38.3 x 18 x 18.5 inches

Cooler Review: Koolatron 18 qt. Compact Cooler

Koolatron Compact Kooler

Koolatron Compact Kooler

If you have any foods that are particularly vulnerable to heat spoilage then maybe you need a plug-in cooler.  The Koolatron Kooler is very useful to keep food and drinks cool while traveling or at the tailgate party parking lot and you can plug it in to your accessories socket. (The unit cannot be left plugged in to the cigarette lighter in the car for more than 4 hours or it will run the car battery flat. There is an optional battery saver adapter that will shut off the unit if it overtaxes the car battery).

It’s narrow enough to slip behind the driver’s seat on the floor but has a good capacity at the same time.  As it has powered cold, the addition of any ice is not necessary but I just like to put a couple of flexible thin gel packs (frozen) at the top or on the side that may heat up during the drive.

Items to be placed in it should be cool before filling the cooler. The empty unit will cool about 10 degrees an hour to about 40 degrees lower than the ambient temperature around it. It will maintain any pre-cooled contents at that temperature while plugged in. Check the manual for cooling times.

The optional AC power adapter (Koolatron Muti-Purpose Adapter 110VAC to 12VDC ) is useful – plug it into the wall and cool down the box for 12 hours or more. A slab of ice or gel pack is also a good idea.  Anything you put it in should be fridge cold or frozen.   Note that it will keep things cold not freeze items or cool things down (except by using ambient temperature)  A refrigerator thermometer would be a good little accessory for this unit.

The Koolatron is also a food heat source, keeping hot foods hot.  Again, set the temperature before you put the food in.  I also throw in a few of those small hand warmers having first heated them in the microwave.  Pizza, mac’n’cheese and other delicacies will stay hot for hours.

18 quarts is not a huge capacity but between this and your drinks cooler(s), you should cover all bases.

Tailgate Hotbag Side Loading

Tailgate Hotbag Side Loading

Tailgate Hotbag Side Loading

We all have our large coolers and they double as seats and tables in many cases.  But this is a range of soft-sided insulated boxes that will keep food hot.  They plug into your 12V outlet (and have a long lead).  That outlet was once known as a cigarette lighter).  Without flattening your battery it will keep your home-cooked food piping hot at 165 – 170 degrees F for several hours. The bag is made from 1000 denier rugged nylon with thickly insulated walls and base and is lightweight and very easy to keep clean.  Just wipe it over after use.  Designed to be easy to carry and the food slides in through the side so you can access it sort of the way pizza delivery guys get the pies out.  Full instructions are included and these come in a range of sizes.  If you are tailgating at Metlife, for instance, and cooking on site is not an easy option, then take your pre-cooked corn dogs, hot wings, mac’n’cheese and so on and keep them safely hot in this excellent box.  There are no negatives!

Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 5.5 inches ; 3.3 pounds

More food warmers great for transporting your hot food.

Food Warmer Review: Tailgate Hotbag Side Pocket

Tailgate Hotbag Side Pocket

Tailgate Hotbag Side Pocket

It’s lightweight, has a handy shoulder strap for easy carrying and large pockets on each end.  Heats to 165 degrees to keep your food oven hot from kitchen to tailgate party. Nice for a casserole or pot of mac’n’cheese and you can put bread or condiments in the pockets.

Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 9 inches ; 5 pounds

Food Warmer Review: Large Tailgate Hotbag: Side-Loading

Tailgate Hotbag Large Side Loading

Tailgate Hotbag: Side Loading

This Large Side Loading Electric Tailgate Hotbag is perfect for lots of light weight foods that can be stacked such as sandwiches, pizzas or rolls. Bring enough hot food for the whole gang and keep it hot all the way to the tailgate party, even if it’s hours away. The dry heat does not let the food get soggy.

Review: Black & Decker TC212B Travel Cooler & Warmer

Black & Decker TC212B Travel Cooler & Warmer

Black & Decker TC212B Travel Cooler & Warmer

Black & Decker 12 Volt Travel Cooler & Warmer with 12 can/2.3 gallon capacity. Powers from vehicle accessory outlet. Thermo-electric systerm keeps food cold or warm. Low voltage auto cut-off prevents coolers from draining vehicle battery.

Thermo-Electric System cools down to 40°F below ambient temperature and heats up to approximately 120°F

Plugs directly into vehicle’s or boat’s 12 volt DC outlet or any other 12 volt power supply

Rests on vehicle seat, tailgate, hatch or floor for easy access during travel

Zippered side storage and accessory pouch

Dual can/cup holder

Dimensions: 18 x 10 x 14 inches

Cooler Review: Koolatron 12V 48-Can Voyager Cooler

Koolatron 12V 48-Can Voyager Cooler

Koolatron 12V 48-Can Voyager Cooler

This is a nice, streamlined cooler/warmer which holds 48 cans and the only difference between this and the other Koolatrons is the size, shape and color.  You can stand a wine bottle up in this one.

Heats as well as cools.

NOTE: DO NOT cover up the fan/exhaust outlet.  It needs to be able to breathe in and out.

NOTE: Don’t use melting ice in these machines – the gel pack sealed sheets are the best.  It will operate best when you avoid opening the lid too many times and also pack it to avoid air gaps.  Put chilled items in to retain the cold and hot items in to retain the heat.

Dimensions: 17.5 x 16 x 15.4 inches

12 pounds

Review: Coleman 40-Quart PowerChill Hot/Cold Thermoelectric Cooler

Coleman PowerChill Hot/Cold Thermoelectric Cooler, 40-Quart

Coleman PowerChill Hot/Cold Thermoelectric Cooler

Keep your food warm OR cool, and strictly speaking, you don’t need ice or a freezer pack.  The Coleman 40-Quart PowerChill Hot/Cold Cooler uses electricity to keep your food at the right temperature. Set to Cool mode it cools down to forty degrees below the surrounding temperature; on Warm, it heats to 110-140 degrees above the surrounding temperature. Just plug it into your car’s 12-volt outlet – it has a long lead and even longer ones can be purchased. Also purchase the 110-volt AC adapter (sold separately) for use in the home which is, as mentioned earlier, essential for pre-cooling the unit overnight or in between uses. The PowerChill 40 Quart can hold 44 cans, plus snacks. The interior tray helps keep everything organized, and you can use the PowerChill upright, cabinet-style like a hobbit-sized fridge, or horizontally, chest-style. The door can be converted to open from the left or the right, so it’ll work well in your available space. 1-year limited warranty.  These plug in miniature fridges used to be really expensive but there is a great range these days at affordable prices and this is one of my favorites.

Dimensions 15.7 x 17.8 x 24 inches

Koolatron Multi-Purpose Adapter 110AC to 12 Volts DC ( Model AC-16)

Koolatron Multi-Purpose Adapter 110AC to 12 Volts DC ( Model AC-16)

Koolatron Multi-Purpose Adapter 110AC to 12 Volts DC ( Model AC-16)

You definitely need one of these so that you can pre-chill the container overnight prior to the tailgate party Big Day.  See notes on this process!  Also if you are homegating in the back yard, it’s a really useful item to save you trips to the kitchen and back and can be plugged into the wall wherever your tailgate party is located.

Cooler Review: Koolatron 26-Quart Soft-Sided Electric Travel Cooler

Koolatron 26-Quart Soft-Sided Electric Travel Cooler, Black

Koolatron 26-Quart Soft-Sided Electric Travel Cooler

The Koolatron D25 Soft Bag Cooler can be taken anywhere, like the car, to picnic sites, hotels, offices, and more. For even more convenience the D25 plugs into all 12V cigarette lighters. The Koolatron D25 Soft Bag Cooler comes with an easy-to-carry adjustable shoulder strap, and holds up 32 x 12 oz cans. An optional 110V adapter is available for home use. The Koolatron D25 Soft Bag Cooler also has a convenient cord storage compartment when not in use. Cools to 16.5 degrees C or 30° F below the ambient temperature.

What I love about this is its ability to organize me with pockets and compartments for everything.  Tailgating is the ULTIMATE picnic and that is what this great little, lightweight cooler guarantees.  Bottles of pop, no, make that growlers, can stand up and you can tuck the food in all around it.  The long lead means you can keep it plugged in for at least a couple of hours if you have a good battery in your vehicle.  Stuffed eggs, for instance, require a really cool temperature or they can be a sure way to spending the day in the porcelain palace in the throes of a Technicolor yodel.  Avoid tummy trouble and keep the food really cold!

Dimensions: 9 x 17.5 x 15 inches

Now a few pretty items for the ladies to put their cupcakes in!

Wheeled Picnic Cooler for 4, Houndstooth

This fully-equipped picnic cooler combines a removable wheeled cart, as well as a unique, divided cooler with separate sections for wine and food. Leaning towards the chic rather than tailgate party ruggedness, it has a leak-proof cooler which includes an easy drink access panel in the lid, a hand grip, an adjustable shoulder strap, and an extra front pocket. The wheeled cart has strong retractable handle like a suitcase and is easy to remove when not needed. Designed and assembled in the USA it has a  Lifetime warranty. The cooler comes with a combination corkscrew, cheese knife, wineglasses, plates, napkins, flatware, wheeled cart and has a stylish pattern on the outside. Dishwasher-safe plates, flatware and glasses (glasses top rack) are included; hand-wash and dry wood accessories though and only spot-clean bag and cooler; machine-wash and dry napkins.  Nice gift for the tailgate party gals!  High enough to stash a wine bottle or two.

Dimensions: 17.25″ x 14.5″ x 13.5″

Thermal Food Carrier, Trellis Blue

Despite its feminine appearance it features sturdy construction just like my cousin Meryl. Thermal Shield insulation make this colorful food carrier essential for transporting food such as casseroles, cakes, rolls, and more hot or cold. It also zips fully open for easy packing. Lifetime warranty.

Dimensions: 4″ x 18″ x 11″

Trunk Organizer and Cooler Set, Chevron

Dimension: 12″ x 23″ x 14″; folded, 12″ x 14″ x 3″

You might find this trunk organizer useful.

It’s a durable three section trunk organizer with removable Thermal Shield insulated cooler and despite its glamorous looks it is great for keeping sports gear, cleaning supplies, and groceries organized. Two large outer sleeve pockets. Foldable when not in use to maintain trunk space. Designed in the USA. Lifetime warranty.

Happy tailgating!