Best Tailgate Party Balls Reviewed

Wanna to make your tailgate party into not just a fun day but a workout at the same time?  Get your tailgate party kit some of the best tailgate party balls! We’ve awarded them all the title of ‘best’ as they all have their attributes depending on the game to be played. eg. This grippy ball that is just made for throwing and catching.

The Grip Zone ball

The Grip Zone ball – best tailgate party balls


After all, who doesn’t want to get into the spirit of the match by working off that huge beer-and-BBQ-gut with ball games, batting up a few hits or working your way around a car-park course of Disc Golf or Frisbeer?

Stickzee game for Frisbeer

Stickzee game for Frisbeer – put yourname on the wait list !


Count me in.  In theory, I like to drink and exercise at the same time.  Or exercise and drink at the same time. Alternatively, I like to build an appetite with a tailgate party styled ball game or two while the ribs are smokin’ on the grill and the warm-ups are happening in the stadium.

There are so many great tailgate party ball games that I thought it was about time I sorted the wheat from the chaff and listed the a couple of fun activities worth shelling out for. Balls are compact, versatile and fun. #Igottheballs

The Game of 500 – the best tailgate party ball game evvahhhh!

How to play:

500 is the most widely played tailgate party ball game using a football.

Wilson Composite Football

Wilson Composite Football – best tailgate party balls for 500.

One player is designated thrower (quarterback) and the rest of the gang is made up of competitive and uncivilized receivers.  All you do is throw and catch.  Interference in the wackiest ways possible will only enhance the best ball game evvaaah.  Beer drinking will also enhance the game as it inspires creative interference.  The ball must be caught in the air for maximum scoring.  It’s a free-for-all battle and usually your neighbors end up joining the game.


Ball caught in the air = 100 points.

Call caught on one bounce = 50 points.

First to 500 becomes the quarterback and throws for the next round.

The Best Balls For Tailgate Party Day

Jokes aside, you have to have the right balls for the game.

Wilson NFL Ultimate Composite Game Football (Official Size)


Tailgate Party Football Wilson

Best tailgate party ball – Wilson Tailgate Party Football

Clearly, you need a quality football.  It is important to choose a ball that is appropriate to your space and the size of the players.  If you are overwhelmed by little kids, maybe you should invest in a separate, more easily catchable ball for them and if surrounded by cars, trucks and glass, don’t use one that will be smashing any windows and windshields.

Guide to Tailgate Party Ball selection

Check out the range from the aspects of composition, shape, size, weight. I have have reviewed them for tailgate party use more so than for playing a full on game. ie. Limited space in many venues.

You can buy real leather, composite, plastic, NFL, Collegiate, Canadienne, Youth size and even Nerf.  Don’t be tempted to buy an Australian or Irish football.  These are not interchangeable – it’s actually a very different shape and the throwing (handball) technique is completely different.

Check your inflation once every few months and follow the direction on the pack for pressure.  You will need a pump with a ball inflating tip.

The Legendary Wilson Range is Great for Tailgate Parties

Wilson is the king of ball brands in sport, made legendary in the basketball version as Tom Hanks’ best friend in ‘Castaway’.  The Wilson official sized ball is game size and weight with deep pebble pattern on the skin and black laces and has been designed for an impressive flight characteristic suited for throwing and catching.  You can kick it, throw it, catch it or do spirals fast and slow.
Don’t over-inflate or it will be harder to catch.  It’s made of composite ‘leather’ and requires a wipe-down before use with a damp cloth.
Parking lot surfaces will naturally wear it out faster than grass will, but it’s not a high cost ball and will give good service for a few seasons.

Note that the composite balls are made in China and it is only the Wilson leather game balls that are USA made.  However, they are quality controlled and of a high standard and should give many seasons of playing regardless of surface played on.

Weight: 1.2 pounds.

Franklin Ball Maintenance Kit: Pump, Needles & Pressure Gauge

Franklin Ball Maintenance kit

For your best tailgate party balls -Franklin Ball Maintenance kit

Just for a few bucks, you can get this ball maintenance kit with the appropriate needles for inflation and a pressure gauge.  I recommend checking the rate at least every month to make sure that the ball is not over- inflated to make throwing and catching difficult.  No inflate-gate here! Compact 7.5 “ pump.  Proper air pressure will lengthen the life of balls.  Bring it to the tailgate party as part of your kit.

Wilson NFL Street Spiral Junior Football (Green & Black)

Best ball for tailgating parking lots

Best tailgate party ball for parking lots

Inspired by the street game, the Spiral is suited perfectly for tailgate parties as it is designed for recreational use rather than match use.  Celtics fans would love the green for the color alone.  Get one for St. Paddy’s day but put one or two in your tailgate party kit. They are very inexpensive. The Wilson football  a lot softer than pro balls but has a great grip and is high quality.

You can imagine it would look awesome during a spiral.

I would designate this as a perfect 500 ball as it will do less damage than others and is the ball you keep in the car for tailgating and any occasion when you are out and spot an empty park or recreation area where sporting missiles can be kicked or thrown.
Weight = 2 pounds so is not a total light-weight.

A Ball With Sound Effects

Nerf Aero Howler Orange


Nerf Howler is great for Tailgate Parties

Nerf Howler is a great ball for Tailgate Parties

Now for something really different. The Howler from Hasbro (Nerf) is a tailgate party staple and while designed over 20 years ago is still going strong.  It is one of the best balls for tailgate parties as it entertains. Even back then it could be thrown 100 yards.  But here is the 2013 version so I’m betting it goes even further.  It does no harm and is suitable for anyone over 5 which makes it an equally fabulous sport item for family tailgating or a mob of drunks.  The whistle tip makes a unique howling sound. Weighs just a few ounces and is available in many colors so you can match your team.

This is really made for competitive throwing so set up a measured course in the car park, invite your neighbors to play and tailgate party on!

Best Balls for Tailgate Party Night

So often, sporting events take place on gloomy days. It’s nice to know that there are ways to brighten up your tailgate party, play games and get exercise all at the same time.

Here is a selection of glow-in-the-dark or light-up balls.

Magma Light Up Football

Magma Light Ball

Magma Light Ball

The Magma Light up Football contains rugged LED lights that are activated by the kick or punch and stay illuminated for 30 seconds. It can be seen from 100 yards away. This football is Youth size 6 but I am thinking that adults who have been imbibing would appreciate the break of smaller ball. It’s made of rubber and is sturdy, bounces well and has excellent grip. The batteries will last for 20 hours of play and that could last you the entire season. Three lithium batteries are included and are easily replaceable.   Replacement LED / Battery kits available on Amazon – and to avoid any tailgate party disappointment if the lights get damaged or the battery drains too fast, have a few backups on hand as they are cheap. Night time tailgate party games never looked so good!

Magma Replacement LED Light Kit – The replacement kit for the Magma light up balls is only around $5 and you can get at most hardware stores or order one when you order your ball. The up to date details will be in your product box.

Be prepared!

Junk Ball Classic lightup bat and ball

Junk Ball light up

Junk Ball light up

In winter, early spring and late fall when the sun is setting at around 4:30 pm, the odds of tailgate parties happening in the dark are high.  Or you want to play ball games with your mates or the kids, you’re going to need all the help (light-wise) that you can get.

Here’s a nifty idea for those of you who like to tailgate at MLB games by playing your own ball game.

Franklin Sports Glomax Bat and Ball, 33-Inch

Tailgate for MLB? Here’s an alternative  light-up bat and ball!


Light Up Glomex Bat for tailgating

Light Up Glomex Bat for tailgating

The bat and ball light up on impact.

It is motion activated (by the hitting impact) and will stay lit for around three minutes before fading giving you time to retrieve the ball each time.

Take them to your MLB or other tailgate party and set up a game of pitch and hit or wiffle ball before or after the meal.

Kids aren’t the only humans to love them!

Franklin Sports Night Lightning Basketball

Night Lightning Basketball

Night Lightning Basketball

Available in Intermediate or Official size, the Night Lightning is the perfect winter time tailgate party basketball.  There are so many ball games that can be played in a tailgating lot using this bright, easily seen basketball that you are going to want one. Homegating, too, of course. Official B7 size is 29.5″ circumference and that is suited to anyone over 13. It has a lot of positive features in addition to the glow green styling:

It has pro width channels around it for superior handling.

The composite rubber cover has been designed for maximum grip with a lightly dimpled surface.

Polyester wound lining provides superior shape retention and protection from damage or puncturing in play.

Black and super bright green that glows in the dark with its luminous surface.  My experience with these phosophorescent items is that you have to leave them in the sun for a few hours to kick start the process. If the ball goes dull, do it again to re-charge.

Pump it up well before use.  It is a very study, well-made ball.

The phosphorescent green part will scrape off if you play on a rough surface.  But for tailgate parties, this is one of the best ball games.

Light-up Soccer Ball – LED-lighted Glow in the Dark, Full Size

Light up soccer ball for your tailgate party games

Light up soccer ball for your tailgate party games

Here’s the best ball you need for impromptu soccer moves at a tailgate party!

It is identical to the Volley ball but is soccer shaped, a full-sized ball and is OK to take the kind of punishment footballers dish out though it has the LED lights inside and therefore, isn’t quite as sturdy as an empty ball.  Suits tailgate parties at soccer fields, tailgating at other games when you want to kick and dribble a ball with beer in hand.

Having the segments light up rather than coloring the whole ball makes it easy in the gloom for players to figure out the path of the play.
Batteries for the lights last for ages and are simple to replace!

HINT:  Give the ball a good wipe with a damp cloth before use to avoid the stickiness of the rubber.

Light-up Soccer Ball

Another soccer version.  It can be seen several hundred yards away. Soccer is great at tailgate parties and you can follow the rules for frisbee golf and kick this around the parking lot.

Glow City Lightup soccer ball

Glow City Lightup soccer ball

LED Lighted Full Size Glow in the Dark Light Up Volley-ball

Tailgate party game volley-ball - it lights up!

Tailgate party game volley-ball – it lights up!

Tailgate parties at Volley-Ball Matches?  Maybe …  but be careful about reading any restrictions regarding drinking and grilling in the area. More to the point  – you can play volley ball at any other sport’s tailgate parties.  Note that this is no available at the moment but if you love it, go on the wait list.

Unlike the phosphorescent ball above, this one has LED lights inside it and they light up, glowing really brightly through the orange segments. The lights will last for hours – in fact, right through the tailgate party.

Note that while volley ball is a great tailgate party game due to its small footprint, this ball is quite heavy and players at full standard may experience soreness of wrists.

It is shipped with spare batteries and requires inflation when you receive it.  The batteries are easily replaceable.
Don’t use it as a soccer ball as the lights will die if you kick it.  There are alternatives for other ball handling techniques.


Not Balls But Tailgate Party Throwables

Nite Ize Flashflight LED Light Up Flying Disc

Lightup Flying Disc for Frisbeer

Lightup Flying Disc for Frisbeer

OK, so it’s not in the best ball for tailgating category but I wish I had stats on how many tailgate party dudes actually play with Flying Discs, Frisbees or whatever you like to call them.   The number would be high because you have the organized folk who play Disc Golf, the guys who do tricks and others who like to throw and catch.  Still more just play with their dogs.

This Illuminated flying disc was designed by a passionate player who didn’t stop playing after sundown.  It is aerodynamically well designed and made and lightweight considering the machinery in it.  There are grooves for the lights but these don’t interfere with play nor create a hazard.  Switch it on and 100,000 hour flashlight LED lights up along these patented fiber-optic lines from rim to rim.  (10.5” in diameter).

American designed and made, it is available in many colors.  Very popular and well manufactured in every way. It’s great for tailgate parties.

Battery change is simple – 2 x CR 2016 3V lithium batteries for maximum brightness.  The disc will go dim in the lead up to the need for battery change so you will have plenty of notice.  The batteries can be bought everywhere and it is handy to have some on hand, but don’t buy these too far ahead as they do go ‘stale’ if stored incorrectly.  Save on shipping by ordering a few backups with the disc.  Brighten up your tailgate parties!

More Tailgate Party fun with the Flash Flight Disc-O

Flash Flight Disc-O for brilliant tailgating

Flash Flight Disc-O for brilliant tailgating

Very solid state, this is a different version of an illuminated disc but from another manufacturer.  The main point of difference is that the Flash Flight does have a number of different colored lights (re, green, blue, orange and pink) and it scrolls through them in a sequence 3 seconds at a time.  The blue is a little dim, but the other colors are awesome.

Users love it but have commented that the on-off switch which is a push-button can be problematic and suggest that before you start using it, open the battery case, push the contacts down far then re-insert the batteries again.  You can also place a small tag of tough adhesive or Duct tape over the on-off switch.  It looks amazing in flight when some expert has been able to achieve a long throw.

Each primary color needs a different battery – the batteries mentioned above (Blue-green needs 2 x CR 2016 3 V or 2  DL 2016 3V and red needs 1 CR 2430 3 V.

Yes, you can play a casual, non-official game of Disc Golf using these illuminated flying discs but they are not acceptable in the ‘League’ but, hey, all we want is some fun at a tailgate party in the car park. No room to play at Met-Life Stadium L and be selective at the LA Coliseum where lots are small and expensive.


And a Bonus Round That While Not A Ball will Make You Jump For Joy!

Flybar Foam Master Pogo Stick

A pogo stick is awesome fun at tailgate parties.

A pogo stick is awesome fun at tailgate parties.

So it’s not a ball but this springy pogo stick can be great transport around the parking lot .  Buy a few and your guests can stage pogo races.  It has non-slip rubber on the tip and easy to grip handles.  The limit it will support is 80 to 160 pounds so bounce on this before the BBQ, ribs, corn-dogs and beer.  It has a one-year warranty.  Flybar is a well-known manufacturer of extreme toys like this and have created this from a tough as heck metal frame covered in precision-molded foam.  The foot pads can be replaced if they wear. You can actually play ball games on a pogo stick – try kicking the ball with your stick while landing or taking off.  Amazing fun.

NOTE:  Wear a bike helmet for safety.

If you like that, check out the awesome …

Flybar 800 Pogo Stick

Flybar pogo stick + Beer = tailgate party fun

Flybar pogo stick + Beer = tailgate party fun

Once you have mastered the Foam Master pogo stick, you will be ready to perform tricks on the Flybar 800 which is the one you would need if you were auditioning for ‘America’s Got Talent’ with Pogo Stick acrobatics.  This has the ability to jump 4 feet high and supports guys 80 – 180 pounds.  It has been reinvented for the 21st century and really is poles apart from the pogo sticks from days of yore.  SBI Enterprises has been manufacturing pogo sticks since 1918 and developed a reputation as the industry leader. In fact, the company is the original holder of the Hansburg Pogo patents. Although SBI experienced steady success over the years, Mr. Arginsky, the company president,  continually searched for an opportunity to develop a product that would bring the “excitement of elevation” to a new level.

A few of these at a tailgate party would be awesome fun and with the skill to do somersaults and complete flips, you’ll be able to double your enjoyment of your beers: once on the way down and again on the way up.  Yaaaaaaay!

Seriously though, it is so much fun and so well-designed that it even has a stowable adjustment tool so that you can adjust the pistons for the size of the jump.    The patent on these is for the fully adjustable elastometric spring system taking the old 1950s pogo stick to a futuristic fun machine.  The design minimizes impact on knees.

NOTE:  Please wear protective gear, especially a helmet.  Suited for all ages over 9 and males and females. And when the beer kicks in, maybe stick to the ball games!

The message is, whatever your taste, ball games are great fun, but there’s something inexpensive out there that can really jazz up your tailgate party games so try them out. I know you will love them as much as my buds do.

Happy Tailgating!