Review: Best Hot Dog Cookers For Tailgate Parties Update 2017.

Lovers of beer and brats (*and who isn’t one?) will be thrilled to know that many of the best 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’ or this commercial model from Safeplus.

Safeplus Electric Commercial Hot Dog cooker

Safeplus Electric Commercial Hot Dog cooker


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 especially if you are cooking for a lot of people. 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. They are not expensive, either. To make things easy, we’ve put together this list of the best hot dog cookers for your tailgate party.

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.

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.

We’ve been sampling hot dogs from a range of hot dog cookers and outlining their pros and cons so check out these reviews of the best hot dog cookers for tailgate parties.

Here’s a great big one:

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

Hot Dog Cooker commercial quality

Hot Dog Cooker commercial quality

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.

Sneezeguard for hot dog cooker

Sneezeguard for hot dog cooker

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 the 18 sausage hot dog cooker 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.

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.

SurgeGuard with extension lead

SurgeGuard with extension lead

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, described below, which is somewhat the same only more expensive and will grill 30 brats at a time.

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

(glass sneeze guard is built in and included).

Commercial hot dog cooker - 11 rollers

Commercial hot dog cooker – 11 rollers

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 unless you have a powered site. One of the best hot dog cookers for those who need to cook large numbers of dogs at a time.  Oh, and I suppose when you are catering for a crowd, say 14 guests plus you, this cuts down the time spent slaving over a hot grill. Just put out the buns and fixins’ and let everyone assemble hot dogs to their own taste.

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

Roller Dog 12 Hot Dog Cooker

Roller Dog 12 Hot Dog Cooker

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 earning a spot on the best hot dog cookers list because it offers a neat solution for the hot dog cooking dilemma. One of the best hot dog cookers for convenience and size.

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

Hot Dog Express Countertop Hot Dog Cooker

Hot Dog Express Countertop Hot Dog 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).

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

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


Nostalgia pop-Up Hot Dog Cooker

Nostalgia pop-Up Hot Dog Cooker – One of the best hot dog cookers in the small range.

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! Especially 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.

Here’s the cheapest:

Cuisinart Hot Dog Roller


Cuisinart 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 jiggle from time to time and the sausages will turn around.  An inexact 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.

Charcoal Companion Oven Mitts

Charcoal Companion Oven Mitts

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

Nostalgia Electrics Coca Cola Hot Dog Cooker

Nostalgia Electrics Coca Cola Hot Dog Cooker

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™.

Then there’s this:

Hot Dog Cooker Review: Benchmark Mini Cart Hotdog Steamer

Benchmark Mini Cart Hot dog cooker

Benchmark Mini Cart Hot dog cooker

Don’t be fooled by the little picture.  This is a full sized food cart. 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 if you love steamed or boiled dogs, it certainly has its uses, has the possibility of being a business and may just be what you are looking for. Every state has its own Health Department so check them out before you start selling and register your business. They are very helpful and who knows? You may be able to pay for your tailgate party hobby by selling dogs up and down the parking lot rows!

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. Rawhide 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 something like this one that has a layer of ice at the base to keep everything snapping fresh:

Condiment server with sneeze guard

Condiment server with sneeze guard

Or in the traditional squeeze bottles – You can buy 6 chef styled squirt bottles here. They are among the handiest things you can have in your tailgate party kit.

6 Kitchen squeeze bottles

6 Kitchen squeeze bottles

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

Jumbl appetizer lidded serving tray

Jumbl appetizer lidded serving tray

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.

You want recipes?  Let me know and I will include some. Ms. Rawhide has some awesome hot-doggery up her sleeve.

Or go here:

Happy tailgating!







Best Portable Generators For Tailgate Parties Reviewed Update 2017.

Which portable generators make sense?

I’ve had a truckload of experience with some of the best portable 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.

At the moment, everyone I know is buying a generator for emergency backup in weather events and one of those always seems to be heading for the east with Texas in the cross hairs. Good luck, folks!

Briggs and Stratton Q6500 is great for the whole house

Briggs and Stratton Q6500 is great for the whole house

The whole house models are massive, but most portable generators are good value for their output and it’s really comforting that you can keep vital appliances going.  The one above is big but still portable. You can run a lot of gear on this Briggs and Stratton Q6500 generator and it is comparatively clean and quiet.  It would make perfect sense to buy this as a house backup and take it tailgate partying as needed!

Here’s my pick for looks, suitability and power from today’s vast range, including some that can be linked together to double the power output.

Best portable generators: Enerplex Generatr 1200 E Portable Lithium-Ion Battery Generator

Tailgate party generator can run your TV

Tailgate party generator can run your TV

Pick the generator!  Small, isn’t it? That’s because it is the compact EnerPlex 1200 which provides a fair bit of power environmentally and is so quiet it won’t interrupt your party with any more than a very quiet hum.

It stands out from most generators due to its modern, industrial style and colors.

It is rechargable, BATTERY POWERED which means it runs almost silent and great news, it can be connected to a couple of 100x solar panels to run your gear so that is a plus for the environment.

Solar panels for your tailgate party generator

Solar panels can run your tailgate party generator

Here is a picture of this smart high tech generator:

EnerPlex generator for tailgate parties

EnerPlex generator for tailgate parties

I have to say that this light little unit (42 pounds only) is a tremendous addition to your tailgate party kit.  Many sites are banning noisy generators and what they class as noise is quite a low hum.  The EnerPlex has none of that.  No fumes, totally a green machine.  The power output is plenty to run your TV and even a kegerator plus phone charging.  If you want to hook it up to solar panels for complete green credits, go to the Commander site and read all the technical specifications.  But even without that, the generator alone is a great buy and its light weight reduces your tailgate party kit considerably.  Here’s a tip: some parking lots across USA offer free car charging to customers.  Pop your genny in the trunk and give it a burst if you are running low.  Oh, make sure you have the correct connector and also don’t leave it unattended.

Keep your portable tailgate party generator clean

I learned a lot over the years, 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. Preferably, minimum 2000 watts. Though some are OK under that limit.

Noise should be minimised.

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 Power Pack Pro


Duracell Power Pak charges phones, runs lights for tailgate parties

Nice little tailgate party accessory


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.

Best portable generators: Hyundai HY2000siCa Portable Inverter Generator, 2200-watt

Hyundai Inverter generator

Hyundai 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.  Of course, Ms. Rawhide loves it just for the color blue.

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.


Best portable generators: All Power America 2,000 Watt 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Generator

All Power American 200W Generator

All Power American 2000W Generator

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.


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.

Best portable generators: Champion Power Equipment No.75531i Inverter Generator, 3100-watt

Champion Inverter Power Generator 3100 watts

Champion Inverter Power Generator 3100 watts

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 generator 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 generator 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 Gas Powered Portable Generator for tailgate parties? Yup!

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


Powerhouse gas powered generator for tailgate parties

Powerhouse gas powered generator for tailgate parties

Here’s my top pick for Best Portable Generator of the gas powered kind. 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 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.

Ideal tailgate party generator

Link two for double the power output

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.


Ideal generator to run tailgate party gear

Power outlets on Powerhouse generator

Fuel: Unleaded Gasoline.

Weight: 75 pounds – heavyish. And if you had two …    invest in a cart you can stand it on,

Generator cart for easy tailgate party handling

Generator cart for easy tailgate party handling


but use bike locks to secure that cart well against thieves who may just decide to wheel it away.

Combination illuminated bike lock

Combination illuminated bike lock


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.

Best portable generators: Briggs and Stratton PowerSmart range of linkable portable generators

Portable Generators - Briggs and Stratton

Portable Generators – Briggs and Stratton

Here is another great portable generator that can be ‘chained’ to increase your power output.  You can buy the handy wheelie cart and the kit to link this generator to your bud’s and run a heap of appliances from it for the best tailgate party ever. Briggs and Stratton are names very familiar in farming communities and they make solid state gear.

Anyway, one of these portable generator copes with 3000 watts on its own, the other does 2200 and has 8 outlets for 120 v. when combined. That’s why I recommend this bundle of 3 items which links 2 inverter generators to pack a powerful punch. For starters, this gives you a great backup system for your house in case of disasters such as hurricanes and the like.  In that case, we sure always to keep it topped up with fuel and in a safe place so that these events won’t render it useless.  You may like to invest in a sheltered box adjacent to your home for ready use.  Or a hurricane shelter! It keeps your options open too as you can run one, two depending on your needs. All the technical specs are here so I won’t reproduce them in full but I recommend reading them well.


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.

A few hints on owning a generator

It may be a good investment to buy a cover.

This one is really great.

Gentent wet weather generator canopy for tailgate parties

Gentent wet weather generator canopy for tailgate parties


The GenTent is the best in its class and will fit many types of generator even up to 10,000 watts.  It’s a Universal size. It’s designed so that yu still get 100% air-flow and your generator will not burn out.

Wet weather will not spoil your tailgate party when your generator is dressed in a GenTent!

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 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, 5 Gallon Capacity, Yellow is great and they have larger sizes for longer term storage.  No, you can’t use this as a beer bong.  Hmmm, maybe I am wrong.

Justrite Accuflow safety can for oil

Justrite Accuflow safety can for oil

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

Excellent synthetic oil

Excellent synthetic oil

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.

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

Link these flame resistant panels

Link these flame resistant panels

General advice on portable generators for tailgate parties

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!




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. The best food coolers and warmers are reviewed below but as the range expands and contracts, don’t forget to come back and read about all the new items and the ones that are discounted just in time for tailgate party season.

Best Coolers and Food Heaters for tailgate parties

Best Coolers and Food Heaters for tailgate parties

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


Best Coolers and Food heaters - Crazy Cooler with motor

Best Coolers and Food heaters – Crazy Cooler with motor

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

Cruzin Cooler Electric Scooter

Cruzin Cooler Electric Scooter

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

Remote Controlled Cooler

Remote 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 qt. Xtreme Cooler

Coleman 62 qt. Xtreme 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

Coleman 100 qt Xtreme Wheeled cooler

Coleman 100 qt Xtreme Wheeled cooler

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 at the moment.

Cooler Review: Coleman 120-Quart Xtreme 5 Cooler


Here’s a massive cooler that, according to description, will keep ice for 5 days.  Looks the same as all the others in the range but enormous.  Good seating. 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

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.  Just over half price at the moment so snap one up before they sell out.

Dimensions: 38.3 x 18 x 18.5 inches

Cooler Review: Koolatron 18 qt. Compact Cooler

Koolatron 12V compact cooler

Koolatron 12V compact cooler

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.  An extension lead from your cigarette lighter helps too.

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 food warmer

Tailgate HotBag – Side Loading food warmer

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

Then there’s this Large Side Loading Electric Tailgate Hotbag which 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.

Tailgatea HotBag - LARGE side loading

Tailgatea HotBag – LARGE side loading

More food warmers great for transporting your hot food.

Food Warmer Review: Tailgate Hotbag Side Pocket

Medium sized Tailgate HotBag Side Pocket

Medium sized 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

Review: Black & Decker TC212B Travel Cooler & Warmer

Black & Decker Cooler and Warmer

Black & Decker Cooler and 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.

Heavily discounted at the moment.

Cooler Review: Koolatron 12V 48-Can Voyager Cooler

Koolatron 29 qt Voyager Cooler

Koolatron 29 qt 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.  Again, I noticed that these are heavily discounted at the moment.

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

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. If you are tailgate partying in, say, Phoenix, a few sheets of gel icepaks will help keep the sun’s effects off your tailgate.  But in general, it is fine without any assistance.  Also is discounted right now just in time for the 2016-17 NFL season so move quickly if you want one at a good price.

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 qt Soft Side Bag Cooler

Koolatron 26 qt Soft Side Bag 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

Wheeled Picnic Cooler for 4 - many patterns available

Wheeled Picnic Cooler for 4 – many patterns available

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

Ascot style picnic carrier - for the gentlewomen at your tailgate party

Ascot style picnic carrier – for the gentlewomen at your tailgate party

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.  Discounted at the moment for tailgate party season!

Dimensions: 4″ x 18″ x 11″

Trunk Organizer and Cooler Set, Chevron

Trunk organizer and cooler - style and substance

Trunk organizer and cooler – style and substance

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. Tailgate party season discount!

Happy tailgating!




The Best Hangover Cure Pills

Trust me!  I’m a doctor!  No, I’m not. Not even a chiropractor.  But I do know that when one over-indulges in the demon drink, there is generally a price to pay and you’ll be looking for the best hangover cure pills out there.  That errrrrrghhhhhh feeling in the morning.  Perhaps preceded by a bit of a Technicolor Yodel around midnight.  A bit of hugging the porcelain followed by intense dehydration.

Is it worth it?

Hell yeah!  If you like tailgating.

Help is at hand, of course.  There are thousands of hangover cures, and most of them relate to replacing electrolytes, fluids and salts as quickly as you can and ingesting vitamin B.

Here are the 5 best hangover cure pills that (anecdotally) my friends and I have found fast and effective and not too expensive.  My disclaimer is that I haven’t done any double blinds on these or scientific testing.  It’s just that these seem to tick all the boxes of helping the human body manage alcohol and don’t have any toxic effects on their own.  Read all labels and make sure that you are not taking something that clashes with your own medication. Oh, that’s probably alcohol ….  But seriously, folks, if you are on ANY medication, consult your doctor, take these pills, label and pack with you and make sure that you do not risk any side effects and bad interaction between the ingredients of your RX and your supplement.

FYI, a lot of these supplements contain ‘prickly pear’ extract.  Prickly pear is actually Nopales, as eaten in most homes in Mexico. If you over indulge in the green de-thorned cactus paddles either as a salad or cooked, I guarantee you will be on the toilet for many a session. Eating too much gives you the squits.  OK, there.  I’ve said it.  That could be a good thing – expel all the alcohol vertically rather than crouched over the bowl offering prayers to the porcelain god.

Most have been Tailgate Party/Vegas-tested and that is as scientific as it gets.

1. PreToxx for Hangovers & Liver Support (45 Vegetarian Capsules with Prickly Pear, Milk Thistle, Cysteine, and Electrolyte Blend)

PreToxx for Hangovers & Liver Support

PreToxx for Hangovers & Liver Support

Prevention being better than cure, I introduce to you a liver health supplement that claims to ease you through the drinking by making your liver stronger and more able to filter out the toxins.  This seems like a good idea.  Kind of like having your liver do pushups before the tailgate party. All of the above pointers apply.  It supports liver function using prickly pear and milk thistle extracts mixed with electrolytes.  Not a drug.  PreToxx cannot claim to prevent or affect alcohol intoxication and the usual ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ warnings must be read and internalized along with a tequila shot.  Hey, we all know someone who can take turns at being the designated driver!  Not for pregnant women but I’m guessing alcohol isn’t either.

The ingredients are: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Thiamine HCl (Vitamin B-1), N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear Extract), Milk Thistle Extract, Pyridoxine HCl (Vitamin B-6), Methylcobalamin (Vitamin B-12), Calcium (Amino Acid Chelate), Magnesium (Amino Acid Chelate), Chloride (Sodium Chloride), Sodium (Sodium Chloride), Potassium (Amino Acide Chelate), Manganese (Amino Acide Chelate).   You take 3 of these and a large glass of water before the booze-up and 3 more before collapsing into your coma after the tailgate party.  If you take one a day, it is supposed to support a healthy liver.  It prevents dehydration.  You can read the full explanation of how each of the ingredients works on the brochure.  Many users have claimed that this is an excellent hangover preventative as long as you keep taking the pills.  Ceasing the pill-popping may cause the hangover to creep up on you!  Also, be sure to swig an occasional glass of water during the night.  You will avoid the body aches and post-drinking anxiety by keeping hydrated.

Note: the pills have a really strong vitamin odor probably from the huge quantity of vitamin B in the mix.  Flatulent users, beware.  You will never get away with blaming the dog while on these pills.

2. Pregame Hangover Pill – 60 Capsules, 100% Natural Ingredients

Pregame Hangover Pill

Pregame Hangover Pill

Pregame hangover pills prevent hangover symptoms including headaches, nausea, and dizziness. This product works as a hangover cure by restoring essential vitamins and minerals that are depleted while drinking alcohol. Pregame is manufactured in the U.S. in a FDA-inspected GMP compliant facility.

If you are under a physician’s care or taking medication, consult your healthcare professional.
The ingredients in the Pregame Hangover pill are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Potassium, Milk Thistle, L-Cysteine, and Prickly Pear Extract.

This one doesn’t require you to take umpteen pills.  You just take one capsule of Pregame with at least 8oz of water before your first drink. After your first few drinks take another capsule with 8oz of water. For maximum effectiveness take an additional capsule with 8oz of water after your last drink. They don’t have the stench either.  Many users swear by these as they prevent the headaches usually the killer after a long tailgate party with a few rounds of flip cup. If you are nervous about this, I would say have a weekend experiment when you do not have to get up next day.  Drink like crazy, take the pills and see how you feel.  Well, that is very scientific.

3. Drinkwel – The Multivitamin for People Who Drink (With Kudzu Flower, Milk Thistle, N-acetyl Cysteine)

Drinkwel - The Multivitamin for People Who Drink

Drinkwel – The Multivitamin for People Who Drink

90 pills to a bottle is 30 servings so you need 3 to get you through a drinking session.  This has similar ingredients but there is also artichoke leaf and kudzu flower as well as a range of botanicals,  Amino acids such as N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) to help process alcohol induced toxins and a heap of superfruit extracts including Acerola, Schisandra, Goji, and Açai berry.  Vitamins B & C to top it off.  It is a soy base.  Not for pregnant women.  Doesn’t prevent irrational behavior while drunk so use with caution.  Check with your doc if you are nervous.

The ingredients include Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E (as d-Alpha Tocopherol Succinate), Thiamine (Vitamin B1) (as Thiamine HCL), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3) (from Inositol Hexanicotinate), Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine HCL), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin), Biotin, Pantothenic Acid (as d-Calcium Pantothenate), Magnesium (as Magnesium Oxide), Zinc (as Zinc Gluconate), Selenium (as methylselenocysteine), Copper (as Copper Amino Acid Chelate), Manganese (as Manganese Ascorbate), Chromium (as Chromium Polynicotinate), NAC (N-Acetyl-Cysteine), Taurine, L-Theanine, Kudzu Flower powder, Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) extract 5:1 (seed), Rhodiola Rosea extract (root), Artichoke Leaf powder, Green Tea extract (leaf), Acerola Berry extract 4:1, Bupleurum powder (root), Schisandra extract (fruit), Acai Berry (Euterpe oleracea) extract 4:1, Goji Berry (Lycium chinense) powder (root bark), Betain HCL – quite a mouthful!

The whole idea is to take one of these every day and your liver will withstand the effects of alcohol and 3 before and after you have been on the booze.  People like this one as it is not made by Big Pharma.  and it works even at high altitudes.  No headaches!  A side effect can be a feeling of high temperature so stay cool when you go to bed, ditch the blankets and turn on the air con.

Cost effective.  Follow the instructions carefully.  Of all the many reviews and critiques and anecdotal tales about this Drinkwel pill, most have been positive and this pill comes up better than most.  Drinking lots of water, even having water by the bedside is recommended.  Made in USA.

4. Dihydromyricetin (Hovenia Dulcis Extract) Scientifically Proven to Prevent Hangovers

Dihydromyricetin (Hovenia Dulcis Extract) Scientifically Proven to Prevent Hangovers


This is American made as well.  Tested carefully for purity.  It works by reducing the affect alcohol has on the brain’s GABA receptors and damge to the liver caused by over-indulgence at places like tailgate parties. The GABA receptors are a class of receptors that respond to the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate central nervous system.  But you knew that, didn’t you?

The ingredient listed is 300mg of pure Dihydromyricetin (DHM) per capsule.  This is a flavonoid component of herbal medicines extracted from oriental raisin Tree.

The method of using is to take 1-2 capsules before consuming alcohol, and 1-2 capsules each three drinks thereafter, to reduce feelings of intoxication and/or to support healthy liver function. A couple more pills immediately before falling asleep.  Drink water with each pill.

Again, this is highly reviewed and praised for its effectiveness and people claim it counteracts the effects of tailgating. Students love this one as it sounds very scientific.  You need to do your own experiment with this before going crazy with booze.  Set your safe level and know just how it affects your body.  You still won’t be able to drink and drive as your BAC will be unchanged by this medicine or any of the others listed here.  You will just feel not as drunk and your hangover will not be as severe.  Drink lots of water.

Worth checking out!

5. Zaca Recovery Patch, 6 Pack (With Milk Thistle, Prickly Pear, Vitamin B’s, N-acetyl Cysteine, Vitamin C and More)

Zaca Recovery Patch

Zaca Recovery Patch

People who cannot take pills seem to like these.  The ingredients are similar to the tablets but in the form of a patch.

With all the hangover cures available on the market these days, I did not think the ones using a patch would be in the least effective.  How on earth, I wondered, could the extracts seep through my skin fast enough to counteract a high speed game of dizzy bat?

Ingredients are Prickly Pear, Milk Thistle, B1, Lipoic Acid, B5, B3, Taurine, Lycopene, NAC, Magnesium, Vitamin C, very similar to all the above pills in fact I can’t see much difference.  Except that you don’t have to take up valuable stomach space that could be used for beer and bacon by eating a handful of pills.

Oddly enough, it works.  It is a lot less stress than downing the pills before and after the drinking.  Just slap on the tiny Zaca patch which is only 1” square!  Leave the patch on for 24 hours for maximum effectiveness. Remember to have an occasional glass of water in between all the fun stuff and you will be fine in the morning. Good for prevention of altitude sickness.

It’s guaranteed but there has been no testing in clinics and all reviews and data are anecdotal.  It is actually very, very hard to test hangover cures.  I have offered my services but nobody has taken me up on that yet.

Happy tailgating!

The Best Canopy Chairs For The Tailgate Party

OK – so we all know that the weather is bananas these days. Most parking lots either have freezing weather or the sun is pelting down so hard that you almost could forget the grill and BBQ on the hood of the car. You need shade, shelter and comfort. I have been looking at canopy chairs lately and thought I would pass on to you my findings.  There’s lots of information here as well as the all important list of the best canopy chairs for the Tailgate Party.

My first finding is that they are generally well made and a little more expensive but that you should have them for a while. When making your selection, check how long the warranty lasts. Some are thirty days, others are a year. Some fold really small and others not so much. So I have chosen a small but nice selection of good chairs. There is only one better than this lot and that is reflected in its price. My take on that is that when tailgating, you need something that if it gets hit by a slumping drunk and snaps in two, you won’t have sent so much money on it that you are devastated. Pick the road well-travelled with chairs.

In general, these are a folding chair with the added bonus of a folding canopy that slips into either a separate bag or the canopy itself. You can forget the umbrellas and still have some shade. And really, they are not much more expensive that chairs sans roofs! These are all mid-range cost-wise so it’s really not a great concern if they degrade after a couple of years of beer-soaking, drunken slouching and collapsing. Heck, it’s a small price to pay for fun. The five I have chosen each have specific advantages, such as color range, compactness, large size, price, but all are worth buying. Check them out and ultimately, choose the one that suits your tailgate party style.

The Best Canopy Chairs For The Tailgate Party

Bravo Sports Quik Shade Chair

Quik Shade Fully Adjustable Folding Chair with Carrying Bag

Quik Shade Fully Adjustable Folding Canopy Chair

As well as having the benefits of a shady canopy, this chair has a wide, oversize seat. It hasn’t escaped me that there is more demand for chairs for people who, shall we say, represent the Hippoglottamus genus, being somewhat Rubenesque. Size ‘Big’n’tall’. Hefty. This chair is perfect and has a high capacity and will support more than 200 pounds.

It folds very easily into a compact bag which is the canopy (with a shoulder strap for comfy carrying) and features a patented design which allows the sun shade to be raised, lowered and tilted either side in the flick of a wrist. It is designed to block the sun from any angle and once clicked into position it is held taut. If you don’t need to use the canopy, just push it to the rear of the seat.

The canvas-like fabric is tough and moisture resistant and comfier than vinyl or polyester.
Has dual built in cup holders – one for you, one for a friend. Naaah, one for you, one for you after that.. In the tailgate party, sometimes, you just have to think of yourself.

Available Colors: Blue and Green.

Sport-Brella Recliner Chair

Sport-Brella Recliner Chair

Sport-Brella Recliner Canopy Chair

The Sport Brella has a 3 position recline design with a 3 position swiveling umbrella. You can stash up to 4 drinks in its built-in insulated pocket and there’s also a 12oz snug-fitting cup holder and a zipper pocket for the bottle opener, your hone or headphones (there’s a slit to thread it through). Metallic liner gives UPF 50+ protection. The articulating arm moves the canopy into many different positions to adjust shade and you can move it to the other side of the chair and on the umbrella ends, there are tiny safety tips to protect you from poking yourself in the eye.

It has a built-in footrest. Very simple to flip open or shut and replace in its own bag. You’ll appreciate its reinforcing bands of webbing and the fact that it is a tougher grade of plastic and metal at the heart of its construction. It will last for years. All this toughness does take a bit more space in the car/truck but it’s certainly a comfy chair and after the tailgate party, it doubles as a beach chair.

Rated 250 lbs maximum capacity but there are users who say chunkier sitters are OK as long as they are gentle. Comatose, maybe.

Colors? Orange with smart, grey trim, Midnight Blue and Red.

Brylanehome Camp Chair With Canopy

Brylanehome Camp Chair With Canopy

Brylanehome Camp Chair With Canopy

Continuing our search for a tailgate party chair tailored for the more muscular people in your life, we found this portable, tough-construction canopy chair that caters for people up to 350 pounds (stationary weight – not leaping around). Tailgating can proceed without restraint! It’s sturdy as anything on the market and creates a nice patch of shade.

Made of polyester canvas with a seat width of 22 inches. The metal frame is powder coated. The pull down canopy has zip openers to make two little windows.

Dimensions: 61″Hx34¾”Wx37″D.

The cup holder is awaiting your beverage and you can stash things in the storage pouch that is built into the seat.

Colors: Red and blue.

Kelsyus Premium Canopy Chair

Kelsyus Premium Canopy Chair

Kelsyus Premium Canopy Chair

Kelsys is a good name to watch for in chairs. The Premium is an upgrade from an earlier model and has a terrific canopy that locks at almost endless angles to prevent the sun from blighting your tailgate party.

For your personal tailgate party style, this one ticks a lot of boxes: again, an oversized seat, this one supporting up to 250 pounds, not quite as large as the previous chair but smartly designed. The manufacturers claim that this one is ergonomic design – there’s a rounded front to make it less angular and therefore, should be more comfortable. Parking lots are not known for their tailgate party comfort apart from what you bring with you and this is a good choice. This canopy is large and you can lock it in place either for sun or shade. Cup holder of course! The fabric is 50+ UPF. The canopy slips over the chair to make a bag for ease of packing away after you have finished partying. Again, a shoulder strap makes it simple to carry back to the car. The frame is powder-coated for extra protection. As well, the well-stitched fabric is stylish and has a mesh panel on the back and seat to keep you cool in the heat. Super easy to clean too. (ie. beer washes off easily …).

It’s a fine, stylish looking chair, one of the best aspects is its color range: there are Lime, Navy and Red versions all with cutting edge trendy grey bases made of its cool, comfortable, easily cleaned fabric.

Bravo Sports Shade Chair With Canopy & Carry Case

Bravo Sports Four Seasons Courtyard Shade Chair with Canopy and Carry Case

Bravo Sports Four Seasons Courtyard Shade Chair with Canopy and Carry Case

The Bravo has been ergonomically designed and suits short or tall people equally. It folds up neatly into a small package into its separate carry bag. There’s a shoulder strap. It only takes seconds to erect and you can slip it into your tailgate party kit without it taking up a lot of room. Note that the fabric is sun repellant, 50+ UPF and the canopy can be angled to many angles to create shade where you want it. There’s the normal cup holder (not two on this one).

Note to anyone over 250 pounds: If you are gentle, you can sit in this but don’t slump into it. If you a ‘Big and Tall’ then choose one of the higher rated chairs.

It’s OK but perhaps a little flimsy and that is reflected in its price.

Colors that I could find included red, blue and black.

Yes, there are some more expensive chairs. But, given the rough treatment that most tailgate party folk will give their furniture, I would go for mid-range and replace it a little more often. The key to this is that at the end of the tailgate party, some people (you know who you are) just don’t seem capable of folding and stashing a chair carefully enough to prolong its life. The Kelsys chair is actually a licensed brand of the famed top of the range Renetto Original Canopy chair which is more expensive but comes in a ton of colors.

The five I have chosen are way more affordable versions and I would say are a better deal for tailgating due to the fact that you will be treating them comparatively roughly. (Or is that just me?)

FOOTNOTE: The weight capacity on these chairs is typically around the 200 pounds rate but do I think you could push that higher. Anecdotally, people of 275+ seem to do OK. No reports of any collapses or injuries.

Essential Beer Kegerator Accessories – The Big List

Everybody knows that beer – the chilling of, the serving of and the serving of again and … make that ‘again’ – is THE most important component of a successful tailgate party.  Oh, along with bacon flavored food but that’s another story which we address elsewhere.

Back to the beer and not a moment too soon. The investment in a fine kegerator will save you money.  Bulk liquid is better than any investment in a pile of waste – beer bottles and cans which end up in the trash can.

Here’s a list of the essential beer kegerator accessories for those who have invested in a kegerator or want to convert your fridge to one. This is how you will get the most out of your useful gadgets. I figured it just may be helpful for you to have this list here all together as it will save you searching for them.  When last I looked, there was no ‘Kegerators Are Us’ chain of stores so please regard this as your personal shopping list and resource which I will update over the months.  The actual usage of individual items will depend on your initial purchase, and the list is in no particular order of priority.  Again, this depends on your own needs.

HINT: If you are purchasing items which may need replacing on a regular basis, buy multiples up front and avoid costly shipping costs.

HINT: Keep a file of assembly instruction books, company contacts for service.


1. Kegco Ultimate Door Mount Kegerator 2 Tap Conversion Kit w/ 5 lbs Tank – EBUCK2-5T

Kegco Ultimate Door Mount Kegerator 2 Tap Conversion Kit w/ 5 lbs Tank - EBUCK2-5T

Kegco Ultimate Door Mount Kegerator 2 Tap Conversion Kit

This is what is says: ULTIMATE!  Every part you require for creating your own kegerator is in this awesome kit.  Even stainless steel drip trays for that professional bar feel.  If you have a small generator, a trailer hitch or you drive a Silverado, you can transport your mega-kego to the parking lot and your friends will gather round like yellow-jacket wasps to an open can of Sprite. Attach all this stuff to a small refrigerator (and these are so cheap at the moment) and your beer serving skills will be ramped up to Pro level.  What’s not to love about a continuous supply of draft beer?  You might never make it into the stadium, but hey, tailgating isn ‘t really about the game, and with a TV hooked up to the generator, a couple of comfy chairs and food that contains bacon, all’s right with the world.  Kegco is numero uno in the keg design and building field so you can bet on good after sales service and advice.  Full installation instructions are included so all you have to supply is the BEER and getting that tailgate party happening!

2. Clamp for Regular Auto-Siphon

CLAMP for Regular Auto-Siphon

CLAMP for Regular Auto-Siphon

This clip or clamp attaches to a fermenting bucket or carboy to hold a regular Auto-Siphon in place. If you are a home-brewer, you will definitely need this.  It will suit a specific size of auto siphon so when you get to this site, be sure you select the one that gives the most accurate, air-free result.  If air escapes from the tubing because of a loose fit, you won’t get that siphon happening so check this from the supplier before finalizing your payment and order. See later note on Keg Lube.  It may be all you need for a tight seal.

3. Ball Lock Becker Home Brew Keg Tap MFL Coupler Set

Ball Lock Becker Home Brew Keg Tap MFL Coupler Set

Ball Lock Becker Home Brew Keg Tap MFL Coupler Set

NOTE: Cornelius (‘Corny’) kegs come in two different styles, one being the pin lock the other is a ball lock. The terms ‘pin lock’ and ‘ball lock’ both refer to the way the quick disconnects attach to the Cornelius keg. Here’s a video that explains the difference.

Kegs can be used for home-brew or you can fill them with draft beer or soda. It’s up to you.

This set is not the most upmarket in the range but has all the parts you need to ensure an airtight fit.  It features a ball lock system, gas in and out and beer out.

Beer out connection features 1/4″ MFL fitting with 1/4″ Flare Fitting to fit 3/16″ ID Beer Line.

Gas in connection features 1/4″ MFL filling with 5/16″ Flare Fitting to fit 5/16″ ID Air Line. The ¼” MFL fittings allow you to remove your gas/beer lines from the coupler connector easily.

HINT: Be sure that you do not rush the installation and avoid cross-threading screw parts.

Following is a list of bits and bobs you may require over the years. Where appropriate I will make a note, but in general, take them at face value and do your research as to the exact sizes and specifications of the kegerator you use. Things to watch are interior and exterior hose sizes.

4. Pair Ball Lock Disconnects for Corny Kegs 3 Gas 3 Liquid

Again, be careful when you do the connection. These are not heavy duty (made in China) but cheap and OK for those of us who take the care not to cross thread or force the linkage. Some units may require a gasket to prevent any gas leakage.  This seems to be a matter of trial and error somewhat.  It’s a good idea to have a universal gasket collection on hand just in case.

5. Ball Style Quick Disconnect – Gas

Ball Style Quick Disconnect - Gas

Ball Style Quick Disconnect – Gas

Ball Style Quick Disconnects are used for most Cornelius, (Corny) Pepsi and 7-UP tanks and simply slide over the nipple and connect with a clamp over the hose (just like installing the home sprinkler system.  Note to self: must finish that one day. Very easy assembly.  This is the Gas end.

6. Ball Style Quick Disconnect – Liquid

Ball Lock Quick Disconnect

Ball Lock Quick Disconnect

Alternative to the above: here is the liquid end and is compatible with Pepsi kegs as well as those tailgate party staples of beer kegs in various formats. Your beer and air line simply slide over the nipple, then use a screw clamp to tighten around the hose. This one is used for liquid. In stock and ready to ship. Features: Ball style. Used for liquid. Specs: Barb outlet fits 3/16″ inside diameter draft hose.

7. B3-23A 20 Plate Beer Wort Chiller Garden Hose x 1/2″ Male NPT

B3-23A 20 Plate Beer Wort Chiller Garden Hose x 1/2" Male NPT

B3-23A 20 Plate Beer Wort Chiller Garden Hose x 1/2″ Male NPT

For home brew kegs:


Wort is the sweet infusion of ground malt or other grain before fermentation, used to produce beer and distilled malt liquors.

Wort Chillers are an essential beer-making tool used to cool boiling wort down to a temperature at which you can safely add beer yeast, around 60-80F. However, once the cooling wort reaches temperatures of 130F and cooler there are some bacteria and wild yeast that can survive.

While this equipment relates to home-brew it can equally relate to chilling your keg brew superfast and keeping it bacteria free.

The chiller connects to garden hose width of tubing and runs with a recommended Max Water Flow Rate of eight gallons per minute designed to be effective at a temperature -195°C to +220°C (-319°F to 430°F).  This is a pretty essential stage of the brewing process so for those of you whose keg only ever will contain your own brand of ‘Panther Piss’ look no further as this is the cream of the crop.

8. Shank for Draft Beer System: 3-inch

Shank for Draft Beer System

Shank for Draft Beer System


You use the steel shank to connect your draft beer faucet to the beer line jumper.  It is required when using a kegerator refrigerator conversion kit. Depending on the height, you may need a longer shank.  These are easily available from 3 inches to 14 inches.  Diameter is 7/8 inch. (Outside measurement). Just follow the links.

This model is chromed brass and made to a budget but is very satisfactory.  If you are looking to go upmarket or it is for professional use, choose stainless steel instead.

Again, follow the seller links to your exact size.  Kegerator accessory rule: Measure three times and order once!

9. Draft Warehouse Clear 5-Feet of 3/16-Inch Id Beer Line with Hexnut Assembly On One End

Draft Warehouse Clear 5-Feet of 3/16-Inch Id Beer Line

Draft Warehouse Clear 5-Feet of 3/16-Inch Id Beer Line

NOTE: Up to you but, in time, lines do need to be kept hygienic and my preference is to have a few of these standard sized assemblies on hand and switch them out.  Dirty hoses will make the beer foam too much. Hoses are just way too difficult to sterilize. Alternatively, you can soak them in baby bottle sterilizer mix but that has its risks and you need to rinse and rinse till the inside of the hose is 100% inert. So when they get gunky, it’s time to biff them out and replace.

Comes standard with 5′ of 3/16″ clear beer tubing and Includes all components required to make a neer or air line connection: ie. hex nut, washer ,tail piece and 5 feet of hose.  Be sure to check the sizes of your lines and match with these exactly.  If in doubt, fire of a question to the supplier.  I have even sent pics from my iPhone.  You just don’t want to get it wrong.

10. Portable Keg Dispensing System – W/co2 Charger & 3 Cartridges, Picnic Tap, Pin Lock

Portable Keg Dispensing System

Portable Keg Dispensing System

Here is a neat kit that contains all you need to get that beer-a-chilling and on the way to the tailgate party.

Contents are:

Corny CO2 Charger

3 Co2 16g Premium Cartridges

Pin Lock connections (note that on the picture it shows ball lock connectors but these are now not made for this kit).

Squeeze Faucet Picnic Tap (AKA Tailgate Party Tap!)

NOTE: A 5 gallon keg may need 2 cartridges depending on the beverage so maybe buy some spares.

You can also buy the components separately.

10. Kegco O-Ring Gasket Set for Cornelius Home Brew Keg

Gaskets are something I like to keep on hand so check these out – they will be invaluable to prevent gas or liquid leaks.

12. Cornelius Keg CO2 Charger

Cornelius Keg CO2 Charger

Cornelius Keg CO2 Charger

Having a few of these as a backup is supposed to be a good idea.  They are not expensive and it’s better than being caught with your pants down (metaphorically) … though you can be caught like that at some tailgate parties so they tell me.  It is small – pocket sized, made of high quality nylon and brass but doesn’t really review well.  It is no substitute for a regulator and the latter is a better investment.  However, it is handy for portability especially in a parking lot where tailgate parties need to be transported as light as possible.  You need a few of these (suggest 2 – 5) to pump 5 gallons of beer perfectly.

A suggestion is to use the Keg Lube to create a tight seal.

13. Keg Lube

Keg Lube

Keg Lube

This lubricates gaskets and ensures a tight seal, no leaks!  It is food grade as long as you replace the lid and also use with a Q-tip rather than your finger.  It is essential to keep a keg clean!

Note that a lot of criticisms of taps, cartridges and hoses relates to the leakiness.  Keg Lube, super cheap, is your best tool against the frustration of leaks and shonky seals.

14. Draft Warehouse Beer Faucet and 4 inch Shank Kit with Black Handle

Draft Warehouse Beer Faucet and 4-Inch Shank Kit with Black Handle

Draft Warehouse Beer Faucet and 4-Inch Shank Kit with Black Handle

The interesting thing about this is that people seem to use them to adapt all kinds of things to contain drinks.  Watermelons, Pumpkins, refrigerators, exercise balls … if you’ve done that, please send us the pictures!

Anyway, this is the part that gives you the ability to tap whatever liquid you put in there. Pumpkin beer ….yummmm.  Nah. Not so much.

Chrome plated brass keeps the costs more realistic. Stainless steel is better if you are able to afford it and if you will be really using this heaps.

However, a cheaper version is a pretty acceptable rig for tailgate party dudes.


I know I hammer this a lot but keep it clean!  Spray off all the beer before going home.  When you get home, take it apart and soak briefly in a food grade bleach solution (1/2 teaspoon to quart of water). Rinse and air dry. Bar quality.

15. The Carbonater

This handy device is a kind of screw cap for standard plastic soda bottles that allows you to enjoy fresh draft homebrew anywhere. All you do is fill a plastic 2-liter soda bottle with beer and put the Carbonator cap on. Squeeze out the excess air and inject CO2 into the bottle to keep your beer carbonated and fresh. May also be used to force carbonate any beverage.  You need a few accessories for the process:  The carbonater needs to be connected to a tube with a snap fitting (easily available online) and then connect this to a CO2 regulator which is then connected to a C02 tank from your kegerator.

16. Keg Conversion Kit for Refrigerator (Convert a Standard Refrigerator to a Kegerator)

Keg Conversion Kit for Refrigerator (Convert a Standard Refrigerator to a Kegerator)

Keg Conversion Kit for Refrigerator (Convert a Standard Refrigerator to a Kegerator)

So you’ve picked up a neat little refrigerator from the hard trash collection by the kerb.  Yaaaaaay.  Here’s a great kit that can convert it into a kegerator.  It would be great for that basement fridge as you set up the man-cave and plan the home-gate party when the weather is too inclement for tailgating.

This kit easily converts an old refrigerator to a home draft beer dispenser and includes all the hardware you need to be pouring cold draft beer anytime you feel the need. Your friends will suddenly want to come around and see you. Full instructions are included for quick and easy installation.  Parts included with kit: 5 feet of beer line with hex nuts, complete beer shank, chrome faucet, Black faucet knob, 5 feet of air line with clamps, double gauge CO2 regulator, faucet brush, faucet wrench, and an American Sankey keg coupler (commonly referred to as the tap).  Add to this a pot of keg lube (see above) and you’ll be cooking with gas.  No, my mistake, dispensing perfect beer with gas.


For a door mounted kit, see:

17. Kegco Deluxe Door Mount Kegerator Conversion Kit with 5 lb. Co2 Tank EBDCK-5T

Kegco Deluxe Door Mount Kegerator Conversion Kit with 5 lb. Co2 Tank EBDCK-5T

Kegco Deluxe Door Mount Kegerator Conversion Kit

18. Double Tap Stainless Steel Draft Beer Kegerator Tower – 3″ Diameter

Double Tap Stainless Steel Draft Beer Kegerator Tower - 3" Diameter

Double Tap Stainless Steel Draft Beer Kegerator Tower

This is a stainless steel double tap vertical tower for dispensing draft beer.  You can play barman at the tailgate party in a very professional way dispensing beers from this amazing system.  The taps are chrome plated brass, the tower Stainless Steel and it all looks very pro standing 12 inches plus the height of the taps. Having two lines gives you the freedom to serve two styles of beer.  A nice dark Léon from Mexico and a sweet, pale beer from say, Minnesota, Summit Extra Pale Ale. Think about personalizing your taps by adding team themed ones and putting the plain ones on eBay…. Take it on the road if you have access to power or install it in the man cave.

NOTE: There are many beer towers of different standards and specifications available.


The Best Beer Koozies To Keep Your Drink Frosty.

Keeping beers cold (in your hand) is an important skill at tailgate parties.  It has led to the invention of that customizable commodity, the ‘Koozie’. And here’s a list of the best beer koozies to keep your drink frosty for the tailgate party.

Yes, now ‘Koozie’ is a real word, in Urban Dictionary!  It’s not too long before someone will open a Koozie exhibit in a museum as the inscriptions, logos, pictures and shapes of these items tell lots of stories about their owners.  They’ve come a long way from those old-timey knitted or crocheted drink holders.

Here’s the official definition:

‘A cylindrical insulator for beer can and beer bottles (it probably also works with other beverages in aluminum cans or glass bottles). Usually made from foam and cloth and sold at convenience stores.’

(alternative spelling ‘coozie’)

The beer koozie (koō-zie), “beer hugger”, or “beer huggie” is a misnomer as it is not always used for an alcoholic beverages. Other names are “coastie”, “cozy”[ “coosie”, “coolie”, “coldy-holdy”, “can cooler”, “beer sleeve”, and “bottle jacket”. In Australia it is called a “stubby holder” due to the shape of the 375 millilitres (13.2 imp fl oz; 12.7 US fl oz) bottles of beer being shorter and fatter compared with the more slender 330 millilitres (12 imp fl oz; 11 US fl oz) bottles.

 Simply put, the ‘Koozie’ is an insulated, sometimes ornamental slip-on cover to keep a can of beer or other drink cool while hand-held.

Do they work?  I’ve tested a heap of these of different types.  They are all effective in varying degrees.  The very best is not necessarily the most fun and it is:

Thermos Stainless steel can insulator

Thermos Stainless Steel Can Insulator

Thermos Stainless Steel Can Insulator

Yes, it works – it keeps drinks cold for hours, even in extreme heat, the Middle East, Mexico and the Mojave Desert which is what you may want.  It’s almost indestructible and holds your cans tightly, almost vacuum sealing them into the Koozie.  Icy cold for an hour and cold for two hours and cool for two more hours. It fits into most cars’ drink container (an elastic band will keep that tight or a sheet of paper towel, but really, you don’t need it to be that tight.)  The can will sit quite low in the koozie but don’t push it in all the way and it is fine.  If you are using non-standard small cans, try putting a paper towel beneath, folded small into a little mat.  MSRP = $14.75

But for those who don’t need an extreme beer cooler and prefer that added zing of fun … there are many alternatives.  Any party or group of friends wanting a bit of a laugh while enjoying a cold beer is somewhere you can often see a wide range of Koozies. They can be personalized, printed with messages, logos or anything and you will find them among team licensed merchandise such as this Raiders one:

Oakland Raiders Koozie Soda Can Holder

Oakland Raiders Koozie Soda Can Holder

Oakland Raiders Koozie Soda Can Holder

Definitely, you can add to your atmosphere by choosing your Koozie collection with some plan in mind.  If you want everything to look like it coordinates with your team, that is an easy task.  You can buy Koozies that have you team logo, or just in team colors.

But here are some that really made me laugh.  I think they’d be terrific hostess gifts or stocking stuffers.  Oh, and you can use them for any cans – mixed spirits, soft drinks, mineral water… some are a little on the adult side though and if political correctness is your thing, you’re not coming to my tailgate party anyway!

A word about their ability to keep beer cold: they do an average job.  They are not expected to stay cold for hours, but they do stop your hands from warming the contents of the can and keep the chill in quite efficiently for an hour or more.   That is more time than it takes to drink a beer.The plastic can be a little slippery with condensation, but, well,  there’s plenty to grab hold of.

Average price is around $9.

DCI DrinKooliez Drink Sleeve Koozie, Assorted

DCI DrinKooliez Drink Sleeve Koozie, Assorted

DCI DrinKooliez Drink Sleeve Koozie, Assorted

These come in a few different designs and the one shaped like a coconut cocktail with an umbrella on the side cracks me up as does the Don Draper Bourbon glass …

Next is a simple red plastic cup approach.  Don’t over-think this one!

Big Mouth Toys Kool Koozie, The Red Cup

Big Mouth Toys Kool Koozie, The Red Cup

Big Mouth Toys Kool Koozie, The Red Cup

The red cup style may just be the ultimate post-modern piece of self-reflexive design.  But wait, there’s more …

Big Mouth Toys Prescription / Pill Bottle Drink Kooler

Big Mouth Toys Prescription Pill Bottle Drink Kooler

Big Mouth Toys Prescription Pill Bottle Drink Kooler

Think your beer is therapeutic?  Now you can make it look the part with this Koozie that looks like a prescription pill bottle.  Tailgate party stress will be relieved in an instant!

Big Mouth Toys The Beast Giant Fist Shaped Drink

Big Mouth Toys The Beast Giant Fist Shaped Drink Kooler

Big Mouth Toys The Beast Giant Fist Shaped Drink Kooler

Does this one confuse you?  At your tailgate party you could embellish the fist adding chains, dog tags, a watch, a bracelet, a hand-cuff or … well, you decide!

Boobzie – Classic Collection

Boobzie Can Koozie

Boobzie Can Koozie

Ah, now we come to the classy ones!  They will certainly be a talking point at your tailgate party.  The more worthy among us have made a nice link between these and breast cancer awareness while others just state that the combo of breasts and beer is a tailgate party must!

Boobzie – Classic Collection

Boobzie Can Koozie

Boobzie Can Koozie

 Insert your own boob joke here (though it’s a bit redundant as the Koozies above and below ARE the joke).  Besides, I’ve probably heard them all at some tailgate party or other.

“World Cups” (Sporty collection) Boobzie Can Cover / Koozie

"World Cups" (Sporty collection) Boobzie Can Cover / Koozie

“World Cups” (Sporty collection) Boobzie

Boobzie – Special Occasion Collection

"First Aid" Boobzie Can Cover / Koozie

“First Aid” Boobzie Can Cover / Koozie

There are many more in this range and as a novelty with a purpose, they will add some laughs to your event.

Big Mouth Toys Toilet Shaped Drink Kooler

Big Mouth Toys Toilet Shaped Drink Kooler

Big Mouth Toys Toilet Shaped Drink Kooler

Some drinkers wait until after the party to have their heads in the toilet.  With this one, you can remind yourself where you don’t want to end up

Finally, just a word of warning if you have to travel to your tailgate party … don’t take this last one to the airport!  It needs no further comment!

Big Mouth Toys Gun Shaped Drink Kooler

Big Mouth Toys Gun Shaped Drink Kooler

Big Mouth Toys Gun Shaped Drink Kooler

The Best Small Portable TVs For Tailgate Parties Reviewed

If you want the best of both worlds, you probably wish you had a TV in your pocket, could double up, watching games in the parking lot while you play those games, chomp on those ribs and swill that cool amber liquid.  Elsewhere, I have written out the ‘how to’ list for getting a signal anywhere you travel by investing in a satellite dish and all that goes with it.  But here are some small, almost pocket sized screens – personal televisions – that will keep you in touch with the crucial touchdowns, goals and points.  Some can be hooked up to your vehicle with a car charge but these are almost always an optional accessory.

I’ve checked them out from the smallest screen ie. phones, to medium (3.5”) to the larger ones 7”.  All can be classed as pocket TVs and as a way of catching up with away games when you are in the home parking lot tailgating, most are effective in different ways and OK as backups for emergency power outages.  You don’t need to miss a game ever!

Watch TV on a phone’s tiny screen?  Everyone does that these days! Or, do they?

1. Siano Meron Mobile TV Tuner for Smartphones & Tablets. Supports DVB-T and ISDB-T

Siano Meron Mobile TV Tuner for Smartphones & Tablets. Supports DVB-T and ISDB-T, White

TV Tuner for Smartphones & Tablets

No need for an internet connection but with this gadget you can use your Android or Apple device to watch TV anywhere.

Well, anywhere in Europe, Asia and Africa using DVB-T. Also Japan and South America using ISDB-T. Sadly,  USA, Canada, Mexico, Korea or China are out in the cold and not supported so forget this for tailgating.  A free SianoTV application from Apple App Store or Google Play lets you to tune in and enjoy your favorite programs. Video:

Pros: The box plugs in and you can follow the video for instructions on setting it up.  Simple.

Cons: NFG for USA, Canada, Mexico, Korea and China.  What, no tailgating there? Not even for soccer and baseball? Needs a top of the range Apple or Android to device to run it.

Bottom Line

Forget this one for USA/Canadian tailgating.

In New York, there’s Aereo OTA TV delivered to your Smartphone but that’s still not generally available in the USA.

Watch this space for new updates as Aereo is expanding in the coming year. Oh, and start saving now for a whopping big data plan if you want to watch games on your phone.

The alternative is one of the small, pocket size portable TVs.

2. Belkin Dyle Wireless Mobile TV Receiver for 30-Pin iPhone and iPad in Select Coverage Areas

Belkin Dyle Wireless Mobile TV Receiver for 30-Pin iPhone and iPad in Select Coverage Areas

Belkin Dyle Wireless Mobile TV Receiver for 30-Pin iPhone and iPad


There are other actual OTA alternatives to the Aereo service.  From Belkin Dyle come these  two interesting dongles that plug into the power ports of an iPhone or iPad.  These are a real TV tuner as well as a telescoping whip antenna, the Escort Mobile TV Receiver and the Elgato EyeTV Mobile TV Tuner.  Both use Dyle’s mobile TV app.  and both are fully supported by broadcasters.  They will work wherever you can receive OTA television and the impact on your data plan is minimal. But of course, you are watching teams running around on a tiny screen.  Still, it keeps you in touch with the game-plays.  Check to make sure that your tailgate party will be held in the coverage area.


You have a couple of gadgets hanging off your phone whenever you want to watch TV.

Small screen viewing.

Suited to limited areas only. Be sure to check coverage.

Does not work with Lightning connectors.  Is designed for the 30 pin plug on older Apple devices.

No rechargeable battery and short battery life.

The Bottom Line

For using in the parking lot at tailgate parties, it just may not have the channel choices you need.  Do you homework and contact the company prior to purchase. And make sure also that it is compatible with your phone.

3. RCA DHT235A 3.5-Inch LED-lit 720p 60Hz TV (Silver)

RCA DHT235A 3.5-Inch LED-lit 720p 60Hz TV (Silver)

RCA DHT235A 3.5-Inch LED-lit 720p 60Hz TV (Silver)


3.5-Inch Bright LED Backlit LCD Display

Receive Free off-air DTV RF Channels

Operate with AA Batteries (X4) or AC Adaptor(opt.)

Real Time Signal Strength Displayed

Weight: 5.6 ounces

VIDEO MPEG-2 video decoding MP at ML, MP at HL ATSC 18 formats.

Audio decoding Digital multi-lingual.

Terrestrial ATSC 8VSB Terrestrial NTSC CH2 – CH69 Embedded Monopole Antenna.

AV OUT Headphone and built-in speaker for audio output and headphones give clear sound.

Receive Current Analog  NTSC Channels

Instructions included.

Runs 2 hours without battery change. (use recyclables and keep a stash in the tailgate party kit.)

Digital Closed Captioning complies with E1A-708B.

Additional Features, on-screen program information display.

Direct channel changing DRF

Menu languages English and Spanish

Real-time signal strength display

Auto time setting

Auto channel scan

Channel editing

Time zone setting


If you use it a lot you can get the AC power adapter or 4 AA rechargeable batteries and a small charger for about $15. But if you use it in an emergency you’ll need to keep some alkaline batteries and hope that the TV stations are still transmitting!

On board antenna is quite fragile. An external antenna can be fitted and you can get around 70 channels.  That’s pretty good.  Just the antenna is hard to source so you should probably order one at the same time as the TV.

Quite a small screen but then people watch movies on phones so ….

The Bottom Line

Great for picking up different games when say, you are tailgating in one parking lot and you have an interest in another game somewhere else that is being broadcast.

Also it is invaluable as a news gathering source in emergencies, such as Hurricane Sandy.  Keep a ton of batteries in your kit1

Watch the game in the parking lot on this color LCD 3.5-Inch Diagonal, 320 x 240 digital RGB resolution that will pick up channels anywhere. AUDIO Dolby Digital Portable and modern, this lightweight TV operates on 4 AA batteries or AC.   Batteries on this one can be replaced so that you don’t need to miss the game due to recharging requirements.

Offers high quality reception, signal strength display, on-screen program information and channel displays.

Even though it is small, it is powerful and very useful.

4. Digital Prism 3.5 in Handheld Digital Lcd Tv

Digital Prism 3.5 in Handheld Digital Lcd Tv

Digital Prism 3.5 in Handheld Digital Lcd Tv


Integrated tuner receives all digital broadcasts.

Has a car charger as well as built in rechargeable battery – this sets it apart somewhat.

Simple little controls.


Small (3.5”) but maybe you could say ‘compact’ instead.

Battery doesn’t last more than an hour.

Can’t be hooked up to external antenna.

Signal strength is very dependent on location.

The Bottom Line

It’s probably OK as an emergency backup TV for communication in a disaster but won’t see you through a game if you’re tailgating.  There are others with a lot more oomph.

5. Sungale ITV430 Kula 4.3-Inch Internet TV

Sungale ITV430 Kula 4.3-Inch Internet TV

Sungale ITV430 Kula 4.3-Inch Internet TV


Will theoretically work all over the world.

Is ‘Internet TV’ in an early iteration.


Was released in 2010 and technology has marched on.

4.3”  – low res so is really hard to watch compared with other models reviewed.

Plays video but with no fast forward or replay.

Channels are not updated and so this means that many cannot be reached.

The Bottom Line:

Pay a little more and get a lot more oomph!

6. Eviant T4 4.3″ Portable Color Digital ATSC NTSC LCD TV DTV

Eviant T4 4.3

Eviant T4 4.3″ Portable Color Digital ATSC NTSC LCD TV DTV


4.3 “ screen

16:9 ratio

Weight = 7.4 ounces

Portable Color Digital ATSC NTSC LCD TV DTV


Has a headphone jack.  You can listen while you are flipping those ribs!

Charges with a USB connector. 5 V mini – such as a phone charger.

2 hour battery life

Picks up many TV channels with a scan

Great little backup TV for emergency use in power outages (keep it charged up).

Very inexpensive.

Clear English instruction book for setup supplied

1 year warranty


2009 technology.

External antenna supplied but you cannot hook up a ordinary coaxial cable to it as the jack is a mini size.

Very small screen.

Shipping availability   – Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.

You cannot hook up a DVD player to this unit.

Sound is not great but is OK with a set of iPod headphones or similar.

3 hour recharge required after battery depletes.

Need to rescan to find channels – can’t manually add them.

Only NTSC – not PAL or SECAM so not good for international travel.

If you move the unit, the aerial may re-select channels or lose picture.

Bottom Line:

As somewhat dated technology, it is competing with the Smartphones but is a very cheap option as something to keep in the tailgate party kit or as emergency backup.

7. RCA DPTM70R 7-Inch 60Hz 480 x 234 LED-Lit TV

RCA DPTM70R 7-Inch 60Hz 480 x 234 LED-Lit TV

RCA DPTM70R 7-Inch 60Hz 480 x 234 LED-Lit TV


First internet TV – no subscription required for TV channels.

Large 7” screen

LED Backlit LCD Display

Hundreds of channel organized by country, language subject or genres,

Built-in 2 G memory.

Receive Free off-air DTV Channels

Receive Current Analog NTSC Channels

SD Flash Drive and USB supports Jpeg, MP3, MPEG 1,2,4, Divx

Rechargeable non-standard battery included

USB connection – many phone connectors will fit.

480×272 pixels – quite a clear picture for the size.

Comes with a 100-240 vac plug in adapter

Most cable boxes are compatible. Check specs. before buying.

2.5 hours battery life.  3 hours to recharge.

Has a tiny remote

Has a small stand built in

Has coax cable connector space at top left

Card reader slot.

Can be hooked up to DVD


Small screen

Does not connect to car power input (though may connect to USB cable in modern car).

Not HD

For optimum use, an external antenna will enhance viewing choices. See DTA206 Portable Mini Digital TV Antenna.

The Bottom Line

Value for money, on the market since March 2012 so is already discounted as ageing technology compared with Smartphones and tablets. The RCA 7-Inch ATSC Portable Digital TV is quite pleasant to watch. Football games can be seen end to end on the 16:9 screen.  With an embedded ATSC and NTSC hybrid tuner you can enjoy a wide array of live TV plus video.  Two built-in stereo speakers, button navigation, and an on-screen menu display are enhance your experience, along with digital closed captioning, parental controls, and a built-in rechargeable battery. As an emergency TV, if you are without power, you need an inverter of some kind to recharge in the car.  Effectiveness of channels will depend on your area or you can connect to a satellite box but most users report that they can find a broad selection of channels easily.

8. Supersonic 7″ Portable LCD TV with ATSC Digital Tuner

Supersonic 7" Portable LCD TV with ATSC Digital Tuner

Supersonic 7″ Portable LCD TV with ATSC Digital Tuner



16:9 (see the whole ground for games!)

Earphone jack.

Full function remote

Power: UL Approved Adapter:AC 100-240V, 50/60Hz & DC 12 Volt Compatibility

Maximum Power Consumption: 18 Watts

Input Terminals: Component, Audio/ Video/ Audio Headphones

Accessories: Remote Control, AC Adapter, Car Cord, A/V Cables, Rod Antenna and Instruction Manual

Maximum Power Consumption: 18 Watts


Supplied antenna is fine, no need to buy an additional one.


Weighs 2 pounds

Takes 2 hours approximately to charge but battery will burn out if you leave it on charge for more than 3 hours so take care!

Some people have had issues with picking up channels but it seems to work fine.

The Bottom Line

This is a good little unit for using to watch games – it will pick up channels using the external (included) antenna.  Good picture and great as an emergency backup in power outages.  Nice sized screen for a personal TV.  Battery just lasts the length of a game and I would turn it off in ad breaks.

9. Axion AXN-8706 120 Hz 7-Inch Widescreen Portable LCD TV

Axion AXN-8706 120 Hz 7-Inch Widescreen Portable LCD TV

Axion AXN-8706 120 Hz 7-Inch Widescreen Portable LCD TV


7” LCD Widescreen is a good size for watching games at tailgate parties from the parking lot.

Built-In rechargeable Li-polymer battery

Built-In ATSC tuner and digital media player.

Has a headphone jack to maximize a lite audio output.

Great reception, color and picture.

Inexpensive. Good for tailgate parties as well as emergencies involving power outages.

Has a little remote.  Not really for fat fingers, but does the job  OK.

Equipped with USB port and a SD memory card slot plus MP4 capability.

Good in static conditions as the antenna must be attached to a metal surface (magnetic base)


Broadcasts in 480 only which is low res but pretty much standard for 7” screens.

Car charger  not supplied (you can buy one that fits though).

Battery only lasts 2 hours and needs a long charging (overnight).

Can’t use in a travelling vehicle.

The Bottom Line:

Picks up local channels and networks OTA (NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC etc.) rather than cable and 7” is a good, workable size for watching sports from the parking lot while enjoying tailgate parties and this one seems to be less flimsy than most similar small units in this low price range.  Nice to have as a backup, too, for emergencies as you can getadditional 12 volt power packs to provide DC power if AC power is out and the battery is flat.  Plus you can buy a car charger as an accessory and run it from the cigarette lighter.  Very handy unit.

Best TV Equipment For The Tailgate Party

Be honest … how many of you had so much fun in the parking lot that you ended up not going into the stadium?  And weren’t you just a tad envious of those dudes kicking back by their big RVs, their TVs hooked up to their satellite dishes, watching the game while simultaneously BBQing, playing cornhole, trivia and emptying their large Kegerators?  I’ve basked in their glory and learned from their handed-down wisdom.  My vehicle was often parked next to a great big monster and the equipment had to be seen to be believed.  Seems like they’d just relocated the man-cave to a double car-space and wanted for nuthin’.  Well, I got over being envious, did some nosing around and found some practical ways to have it all – some a little more upmarket – but you can justify anything for the game when you’re tailgating, right?

Let’s get the sticker shock over and done with.  Say you have a man-cave and that has a patio with its own outdoor kitchen.  Well, that’s where you’d want to stage your tailgate party as a home-gating party, wouldn’t you?

Especially if it had one of these built into the wall facing a couple of comfy Lazy-boys:

Peerless Ciil CL-40PLC67-S Ciil 40″ Ultraview Weatherproof LCD Display

Peerless Ciil CL-40PLC67-S Ciil 40" Ultraview Weatherproof LCD Display

Peerless Ciil CL-40PLC67-S

For around $4500 you can have this little beauty: an outdoor LCD TV that is fully-encased, no openings so that it is thoroughly dust, water, snow, sleet, insect and pollution proof.  You won’t even get any slugs, wasps, ants etc. creeping through its aluminum body which of course, will neither rust nor corrode.  The internal thermal control system keeps the components at optimum temperature without the need for ventilation.  We all know that an LCD picture is terrific and gives a sharp contrast whether in shadow or direct sun.  Finally, there’s an impact resistant safety glass panel over the screen to protect it and the viewers from any material damage in the event of impact.  The 40” is measured diagonally.  I’ve seen these being installed in some of those yard makeover programs and drooled.  Anyway it is more for home-gating than tailgating (and if you had this in your set-up, you probably would never want to go out.

From the manufacturer’s description:

‘The Peerless CL-40PLC67-S Ciil 40″ Ultraview is fully-sealed waterproof and dustproof LCD display provides outstanding protection against the elements, making them the best choice outdoors and indoors. Unique heat-sink technology keeps the display properly cooled in the heat and properly warmed in the cold, all without vents, filters or exhaust fans, providing no opportunity for liquids, dust or insects to get into the display and damage it. This UltraView display takes digital content virtually anywhere.”

Note that it is also available in black at a cheaper price.

But dragging yourself out of that comfort zone and joining the tailgate party fun of the shared event in the parking lot, what are the options for TV viewing?  I like to wander in amongst the rows of party animals early and ask them questions about their particular viewing set-up before they hit the juice. That way you get some coherent hints on how to get a good picture at the lowest possible cost.

Here’s a range of gear that is worth collecting and investing in to make watching the game a really easy experience.  Of course, you’re not restricted to watching the one in the stadium, just whatever your satellite provider covers.

The consensus seemed to opt for DirecTV and Dishnet as the preferred program suppliers.

Say you have bought the NFL Sunday Ticket already and intended to watch at home.  Did you know you can take the box to the parking lot and enjoy the game there?  And you can access free-to-air satellite providers as well.  It all depends on how you configure  the system.  We’ll talk more about the VuQube system (an easy set up one)  later but we will start clearly with DirectTV and Dishnet.

Here’s the equipment you will need and you’ll find more explanation of the systems below:

Receiver (DirecTV or Dishnet), DVR or Tivo.  Cables.  You probably already have this so just bring it from home.  Bring ALL the cables you need.  I usually put a tag on them or take a picture on my Smartphone so that I know exactly how to put it back together.

DISH Network VIP211k HD Receiver

DISH Network VIP211k HD Receiver

Satellite Dish (compatible with your service, VuQube, DirecTV or Dishnet) and an appropriate stand to mount it on. Tripods are very effective and allow you to angle the dish well uot of the way of signal interference.  A compass is handy so that you can figure out the direction that the satellite signal is coming from.

VuQube Flex VQ2100 Portable Automatic Satellite Antenna

VuQube Flex VQ2100

Subscription to the sports channels of your choice (DirecTV or Dishnet). Make sure you have the sports package that interests you.

32” TV with speakers (this seems to be the best quality). LCD is preferred in bright light situations including outdoors. Anything smaller than a 32” TV is a computer monitor. IMHO. Appropriate remotes with your appliances.

Seiki SC324FB 32-Inch 720p 60Hz LCD TV

Seiki 32-Inch LCD TV

The Seiki is a great little extra TV at a low cost and all you need to be dragging around tailgate parties.  You can also plug in an X-Box or other game console.

TV stand that is secure and won’t blow over in the wind.

Audio2000's Ast423y Flat Panel Portable Tripod Tv Stand

Audio2000’s Tripod TV Stand

Portable power supply (either a low noise gas operated generator or power inverter and enough fuel for the day). Note that the inverter will be plugged into your car battery and is a risk.  Your car battery could go dead.  I prefer a small generator and you want to choose one that is as close to silent as possible, well muffled.  Set it up down wind so that the noise goes elsewhere.  Pump up the volume on the TV. Yaaaay!

Champion 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Generator

Champion Portable Generator

Note that this 3500-4000 watts generator will run all your gear and is CARB compliant – in other words is not fumey or noisy and quite acceptable in California, unlike many on the market. Of course, you could hire one, but ownership has its privileges – you can always rent it out to your buddies and make a few bucks on the side. It will run for 12 hours.

Exterior extension cord and a power board with a circuit breaker capability (not a cheap one from Walmart).

RCA leads, Coax or S-Video cables.

Plan your set-up ahead and do a reccy of the area.  Most people I know go to the same car-space every tailgate party and know the area like the back of their hands.  Look out for anything that may stop a satellite signal reaching your dish – a tree, a building, a massive banner, an obese neighbor.  Hopefully, your site is flat to make set-up simple.

On the day, plant your satellite dish with an unobstructed sky view.  Plug into the generator and connect it to the box (receiver) and DVR.  Then cable the TV to the receiver using the supplied leads and then to the genny. Turn it on and select your input channel and work through the start-up menu which will prompt you to configure the satellite and inform you of the strength of signal.  You need a buddy to fiddle with the dish at this time to point it at the strongest signal (like fiddling with rabbit ears to get a picture) as you twiddle with the TV.  75% is considered a good result here but at that point if you can’t see the picture, call the customer support for your satellite service as they are generally very informed and helpful.

Otherwise, select your favorite game channel, pour a round of beers and let the laid-back tailgating begin!  If you buy the full ticket, you will have so many choices of games that you’ll be set for hours.

Now here is another thought.  Get a few of your regular parking lot buddies together  and beam the games up onto this massive screen.  You’ll need a projector that connects to your TV system but that is quite feasible.

Gemmy Airblown® 39121X Movie Screen-12 ft. Screen w/Storage Bag

Gemmy Airblown® 39121X Movie Screen-12 ft. Screen w/Storage Bag

Gemmy Airblown® 12 ft. Movie Screen

It pumps up like an airbed.  Easy.  You just put the stakes into the ground and tether it to the stakes so that it won’t blow over.  You do have to leave the fan running during use which can be annoying but in a tailgate party, the noise of the game will easily drown that out. It only weighs 17 pounds, is easy to transport and is 151 x 36 x 107 inches.  A big, big screen. A projector can be used to connect to your computer or TV to play a game or movies on this big screen.

HINT: Use a couple of concrete breeze blocks if you are tailgating in the parking lot and can’t put the stakes into blacktop or concrete and tie the tethers through the holes in the blocks. Practice setting the thing up before you take it to the parking lot – it takes two to set it up.  Ideal for home-gating too!

Backyard Theater Complete 8-foot Outdoor Entertainment System

Backyard Theater Complete 8-foot Outdoor Entertainment System

8-foot Outdoor Entertainment System

You can go the whole hog and set up this big system.  There’s an 8 foot system (pictured) and a 12 foot system.A fine screen, includes the projector and everything you need, speakers, electric powered flat screen, stands, DVD player, cables, instruction and warranty.  You can connect any device from iPhone, iPad, i-Pod, PS3, X-Box, Wii.  Imagine how amazing your tailgate parties could be if a few of you set this up in the parking lot! But of course, for home-gating it would be the main event.  Play movies on it, connect your satellite or cable system and watch the game or just set up the Wii and play all your games the high tech way!  So it’s edging into luxury land, but wow, what fun!

Supersonic SC-1512 15.4-Inch Class LED HDTV with Built-in DVD Player

Supersonic SC-1512 15.4-Inch Class LED HDTV with Built-in DVD Player

Supersonic SC-1512

I’m including this very small portable LED HDTV as it is a  easy one to integrate into your tailgate party kit.  It is compact so doesn’t take up much space, can be set up on a table, isn’t a huge power drain and is 16:9 – 1440 x 900 – 720p – a good picture.  People love these in RVs and motor homes and it draws very little power at 12 volts (1 amp) so you could actually run it off a car battery rather than a generator.  It can be plugged into mains with the supplied transformer.

Dish Network DISH500 Portable Satellite Kit for Campers and RV’s

Dish Network DISH500 Portable Satellite Kit for Campers and RV's

Dish Network DISH500 Portable Satellite

This kit has most stuff you need to go portable and if you already subscribe to Dishnet, all you do is take the box (receiver) with you and run off the same account/subscription as you do at home.

It contains the Satellite dish, the tripod, a Co-axial cable (50 feet) the 3 foot RG6 Jumper cable and connectors and a satellite finder, the latter  being a very handy gadget..

Dishnet will give you all the help you need over the phone.

Account/subscription-wise you can pay-as-you-go.  Very handy.  Just subscribe for the tailgate party season then drop out again.

DISH Network VIP211k HD Receiver

DISH Network VIP211k HD Receiver

DISH Network VIP211k HD Receiver

This receiver supports one independent HDTV with its own remote control and is compatible with the Tailgater satellite antenna. With an optional module, you can also receive free-to-air telecasts.  Cover all the games you need.  As well, you will need to purchase an HDMI cable if you don’t already have one.  Again, Dish will talk you through the process.

Dish Network VQ2500 Tailgater Portable Satellite Antenna

Dish Network VQ2500 Tailgater Portable Satellite Antenna

Dish Network VQ2500 Tailgater Portable Satellite Antenna

Here’s how you get automatic satellite acquisition with no separate remote control or power source required. Just connect the Tailgater to your DISH Network ViP211k HD receiver via the supplied 50 ft. coax cable and in minutes you’re watching your favorite satellite TV shows in crystal clear HDTV, the star of any tailgate party.

The custom designed user interface with on-screen graphics is an exclusive feature you will not find with other mobile antennas and makes for an effortless setup. No need to configure the receiver when you take it back and forth between your home and RV because with the Tailgater, receiver configuration is automatic – no more check switches! Just place it anywhere in your tailgate parking lot with a clear view to the southern sky. It even tells you if your satellite signal is partially or completely blocked via on-screen diagnostics. Less than half the price of other automatic satellite antennas but without all the set-up hassles. All you need is your own DISH Network compatible receiver. The Tailgater® is a fully automatic portable satellite dish that can be used with a 211k/211/411 receiver when pointed to Western Arc satellites.  It’s offered at a great discount at the moment.

Only draws 20 watts of power and is totally quiet and incredibly easy to use flicking automatically between 3 satellites for maximum cover. Also, you can just pay for the month(s) that you use this system. You own the equipment so this means there’s no contract and no fees no extra charges EVER!  If you already had a dish subscription- then you have the option of paying a small monthly fee to add this receiver and antenna system. RV enthusiasts love this system.  You just need to stay in touch with Dish.  Oh, and that means you can visit all the stadiums, bowls and games and tailgate party throughout the land as long as you have power!

The 211k receiver and tailgater antenna takes about 20-22 watts whenever it’s plugged in (the receiver draws the same power no matter if it’s on or off).  Solar power is ideal by the way.  A small boat rig of solar, inverter and your receiver makes this a breeze.  Just remember that you need to call Dish if you are at an away game so that they can send a new signal to you for the new area.  Oh and high trees and thunderstorms and pouring rain and thick cloud are the enemies of satellites.  There’s not a lot you can do about that except maybe sit in the car and apply the beer bong and listen to the radio broadcast of the game instead.

However, when it’s a clear sky, this satellite system rocks!

Winegard GM-MP1 Carryout Black MP1 Manual Portable Satellite TV Antenna

Winegard GM-MP1 Carryout Black MP1 Manual Portable Satellite TV Antenna

Winegard GM-MP1 Portable Satellite TV Antenna

This system is compatible with Dish (SD & HD), Directv (SD) and Bell TV (SD & HD) and you can run it from your home receiver anywhere as long as you have a power supply and call your supplier to let them know if you are ‘out of area’. It’s rugged with a fully enclosed ‘sandbag’ style case that converts to a base that you can fill with very dry sand or small washed pebbles to make even more stable.  The filling must be clean and dry.

Quite well designed, the kit includes a spirit level, compass, elevation markings and a 25 foot co-ax cable (you may need an extension to this)  Locally made in he USA.   Extremely compact and super affordable, it’s great for tailgate parties anywhere you want to go.  Local channels have a range of between 100 and 200 miles but out of area you need to call the support for your service.  Apparently they are really fast to respond and helpful.  Manual to setup, not auto but easy and inexpensive.
Durable, fully enclosed case with base that can be filled with water or sand for increased stability

Manually set-up and lock on satellite using included bubble level, compass and elevation markings

Azimuth lock knob threads through center of top portion and base to prevent left to right movement

Includes 25 foot coax cable

Compatible with DISH (SD and HD), DIRECTV (SD) and Bell TV (SD and HD)

Extremely compact and super affordable, take this antenna anywhere you go. Perfect for races, tailgating, camping, traveling and other outdoor activities. Manual antenna stores in compact, durable case that doubles as the antenna base when in use. Case features easy grip handle for carrying or locking down. Bubble level, compass and elevation markings molded in base make set up quick and easy. Includes 25 foot coax cable to allow for optimal antenna placement. Case with antenna measures 16 inch width by 18.5 inch height by 10 inch diameter, weighs 9 pounds. Features 2 coax inputs. Receives standard DIRECTV programming and all standard and HD programming for DISH and Bell TV. Made in the USA.  If budget is a consideration, this is a great option but otherwise, a more expensive auto system could be better for you.

VuQube Flex VQ2100 Portable Automatic Satellite Antenna

VuQube Flex VQ2100 Portable Automatic Satellite Antenna

VuQube Flex VQ2100 Portable Automatic Satellite Antenna

So here’s an automatic satellite-finding antenna.  So many people say that it is very worth paying the additional moolah to buy this that I have listed it.  You can look around car parks at tailgating parties and you will see a lot of these neat kits wherever TV is watched.

It finds and locks onto the satellite (usually three and switches around them for optimal viewing) and works with DirectTV, Dish HD, Bell and Bell HD.

Technophobes will like its simplicity.  And actually, that’s what you need when partying, not fiddling with equipment, is the priority.  Check it out beforehand though and practice the setup so that you have no stress on the day.  It has a simple one-coax cable connection with no external power cable required.  The cable is 50 feet long and I don’t recommend extending this to further from the power source. You can add a second receiver to watch different channels on two different TVs. You can cover games really well that way. You do need a power supply (generator) – see above discussion of generator.  RV users LOVE this one.  It is ideal for tailgate parties as you are restricted to a small space anyway.

Winegard GM-1518 Carryout White Automatic Portable Satellite TV Antenna

Winegard GM-1518 Carryout White Automatic Portable Satellite TV Antenna

Winegard GM-1518 Satellite TV Antenna

The Carryout is another good tailgate party option from experienced company Winegard.  They’ve been around for nearly 60 years.  As with others, you need a generator or other power source. It is vey lightweight but when set up will find and lock into a single satellite.  It has two inputs for receivers so that you can watch 2 programs on 2 TVs from the one unit.  A generator as discussed above will power it all.  50′ 12V power cable, 50′ coax cable, printed documentation, warranty

Super neat easy-carry unit which has lock-down eyelets for additional security.

Compatible with DirectTV, Dish HD, Bell and Bell HD and Eastern arc satellites.

The company website has a ton of info and the help-line is always there for any trouble-shooting.  Taking your computer or Smartphone with you tailgating just in case is a practical idea.  Don’t think I even need to say that – most people will have Smartphones prised from their cold, dead hands.

I recommend that you buy the matching tripod mount rather than setting it up on the ground.

Winegard TR-1518 Carryout Gray Tripod Mount

Winegard TR-1518 Carryout Gray Tripod Mount

Winegard TR-1518 Carryout Gray Tripod Mount

It is height adjustable, compact and leveling settings of 14.5 inches to 22 inches.  Easy to erect and take town to pack in the car after the tailgate party.  This one is for the Carryout models only. Sturdy ground anchor, 6 inches bungee cord and anchor loop hold the tripod and satellite antenna securely.

An alternative TV setup for the parking lot.

Axess TVD1801-22 22-Inch 1080p Digital HDTV with DVD Player

Axess TVD1801-22 22-Inch 1080p Digital HDTV with DVD Player

Axess TVD1801 22-Inch 1080p Digital HDTV with DVD Player

This versatile and useful 22” LED AC/DC TV is actually DC-powered only and the AC power comes from an external converter for 110 AC (120V A/C input, 4Amp 12Volt DC output).  It is fully equipped with DVD Player (not Blu-Ray) Full HD with HDMI, SD card reader and USB.  Everything you need is in the box including the QAM tuner so that you don’t need a converter box for digital.

Note that if you are running this on DC power, do use a well-charged battery. Many RV owners love this so it is ideal for tailgating and though the audio is not fabulous, it is good enough for sports. If that concerns you, get a Jambox or other external speaker.  I also recommend keeping a few spare fuses in the tailgate party kit (10 – amp for this one).

A Note on Security

You now will have a truckload of gear including BBQ and media.  Be very security conscious even if you have been using the same space every year for yonks.  Many of the satellite dish cases can be padlocked with a heavy-duty cable so that they are at least very difficult to steal.  You can also even attach some small alarms.  Be sure to pack all your gear securely, lock the car and choose a space in plain sight.  Most parking lots have an element of security with regular patrols, but thieves are generally very savvy as to the route and frequency of these.  If you need to leave your site, make sure the neighbor you ask to keep an eye on your space really has the time to do it.

Happy tailgate party!




Top 7 Breathalyzers For Tailgate Parties

Nobody wants to get stung with a DUI after a really fun tailgate party.  You might not be falling-down drunk but, if you’re over the limit, you can’t be out on the roads behind the wheel.

Smart folk – whether hosts or guests – have a Breathalyzer with a heap of individually wrapped mouthpieces on hand.  This way, drinkers can make sure that they are OK for driving.   It’s good to test that level with more than the ‘walk a straight line’ or balance test.

Generally speaking, the Breathalyzers on the market for home use are accurate in a wide range.  They are not ‘legally’ accurate.  A note of caution, nearly all require a re-calibration to set them to be closer to giving a realistic read, at least every year, but if you are blowing these above the recommended level (and that varies for every model) you should send it back to the maker more regularly.  Read the instructions, and don’t depend on solely on them to tell you whether or not you should drive.  Note that an hour after stopping drinking, your blood alcohol level continues to rise.  So re-test.  And those old myths about how masking your breath with a packet of mintie flavored candies will reduce the reading is dangerous.  The boost of sugar to your blood can give you a false ‘high’ and you’ll be fine for a moment or two, but it will have no affect of actually lowering the BAC. (Blood alcohol content).

In the available Breathalyzers, there are basically two types of sensors -semiconductor-based or fuel cell-based. The semiconductor-based are the least expensive and are generally inconsistent and not meant to be exact (in a legal reading sense). The fuel cell-based models are more costly but provide accurate and consistent results.

Here are some of the best Breathalyzers we found from each of the two models, ranging from the ‘pro’ styles to the simpler (and less accurate) often key-ring gadgets.

BACtrack Select S80 Breathalyzer Professional Edition

BACtrack Select S80 Breathalyzer Professional Edition

BACtrack S80 Breathalyzer

Highly rated by many users and buyers, the plastic bodied BACTRACK Select S80 uses fuel cell sensor technology (similar to that used by law enforcement officers in the field).

It features a one button operation which allows users to press the power and begin testing in seconds.  The 4 digit LCD displays accurate test results in extended format. The pack (6 x 4 x 2 inches) comes already packed in its own case, instructions, 6 mouthpieces and a zippered pocket for stashing some spare mouthpieces and batteries.

It’s a good idea to have those additional supplies on hand, depending on how many guests you are expecting.  It’s battery operated (always bring a spare).  The reading should take place 20 minutes or more after the last drink or food have been consumed – any earlier, and the reading won’t mean a thing. Provides enhanced linear accuracy and extended battery life.  It is designed for continuous temperature checking, user-adjustable warning levels, and internal pump system for breath capture.

Requires annual return to the company for calibration (or 200 – 300 tests) which is an additional $20 plus shipping.

Full instructions should be read and retained.
Testers should take a deep breath before blowing (just as the police will tell you when testing on the road).  Then wait for 10 seconds for the display to show up.

Cheaper to buy this than paying a fine, gaining demerits, risking jail or probation and safer than being in an accident and causing harm.

If you are worried about its accuracy, check it on a non-drinker and then on someone who is patently drunk and you will see the difference.

Small enough to be portable but gutsy enough to be accurate and will give you confidence in its performance.  Not much bigger than a phone.  Keeps a tally of tests completed (so that you can be sure that re-calibration happens in a timely fashion.

Always reset to zero before using. Note that blowing a low reading is not a license to drink more and then go and drive.  Drinking and driving is not cool.  There’s always someone you can rope in to be the designated driver.

BACtrack Keychain Breathalyzer, Portable Keyring Breath Alcohol Detector – The KC 10.

BACtrack Keychain Breathalyzer

BACtrack Keychain Breathalyzer

These small keychain models are cheap and there’s a reason for that.  They are not as accurate as the sensor type and many comparison tests have been done.  It requires a few AAA batteries but it does give a rough indication of BAC which will warn you not to drive.  To give you any reading at all, it does need live, fresh batteries and they only last for 50 or so blows.  If you can get a reliable rechargeable battery, use those or it will be costing a lot. Be sure to turn it off in between drinking bouts! Conserve the battery life.  It does have an auto cut-off switch but I never trust those.

Full instructions should be read.

Leave enough time between tests for the machine to charge up again.

Note that your BAC will vary according to your size.

As with other breathalyzers, wait the required 20 minutes (no food, no booze) before testing.

This little model – semi-conductor based – needs to be returned to the company every 6 months for calibration.  But if you are using it a heap and sharing it, you should send it more often.  Just use common sense.

It’s not perfect but it is extremely inexpensive and can be used as a guide only and again, not a legally accurate measurement.

Alcohawk Slim Digital Breathalyzer

Alcohawk Slim Digital Breathalyzer

Alcohawk Slim Digital Breathalyzer

One-button, quick operation, small enough to keep in the glove box, handbag BBQ tool box, or tailgate party kit, this is the cheaper version of the Alcohawk range. It uses semiconductor technology as is the case with all these smaller models.  Its electronic airflow sensor is designed to harvest a deep lung sample for testing and it measures the BAC within a range of 0.000 – 0.400%.  Calibrated for accuracy.  2 digit display.  Wait 20 minutes as with any Breathalyzer.

Starter calibration is a little slow to show up (60 seconds) and then you need to wait up to 3 minutes to blow, having taken a deep breath. The wait for another 10 seconds for the result.   It works, just takes a bit of time.

You can clean out the mouthpieces and re-use them.

Readings are accurate, but you just need to have a bit of patience.

Fits easily in your pocket to take to that tailgate party with you.


AlcoHawk Pro: Professional Edition Digital Breathalyzer

AlcoHawk Pro: Professional Edition Digital Breathalyzer

AlcoHawk Pro: Digital Breathalyzer

Here’s the big brother of the Slimline.  It includes 5 mouthpieces, carrying case,wrist-strap for portability, 9 Volt battery, DC car adapter (Plug) , instructions, zipper bag with space for additional batteries and gear making it travel friendly. Uses semiconductor oxide sensor.  LED display is easy to read.

Single button operation, it features FlowCheck breath monitoring system for max accuracy and is used in lots of pro situations: police, clinics, schools, concerned parents, employers and tailgate party animals.  It is one of the few approved by DOT/NHTSA and FDA.

Follow the instructions and this will be really useful and is small enough to keep near you at a tailgate party without becoming annoying.

Battery life is impressive.  The sensor is accurate if the directions are followed.

BACtrack Element Professional Digital Breathalyzer with Fuel Cell Technology

BACtrack Element Professional Digital Breathalyzer with Fuel Cell Technology

BACtrack Element Digital Breathalyzer

The Element uses xtend fuel cell sensor technology for trusted, accurate results and the process is fast taking only 10 seconds to get a result.  Again, it is important to read the instructions before using for the first time. Educate your tailgate party guests on how to make it work.  For instance, wait the 20 minutes after eating/drinking, take a deep slow breath and exhale (process is assisted by the revolutionary air pump design).  This is claimed to be the smallest and simplest full-feature fuel cell Breathalayzer in the world.  Very portable.

Calibration is important and costs $20 a go plus shipping and if you use this for all your guests at the tailgate party, you could easily rack up a heap of blows, **  requiring annual – or more often – returning to the makers.  It is still cheaper than a DUI.  Don’t think you can avoid this step!  Do count your tests and keep an accurate list FYI.

** (around 75 tests according to some users, but 400-500 uses are claimed by BACtrack who say frequent use is advised to keep the sensor moist so don’t keep it packed away, take it out and use it every few days even if not drinking. Take it to your tailgate friends and test it on your friends.)

Note that Breathalyzers are an indication only.  For an accurate BAC you need a blood test.  Even the patrol car testing kits are just the ‘entry point’ to further checks of your sobriety or otherwise.

Takes 2 AAA batteries (supplies).

The Element has been tested by the DOT/NHTSA (Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and meets their requirements for a breath alcohol screening device. And because the Element has also received FDA 510(k) pre-marketing clearance, it is available for personal, consumer use as well.

The company BACtrack is seen as authorities in the field of Breathalyzers and the gadgets have starred on CSI:Miami, The Doctors, Dr. Phil, MythBusters and Ask Oprah’s All Stars.

SVAT AL100 Breathalyzer Personal Digital Breath Alcohol Tester Detector Analyzer

SVAT AL100 Breathalyzer Personal Digital Breath Alcohol Tester Detector Analyzer

SVAT AL100 Breathalyzer

This is a small model, more for fun than accuracy, cheap though.  At a tailgate party, or wherever good beers are being enjoyed, I would pay the dollars and get a fuel cell model instead.

Its pros are that it is lightweight, compact and cheap, easy to use and handy in the car.

Its cons are that it is not accurate according to a number of users and really can only be used to give you some indication of the wide range of your BAC.

Considering that such an important issue is being measured, a better model is warranted.

Alcomate AL9000 AccuCell Breathalyzer

Alcomate AL9000 AccuCell Breathalyzer

Alcomate AL9000 AccuCell Breathalyzer

The AL9000 is top of the range of these portable units, using the more durable, reliable and scientifically accurate fuel cell technology (electrochemical).

It’s DOT approved with high degree of accuracy.  It features an easily read, large, 4-digit decimal display, deep-lung air sampling with the pump mechanism to assist that process fast, it beeps to let you know when it is ready at each stage and also indicates when the battery is low.  That is a handy feature.

The results are consistent and accurate and a recommended additional use would be if your job required random breath testing, you could test yourself first and go and hide out in the restrooms till you sober up.

But me, I just like to have one of these in my tailgate kit, test any driving guests and hide their car-keys if they blow a high number.

Drinking games and consumption of BBQ and beers are such a fun part of tailgate parties that is comforting to have one of these on hand to be 100% sure that your guests will be safe on the way home.  Anywhere there is a beer-bong, there should be an Alcomate AL9000!