It’s finally football season and that means it’s also holiday season. Tailgating has become popular with fans of all football games, whether it’s for pee-wee leagues, high school, college, or professional games. If you haven’t walked through a stadium parking lot in the last few years, I have to tell you that tailgate parties are more elaborate than they were 20 years ago.
Whether you’re attending a backyard gaming party or in your own backyard, there are tech gadgets to enhance your pre-game play.
TVs have become popular at tailgate parties because they are lighter, thinner, and less expensive than they were just 5 seasons ago. Getting electricity to those TVs is the only challenge. Fortunately, gas-free generator options exist.
The EcoFlow Delta Portable Generator or Power Station is a great option for powering any and all devices you bring to the game. These power stations have multiple AC outlets and USB and USB-C ports to power TVs, mini-fridges, smartphones, tablets, and computers. They are virtually silent, which is a huge improvement over old, noisy, smelly gas generators. Simply charge the power station using a standard AC outlet in your home before taking it on the road. The EcoFlow holds a charge for months, so it’s also a good choice for emergency power if the lights in your home go out.
It’s small and light enough to carry from car to tailgate spot as well. How well does it work? To test it, I plugged in an old fridge and it kept running for 13 hours. I also hooked up a big screen TV, phones and a computer and it easily kept them going for 3+ games. It may be the most important piece in the tailgate party puzzle.
Speaking of TVs, if you’re going to pick just one for game days, stick with the box! The thinnest and lightest TVs make them very fragile.
Today’s TVs also have tiny speakers that don’t provide enough sound to be heard by even a small crowd. Bringing a sound bar will add volume so fans can hear the announcers.
You can also use a portable Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t need electricity. One of the best (and loudest) speakers I’ve tested is the Soundcore Rave Mini. Although there is nothing “mini” about the size or the sound. This speaker has impressive bass for a Bluetooth speaker and is loud enough to be heard by a crowd of fans. It’s a pretty big speaker, so you might have trouble carrying it and anything else in the same hand. Of course, there’s a handle and options to add even more bass to what you get out of the box. It will connect to phones and computers wirelessly, but it will also have an auxiliary input. Also, it will charge smartphones through a USB port.
If you don’t need something that big, the best small Bluetooth speaker I’ve tried is the Bose SoundLink Flex. The lightweight speaker sounds amazing (it’s from Bose of course) and the battery lasts up to 12 hours. If it starts to rain, you don’t need to worry about it ruining this speaker as it is dust and water resistant. I even threw it in a pool. It submerged and then floated to the surface while continuing to play the music. By the way, one of my friends had to find out if he could hear the music underwater (he could). It’s small and light enough to throw in a bag you take to the stadium parking lot.
Most tailgate and backyard parties have someone standing around a grill flipping burgers and chicken. For independent chefs, a Bluetooth digital meat thermometer can be the difference between someone receiving a dish of food that is overcooked or undercooked. The Meater+ is a digital thermometer probe that you insert into whatever you’re cooking. Using the companion smartphone app, you choose what’s cooking and how you want it cooked. The Meater+ will then monitor the internal temperature of the meat and the ambient temperature under the grill hood. When it gets close to the right, safe temperature, Meater+ sends a notification to your smartphone so you can walk away from the grill and be notified when it’s time to remove yourself from the heat.
the thermometers they are similar, except you get two probes that are connected to a display hub with cables. They also have a companion app that will send a notification when the food is ready.
As much as I love the Meater+ and iGrill devices, I still recommend using a meat thermometer like the Thermapen Pro. These digital thermometers will help you make sure every piece of meat on the grill is ready to eat.