Afine line divides insanity and practicality at a tailgate party. You don't want to be lumped in with those face-painted fanatics sporting a 100-gallon oil-drum-turned-grill and a setup that hogs several car spaces. But you still want your spread to tout your manhood, even while it packs up easily come game time. Luckily, walking this line isn't that tough if you have the right items.
Essential to any rig are a grill and cooler, and with the Grill2Go Fire+Ice from Thermos, these items combine into one. The base is a 10-plus-gallon cooler, ideal for storing beer and food, while the upper portion is a stainless steel grill with a 310-square-inch cooking surface. The grill features a built-in igniter and a one-pound propane tank, though with an adapter hose it can also work off a standard 20-pound tank. The pre-assembled unit includes other essentials such as cooking utensils and a bottle opener, and has rubber tires for ultimate portability. ($199, www.grill2go.com)
But man (or woman) does not live by beer alone. You'll need a portable blender. OK, maybe not need, but the over-the-top Tailgator is sure to garner attention, especially from any ladies looking for a pregame Daiquiri instead of lager. Featuring a 2 1/4-horsepower, two-stroke gasoline engine with speed control, the unit blends a batch of frozen drinks in less than 15 seconds with a fuel economy of 6,500 mpg (Margaritas per gallon). Simply fill the 11-ounce fuel tank with gasoline blended with 2-stroke oil, pull the starter cord, and let the ladies come to you. ($365 with carrying case, www.tailgatorzone.com)
If you're tailgating up north in December, keeping warm is crucial and an outdoor fireplace will do the trick. Made of heavy gauge steel and available in several sizes ($90 to $300, 800-225-1438), the Whalen Firepit uses patented fire screens to enclose and control the fire, and with a cord of wood you'll be bare-chested in no time.
Finally, no tailgater should be without cigars and whiskey, and a stainless steel cigar holder and flask from Bey Berk International ($35, www.bey-berk.com) is perfect before the game and during halftime. It holds four ounces of booze, and the spring-loaded cigar case holds two cigars primed and ready.
With a setup like that, you may decide to forget the game and just keep tailgating.