The History of Tailgating

The History of Tailgating

The American Tailgaters Association puts the first instance of tailgating in 1861. That summer (eight years before the first football game), Confederate and Union forces clashed in the First Battle of Bull Run. It was the first true combat encounter of the Civil War -- and civilians tailgated.

That’s right: the first tailgate ever likely took place at a battle. It was a Sunday in Manassas, Virginia and apparently people (not soldiers, but spectators) came to the battlefield with wagons full of whisky, wine, and food.

As it was the middle of summer, they would have been more comfortable if they’d had modern tools of the tailgating trade, such as the DrinkTanks Growler. Its double-walled construction means ice-cold brewskis all day long (even at war).

Since they were partaking in vino, they could also have used a Travel Wine Glass Set, made from unbreakable BPA-free plastic:

Bring the vino anywhere



At the collegiate level, some research places the first tailgate at Yale University in the early 1900s, where there was a known shortage of parking. Fans of the opposing team thus favored coming by bus or train. They’d arrive early at the stadium, and, while waiting for kickoff, consume the food and drinks they’d brought to sustain them on their journey.

Present-day tailgaters can up their game by using sleek modern ways of carrying game-day rations, such as the Stubby Strip Beverage Carrier, which makes it easy to carry beer and keep it cold:

And a smart Travel Table with built-in drink holders to put beer in when you get there:

bring the party anywhere with this travel table

In keeping with the tradition of football rivalries, the Green Bay Packers contend that tailgating, in fact, began there in 1921, when the Packers joined the NFL. They say that’s when fans started backing up their trucks to the old City Stadium to watch the game while snacking from truck beds.

Today, fans can kick comfort up a notch by taking advantage of the Picnic Time Portable Seat, which reclines to 6 different positions and has backpack straps for easy transport.

Plus, if modern-day Packers fans get cold during one of their famously freezing games (or just want an extra layer on the couch), they’ll love a Packers NFL throw (also available for Dallas, Pittsburgh, Jets, Patriots, Giants, and Redskins):

keep warm at the game


And since most tailgates nowadays include firing up the grill, there are several upgrades that can help make a ‘gate great, such as the Grill Floss Grill Cleaner. It makes it easy to keep a grill gunk-free and sanitary.

And while light can be hard to come by at a tailgate, Grillight BBQ tools let you keep manning the grill long into the night safely and easily:

man the grill into the night


Ultimately, the real beauty of tailgating is the ability to make it your own. For example, one stadium that sits on the Tennessee River has fans who participate in a floating tailgate they affectionately call "sailgating."

However you choose to make yours your own this season, we hope you enjoy.

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