Cold Weather Tailgating: How to Tailgate in a Bomb Cyclone or Polar Vortex

cold weather tailgating

Last updated on November 1st, 2022 at 07:50 pm

Tailgating in cold weather introduced our crew to a new problem. Drinking your beer faster than it can freeze! Never before have I had to worry about how to make my beer WARMER.

Admittedly, at our first true cold weather tailgate, it is probably our own fault. Scratch that – it’s probably hubby’s fault since he’s in charge of the beer while I focus on food.

At any rate, do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave your beer on the deck the night before cold weather tailgating during a bomb cyclone, polar vortex, or other odd-named winter storm.

When I say we cracked open a cold one on the New Year’s Eve game, that is truly the understatement of the [entire] year.

Frozen Beer Still Good

The first sip was cold and refreshing. The second sip met my lips like a beer slushy without a straw. My third sip pretty much didn’t happen because the rest of my beer was rock solid.

I set it aside for a minute to grab some food and came back to something I can only describe as a beercicle.

Literally, a six-inch icicle of beer hung over, rappelling down the side of the can, onto the table, heading for the edge. Party Foul!

The rest of the beers in the cooler weren’t any better. We racked our brains trying to decide, for the very first time in our lives, how we could warm up our beer.

With crock pots all filled with food, options seemed slim. A friend’s propane forced-air heater seemed promising yet tedious.

cold weather tailgating

When you drink frozen beer, you quickly numb your lips and entire mouth. This is especially tough at a cold weather tailgate when temps are in single digits!

Before long, hubs picked up on the ironic nature of tailgating vehicles being perfectly equipped with everything we needed at a cold weather tailgate — a defroster.

We literally stacked our beers on their sides inside my Toyota Highlander, turned on the car and defroster, prayed none of them would explode, and let my family hauler work its glorious magic.

We set off to play some washers with the few fresh beers that were not frozen solid and barely had to wait for the rest.

As soon as the first player needed a new beer, we checked the progress and happily discovered the Highlander’s defroster is better than advertised.

beer defroster

Cold Weather Tailgate Food

If the beercicles weren’t evidence enough, we found further proof of the ridiculously cold temperatures with our food.

Our veggie tray suffered flash-freezing, with legit frost on the celery sticks, ice on the broccoli, and totally frozen carrots and cucumber slices.

Our dip also froze to the point that you could barely dent it with a frozen carrot stick.

Even the four varieties of Philadelphia Eagles cookies I baked essentially became hockey pucks just waiting to break your teeth!

frozen cold tailgate food

Luckily we brought our Coleman Roadtrip LXE grill and we all hooked up crock pots to our friend’s generator.

The selection of hot foods offered a burst of warmth to our near-frozen bodies…

  • Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Turkey Chili with Corn and Black Beans
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Burgers and Sausages hot off the grill!

For cold weather tailgating parties, it definitely makes sense to tie into a generator with your crock pots if you can.

We also grilled up some of my world famous triple crown breakfast ‘boli, and our friend make egg and pork roll breakfast sandwiches.

No one went away hungry, that’s for sure.

By the way, did you know that Fireball is available in a party box?

Think of boxed wine but way better at getting you effed up.

I actually don’t remember most of the first half, and somehow I lost my Columbia ski glove between my seats and the rest room. Whoops.

Not my brightest moment, I’ll admit, (and definitely not my worst) but we had a damn good time carrying on!

How do you stay warm at a winter tailgate, anyway?

Well, the truth is, sometimes you don’t.

But, if you’re having a good enough time with great friends, you probably won’t notice.

And, if you want the closest chance of being even remotely warm when the temps dip below freezing, consider one of these bad boys. Our friends had a Dynaglo Liquid Propane Tailgate Heater, and with this being the first time they used it, we found the thing is worth every penny.

This forced air heater offered solid heat even with all of our winter layers on, and allowed us to quickly warm up our hands whenever we wanted.

It didn’t seem loud at all to me at the time, but with the sound system blasting great tunes and a few cold ones in me, I can’t be fully responsible for my memory on this one.

I can say that a liquid propane forced air heater is now officially on my own wish list for next season. (Ahem, hubs. My birthday is in less than a month… hint hint, nudge nudge.)

What do you wear to a winter tailgate?

Now that you’ve figured out food, beer, and heat, focus on your tailgating outfit. What do you wear to a winter tailgate to keep yourself comfortable as long as possible?

Well, with the exception of this one sub-10 degree game, we’ve gotten by just fine with awesome cold weather tailgating gear like:

Mega Layers

  • Fleece-Lined Leggings inside your Jeans (as many as 3 pair at times! PA gets COLD!)
  • Hubs wears Flannel Eagles Pajama Pants
  • Running Base Layer with Fleecy interior
  • Thermals
  • Fleeces or other thick long-sleeve shirts
  • Weather-Proof Winter Coat
  • Eagles Jersey – I have no idea where I layered it, but it was under there somewhere.

Winter Accessories

  • Hats (fleece-lined if possible)
  • Scarves (thicker the better)
  • Gloves (can these attach to you somehow? I swear! I’ve lost like 3 different single gloves over the years.)
  • Wool Socks (double-up or triple-up!)
  • Insulated Boots (Snow boots work great!)

OH! Don’t forget Hand Warmers and Foot Warmers!

I love planning for the fun of the event, so here are some fun winter tailgate outfits and ideas.

Since I lost my ski glove, (which I’m still pretty torn up about) I actually bought myself one of those player-style hand warmers.

I figure I’ll be able to go to and from the loo as I please without losing any more gloves. Win-win!

My Columbia brand winter boots have served me amazingly well thanks to the Omni-Heat technology that reflects and retains the heat, and fleece inside my winter coat also seems to help.

I am pretty sure I also wore about four pairs of fleece-lined leggings under my jeans for the New Year’s Eve game, plus two pair of socks.

Stripping down in the bathroom or porta-potty sure sucked, but it was worth having the extra warmth both during the cold weather tailgate and inside the stadium.

Ah, memories.

That sure was a fun tailgate despite the cold.

What are your favorite cold weather tailgating tips? Be sure to let us know in the comments below and share the love if you have friends joining you for tailgating in cold weather.

11.01.22 – Updated to add link to winter tailgate outfits. Improved spacing a bit and converted to blocks. Made some small edits.

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