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Tailgating can be the best part of being at the game. Sure it’s fun to watch your favorite players, but it’s even better to hang out with your buddies and relax with great music and food just before everything kicks off. Having the right setup for your vehicle can mean the difference between a fun time and an epic time.

Check out these tips on how to maximize your experience with a little preparation:

Use That Trailer Hitch

Does your car or truck have a trailer hitch? If so, then you can access an entire world of tailgating accessories designed to take advantage of this sturdy mounting point. Anything from a BBQ grill, to a cooler to a full set of benches and picnic table can be hooked to your hitch, giving you a way to keep important items off the ground and completely level at all times.

Power, Power, Power

Want to keep the good times going with the right tunes? You’ll need to make sure you have access to a steady source of power at all times. If your truck doesn’t offer an AC outlet, you can pick up an inverter that will convert your vehicle’s DC power to 110-volt current, useful for stereos and small TVs.

Pro tip: always pack jumper cables just in case you forgot to turn the lights off before the team hits the field.

Grill It Up

Trailer hitch-mounted or not, you’re going to want to cook up your favorite game day snacks while tailgating. This means ensuring you pack a grill that fits perfectly inside your trunk or cargo area; preferably one that folds up for easy storage. Gas grills are usually the most popular because there’s no need to deal with charcoal or lighter fluid, plus there’s the advantage of being able to turn them off when it’s time to head to your seats without having to worry about a fire hazard.

Get Creative

Want to protect your tailgating gear from the weather and prying eyes? A truck-bed toolbox is a great way to go, or even a smaller toolbox that you can lock in the trunk of your car. Need an easy way for your friends to find you in the parking lot? How about a big, colorful helium balloon tied to your bumper? And don’t forget: in an emergency, you can always use your vehicle’s door hinge as a bottle opener.

Tailgating fun is really a combination of good planning, tasty food and lots of sunscreen.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on turning your vehicle into the ultimate tailgate machine, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

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