The ACK Guide To: Tailgating Like a Professional

It’s football season, which means one thing for the weekends… well, aside from football and paddling. That’s right, you guessed it — tailgating! Everyone’s favorite pre-game ritual is back and that means you won’t look so lonely smoking brisket in the parking lot near the stadium now that football season is in full swing. Being a company based in Texas, not only do we have a pedigree in paddlesports but we also know a thing or two about how to tailgate and we offer plenty of products that would help make you parking lot royalty.

First things first: you gotta stay protected from the sun. If you’re a die-hard fan (of either the sport itself or the act of tailgating) you’re probably outside the stadium in your spot hours before kickoff. You don’t want to get zapped by the sun before the first touchdown so here are a few things to help:

Your main line of defense against the sun should be sunscreen. Hands down, no questions asked! We’d recommend the Aloe Gator All Natural SPF 30 sunscreen. It’ll help your skin stay protected from the sun’s rays, it is water resistant and all natural. You can’t really go wrong there. The next essential item is a sunshade and Kelty’s Hula Shadehouse couldn’t be better for the job. Not only is the design eye-catching and stylish but it is very deliberate in its protection from the sun, angling down in the back to give you that added protection, helping you keep your team cool and securing your place on the tailgating throne.

Aside from protection from the sun, you also need be comfortable when you’re lounging around before the game. Whether you’ve got an ENO Doublenest Hammock (made for two!), the Eureka Director’s Chair (with its own side table for your chow or drinks), or a Crazy Creek Camp Chair which could be used inside the stadium as well, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be a comfortable creature in the asphalt wilderness.

What’s a tailgate without the food and drinks? Well, not a tailgate I’d attend. We offer several products that can help you feel a little bit closer to your own kitchen like the Primus 2-Burner Stove-Grill Combo which folds up into its own nice little case and can help you cook up the meanest links in the lot. The stove-grill combo makes this a versatile, portable option for your outdoor kitchen setup and doesn’t have a large footprint. If you’re a charcoal guy or gal, Sandbar makes a great charcoal chimney called the FlatFire which folds up nicely for storage, is made of sturdy stainless steel and will get you cooking in no time. Now you can’t forget about the drinks and for them we offer a wide array of coolers like the Yeti Tundra 45 if you’re bringing cold ones for everyone or the NRS Dura Soft Cooler which has just enough room to hold a six-pack and has an extra-wide strap so you can sling it over your shoulder to tote it around.

Entertainment is also a must at a tailgate and you can quickly turn the parking lot into your own playground with some toys like the OgoDisk. These soft, bouncy “hand trampolines” come with a ball and can be used for a variety of fun activities like volleyball, baseball, and tennis-type games and can be tossed on their own like a Frisbee, adding to the fun. They can launch the ball up to 150 feet (!) and they’ll even float if you should happen to land them in some water. The Zing Z-Curve Bow could also make for some interesting parking lot games. It comes with three super-soft arrows (safety first, y’all!), two for the long-range shooting (up to 125 feet) and one with a suction cup end and the bow is easy to use for both right and left-handed folks. Everyone appreciates some tunes, whether its background music for conversation or jams to get you pumped for the game, Grace Digital’s Eco Terra Waterproof Audio System is just what you need. This boombox-style music player will fit your iPhone, Android, Blackberry or any MP3 player so you know you’re covered on that front. It holds your device behind a 100% waterproof, clear shell so if and when spills happen, you’re in the clear and it even floats!

Hopefully this has sparked some ideas for your adventures in tailgating. Remember, many camping supplies are great for your pre-game asphalt excursions so browse our online inventory and let your imagination go wild. Pretty soon they’ll have to build a tailgating hall-of-fame just to enshrine your pre-game ingenuity for generations to come.

Trent @ ACK

Camping and Kayaking – Part 2

So I have finally recovered from the Demo Weekends. Thanks to everyone that helped with the events. We had some so-so weather for the San Marcos and Houston events, but everyone trudged along. Continuing on with the Camping and Kayaking theme, part two of this three part series follows:

Fire and Water: Fire, Man’s greater discovery. Fire makes everything better. Fire cooks your food, keeps your warm, and can add a romantic touch in the right situation. A simple lighter usually suffices, but as a backup you can’t deny the utility of simple Swedish FireSteel . FireSteel will spark in any type of weather and altitude. The best $12 bucks anyone could spend. Water is a no-brainer. You need a water to transport it and a way to treat the water if you run out of your Evian and have to drink from the bayou. There are chemical treatments as well as ultraviolet systems. Both are equally effective, but the ultraviolet systems are faster and over time become more cost effective. Chemical treatments like Aquamira Water Treatment Drops are fast and effective as well as easy to pack, and take 20 minutes to treat a liter of water. UV systems like the SteriPen Classic Safe Water System allow you to filter and purify a liter of water it in about 45 seconds. Lamp life on the SteriPen is 8000 cycles, so in English that would mean about 2,000 gallons or 36 fifty-five gallon drums of water.

Coolers: Food and drinks MUST stay cold. Yeah, the Styrofoam one from the ‘Snappy Mart’ works just fine, but boy does it make a mess when it gets inadvertently crushed by your x-camping buddy who uses it as a camp chair. A good cooler, like the Yeti Roadie, packed properly and opened infrequently can hold ice for days, sometimes weeks, even in the hottest environments. For a less rigid cooler there are soft-sided ones like the NRS Dura Soft Cooler. Not quite as insulated as the hard-siders but still keeps ice for a day or two. We kept ice in our coolers from start to finish in The Grand. After 15 self-supported days – the margarita’s tasked fantastic on day 13 when we were sure we could spare the extra ice.

Camp Chairs: If you are hiking any distance you don’t want to carry a bulky camp seat, I recommend the Therm-A-Rest Trekker, it turns your Therm-A-Rest Sleeping Pad into a comfy camp chair and takes up virtually no space. If you don’t have far to travel then a camp chair like the Crazy Creek Classic Camp Chair is simple, sturdy and comfortable, just tougher to pack. Those chairs in a bag are great but are no fun to hike, so reserve them for the shortest trips.

Sleeping Pad: Get the biggest one that fits your tent. Why not, they don’t weigh a lot and strap to the outside of your pack. The Therm-A-Rest Base Camp is super comfy and keeps you well insulated from the ground. As mentioned above, these will double as your camp chair so you get a two-fer.

Look for part 3 in a few days. Comments are always welcome and encouraged or you can send an email to customer@austinkayak.com.

Steve