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

Product Reviews: Tested by a Winter Texas Coast

Stacking them with a Thule Stacker

I recently spent a few days down at the Texas Coast with some family and friends. We were able to take advantage of the beautiful weather to do some paddling back in the bays, attempt a little fishing and have lots of fun! Naturally, for Christmas, I acquired a few items from ACK and couldn’t wait to try them out. Among them were a Wool Buff Headwear, a Yak Attack ParkNPole Stick, Thule Stacker and a Sandbar FlatFire Charcoal Chimney starter.

The Wool Buff was awesome. When the mornings were a little brisk and slightly breezy, it kept me warm. It also helped shield my face and neck from the wind, sun, and spray. The beautiful thing about wool is that it works to keep you warm when it’s cold, but also keeps you cool when it warms up. I highly recommend trying one of these out, especially if you are spending significant time in the outdoors. I plan on using this for hiking, running, and backpacking as well.

The Yak Attack ParkNPole Stick works very well. Some of its benefits over other stakeout poles I own and use is that it is lightweight, has a comfortable handle that doubles as a push pole, and it floats if you drop it in the water. I was able to pole my Tarpon while standing when I encountered some pretty skinny waters.

Firing it up with a Sandbar Charcoal Chimney fire starter!

Fire — humans have an innate attraction to it for obvious reasons but when it comes to grilling with charcoal a chimney system such as the Sandbar FlatFire Charcoal Chimney is the best. Personally, I dislike the taste and the idea of having lighter fluid fumes near my food, and it takes longer. This system uses no lighter fluid, takes only a few minutes to create glowing red coals (all of them), and only requires a few sheets of paper and a match to light. Plus, here’s the best — it folds flat. I spent four months hauling around a round chimney on a road trip. I wish I had found this solution a lot sooner. All in all, a must have, and I liked it so much I bought one for my father as well.

Last but not least, the Thule Stacker enabled me to bring all 4 kayaks on one vehicle. A slick system, I have used this several times to haul multiple kayaks. Sturdy and easy to install, the Stacker makes it easy to bring your friends along for a paddling trip.

Can’t wait to get out again soon!

Kristian @ACK Austin Store