How to RV Tailgate Like a Pro
Ready to have the ultimate in RV tailgating experience? Then you need to follow these simple tips to learn how to RV tailgate like a pro.
Who’s Giving These Tips?
Don’t worry – this isn’t some AI generated BS. These tips are from a real-life RV tailgater.
In fact, I’ve been doing this for a really long time. Over two decades now.
I first started as a friend of the RV tailgaters. This is how I tailgated from the time I first started at Georgia Tech, way back in the “olden days.” We will just say that George O’Leary was the head coach then. That’s how old.
When Georgia Tech used to beat georgia. Yeah, that old. Sigh.
Then in 2014, I went and became a card-carrying member of the RV Tailgate Life. That’s when I bought my first RV – Starter RV. It was a 1990 Winnebago Chieftan. Everything worked, but let’s just say that it had the look of the RV in Breaking Bad.
After a few years of learning about RVing and getting totally hooked, I upgraded to my current RV – a Tiffin Open Road 34PA.
Today, I want to share with you my best tips for RV Tailgating Like A Pro.
Tip 1: Prep Before You Tailgate
Let’s start with what you need to do before you even get down to the tailgate. Preparation.
In fact, preparation may be the biggest and best tip to RV tailgating like a pro.
Because when you prepare, you avoid a lot of mistakes that will make your tailgating experience pretty disappointing.
So here’s what you need before you ever leave home:
- Check your RV maintenance:
- Oil and generators are a common source of RV tailgating headaches.
- Empty tanks and check your valves. No leaks that are going to lead to smelly problems please.
- Get a Genturi: Many RV lots require generator exhaust systems to run generators.
- Fill up with fresh water & gas
- Meal plan
- Grocery shop
- Review the travel route (don’t forget game day traffic blockages)
- Have your RV parking passes and game tickets on your phone, printed, or in hand before you leave.
Read More: Tips to Prepare Your RV For Tailgate Season
Tip 2: Know the Parking Lot Rules
It’s important to know the rules and regulations for where you are going to be RV tailgating.
A few of the big rules that you want to know and follow, so you can avoid confrontations with security, police, and your RV neighbors:
When Are Quiet Hours?
Some RV tailgating lots will have quiet hours, similar to RV campgrounds.
The rules will vary by lot, so you’ll want to review them to know what time you have to turn off your generator and/or turn down the music.
Common quiet hours are either 10 PM or Midnight to 7 or 8 AM. During this time, you are restricted on what you can do outside.
Now, not all lots have quiet hours. But those that do, not following them can get you kicked out and banned from the lot.
These are really common at some of the NASCAR lots, where they want some more family friendly and less party-all-night experiences.
Can I run a Generator?
RV tailgates are going to take a lot of energy. A lot of power. And most RV tailgating lots do not come with electrical hookups.
So you’ll want a generator.
But many lots will have restrictions on generator use.
It may be when you can use them (see Quiet Hours).
Or that you need a Genturi or other RV generator exhaust system to protect other RVers.
Or that your generator must be below certain noise thresholds.
When Can I Get There/When Do You Have to Leave
Every RV tailgate lot is going to have rules about when you can arrive and when you have to leave.
Many of these lots are multi-purpose. Like staff or student parking on college campuses. Office parking near stadiums.
So you want to know the rules about when you get there. Often, it is the day before, after business hours. Some colleges though have the advantage of lots of empty fields that can be used for tailgating. For these, you can often arrive several days ahead of time.
It’s also important to know how long you can stay after.
For colleges, that usually means you have to depart before school starts again (Monday morning).
For NFL official lots, that’s two hours after the game. Yuck! It’s a big reason why I try to find lots nearby that aren’t official NFL lots to RV tailgate.
Leaving NASCAR Tailgates
If you are tailgating in the infield of a NASCAR race, you also need to know that there may be times when you CANNOT leave.
Like immediately after the race.
In Atlanta, the NASCAR team trucks use the same exit tunnels that the RV tailgaters do. In order to get them on the road quickly, NASCAR says that the RVs can’t leave near the end of the race or immediately after.
Important things to know if you are trying to get out of town quickly!
How Much Space Do You Get
At some RV tailgates, space isn’t much of a consideration. It’s perfectly fine to spread out.
But in other tailgate lots, you are going to be confined to a very small area.
It’s even smaller in places where they have you packed in real tight, like in the infield at a NASCAR race.
So make sure you pay attention to how much space you get for your RV and your tailgate gear. You may have to make special arrangements if you have a really large RV.
Tip 3: Have the Right Tailgating Gear
If you are going to talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.
And you’ve got to look the look.
Which means your RV tailgate has gotta look good!
At a minimum, you’ll need:
- Camping/Tailgating Chairs for everyone (plus some for visitors)
- Pop-up Tent
- Tailgate Flags
- Table – with covers and decorations
- Tailgate Games (Outdoor Jenga, Cornhole, etc)
- TV and entertainment
You can’t be buying just any tailgate gear – it should highlight your team and showcase your team colors.
Yes, even the grill and coolers should be in the correct color, or at least not in your rival’s colors. So you’ll never see a red grill in my tailgate.
When Coleman first came out with the Roadtrip grills and they were all in red, we spray painted them with high-heat outdoor paint to make the red go away.
Yes, we are those fans.
Read More: Tailgating Gear Reviews
Tip 4: Arrive Early
If you want to RV tailgate like a pro, then you’ve got to get there early!
First off, it gives you the most tailgate time. And if you aren’t maximizing your RV tailgate time, are you really doing it right?
Second, arriving early means that you avoid the worst of the game day traffic. Even if you can’t get there the day before, you want to get there as early as possible to avoid the game day traffic and road closures.
Third, it gives you time to setup the tailgate gear, cook the food, and enjoy an adult beverage or two before your friends and visitors arrive.
Tip 5: Stay Organized!
OK, before some of my friends laugh too hard, I’ll admit that I’m not always the best at this.
But one thing I can say is that I know where the stuff in my RV is, even if you don’t understand the rhyme or reason.
In particular, my tailgating gear.
I know which order and how to pack those basement bays to get ALL the tailgating gear in.
And I know where all the hidey holes in my motorhome are for things like: extra plastic ware, disposable plates, first aid kits, food, rain and cold weather gear, and tools.
Yes, you’ll need all of those things at some point each season. And you’ll look like a professional if you always know exactly where all your stuff is.
Staying organized also helps keep all the clutter out of the RV. And stops you from buying duplicates. No one has room for all that stuff in their RV.
Tip 6: Be Prepared to Switch Things Up
You can tell the real experienced RV tailgater pros from the beginners mostly when unexpected things happen at the RV tailgate.
Like weather. Especially weather.
From rain to cold to intense winds, are you prepared for it all?
Sometimes when it is too cold and windy, we’ve moved the tailgate to inside the RV.
Change is inevitable
But it’s not just the weather.
Since I started with this group, we’ve moved the RV lot 5 times across GT’s campus. And being a downtown campus, there aren’t that many surface lots available for us to keep moving to!
We’ve also lost some friends at the RV tailgate through death, divorces, job changes/moves, and retirement from RVing. But that also means that new RV tailgaters get to join us. New friends to be made.
Experienced RVers know that change is inevitable, but the party must go on.
Tip 7: Leave the Lot Better Than When You Arrived
It’s the leave no trace philosophy at work.
Professional RV tailgaters know that you have to leave the parking lot in at least as good a shape as you found and really, it should be better.
This means picking up the trash and definitely making sure that any grill or fire pit ashes are completely out before you leave. Only leave trash in approved spots or containers, or take it home with you.
Many tailgate lots will provide trash cans during tailgates. Some will even come by once the crowds arrive to leave extra trash bags and recycling bags.
Pro Tip: grab these bags! They are much sturdier than your typical trash bags. They are often contractor grade so less chance of a really ugly mess when the bags break.
But even if they don’t, you should always put trash in a bag. And if your lot doesn’t have trash pickup, then take it to a dumpster. Even if this means taking the trash home first.
What You Don’t Need to RV Tailgate Like a Pro
I think it is important to note that you don’t need a big fancy motorhome.
Yes, I have a motorhome, but my RV tailgate also has fifth wheels, Class C motorhomes, travel trailers.
And although not currently, there have been some van lifers and schoolies that have RV tailgated with us previously.
Some tailgates even have converted ambulances.
Don’t feel like you have to have a big expensive mammoth Class A motorhome to tailgate like a pro.
Everyone is welcome!
When is your next RV tailgate?
You are now ready for your next RV tailgate, just like the professional tailgaters!
Like this article? Pin for tailgate season!
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