Have you ever gone to a football game and seen fields of RVs tailgating? And thought “wow, they sure are having more fun than I am!” And perhaps even “how do I get in on that?”
Well, the good news is that you don’t even need to own an RV to get into the RV Tailgate Life. After all, you can rent an RV with RVShare!
And you might not even need to drive an RV to RV tailgate! Wait, what? It’s true…
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Renting an RV for Tailgating
So you’ve decided that you are going to do this RV tailgating thing. But first, you need an RV. That’s where renting with RVShare comes in.
I recommend that you rent a Class A or Class C RV for tailgating. These are going to be your larger RVs that have engines to drive them.
And they have all that basement storage space for all your tailgating gear!
With a Class A or Class C motorized RV, you don’t have to worry about finding a truck that can tow a travel trailer or fifth wheel. The Class A and Class C RVs are also often easier to park for new RVers, as they don’t have a “pivot point” like travel trailers do.
But even if you aren’t comfortable driving or parking an RV, don’t let that stop you from renting an RV for tailgating! You can often rent an RV local to the stadium and have it delivered to your parking spot!
That means you don’t have to worry about parallel parking an 37 foot RV, which is exactly what I have had to do on several occasions.
Sometimes, though, you might really like the whole road trip experience, where you load everyone up in the RV and take off for the long weekend. Just make sure that you have enough drivers comfortable with driving the large RV and that everyone is on the rental agreement for insurance purposes!
Preparing for the RV Tailgate
Even before the tailgate weekend arrives, you need to do some planning to make the best of your RV tailgate trip.
- Tickets. For popular teams on a winning streak, it may be quite difficult to get tickets to the game. It’ll be even more difficult for playoff games. So make sure that you have or can get tickets before you get too far along this planning process.
Some people are just there for the tailgate and don’t plan on going into the game at all. That’s definitely a possibility, at least at most RV tailgates. However, some schools prohibit you from continuing to tailgate during the game – you have to go into the game and that means you have to have tickets.
- RV Parking Spot. While some schools have large fields where they can park hundreds of RVs for free, on a first come, first served basis, most schools require you to have an RV parking pass. And at some schools, these parking passes are very limited.
To find one, contact the school ticket office. Sometimes, they will handle the RV parking directly or they can direct you to someone to talk to. If they do not have any available, then go to the unofficial fan message boards for that team. The fans will often be able to direct you to some nearby but unofficial lots where you can park the RV. Or even sell you a pass if they have one they cannot use.
- Weather. Each tailgate can have its own weather, and fall means that you have to be prepared for all possibilities. Rain, snow, hot, cold, and just perfect fall weather. When you are RV tailgating, you have a big advantage. If it is too cold or hot or raining, then you have the option of hanging out inside the RV with the air conditioner or heater. The awnings also can provide a lot of shade and weather protection. You’ve also got room for a pop-up tent or two.
For cold weather tailgates, consider propane heaters and fire pits. I like propane fire pits over firewood pits because you don’t have to worry about the hassle of firewood. It’s messy, it’s smoky, and it’s often difficult to obtain (many places have restrictions on importing firewood and you have to buy it locally). Propane fire pits are often safer since you aren’t worried about embers once you are done.
- Food and Drinks. Tailgating is all about the tailgating food. With an RV, you’ve got an RV kitchen. While it may not be as spacious as your kitchen at home, it’s definitely an improvement over all those that are tailgating out of an SUV or truck. Many RVs have full size residential refrigerators, and yes, that means all the food and drinks. You’ve also got a stove, oven, and microwave. And things like blenders, food processors, and mixers that mean you can go very elaborate with your tailgate menu. (For some awesome RV tailgate approved recipes, check out: All the Tailgating Recipes)
And you don’t have to worry about coolers and bags of ice! Although you will need some ice for your drinks, but the ice machine in your RV freezer can usually produce enough.
- Entertainment. You could have two days’ worth of tailgating, and that’s a lot of time to kill. Entertainment is important, especially if you have kids. Cornhole and beer pong are popular tailgate games. Frisbee and just tossing a football around is also quite common. Many kids have bicycles, scooters, and other things to keep them active and occupied.
Most RVs are also going to have TVs for you to watch games on. You’ll want to check to see if your specific rental has satellite or not, because many won’t. Even without satellite, you should be able to get over-the-air TV stations like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX which will have some games on Saturday and Sunday. For ESPN and the cable stations, you can try streaming (most college and NFL cities have plenty of cell coverage suitable for streaming). Just know it is difficult to access the HDMI or coax inputs on the backs of many RV TVs.
- Generator Exhaust. Most RV tailgating lots will not have electrical hookups for you to plug in your rental RV. This means you’ll need to run the generator, which produces quite a lot of dangerous gasses, like carbon monoxide. RV tailgating is not like boondocking out in the middle of BLM lands. RVs are packed in right on top of each other.
As a result, many RV tailgating lots require that everyone using a generator use a Genturi or similar RV generator exhaust system to move the exhaust up and over the RVs. This helps to protect you and the other RVers from these dangerous gasses. Even when these systems are not required, they are highly recommended! And your RV rental may not come with one. So check the listing to see if you need to get one to bring with you.
You can also do it based on the time of the year. For example, Halloween and Oktoberfest themes are very popular for October tailgates. And the last home game in November is our Thanksgiving potluck where every RV in the lot contributes and we have hundreds of people eat a tailgate family Thanksgiving dinner.
RV Tailgating Tips
It’s Game Day! Or at least game weekend, since with an RV, you often start tailgating the day or two before the game (yes, it’s true that many people will show up on Wednesday or Thursday for a Saturday game).
With your RV, you’ll be the most popular tailgate spot for your friends and family. In fact, you won’t even remember how you know some of these people. But how do you tell them where to find you when you are in a field with perhaps hundreds of other RVs?
Tailgaters love to fly flags for their favorite teams. That could mean a field with hundreds of the same flag and you have to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Try adding additional flags or even balloons to the flag pole.
Once they find you, will you have enough seating for everyone? Make sure that you have plenty of camping chairs and tables.
And don’t forget all the decorations. Seriously, it’s time to not only keep up with the Joneses but you need to surpass them with your team spirit. Obviously, every chair needs a team logo on it. And the pop-up tent. And the flags. And the banners and streamers from your tents and awnings. Don’t forget about awning lights. And tablecloths and table decorations. Go all out and make sure that everyone that walks by knows who your favorite team is!
One of the great things about RV tailgating is the post-game tailgating.
In fact, plan on tailgating as much after the game as you did before the game. NFL and some college stadiums do have rules that say you have to leave by two hours after the game.
But for the rest of the tailgating lots, you don’t have to leave right away, letting you have a post-game meal, watch other games, and not worry about driving in traffic with all the other fans!
RV Tailgating Safety
Just because you don’t have to drive, doesn’t mean that you can get plastered.
After all, you have to return your RV in one piece and in good condition. That means you need to monitor what is going on, in and around the RV. For example, you’ll want to make sure that no one is running the water non-stop which would result in flooding from full waste tanks.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on any open flames, from say grills or fire pits. And have a fire extinguisher nearby.
Don’t forget about food safety. Just because you’ve got this great menu doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry about cooking meats to temperature, keeping cold foods cold and keeping warm foods warm. Don’t leave food out on serving tables for long – make sure that the food is put back into the fridge as soon as possible and reheated appropriately. After all, you have no excuses when you have this awesome RV kitchen.
Just in case, I recommend that you also bring a first aid kit for small cuts, sprains, and similar mishaps.
See Also: Must Have RV Safety Gear
And finally, make sure that you use that Genturi to redirect your generator exhaust!
Ready to Rent an RV and Go Tailgating
Once you tailgate in an RV, you’ll never want to go back to tailgating out of a SUV or truck ever again.
Your menus will be awesome, you’ll have your own clean bathroom with no lines, and you’ll have protection from the weather, whatever it might be. And plenty of entertainment so even the craziest of kids won’t be bored.
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