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After a few especially eventful days in the auto world last week, we were looking forward to taking a little break. We got all geared up for some rest and relaxation, until it hit us: it’s football season! This past week, preseason kicked off, and we could not be more revved up to see some touchdowns by our favorite teams, and some quality tailgating setups by our favorite fans. But do you have what it takes to take your tailgate to the top? Well, let’s find out. Load up–and lace up–as we take you through our list of tips to make your next tailgate a touchdown.

PAINT YOUR FACE

If you’re going to be out in the sun all day, the first thing you’ll want to do is paint your face… with sunblock. It seems obvious, but people often forget. And we wouldn’t want you to be stuck sporting a red face for the next couple weeks.

PREPARATION MAKES PERFECTION

How do you think the pros go pro? They practice and they prepare. Same goes for your tailgate. The night before the big game, cut all your veggies and cook all the meats that can be easily heated up, like hot dogs. This will save you time, speed up your set-up and get your tailgate to the end zone in no time.

STAY HYDRATED

Tailgating is hard work. And the only way you’re going to make it through the whole game is if you stay hydrated the whole time. Bring a cooler full of water, and even freeze some water bottles the night before; they act as great ice packs, and as they melt they make great bottles of water. Go figure.

DON’T FORGET THE FOIL

With more than 40 uses, foil should be a starter at every game. Use it to make a miniature oven, plates, to-go containers or just a sanitary surface for preparation. You can even ball it up and use it to scrub off tough grease and grime from the grill. Aluminum foil is the true MVP of every tailgate.

PUMP IT UP

No, not the pig skin – the jams. No tailgating party is complete without the perfect Pump Up playlist. Turn up the beat with some of the NFL’s most commonly played songs sure to get you fired up.

KEEP IT CLEAN

We get it: after watching your favorite team win big, the last thing you want to do is clean up. But it’s important to always leave the area how you found it. Make things a little easier by bringing plenty of extra trash bags, and make a point to pick up while you party. That way, when the final whistle sounds, everything will already be clean as a whistle.

STAY SAFE OUT THERE

No matter which team wins or loses, as long as you stay safe, we all win. Be sure to pace your party, choose a designated driver and, if need be, call a cab to drive things home.

There you have it: everything you need to make your next tailgate a huge hit. And if someone happens to hit your setup, you know you can always count on us to get your car off the sidelines and back on the road.