The Best Tailgating Gear of 2022
Turn the parking lot into your party HQ
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“Two more runs, skip the last?” is universal skierspeak for “let’s wrap it up and head to après.” You could go to a bar, or you could just gather around a truck bed prepped with lounge chairs, comfy shoes, and a cooler full of goodies. A well-stocked parking-lot après can make the difference between a good day and a great one.
HitchFire Forge 15 Grill ($549)
A grill that attaches to your car hitch? Strange, we thought, until we were cooking slopeside in seconds. The fast and simple design—just fold out the prep tables and turn the auto-ignite knobs to start grilling—saved our testers from frozen fingers when we tested it out at 10,000 feet. And we didn’t have to wait long for our food to cook. The 355-square-inch grate fits about ten burgers and puts out 7,500-BTUs per burner, powered by two standard propane bottles.
Marmot Avant Featherless Hoodie ($225)
When you get back to your car, swap your ski shell for something warmer. This jacket’s synthetic fill replicates the warmth-to-weight ratio of real feathers. It’s also 75 percent recycled. It kept us warm down to 15 degrees but weighs just over one pound. The durable 20-denier nylon fabric held up to ski runs and shot skis. (women’s XS–XL / men’s S–XXL)
Muck Originals Duck Lace Boots ($130)
After a long day on the hill, changing out of boots and back into pretty much any other pair of shoes is bliss. But these fully waterproof kicks are more than comfortable. The Duck Lace’s full-grain leather upper kept our feet warm and dry during sub-zero powder days and muddy tailgates alike. The antimicrobial footbed neutralized odor, even if we’d been in sweaty ski socks all day.
Rumpl Stash Mat ($79)
This 52-by-75-inch mat turns snowy lots and dirty car bumpers into plush spaces for boots, butts, and gear. The laminated bottom fends off dirt and moisture, and the soft microsuede top is luxurious against bare feet. “I loved not having to hop around on one foot to keep my toes dry while trying to get my boots off,” said one tester. The fun patterns also create a backdrop for your après charcuterie board.
Sierra Nevada Dankful IPA ($11 for six-pack)
We love good beer; it’s even better when that brew benefits a great cause. Seven types of hops give this IPA a bitter yet herbal flavor, that’s balanced by hints of citrus. One million dollars’ worth of sales goes to nonprofits supporting communities around the country. (In past years, Sierra Nevada has donated to food-security organizations in communities around the country.)
Yeti Trailhead Camp Chair ($300)
The Yeti Trailhead may be one of most expensive camp chairs on the market, but you certainly get what you pay for. This seat marries trademark durabilty with a high back, wide armrests, and snow-shedding mesh that make for seriously comfortable lounging. The wide feet create a stable base even when perched in a snowbank.
Hydro Flask 18L Day Escape Soft Cooler Tote ($150)
At 18 liters, this cooler is the perfect size for stashing snacks and beverages in the car while saving trunk space for ski gear. The waterproof zipper prevents melted ice water from leaking out if the rig tips over, yet it still runs smoothly, without any yanking—a rarity. Increased insulation at the bottom—the place most susceptible to thermal transfer—kept beers cold (but not frozen) during midwinter and chilled in a toasty car on closing day.
Hibear All-Day Adventure Flask (from $85)
Calling all parking-lot mixologists! This 32-ounce growler moonlights as a cocktail shaker and pour-over coffee maker. Simply add the necessary attachments, which all come inside the vessel. An electropolish prevents tastes and smells from hanging around, so you can transport wine one day and cold-brew the next. It’s the multitool of bottles. The removable silicone base makes a great doggie bowl in a pinch.
Stillhouse Peach Tea Whiskey ($20)
A day in stiff boots calls for a stiff drink. This 69-proof corn whiskey is infused with peach tea liquor—great for straight sips or for crafting unusual cocktails. The screw-cap stainless-steel vessel offers the recyclability of a can but the portability of a screw-cap water bottle. Broken glass no more!