Joe Drozda and Bob Bley are writing the third edition of The Tailgater’s Handbook which will be published in 2014. Drozda is considered the “Father of American Tailgating” by many including The Wall Street Journal. Drozda and Bley both grew up in NW Indiana and attended Indiana University together.
Fall is the season when the variation in temperatures needs to be considered by tailgaters. In the same day, you can freeze and just a few hours later, risk sunburn. Staying comfortable and enjoy being outdoors with temperature swings of 40 degrees is a challenge for tailgaters.
Kickoff time for the game is a key. To tailgate before a game that starts at noon, expect brisk morning air that will feel even colder if the wind is blowing. By afternoon, and especially if your stadium seats are in the sun, you’ll be sweating and in need of sunscreen. For a night game, the pregame tailgating happens in the heat of the day where short sleeves will be appropriate but after sundown, it can get downright cold. So what's a fan supposed to do?
Think of steps you can take to lessen the effects of nature. If it's a cold morning, simply try to place yourself in the sun. To help escape the wind, park your vehicle as a windscreen, up wind of your gathering. Use your grill as a heat source or in more extreme conditions, we’ve even seen fans use portable wood-burning fire pots.
Clothing choice is another key factor for your comfort during the entire day. Your mother always said you should wear layers and she was right! By layering, a tailgater can put on and take off items as needed. A lightweight, waterproof windbreaker works great as an outside “shell” for protection from rain and wind, as well as retaining body heat. “Sub-layer” with shirts and sweaters as conditions dictate, keeping flexibility in mind.
For food calories and internal body heat, try this tailgaters’ favorite that can be eaten standing by the fire or sitting in the shade: Chicken Sloppy Joe’s – Buffalo Style.