NFP tailgating: Gear to know

One of the primary reasons why I refer to the three years I spent in San Diego as the best of my life has to do with the $295 I spent on Chargers season tickets for the 2005 season. Granted, Qualcomm Stadium is an absolute dump and the Bolts went 9-7 and missed the playoffs that year, but the tailgating in that enormous Mission Valley parking lot is some of the best you will find anywhere in professional sports. The sun is always shining, the beers are constantly flowing and the atmosphere in general is more along the lines of an impromptu beach party rather than a professional football game.

It’s for this precise reason that, over the last nine years, I’ve become increasingly more enamored with the pageantry that surrounds the game of football. It’s why I went to Missoula in 2012 to experience the “Brawl of the Wild,” Seattle last season to explore the world-renowned “12th Man” and why a trip to The Grove at Ole Miss is higher on my bucket list than a trip to the Mediterranean.

Each new tailgating adventure brings about new lessons in how to improve upon the experience. Fans in the northeast do things very differently than fans in the south, so there’s a lot to be learned from visiting different regions of the country and paying attention to how the locals operate.

In addition, 2014 offers up a vastly different series of tailgating requirements than what our four-man crew put together at Qualcomm back in 2005. The rise of fantasy football and sports betting coupled with the improvements in wireless technologies and devices make keeping up with the outside world a virtual imperative while tailgating. DIRECTV offers the ability to stream every single NFL game to your wireless device, something every good tailgate can’t function without. And with the rise in additional gear needed to throw a kick-ass parking lot party comes a greater demand for the gear that can transport it.

OgioThe OGIO Renegade

Our friends at OGIO are well aware of this fact and have recently launched a series of products designed to improve upon the tailgating process. Seeing as how I’ve been carrying an OGIO golf bag for the last eight years, the team reached out to see if I was interested in giving any of their new products a try for the purposes of sharing them with you, our fellow tailgaters.

At the head of the class stands OGIO’s Renegade backpack ($150), a lightweight, compact travel bag with an armor-protected dedicated laptop compartment, crush-proof Tech Vault pocket and an additional padded pocket, perfect for tablets and e-readers. It’s the optimal bag for the individual who joins the tailgate party late, but still needs to bring essentials such as a laptop, ipad, sunglasses, additional layers of clothing, camera and, of course, a six-pack. The bag fits snugly, is easy to store and also operates beautifully for young professionals who make city commutes to work each day—especially those who ride bikes.

For those interested in a smaller, less expensive version of the Renegade but with just as much upside, the OGIO Rucksack Backpack ($55) can also be utilized for work or day-to-day travels while offering ample space and even more comfort than its aforementioned counterpart. This bag serves as an excellent travel companion for weekend getaways, like my 36-hour trip to Seattle last season for the 49ers-Seahawks showdown.

Finally, for the tailgating pioneers who set up camp before the rest of the party arrives, OGIO offers the All Elements Waterproof Bag ($125), perfect for our friends in Eugene and Corvallis who attend Ducks and Beavers games on a regular basis. After all, if you’re going to bring the integral technology to your tailgate experience, you might as well make sure it’s protected.

All of these products can be found at OGIO.com, or on my back on any given Sunday when traveling around the country looking to mooch beers at your tailgate parties.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh

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