The weather outside the Georgia Dome for this Sunday’s Giants vs. Falcons game will feel almost balmy, but die-hard G-Men fans know that brutal wind and nasty, cold weather will be the tailgating norm for home games at Jersey’s MetLife Stadium from now until the end of the season. You can’t give Big Blue your cheering best if your skin is blue with cold. Here are some tailgating tips guaranteed to keep you toasty in the parking lots this winter.
Layer up – You want your freak flag to fly, but make sure you’re wearing plenty of thermal-type layers under your team jersey. Keep the layer closest to your skin nice and snug and preferably in a fabric geared for outdoor sports like cold running. Choose fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin to avoid chills. Your fan-of-the-year look won’t be diminished if you cover your jersey up with a big, blue cozy down jacket. If winter is throwing its worst at you, wrap a thermal blanket around yourself or cuddle up with a friend.
Don’t forget your head, hands and feet – If your head or extremities get cold, you’re done for. Go for the Santa look, or nab a great wool, winter-knit hat that you can pull down over those cute little ears. Keep your tootsies warm in thermal socks and wear two pairs of layered gloves or one pair of gloves under mittens. Disposable hand and feet warmers can be bought in bulk and shared with other frigid fans.
Gimme shelter – A canopy will provide some relief from rain and snow, but to stay really toasty warm, you might want to consider investing in a winter camping tent. You absolutely should not bring your grill inside, but some heaters are safe for indoor and outdoor use. Always make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher close by, for safety’s sake, and don’t let children hang out alone and unsupervised in the tent.
The early-bird gets the overhead – If precipitation is in the forecast, hoof it over to Lot D early in the day and stake your claim to a premo spot under the footbridge. It won’t keep you warm, but it will keep the rain off your head.
Now, about that grill – Where there’s the scent of smoking ribs on a grill, there’s warmth. Have a huddle party over a nice, big grill but be careful about jostling, either for that last, onion-smothered burger or for a hand-warming session.
Move it – Throw a football around, play bean toss, take a brisk walk around the lot and get to know your neighbors (especially those with nice, toasty RVs). A little bit of exercise never hurt anybody and moving your body around will absolutely keep you warmer. Make sure your gloves, socks and the layers closest to your skin all have wicking properties or pack a back-up pair of clothing to change into if you get sweaty, as that will make you colder in the long run.
Trade in that icy brew for a warmer libation – If you’re a brewmeister, remember that the harder stuff gets you where you want to go much faster than your usual drink of choice. Red wine, nice, warming brandy or scotch will go to your head and warm you up in a Jersey heartbeat. Remember that alcohol of any kind thins your blood and the nice, toasty feeling it gives you is an illusion. Don’t overindulge, no matter what pleasure you’re picking. If you prefer a non-alcoholic warm-up, the pros over at Big Blue Tailgate suggest boiling water in a metal teapot on the grill and turning it into tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
Warm tummy, warm heart – Mama may have told you to eat your vegetables, but this is not the time to go for the crudité. Hot soup and comfort food like chili, lasagna and baked ziti are great tailgating indulgences during cold weather season.
Another way to warm your heart – Bring an unwrapped, new present to donate to a needy child through the Touchdown for Tots Toy Drive. U.S. Marine Corp. reservists will be on hand to accept your donations all throughout the parking lots or drop off your donation at Amanda and James Gregory’s annual NY Giants Christmas Tailgate. Who knows, the Gregorys may even share their mama’s famous pulled pork nachos with you.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.