How to Tailgate in the Cold

ohio state tailgate


So, it’s not even cold in Chicago. It’s straight up FREEZING. It happened so quickly. I went from my light, fall jackets to my parka that almost makes it down to my ankles in a matter of days. Winter has smacked us in the face in the Windy City, and it’s not a great feeling. Last year in December, I was still able to somewhat enjoy my walks to work!

It’s single digits in Chicago today (but feels like negative 20), so I guess I was ‘lucky’ enough to get a solid tailgate in at The Ohio State University a few weeks ago when it was 35 degrees. I am now only wishing for that temperature back. 35 was cold enough for me.

I try to make it to Columbus once every year to cheer on my home state team, The Ohio State Buckeyes, where a lot of my college friends now reside. I try my best to make my trip to Columbus for ‘The Game’ aka OSU vs. Michigan. A great rivalry and a guaranteed good time! It worked out this year with cheap flights from Chicago that weekend, so I was ready to bundle up and enjoy a few beers with my closest friends for the exciting match-up.

I am a big fan of football tailgates, not so much a fan of the cold. So, I have a few tips for those of you that are going to be braving the cold for this year’s college bowl games and the rest of the NFL games!


You can also take layers off if you get too warm, but you can’t usually add pieces that you didn’t bring in the first place. Unless you want to make a pricey trip to the gift shop. For this particular game, I wore leggings under my jeans, two pairs of socks, tall boots, two long sleeve shirts, a large sweatshirt, bubble vest, scarf, hat, and gloves. Whew. Like I mentioned, it was ONLY 35 degrees, but it still felt really chilly outside. Especially because we made it out to the tailgate tent at 8am (not my call). I brought a purse along with extra gloves, and definitely needed them after holding cold beers for hours!

ohio state tailgate


Want to get a quick feeling of warmth? Get your closest friends together and ‘huddle up!’ Just like the football team. It’s amazing how much of a difference this can make. Body heat is a game changer when you’re feeling like giving up and going inside. Pack up your group and play a game or take a few pictures. I took advantage of this throughout the day, and caught up with a few people I haven’t seen in a long time!

ohio state tailgate


Probably not the best bit of advice I can give you, but hey, it’s all part of tailgating. Sometimes when you’re drinking, you’re having a good time, laughing with your friends, and all of the sudden -you forget that it’s cold out! No, I’m not saying get black out drunk at your next tailgate, but allow yourself to let loose a bit. You can even make Hot Toddy’s, or other hot alcoholic beverages to help warm your insides and your fingers. Don’t drink? Bring the hot cocoa!

ohio state tailgate


Standing in one place for too long can definitely get a little chilly. Bounce around to different tailgates, meet new people and stretch your cold legs. Once you get moving, you’ll be sure to warm up a little bit. Luckily for us, it was College Game Day on Ohio State’s campus, so we wanted to make the trek to check that out. It was quite the hike, but it definitely helped us to warm up. I may have even broke a little sweat! I also got to see ‘The Shoe’ up close and personal on the walk, which I have never done before. It really is pretty!

ohio state tailgate

HEAD INDOORS (eventually)

The group lasted outside and at the tailgate for about 5.5 hours. That’s plenty of time to be outside in the cold for me, but I survived! We gave up at our tailgating spot when the 2nd quarter started to go inside, warm up, and watch the game at a bar. Sometimes, going inside is just the best option to get the feeling in your fingers and toes back.

ohio state tailgate

This day was a blast, and what made it even better is that The Ohio State Buckeyes won! It was such a fun game to watch with my best friends. We celebrated up and down campus all day, eventually crashing in a nice, comfy bed before midnight. I already can’t wait for next year’s tailgate!

Shop Ohio State Buckeyes Fiesta Bowl Gear!

Here’s a look back at some of my previous tailgating experiences in Columbus (I’ve been making the trip for a while now)!

ohio state tailgate

I may have to hang up my tailgating attire for this football season. It’s supposed to be one of the coldest Chicago Bears games this Sunday in their history. It’ll be a fine 1 degree outside. CRAZY! And no thank you to anyone tailgating.

Where is your favorite spot to tailgate? How do you handle the cold? Comment below!

ohio state tailgate

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I'm Abby - a weekend getawayer, lover of beach volleyball, grilled cheese enthusiast and puppy dog admirer.

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