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Tailgating, UCLA Style: Gettin’ Comfy

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Broaden your horizons when it comes to your outdoor furniture selection.

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Rose Bowl - Ohio State v Oregon Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Whether you show up to the Rose Bowl two hours or six hours early, I think we can all agree that being comfortable while tailgating is of the utmost importance. While you can’t exactly pack your living room, there are a lot of options out there when it comes to tailgating furniture.

I’m sure you’ve all seen the standard tailgating chair. The UCLA logo chairs are probably the most popular I’ve seen over the last decade (there is also a cheaper option), but they aren’t the most comfortable chairs I’ve sat in. In addition, the arms attach to the back of the seat with rubber grommets, and they wear out after some use and collapse. This one, which we picked up at Dick’s Sporting Goods a few years back, has held up really well and is actually a lot more supportive, especially if you’re there for the six-hour long haul. It sits up higher and has a more square, wider seat.

If you like a bench seat for three or more, you can get one of these. It collapses just like a chair but stores in a bigger bag, and each person gets a cup holder. There is even a recliner chair, which I wish I would have known about when my oldest was still napping and had a hard time falling asleep while we were tailgating (but I think the UCLA indoctrination was worth it). This thing is pretty darn comfortable, folds up like the rest, and you can recline back almost as much as you do at home in front of your TV. If you’re looking for a chair with some shade, try one of these.

The only thing worse than sitting in the heat during the first part of the season is sitting in direct sunlight. There are a few options when it comes to canopies, and there are also accessories to match. The logo canopy is extremely popular, as is the standard pop up. But I can’t tell you how many times we’ve set up our tailgate, sat down, and had sun coming in underneath the canopy. It messes with TV viewing and makes a hot day worse. These canopy walls are a great accessory, and clip on pretty easy. Unfortunately, they’re made for an “A” frame canopy, and we were never able to find a square logo wall as they were perpetually out of stock. We ended up getting the “A” frame wall, and we just clip it the best we can. For added style during tailgates that go into the early evening, canopies look really cool with lights strung along the frame for some lighting that isn’t too harsh. These are battery powered and should be pretty easy to use.

But it doesn’t stop there. These little tables are awesome, (and currently on sale) and fold up flat and pretty small. They have a nice UCLA logo in the middle and four cup holders. If you’re sitting in a standard tailgating chair, the table is right about knee height and is great for playing cards and snacking. We have two and usually sit the kids at one and the adults at another (yes, we even have a kids’ table to tailgating). This picnic bench is pretty cool as well, but it a little on the bulky side (it does fold up flat). If you have the space, it is a nice place to sit and eat and not spill your food all over your lap.

So, what are the options come game time? You can rent a seat cushion for a small fee if you are a season ticket holder, but I’m really not in to giving the Rose Bowl any more money than I have to. We bought these seats awhile back, and we loved them because they have a really sturdy back and hold up well. But since the bowl has tightened up on what you can and can’t bring in, they’ve given us a hard time here and there bringing these in (but not every week—it must depend on which security guard you’re dealing with). I’m assuming it’s because of the metal parts and zippers, so there are these that still have a back but no metal parts. I’ve seen people bringing these in, and there is also the cushion with no back option. All of these come in UCLA logo styles.

Don’t forget tables for your food, TV’s, and the like. These are great because they fold in half and ours have really taken a beating. We just bring Clorox wipes and clean them up before we put them back in the car. You can use a table top grill or stove on them if your grill doesn’t have a stand.

Beware that if you’re in Lot H, your stuff will be full of dust by the time you’re done because there is a lot less grass than there is on the golf course. I’ve even seen people go so far as to lay down a turf rug (like you see at miniature golf courses) to avoid kicking up dust all day. As much as you might want to wear open toed shoes when it’s a hot one, you’re going to have some pretty nasty feet by the day’s end.

Game one is only 64 days away. Go Bruins!