How To Maximize Cooler Space At Your Tailgate

Nothing brings down the vibe at your tailgate like a warm can of a beverage you were excited to drink. At that point, there isn't really much you can do except shove it down into the ice and hope for the best, or drink something warm and gross. As you prepare for your next tailgate, cookout, barbecue, or picnic, you may be asking yourself — how do I get everything to fit in the cooler and stay cold? For a truly great experience, you don't just want a case of domestic brews and a bag of potato chips. You need variety! Beer, hard seltzers, non-alcoholic cocktails, sparkling water, and even wine should all be on hand to wash down dips, cheeses, salads, and cold cut sandwiches. Yes, it's true: good wine is now sold in cans.

Katie Hendley, Certified Specialist in Wine and sommelier, has some tips. Contrary to the instinct of many, don't remove cans from the four- or six-pack carton they were packaged in or the bag of wine from the box. Instead, use a mix of boxed beverages to create a flat shelf across the bottom of the cooler and cover it with a layer of ice. Then, easily pack all your chilled foods on top. The level surface that you created can help prevent spills, leaks, and snacking disasters.

Get those drinks on a rotation!

When you arrive at the function, you will easily be able to grab your favorite pasta salad or French onion dip and set it out. Then, remove the cartons of drinks and boxed wines. These will be your first round of beverages, but it is no problem if they aren't all snatched up right away. Katie Hendley notes that the boxes will not warm up as quickly as solo cans, so you're buying yourself a little time and space! Your cooler now has ample room to chill another round of beverages. If any of your drinks start to get warm, take them on another quick trip to the cooler. Since you removed the food and have the drinks on rotation, you shouldn't be running into too many space constraints.

If you really want to maximize efficiency, share this tip and coordinate with your friends. Have each of them bring a cooler stocked with a different type of beverage, — and some backup — and then label the coolers with a piece of masking tape and a permanent marker. That way, you won't have to spend too much time rifling through countless cans while elbow-deep in ice!