Bad Weather Survival Guide to Tailgating in Detroit

Keep your Lions tailgate going even when bad weather hits (Credit, Alonzo Delarte)

For a few years in a row, we have been fortunate with oddly warm weather in the state. But when it comes to tailgating, you need to be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. If not, you could miss all of the tailgating fun because you’re trying to stay warm in the car. With a little preparation, you’ll never have to miss out on another tailgate again.

Be Aware

As simple as this sounds, you need to know what the weather will be like on tailgating day. It is pretty easy to forget to listen to the radio, turn on the television or go online to check the weather when there are a million other things going on in your life. Of course, the best and easiest way to stay on top of the weather is to listen to WWJ, 950 AM CBS Detroit, which runs weather and traffic every 10 minutes.

But with the advent of the smart phone, you have weather reports constantly at your fingertips. There are a few apps out there you can get for free on iPhones and Android devices with options like AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, both of which have links from their home pages where you can download the apps. If you want the “official” weather, you can log onto the mobile site for the National Weather Service which is optimized for mobile devices and is very fast and precise.

Gear Up

Okay, so you know what weather is in store and you have everything you need for that sunny Sunday in downtown Detroit. Once again, remember you are in Michigan and the weather could and probably will change any minute. Be prepared for anything by tossing a few extra things into a container to keep in your trunk.

Have a rain coat ready. This is not only good for the rain, but they make perfect shell garments to stop the wind and keep you just a bit warmer. Also toss in a pair of gloves, because even when it seems warm, handling all the tailgating gear can just suck the heat right out of your hands. What works great for those warmer days is a pair of cotton work gloves. Then you can move the grill or chairs and not only keep your hands warm, but clean as well.

Don’t forget a hat of some sort, especially if you wear glasses. There is nothing worse than having a misting rain landing on your spectacles when you’re trying to cook the ribs. Also, for those tailgaters out there that have a bit less hair on the old noggin, it will help keep you warm.

There is one other piece of gear that the ladies in the group who seem to never be warm enough will love and that is a fleece stadium blanket. They can wrap up in it while they walk around and then when they sit down, the wrap comes with them.

Another essential bad-weather resistor is an umbrella. You can use it to keep the mist off when standing at the barbecue, keep the sun out of your eyes when you are sitting and if nothing else, it’s an easy way to hook onto the handle of the cooler so you can drag it over and grab a beer, all without getting out of your seat. Just remember you can’t take it into the stadium with you, so leave it back at your car.

This is not brain surgery. Just use your common sense and take what you’ll need to be ready for what may come. Then you will be comfortable while tailgating and be able to enjoy the game when Ndamukong Suh crushes the Colts quarterback.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at

Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at


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