If you are just starting out on the tailgating path, start simple. Make sure that you plan out your meal completely. If you are going to be taking some type of portable tailgating grill, make sure you have plenty of fuel and that you have the ability to get a fire going. You should check to make sure what kind of open fire is going to be allowed at the venue you will be attending. Remember that you not only want to be able to do your cooking, but that you must do it safely. Fire fighting equipment is a must.
If you are an experienced camper then you probably have a pretty good idea of what you will need. Having plenty of water and ice is a must. You may need to have water not only for cooking and drinking but also washing. The first rule of food safety is: Wash Your Hands! You will need ice not just for drinks but also to keep your food cold to reduce bacteria.
I think the best way to start packing is with a list. Your list must include all the food you are taking, cooking equipment, fuel, dishes, flatware, but also garbage bags, paper towels, and furniture (tables and chairs). Once you have decided on a menu, go out to your vehicle of choice and sit on the back bumper. Run through the set up, cooking and clean up in your head, writing down everything you need to do these tasks. While you want to have everything you need you don’t want to be so weighted down with stuff that you can't find anything or can't fit everything.
Once you get into the world of tailgating, you'll find people who prepare all kinds of dishes from burgers to whole turkey meals. Starting simple and working your way up will keep your experiences good and allow you to add more challenges the more involved you get. Many people sow up to tailgate with prepared meals and spend their time sitting around eating cold chicken. A big part of this party is the fun of cooking.
Tailgating is a great way to meet people who share similar interests, are as fanatical as you are about sports and just want to have a good time. It is also something of an unspoken competition. People can go all out preparing fantastic dishes to show just how much they put into their tailgating. It's a great place to share and learn new recipes, catch up on the latest cooking gear and to really show your team spirit.