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Bad Weather Survival Guide to Tailgating in Pittsburgh


In addition to the Steelers six Super Bowl rings, if there's one other thing that Pittsburgh's known for, it's unpredictable winter weather. And in late December, things are just starting to turn ugly in the area. Bitter temperatures between December and February produce awful weather ranging from icy conditions and heavy snow to sleet and forceful winds, which can make your tailgate party downright miserable if you and your crew are unprepared to face the elements. If you're heading down to Heinz Field for this week's game against the Cleveland Browns, take a moment to review this bad weather survival guide to tailgating in Pittsburgh.
Car Essentials

While nearly all tailgaters remember to stock their vehicle with tailgate party must-haves, the majority of them aren't sure how to tailor their tailgating gear for cold, snowy conditions. When checking off your tailgating packing list, be sure to include the following winter weather essentials in your car:

  • Tool kit
  • Tow and tire chains
  • Snow shovel
  • Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth
  • Heavy blankets, one fleece or wool and one waterproof
  • Bag of salt or kitty litter
  • Jumper cables
  • Properly inflated spare tire, tripod-type jack and wheel wrench
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Exterior windshield cleaner

A quick checkup of your car only takes a few minutes, but can make a world of difference should you encounter unforeseen winter weather conditions. Before you head out to this week's game, review your car's ignition, brakes, fan belts, wiring and hoses. Inspect its air, emission and fuel filters, as well as the PCV valve, distributor and battery. Ensure that there is an adequate level of antifreeze and enough air in your car's tires. Consider fitting your car with a pair of snow tires to make driving in the snow easier. Fill up your car's gas tank completely in the event that you become stranded and need to run your engine and heater to keep warm. If this is required, only run your vehicle for roughly 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon how much gas is in your tank.

Clothing & Accessories

Of course, Steelers fans want to don the black and gold in support for their beloved team, but when snow storms roll in, skip out on the black and gold body paint and opt for your favorite Steelers gear instead. Check your local weather forecast when selecting your Steelers apparel and dress accordingly. When bearing Pittsburgh's chilly temperatures, layers are key. Not only will you have an easier time deciding between your lucky jerseys by being able to wear both but you'll also keep nice and cozy from pre-game drinks through overtime. Waterproof shoes and thick, wool socks are a must since cold, wet feet are one of the fastest ways to put a damper on your tailgate party. Complete your winter weather style with a Steelers beanie, scarf, wool mittens or gloves and earmuffs. Stuff your gloves and footwear with a set of hand warmers.
Food & Drink

Burgers and beer are great choices for a tailgating party, but should you get stranded following the big game, you'll need more substantial food and drink options. Stock your trunk with a variety of high-energy, non-perishable food items, hard candy, dried fruits and unsalted canned nuts. Keep several bottles of water on hand to prevent dehydration since your body will require a significant amount of energy to stay warm, which can use your body's moisture. During the game, chow down on classic tailgating food and drinks designed to warm you from the inside out, such as chili, hot chocolate, soups and coffee.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at

Jessica Wasik is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies. Jessica is also a contributing writer for Allegheny West Magazine. Her work can be found at

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