Packing essentials for #SXSW

Essentials that you should pack for SXSW

Is there anything like Texas in early March? Probably not, if you are one of the thousands of marketers, PR folks, movie buffs or music nuts (or a combination of the above) converging on Austin, its safe to say that you won’t see anything quite like SXSW. The collection of people, and hipsters, is quite astonishing. I love the festival as it allows me to disconnect from things and reconnect with friends, meet some new ones and learn some really cool things.

Instead of penning a post on what parties you need to hit or where to grab free snacks or what talks to sit in on, I’ll let you know what will be in my pack for my stay in the city.

Water bottle – it is a known fact that there is a plethora of free beverages at SXSW. While it might sound like a good idea to try to drink all the free beer you can (it’s OK I know you are going to try), if you aren’t hydrating you’ll be in a world of hurt. Aside from that you will be walking a ton and while soda, energy drinks and beer are tasty, they really don’t rehydrate you. Water bottles are light and you can easily fill up anywhere.

Camera swag – you meet some awesome people in Austin. If you have a blog and want to produce some interesting content, consider packing your video equipment because social media folks are always willing and ready to chat on camera. The things I’ll have on me are my flip cam, mini-tripod and X-shot camera extender.

Comfy shoes – sure I won’t be carrying these, I will be wearing them. As mentioned earlier you will walk a ton, probably a few miles each day. Cowboy boots might look the part for Texas, but if you aren’t used to wearing ‘em have fun breaking in the blisters. This year I’ll be going with a pair of Zagnonos from Reebok. Aside from being airy, they have a lot of room for my broken big toe.

Power-up – Since outlets are scarce, I will be carrying a multi-outlet adapter to help maximize the outlets lying around. I will also have my Powergen charger. Last year my buddy John Refford put me onto this life saver. You charge it overnight and plug it into your phone when it dies. The small pack packs a punch and will give you two charges for your smart phone.

Headgear – it is pretty sunny in Texas, so pack something to give your face some shade. Aside from a baseball cap, I’ll be packing a floppy cowboy hat for a certain party.

Rain jacket – anyone who was at SXSW last year knows how awesome Austin is in the rain. I picked up this rain coat last year from Patagonia and will bring it again this year. It’s light and packs easily so why not be ready for the potential showers of 2013.

Work stuff – my work laptop is pretty cumbersome, but will still need to check in during the conference. So I’ll bring my lighter netbook and iPad mini. One is for work in the hotel and the other is for taking notes or tooling around the web while in the convention center (plus it will help me save battery on my phone).

Reading is fundamental – nothing helps a flight fly by more than a good book. Since you’ll be inundated with more social media than you can shake a stick at, consider packing some recreational reading that you can read on the plane and during some of your downtime.

If you’re at SXSW maybe we’ll cross paths, if not enjoy the show and hopefully we can connect online sometime. Are you packing something that I may have forgotten?


27 comments
dhrosen
dhrosen

@nickcicero Always always have backup power with you! I speak from experience

Tinu
Tinu

Those portable battery chargers will save your butt. At CES I was gifted a Mophie that can charge both my cell & my iPad. Holds 4 charges total. My new favorite thing. I have an extra little pack that I had before that holds 2 charges for my phone too.

Erin F.
Erin F.

Since I'm going to have my handy messenger bag (Thank you, Mom! :) ), I may make the effort to have stylish shoes for certain things and sturdy flats for everything else. What else? Laptop (perhaps Saturday only), a notebook and multiple pens, business cards, and, of course, the all-important glucose meter. Can't go anywhere without that thing.

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

I'll be in cowboy boots. They're my favorite footwear. :D

jessica ann
jessica ann

love the powergen charger suggestion. last year there were charging kiosks but it's always better to be prepared. great tips, Jeff! 

iamreff
iamreff

Good tips from a SxSW vet!  Thanks for the shout out. Hope our paths cross in Austin. 

jeffespo
jeffespo moderator

@nickcicero power is needed as your phone will die at least 2X a  day and once when you really need it. 

jeffespo
jeffespo

@ReshefRoni you need to be...

frankthomas
frankthomas

@Tinu

I researched the mophie and it looks like a great investment for those on the go. The website says that the $79 version is "4000 mAh external battery can charge virtually any USB device in the world including the iPhone and iPad at super-fast speeds."

That was certainly a NICE gift!

jeffespo
jeffespo moderator

@Tinu Well ain't you miss special pants ;) That sounds like an awesome toy overall though, I also have a lighter-sized one-charger I got from Oracle but had the kid hide it on me, so I am trying to find that too... 

jeffespo
jeffespo moderator

@Erin F. Awww a shout-out to moms :) I may or may not know things about business cards

jeffespo
jeffespo moderator

@itsjessicann yeah I was off the charging stations after I used them my first trip to Austin the outlet extender is also an instant friend maker. 

jeffespo
jeffespo moderator

@iamreff pretty sure we're on tap to cross Friday night sir that is unless I read the RSVP list in the group wrong and a different John likes Zima ;)

Tinu
Tinu

@jeffespo so you would have gotten away with it had it not been for meddling kid?

Erin F.
Erin F.

@jeffespo An intriguing reply - what does it mean?

Yes, I couldn't find a bag, so my mom made me one. She's entirely too good to me. :D

I like your water suggestion. I'll have to remember to pack a water bottle.

iamreff
iamreff

@jeffespo Ahh.  I see you on the list.  I don't get the zima comment tho (I have a horrible memory so maybe that's it)

Erin F.
Erin F.

@jeffespo Well aren't I the dunce of the day? #facepalm I knew that. Vistaprint, right? 

jeffespo
jeffespo moderator

@Erin F. I work for a company that makes business cards. 

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