Everything You Need to Pack For SXSW (And More)

If you’re heading to Austin for this year’s SXSW festival, don’t forget the essentials—and we don’t just mean your toothbrush.

In fact, it’ll be a miracle if you even find time to brush your teeth. I know that sounds gross, but there is so much going on during SXSW it’s impossible to find a moment to yourself.

As fun as SXSW is, it also asks a serious emotional investment. Pre-party anxiety sets in about a month before the festival begins. People asking where you’re staying, how you’re getting there and what bands you’re going to see. You start asking yourself “is it going to be fun?” “am I going to survive all the festivities?” “What bands should I see?” “What if everything sucks?” All that will make you go crazy, so be sure not to bring that anxiety with you to the festival.

Don’t worry: we’re going to make packing as easy as possible for festival-goers. We told you what bands to see and explained the chaos that went down last year. Now, we’ve asked NYC music scene and SXSW veterans what should go in an Austin-bound suitcase this year.

When it comes to fashion, it’s all about the boots. Mega Ran manager and music photographer Jeff Moses says cowboy boots are a must, while another music photographer Emily Quirk recommends rain boots. But this isn’t Coachella—what you’re wearing isn’t the most important thing about this festival.

Some suggestions I found most important came from friends who are looking out for my health. Make sure to have Pedialyte vitamins, sunscreen, condoms and tequila on hand. Why is tequila in the health section? Because you can’t have one without the other at SXSW.

Seasoned SXSW attendees reminded me to pack my camera, a notebook, at least “12” phone chargers, earplugs and hand sanitizer. Luckily, there’s usually a SXSW expert in the crowd willing to help out—like Big Hassel Media PR agent Leigh Greaney who says, “SXSW mom-life chose me.”

Whether you’re touring up with a band, road-tripping up with some friends or flying in, you’re going to need supplies for the road or the sky. The suggestions I found most helpful were: ring bubbles, tiny hands, a Gameboy and Star Wars memorabilia, because why not?

Good luck out there, y’all—and here’s a clearer list if you missed any of that:

BTRtoday’s SXSW Packing List

1. Cowboy Boots
2. Rain boots
3. Pedialyte
4. Vitamins
5. Sunscreen
6. Condoms
7. Tequila
8. Cameras
9. Notebook
10. 12 Phone Chargers
11. Earplugs
12. Hand Sanitizer
13. Bubbles
14. Tiny Hands
15. Gameboy
16. Star Wars Memorabilia