2011 SXSW Packing and Check List

on (ttk.me b/4Aa1) using BBEdit

Important: see my updated 2012 SXSW Packing and Check List

In one week, creative nerds world-wide will begin a mass migration to Austin Texas for the annual gathering known as SXSW. This will be my 10th. Originally blogged in 2008, I've incorporated many years of lessons learned into this freshly updated 2011 packing and check list so you too can be as prepared as any SXSW veteran.

First, you must unpack what you have packed

If you're an urban superhero that walks around packing useful gadgets like swiss army knives (or any kind of knives), allen wrenches (or anything capable of disassembling an airplane), soldering irons, or pocket torches, remove them from your utility belt, your jet pack, and any other part of your supercostume. Unless of course you're willing to pack a bag to check-in (which I highly recommend avoiding, due to risk of loss).

The list itself is of course based on personal preferences, so if you're a girl, or wear something other than black, you'll need to make adjustments. I'm sharing this packing list with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license: make and blog a solid version for yourself or urban super-heroines instead and I'll be more than happy to link to it, ladies.

Wear the essentials

The night before your flight, set out the clothes you want to wear.

Fill your pockets with

Over the shoulder equipment

With the above outfit, you're set to survive a variety of temperatures, climates, and social situations. However, you really need a few more things to make it through an event as geeky and lengthy as SXSW. Pick out the items (or their equivalents) from below, and then find a small (yet robust) backpack (like the Boblbee Megalopolis Executive Hardshell Backpack, see also the smaller People's Delight) or messenger bag that will fit fully underneath the airplane seat in front you.

Gear-up a level

Have you had any of the following happen to you?

Here are a few respective items for the extra prepared techno-road-warrior:

Rollaway the remainder

In a small handbag, dufflebag, or rollaway (like the awesome ZÜCA sport rollaway with aircraft aluminum frame), pack the following:

Print your boarding pass

24 hours before your flight, be sure to:

Get plenty of sleep

The night before. I seem to have trouble with this one, perhaps from procrastination, perhaps from all the anxious excitement of seeing friends I see only once a year at SXSW. But still, try to:

The morning of

Ship directly to your hotel

If you lack any of the above, call your hotel and ask them for their "shipping address" (typically it will be "Attention: Your Name" followed by name of hotel and their normal address). Then order whatever you need from Amazon.com and have it shipped overnight or second day air directly to you at your hotel.

Try out Neighborgoods

If you're missing any of the above items, instead of purchasing them new, you may be able to save money (and the planet) by checking for stuff on Neighborgoods.net first.

Share and improve

If you liked this packing list, please share it with links intact. All the links to Amazon (ASIN) products use my affiliate code and thus if you click and buy something from the list, Amazon sends a tiny portion of what would otherwise be completely their profit, to me, at no cost to you. I think that's a reasonable small nod in return for a free and useful resource.

I'm publishing this packing list with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license to explicitly encourage people to share it, improve upon it, and the only thing I ask is that you attribute "Tantek's SXSW Packing List" and link to this blog post: preferably keeping any hyperlinks intact as-is (feel free to send me reports of corrections or dead links to: aim:tantekc).

Lastly, I want to note that this is a very practical road-tested packing list. I travel frequently and I've been to SXSW nine times. I have personally purchased, used, and street/travel tested nearly all of the above products which is why they made the cut. I stand by them as solid personal recommendations.

Thanks and hope to see you fully prepared at SXSW!