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SXSW Festival Guide: Get Equipped for Austin

Sunnies, agua, earplugs, and more will make your mama proud

In Austin, Texas, from March 11 through 16, thousands of music lovers will race from venue to venue, catching as many acts as they can, all while fighting the sun and trying to hold their liquor. SPIN’s staff has collectively enjoyed and/or endured dozens of years of SXSWs, and they’ve assembled this list of must-haves to survive this week of weeks. Make sure you’re equipped for the week by checking out this list of essential survival gear.

Water Bottle: With all the scampering around Austin you have in store, you’re bound to lose your fair share of fluids, and “guy that gets heat stroke at the 2 Chainz gig” is definitely a bad look. As your mom or middle-school gym teacher would say, hydration counts, so keep some agua on your person.

Airborne/Vitamin C/Immunity Booster: With all the elbow-rubbing, shouting and not-sleeping, it’d be a miracle if you made it out of the festivities without so much as a head cold. Give the ol’ immune system a five, take an immunity booster, and get your body the vitamins they’re so sorely lacking.

Jacket: A seamless blend of fashion and function, the classic Levi’s® Trucker Jacket will have you looking good while keeping you covered as temperatures fluctuate. Throw it over your favorite tee, some cuffed jeans and a sensible pair of boots, and you’ll be #equipped for whatever life throws at you.

Backpack: This is your quintessential hub for all things survival-related. When 8 p.m. rolls around and your fog of day drinking dissipates, be thankful you’ve allocated a spot for your backup stash. Breathe easy, as the salvation of some much-needed hair of the dog is on the way. Wasn’t that nice? Certainly worth enduring 12 hours of being the “backpack guy.”

Earplugs: Prolonged exposure to bursts of feedback and thumping rhythms can be a major hazard to your hearing, so exercise some caution. Whether you’re vibing on the outskirts of the crowd or sacrificing your body for the sake of getting up front, pop in a pair of earplugs for protection — they’ll bring the noise levels down to a safe decibel.

Sunscreen: Warning: Sunburnt skin may cause insufferable discomfort and peer ridicule. Be generous with the SPF.

Sunglasses: Don’t waste crucial energy straining your eyes against the sun all day — save your strength for more valuable causes, like seeing as many shows as humanly possible. And because festivals can be a black hole for lost or broken shades, pick up a couple of cheap pairs just in case.

Comfy shoes: A comfortable, worn-in pair of sneakers or boots rank as vital for festival-goers: Think walking, dancing, walking, and more walking. Now would be the time to curb your fashion-related pride — it’s not worth the blisters.

Umbrella: The umbrella serves many purposes. Need to brave rain, sleet, hail? Check. Want to ward off the sun’s menacing rays? Check. Looking to insulate yourself from the mess of bodies moving through the venues of downtown Austin? Check plus.

Hat: While in Austin, a hat is your chance to eliminate sunstroke in style — don a fedora like Beck, or pay homage to that rascal Mac DeMarco with a tattered baseball cap.

Tags: sxsw, sxsw 2014