What To “Pack” For Startup Weekend


by Emily Reeves

Director of Digital Innovation and Insight Planning at Stone Ward

Follow Emily on Twitter @Reeves501.

Preparing for Startup Weekend is a little like preparing for a camping trip. There is a good chance you will rarely leave the space where you and your team will be working, so you want to make sure you have all your gear. You won’t want to waste the precious minutes that make up those 54 hours searching for a power cord.

Here is what I will be bringing with me:

  • At least one internet-connected device: laptop, iPad, and iPhone. Preferably all of these should be in your gear bag. You need them for work, for research and for capturing key moments and sharing them with your community (to remind them that you are doing something cool with your weekend while they are lazing on their couches). Side note: one of my teammates at my first Startup Weekend actually brought his Mac desktop in each day; I was super impressed with that dedication.

  • All the power cords for each of the internet-connected devices you bring. Everyone needs one and asking to borrow one from someone else might get you a dirty look and an eye-roll. Be prepared to charge all your devices multiple times. If you want to be popular, you might even bring an extension cord power strip to share with people.

  • A notebook and a couple of pens. Sometimes the best way to communicate new ideas with new people is to sketch it out.

  • A water bottle. The event coordinators will have a bevy of beverages available to the participants, but you need to stay hydrated and don’t want to risk not having access to water throughout the weekend.

  • Snacks. Again, the event coordinators will make sure there are snacks available, but make sure you have the things you like and that give you energy.

  • A sweater, sweatshirt or light jacket. Better yet, just dress in layers. You never know what the temperature will be like in the workspace and you need to be comfortable in order to do your best thinking and best work. In general, wear comfortable clothes. I would be willing to bet that no one would judge you if you showed up in your pajamas (just bring a change of clothes for the presentation to the judges!).

  • Comfortable walking shoes. Though you might rarely leave the workspace, when you do it should be test your idea or concept with “real” people. And you have to leave the building to do that. Walk into restaurants, down the street, on the university campus, or anywhere else where you can find willing to take three minutes to “test” your product.

  • A pair of headphones. If you get into the “zone” for working, you won’t want to be distracted by the conversations, action and energy surrounding you. Be prepared to tune out the others when you are in crunch time.

  • Business cards. You are going to meet new people and though we are all technology-minded, business cards are still the best device for exchanging information.

  • An open-mind. If you walk in set for certain things to happen in a certain way, you will certainly be disappointed. Be prepared to go with the flow.


The weekend will feel both long and short. Bring the things that make you comfortable and help you focus on working and connecting.