Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits Essentials: What You Should Bring

Event Track / Austin City Limits / Planning Guides / Austin City Limits Essentials: What You Should Bring

Article Summary 

  • A list of things that will make your time at Austin City Limits Fest more enjoyable
  • Be prepared for the heat and sun, your phone dying and a lot of walking
  • Options for sitting and resting between shows

Anyone who has gone to Austin City Limits before knows there are some key things you need to bring with you. You can survive without these, but most of them are simple, cheap investments you can make that will really enhance your time at the festival. The point of this article is to go over all the things you should buy, or at least seriously consider, buying before you head off to Austin City Limits.

Austin City Limits Essential #1 – Camelbak

Event Track Recommends: WACOOL Hydration Pack or CamelBak Hydration Pack
This is a lifesaver at Austin City Limits. First, it is really hot at Austin City Limits. It is not atypical for the temperature to be over 90 degrees. This means you need to hydrate. Second, they have free water refill stations throughout the Austin City Limits festival grounds, so refilling your Camelbak won’t even cost you anything. Why not bring a water bottle to refill? Capacity my friends! You can bring in a huge Camelbak and not run out. This means more time at the Austin City Limits stages, and less time running to the water refill stations. The lines for the water refills can get annoyingly long during the warmer parts of the day. I cannot implore you enough to invest in a Camelbak. They’re great at Austin City Limits, but they’re also great for other music festivals or really any other outdoor activities. Austin City Limits, as well as most other music festivals, allow hydration packs so I assure you that Austin City Limits will not be the last time you use it.

Austin City Limits Essential #2 - Plastic Flasks

Event Track Recommends: Undetectable Plastic Flask, 9 Pouches
You are not allowed to bring alcohol into Austin City Limits and we don't condone breaking the rules when attending the festival. That said, I have had tremendous success with these plastic flasks. Just don't be obvious and you will be able to smuggle in your party enhancers no problem.

Austin City Limits Essential #3 – Pedialyte

Event Track Recommends: Pedialyte Variety Powder Pack, 24 Count
Even if you are drinking a lot of water, it's still possible to get dehydrated if you're in the sun all day and/or enjoying beverages throughout the weekend. Drinking pedialyte when you get home in the evening and when you wake up is an easy solution that will assist in preventing dehydration and replacing electorlytes and fluids. The powder pack of pedialyte is the easiest option to pack and the least expensive as a single pack can be mixed with up to 12 cups of water, more than enough for everyone in your group. 

Austin City Limits Essential #4 – Cheap Sunglasses

Event Track Recommends: Edge I-Wear Neon Party Sunglasses
Some people bring their nice shades to Austin City Limits, and a lot of those people drunkenly lose or break them. Leave your $300 designer shades at home and grab this cheap pack of sunglasses that includes a variety of colors and wont cause you a panic attack if you suddenly realize you set them down and forgot about them. Plus having a few extra pairs gives you the opportunity to be the hero when someone in your ACL group loses or forgets their shades. 

Austin City Limits Essential #5 – Sunscreen

Event Track Recommends: Neutrogena Sunscreen, SPF 70
Perhaps you are noticing a theme with the sun and heat. If you forget sunscreen at Austin City Limits you can fully expect to return a lobster. It is almost always hot and sunny the years I have attended Austin City Limits. I highly suggest getting some strong sunscreen like the 70 SPF I recommended. There are some shaded areas at Austin City Limits, but most of it is not, which means you will be spending a lot of time in the sun. Be sure to bring some sunscreen with you.

Austin City Limits Essential #6 – Chapstick

Event Track Recommends: Burt's Bees Lip Balm
If you are the type of person who never gets chapped lips than I envy you good sir. The dry heat of Austin City Limits is unforgiving for those of us who do get chapped lips, so bring chapstick with you! Of course, you can buy it at the festival if you like purchasing things for 3x the normal price.

Austin City Limits Essential #7 – Earplugs

Event Track Recommends: Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
Want to protect your hearing without losing any of the sound quality? These earplugs are your best bet, you'll still hear everything, but at a noise level that's safe for your ears. Not only do these earplugs have 4.4 stars on Amazon, but the reviews include musicians, who can't cut corners on sound quality when it comes to playing live, so you can trust you're getting a great product for a really good price.

Austin City Limits Essential #8 – Portable Phone Charger

Event Track Recommends: Anker Astro Ultra Compact Portable Charger
If you have ever been anywhere with a huge crowd, like Austin City Limits, you will know your cell phone service is going to struggle. As your iPhone struggles to find that one precious bar at Austin City Limits, the battery is getting drained quickly. Bring a portable phone charger to Austin City Limits so you have a way to re-charge at night when your phone is dying. Having an operating phone is critical, especially if you need to call an Uber to get home or meet back up with friends at the end of the night. Save yourself from a precarious situation by investing in a reasonably priced phone charger.

Austin City Limits Essential #9 – Battery Case

Event Track Recommends: iPhone 7 Battery CaseiPhone 6 Battery Case
Same logic as the portable phone charger, just a different approach to the same Austin City Limits problem. The nice part with the case is you can easily use it without having to carry something extra with you.

Austin City Limits Essential #10 – Hand Sanitizer

Event Track Recommends: PURELL Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
Have you ever been to an Austin City Limits bathroom in the evening hours? If you haven’t, just know that what has been seen cannot be unseen. Even as a male who is not easily grossed out, I can unequivocally tell you they can be filthy. Furthermore, there is about an 87% chance the soap dispenser ran out of soap 3 hours ago so you'll have no way to properly clean your hands. Do you really want to eat those late night munchies with gross bathroom germs on your hands? Bring some small bottles of hand sanitizer with you to Austin City Limits. They won’t solve your Austin City Limits bathroom woes completely, but at least your hands wont be disgusting when you use them to eat!

Austin City Limits Essential #11 – Tissue/Paper Products

Event Track Recommends: Kleenex Facial Tissues, 10 ct, 3 Pack
Speaking of bathrooms, this is primarily a female essential from what my fiance tells me. As she tells it, the bathrooms will run out of toilet paper and if you're a female you'll will want to bring some form of backup with you. These small packs of kleenex are easy to grab and will fit into most any size bag. 

Austin City Limits Essential #12 – Portable Fan

Event Track Recommends: VersionTech Multipurpose Collapsible Portable Fan
Full disclosure, I haven’t brought one of these to Austin City Limits yet, but I am always envious of the other people who do have them. As I’ve said, it is not abnormal for Austin City Limits to get over 90 degrees and it’s almost always at least in the upper-80s. If you have one of these little guys it is sure to help, especially at the 2-5 PM time frame when the sun is just absolutely brutal at Austin City Limits.

Austin City Limits Essential #13 – Comfy Shoes

I don't have a specific recommendation as this is far too personal, but I cannot stress the importance of having comfortable shoes for Austin City Limits enough. Austin City Limits days are tough, even for someone who unequivocally loves Austin City Limits. It's hot, you’re on your feet all day, you walk 11.7 miles running between stages, you'll want to do all of this in comfortable shoes. Do not go to Austin City Limits in a new pair of shoes unless you are a fan of blisters. If that is the case, by all means wear your new shoes. I would also note there is a solid chance your shoes come back in rough shape after Austin City Limits, so be ok with whatever you wear being ruined.

Austin City Limits Essential #14 – A Good Backpack

Event Track Recommends: AmazonBasics Classic Backpack
You don’t need anything fancy for Austin City Limits, but it is nice to have a backpack. You can put sunglasses in there at night, carry a hoodie in case it's cold in the evening, hold water bottles, etc. Basically, you need to bring a bag to hold all your other essentials. Like most things at Austin City Limits, you should expect it to get trashed and be pleasantly surprised if it survives. This is why I recommend a cheap, solid backpack to carry your stuff.

Austin City Limits Essential #15 - Something to sit on

When you want a good spot for a specific show or you're seeing back-to-back artists for the same set, you'll have downtime while you wait where you are just standing/sitting around. For these times, the ground is always a free and accessible option, but if you want a more comfortable and/or cleaner option, we recommend bringing a chair or blanket with you. 

Event Track Recommends: Ozark Trail Folding Chair with Carrying Bag, Red
A chair is the most comfortable option while you wait, but the most inconvenient during all other times in the day since you'll have to carry it along with you everywhere you go. With that being said, a collapsible chair may be the best option for you if you're planning to sit in it during the shows. Keep in mind in order to see the stage and/or screen while using a chair, you'll have to sit fairly far back from the stage or risk having the stage/screen blocked and/or being trampled by those standing around you. The chair recommended, is a low price, lightweight option with free shipping.

Event Track Recommends: Cosy Meadow Outdoor Festival Blanket
Our personal preference is the blanket option. It's lightweight and easy to carry around with you, but still a great option for having something clean and or comfortable to sit on between shows. Our recommendation is a lower priced option, that will provide a place to sit, can withstand the rain and gives you a simple alternate to sitting on the ground.

Event Track Recommends: Chillbo Baggins Inflatable Lounge Hammock 
There is one extra alternative we've seen pop up at festivals lately, the inflatable lounge chair. There are multiple options, but the Chillbo Baggins is our favorite. I'll be honest, this is largely influenced by how much I like the name, but either way, it's a great option to consider.

Austin City Limits Essential #16 – Cash

Pretty much everything takes card at this point at Austin City Limits, but it’s still nice to have cash sometimes. It’s quicker, and a lot of times you will be rushing to get back to the stage. It’s also just nice to have a few bucks to buy the $2 water quickly versus having to wait for the card to go through. I always recommend bringing at least around $40 to Austin City Limits for small purchases here and there.


There you have it, all the things you need to bring with you to Austin City Limits to enhance your experience. I know it’s a lot of stuff, but most of it is really cheap and does make Austin City Limits a better experience overall. You can get by without it, but you will have a better time at Austin City Limits if you keep all of these things in mind! Have you discovered other essentials in your Austin City Limits travels? I’d legitimately love to hear them! Let me know by contacting me at

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