What to bring to RollerCon? Anyone you ask will answer differently. But here is some advice.
STAY TUNED for a comprehensive, downloadable checklist of what to bring. Here’s a g-doc prototype. The finalized version will be a pre-formatted PDF, but you’re welcome to this one in the meantime!
If you do not live in the desert, come prepared for intense heat and incredibly dry climate – outside. You are likely to spend most of your time indoors. However, the casino air is even drier, and in many ways harsher because of the recycled cigarette smoke and the drying effect of air conditioners. The combination of hot, dry and air-conditioned air can dehydrate your body fast, and adding cocktails to the mix enhances the hell.
Most RollerCon attendees also skate a lot more in the 5 days of RollerCon than they normally would in weeks – believe it. You *could* skate from 9am to midnight daily if you add training, bouts, challenges and open scrimmages. That much skating is a blast, but its also hard on the body. So bring what you might need to ease the strain.
So let’s start with: What’s the weather like?
How To Pack For RollerCon (by Mildred Fierce)
And, there is life between RollerCons. Some more great advice from Mildred:
RollerCon Survival Guide
By: Gia de los Muertos & Roger Assaultrey
*Updated for 2016
This guide is one part road map and one part treasure map. We all want or need different amenities when we leave the comforts of home, so while this guide won’t have all the answers, it’s meant to help you with the fundamentals of RollerCon good times, as well as some of the things you wouldn’t think of if you haven’t been to RollerCon or Vegas or out of the house before. Read on for all the secrets!
We could write a whole book on travel tips, but here are the basics:
- Flights: Reserve sooner rather than later, because fares typically go up in price if you wait. Also check out your miles/points programs, and research seasonal sales.
- Hotels: Make reservations early, and ask for preferences like away from the elevator, or higher floor. It’s not typically guaranteed, but you can always ask. Also: request a fridge! Some rooms come equipped, and if not, you can typically rent one for a small fee.
- Ground: You can get by without a car if you rideshare/taxi around, or you can team up with friends and split the cost of a rental vehicle. The beer/grocery run you go on will likely make a rental worthwhile and then you have flexibility to take a side trip to the Pinball Museum or Fremont Street.
I Love It When a Plan Comes Together
Some of the best times at RollerCon are the impromptu dance parties, the pickup scrimmages, and a million other unplanned magical moments. There’s also that rad war paint class with Scald Eagle and Demanda that you want to go to, and the Lumberjacks versus Lifeguard challenge bout.
RollerCon is absolutely what you make of it, so think about setting a rough goal for your RollerCon experience. What do you want to get out of it? Panels? Skating workshops? Attending fun themed scrimmages? Open scrimmage? Drinking and socializing at the pool? Figure out what your tentative goal is, and then make yourself a little schedule so you know what’s happening each day, and you’ve already ranked them in order of importance.
If you’re going to a class that’s popular, make sure you’ve scheduled adequate time to arrive early. The same goes for getting good seats for challenge and full length bouts. Feel free to schedule some “you” time in there for gambling, socializing, or perhaps a much deserved nap.
Consult the RollerCon master schedule here for your reference: http://rollercon.com/calendars/master-schedule/
You’ll also want to hook up with the @RollerCon twitter feed for score updates, important announcements, and raffle drawings. I usually don’t like my phone blowing up with notifications, but this is the really the only sure fire way to keep updated with everything going on at RollerCon. Text “follow Rollercon” to 40404 to get started.
Pack It Up, Pack It In
When you’re packing for RollerCon, consider the weather, and don’t kid yourself about wearing jeans, pants, and leg warmers, et al. It’s INCREDIBLY hot in Vegas in the summer:
- The Average High Temperature for RollerCon is 104°F (40°C) with a historical range of 86°F to 114°F. (30-46°C)
- The Average Low Temperature (in the wee hours right before dawn) for RollerCon is 81°F (27°C) with a historical range of 70°F to 89°F. (21-32°C)
- There is a 99% chance of a Hot Day at RollerCon (temperature over 90°F / 32°C).
There’s much that can be said about what to bring on any trip, but here’s a few things that I pack that changed my RollerCon/hotel life:
- Cooler: It seems weird at first to check a cooler as luggage, but if you tape it shut and tape down all the handles, it’ll be totally cool, and you can pack other stuff in it as well. Then, when you get to Vegas, you already have a cooler for food, beverages, and ice packs. SWEET! There’s also those soft side cooler bags too if you don’t want to commit to one of your suitcases being a cooler.
- Meal kit: Speaking of food, you’re going to want to eat on and with something that isn’t flimsy and that you can reuse and travel with. I found this little mess kit that comes with a collapsible sippy cup too (also clutch for traveling beverages in Vegas) and this titanium Spork (we like this one because it also has a little knife edge) that makes eating on the go or in a hotel room a breeze.
- Humidifier: It’s dry as hell in the desert, and even drier in your room that you’ve been running the A/C in all day and all night. Humidifiers come in all shapes and sizes, and you can even pack one in your cooler to easily get it to and from Vegas.
- Disposable Clothes: Bring your derby t-shirts that are on their last legs and send them off right at RollerCon. Layer and tear them open for dramatic karaoke effect or trade or gift them to your new friends, but don’t bring them back. Bonus: no laundry to do when you get home!
- Power Strip: The outlet is rarely exactly where you’d like it to be, and someone always needs to charge their phone/tablet battery and plug in extra stuff. Be your own power strip hero!
- Travel power thingy: http://amzn.to/1VIZwNy
With all that said, do you have a super sweet costume for the Black and Blue ball that includes one of the warmer articles of clothing mentioned above? Then yes, bring it anyway, and channel your inner-Fashole. You can always take it off if it gets too hot, and you’ll be fine as long as you…
Remember to Hydrate!
It seems like a der, but there are lots of opportunities for adult beverages at RollerCon, and it’s very easy to forget that you’re in the middle of a desert, which even if you’re not being active, is slowly draining the moisture from your body. Water, water, water. Considering the increased activity level and the desert environment you should plan to drink between 2-3 liters of water per day. Not sure if you’re drinking enough? Keep pounding the clear until your pee is light yellow. Read more about the Mayo Clinic science here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256?pg=1
Get a decent water bottle and make it your hydration sidekick. It’s easier to get your hydration habit going if you have a vessel that’s easy to drink from and portable so you can keep it nearby. You’ll also save boo-koo dolores on insanely expensive bottled water. We like the Klean Kanteen for an un-insulated bottle or a Hydroflask with a flip top lid for an insulated bottle, but Bobble also makes great bottles that have a carbon filter built in if you’re into that. If you prefer an insulated bottle, Hydroflask is where it’s at.
- Klean Kanteen: http://amzn.to/21ueZAF
- Hydroflask: http://amzn.to/1NTujEs
- Bobble: http://amzn.to/1SZUuvH
The week before RollerCon, (or sooner if you’re a hydration badass) start playing the pee clear game to step up your hydration game in preparation for desert conditions. The pee clear game is where you steadily drink enough water to pee clear (also a great time waster at work). A hydrated you is a happy you.
Are you hitting the buffet daily and stuffing your pockets like Bluto in Animal House, or did you make plans to split a cab ride to the grocery store? Hybrid plan? Whatever your strategy, you have to fuel the RollerCon skating/party machine that you are. Ask around your league or newfound league friends to see if anyone has a vehicle or wants to split a cab to the store. It’s well worth hitting up a grocery store and stocking up on water (hydrate!) and fruit and appropriate snacks. If you’re balling on a budget, PB&J and a loaf of bread could be your buddy. If you can’t hit up a grocery store, look around for the best deals within walking distance. Don’t laugh, gramma’s biscuits might save you!
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can grill up some chicken and pack it in your suitcase or carry it on in your cooler bag or backpack. TSA won’t let you carry liquids onto planes, but food is fair game. Speaking of TSA, did you know you can put little airplane sized bottles of booze into the 1 quart plastic bag of liquids you carry on? Plane drinks!
If cooking and the grocery store isn’t your game, there’s food deals to be had at casinos, and plenty of cheap eats within walking distance. Explore and conquer!
Wear comfortable shoes. ESPECIALLY at derby wedding, wear comfortable shoes. I love heels. I love to wear them. High heels and jeans are the Rolling Stones of outfits. I’m not even bringing heels this year. Have you ever had someone spike your foot with their heel poolside? If you have, you know that’s pretty much your night, so you know, at your own risk.
Merch and Swag
Definitely bring league merch to trade: pins, shirts, stickers…whatever. Personally, I find that the whole “shirt trade” thing works out better if you set it up in advance (shirts are bulky!), but pins and stickers go for everyone. Speaking of stickers, be respectful about where you’re sticking them and keep them off things that aren’t yours.
Plan to bring a small budget for gear and merch if you can! There will be amazing vendors that will have at least one trinket you can’t live without. Maybe that trinket is a cute little doll, maybe that trinket is a shirt, and maybe that trinket is a new pair of custom skates.
You have arrived
You survived the trip and you’re here! The first usual order of business once you’re on site is getting checked in and settled in your room. I can already tell you that you’re going to need another towel, and maybe another pillow too. If I happen to pass the maid’s cart on the way to my room, I’ll grab an extra bath towel. I’m not taking it home, but I know the usually wafer thin one they’ll supply won’t be enough for my roomie and me. If you’re not cool with creeping the maid’s cart, you can call the front desk and ask for extras of anything. It may seem high maintenance, but you’re the customer here, and by their very nature, hotels are a customer service industry. They’re here to serve you. Keep in mind that gratuity greases the wheels of the service industry too and you should expect to kick the bellhop a buck for the trip to your room with an armload of stuff.
Whatever your food and beverage plan, it’s best to assess if you need anything before you dive right into the convention so it doesn’t become an emergency later. I like to get a few of those 3 gallon water jugs so I can ensure I’m drinking enough water, and I have a quick and easy place to fill up my water bottle every time I stop by my room which is another way to help keep yourself well watered.
If you brought a cooler (or bought one on your supply run), fill that sucker with beverages on the bottom layer before you add the ice to ensure good beverage density and quick cooling. If you didn’t bring a cooler, you can substitute a wastebasket from your room, or even the sink in a pinch.
Get The Lay of the Land
After check-in, settling in to the room, and going on a supply run if necessary, check in and get your RollerCon badge goodie bag if you haven’t already. This is a good time to double check the schedule for any updates or additions as well. If the event halls are open, familiarize yourself with where the various tracks are and where your favorite vendors are set up. The pool is another hot spot you’ll want to know how to get to as well.
When you’re at RollerCon, travel in a pack just like on the track. Find a buddy and don’t go it alone even if you’re sober, and even if it’s a short trip away from the group. Never leave your friend alone either. Yes, the folks you just met may seem like derbybros4lyfe, but also keep in mind you just met and there is often more than meets the eye. Also: not every predator is a stranger. Not everyone is as amazing as your derby crush and your derby wife, so protect yourself and be watchful for others too. If you see some shenanigans going on, or if your spidey sense tingles, then say something. If you’re not comfortable saying something yourself, find someone in a RollerCon shirt or similarly official capacity to help. For more info and resources, check out SkateSafe’s page on the RollerCon website: (http://rollercon.com/about/skatesafe/) Keeping yourself and others safe helps preserve this great event for future you to enjoy!
Give yourself realistic “socializing” and “resting” time. If that 10am panel on Saturday is something you HAVE to go to…then maybe go easy on the adult beverages Friday night. The same goes if you’re signed up to skate a ton of challenge bouts, or if you had your heart set on skating The Strip. Make sure you build in some time to kick it and socialize to stand in for the time your body is usually recovering in between practices or games. RollerCon is a marathon, not a sprint.
You do you, Boo!
Remember, Rollercon has something for EVERYONE, and just like life: you get out of it what you put into it. Have fun!