I’m prepping for Carnival in Brazil, by all accounts it’s the gold standard for Carnivals and world-class parties!
The first big street parties I went to were the Caribana / Caribbean Festivals in Toronto, Canada. My mother took me to those, before I was even tall enough to see over any of the crowd. My father, on the other hand, was not anywhere close to interested in those trips. There were a few times when she thought she’d lost me, but in reality, when I saw a woman in a shiny, glittery costume I did my best to follow her in the parade! Sorry mom.
In any case, this is collaboration, tips and tricks between my mother and I that every avid party animal needs to be prepared for a full 24-hour good time:
Get a good side-bag!
I use UTG Multi-functional Tactical Messenger Bag, you can look them up as a Tactical Messenger Bag, MOLLLE Shoulder Bag, or a combo of those words. The bag I have is 6 x 14.5 x 12 inches and weighs less than one pound empty. That’s the largest I suggest. Keep this in mind; the goal is to start your day with a bag that is only half full. You will buy junk to bring home.
I suggest going to an EMT supply store or a Mil-Surp (Military Surplus) store and getting one. If you can’t find one there, go online. Buy the best quality you can. Remember, a good second-hand bag with no holes and tears is better than a new, pretty one that is more for show than service.
I also avoid any with military markings; I don’t want anyone confusing me with a soldier. They earned that title, and it’s a dangerous one to have in any country. I also avoid using bags that were originally for guns, when people who recognise the bag for what it is (was?) they will have no choice but to assume that you are carrying a gun!
~Not a purse. Why?
- Because the straps are rarely tough enough to survive the rigours of dancing and having people bump into you over and over.
- They are easy targets for snatchers. The straps won’t survive a hard yank!
~Not a backpack. Why?
- Because they make your back hot and sweaty.
- They also get in the way too much, one quick turn and they will knock over things in a shop and inadvertently hit people you didn’t even see.
- You’ll also over-pack with things you don’t need. All that room begs to be filled!
- You’ll buy too much junk while you are out, and end up carrying things that weigh you down as the day goes on.
How to prioritize what goes inside:
- Food! Everyone knows that the price of what’s sold goes up during a party. Food and water are no different, price gouging is real. A good bag has a side pouch for a bottle of water. Use it! By the time you realize you’re thirsty, you’ll be paying top-dollar for it because you have no choice.
- When you’re done drinking, SAVE THE BOTTLE TO PEE INTO LATER! Don’t get caught in a 20-minute line when you need to pee in 2 minutes. Better to have a friend stand in front of you someplace discreet while you pee into your empty bottle. Don’t litter and carelessly toss the bottle aside either. Put it back into your bags side pouch and throw it into a garbage can later. It’s your pee, don’t be sensitive.
- A few granola bars of some sort, just nothing with chocolate that’s going to melt into a chunk of goo to get all over your hands when you open it.
Keep these in the bag too:
- Roll a pair of underwear (For this trip, I am deciding between my Batman briefs or my Superman Boxer-Briefs), an undershirt, and a pair of socks together, tightly. Then put 2-3 rubber bands around it, girls might find more utility in using elastic hair bands. You can put on the same jeans and shorts again if you get stranded downtown overnight, or at a friend’s place after a big party with no problem. You don’t want to recycle what you wear underneath.
- A bottle of hand-sanitizer in the bag so I don’t have to use my bottle of water to wash my hands.
- A half-roll of toilet paper in a plastic Zip-Lock bag.
- A face towel. One you can toss later if it gets dirty or wet. I also keep a small, light towel around my neck.
- Extra batteries for your phone and camera, as well as a wall charger. If you plan ahead with your electronics, everything will use the same kind of charger. I keep a power-charger.
- A business card with your local contacts names and numbers written on the back. If you need to take a bus or taxi, you can point to where you need to go. I don’t ask strangers or people on the street for directions, only people in a uniform. I don’t like to make it so obvious that I am fresh off of the boat. NOTE: You should have one emergency phone number and address memorized! Use it as a check-in spot to call, or go to if you get separated. Decide on a time to checking every day.
- Big band-aids and a small tube of disinfectant with some sort of pain reliever. The pain reliever stops it from itching. You can always make a big band-aid smaller if it’s just a small scratch.
- Any medication you need to take if you don’t make it back home within 24 hours.
I strongly suggest you DO NOT take:
- More than 24-hours worth of cash, or any credit/debit card. Things get lost easily in crowds.
- Listening to Podcasts or music with anything that goes in/on your ear is not good. Keep your ears open at all times! If there is a change in the mood, or more likely something fun happening close to you, you want to hear about it ASAP.
- Do not take any weapon of any sort. If you are going to a party where you feel like you aren’t safe, do not go!
“But Watt, you’re a prepper! Won’t I be unprepared if I get mugged or robbed?!”
~A Panicked Friend.
“If you get mugged or robbed outside your own house, give them everything. You aren’t carrying anything worth dying for. Besides, when travelling you should be carrying your money in 2-3 separate spots on your body, incase one becomes compromised.”
~Watt, who always has a plan.
- Google “Portable Women’s Urinal”. Buy one! Small and cheap, but I have seen women drench themselves in tears and pee since they didn’t have one of these. They allow women to pee standing up. They are a game changer!
- Women should have a one day supply of any products specific to a woman’s hygiene.
I DO NOT carry any original documents with me outside the house/hotel. I keep a color copy of my passport, visa, and any other country-specific paperwork I have.
Between my first Caribana and the upcoming Carnival, I’ve been to more massive nationwide parties than I can remember. I’m looking forward to seeing you at the next one!
Did I forget anything?
~Watt, YusefWateef (AT) Gmail (DOT) com