The best juice pack for your phone and other festival essentials

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It used to be that all you needed for a summer music festival was a back pocket, your bus pass and a bottle of water. But nowadays we’ve got lots of gear to keep up with: a phone or two, big body sunglasses, possibly your iPad, a jacket for odd weather (or a towel to sit on) and chargers for all your devices.

Let’s be clear: it’s best not to carry anything cute or valuable into a festival. However, if you insist upon bringing actual gear to Pitchfork or Lollapalooza or any number of the city’s summer concert fare, here are a few products to try and a few bags that come editor approved.


Renegade bookbag by Ogio (around $150) or messenger bag Timbuk2 (starting at $49.00): Both bags are fully customizable and feature lots of pockets and slashes for stuffing small things like pens and chargers. Both bags offer premium padding, to keep your iPad or Macbook Air safe, and all feature comfy straps. Made of either canvass or other heavy duty material, these bags aren’t heavy, so carrying them throughout the day won’t cause back problems.

Plus, the cool thing about Timbuk2 is that they just opened a Chicago location where you can go and customize a bag to your heart’s content.

Runner up: I also like the Chicago-made Alto wristlet (starting at $105) for ladies who are comfy carrying the bare minimum: two credit cards, a wee bit of cash, lip gloss, phone and car keys. (Your sunglasses should be on your head.) It also goes without saying that the Camelbaks are popular with the guys.

2. Honest bugspray: Mosquitos can carry ugly, nasty, deadly viruses (Think: West Nile Virus.) So, as the sun goes down, you’ll want to quickly spray your ankles and socks with this as-natural-as-possible spray. It’s made for babies and toddlers, so it won’t likely irritate your skin. Plus, the smell isn’t as obnoxious as the stuff you buy at the camping store. Bonus: Honest is Jessica Alba’s company and it’s on sale at Target.

Runner up: Skin so Soft by Avon: This is a two for one. You shouldn’t be wearing flip flops, but if you do, it’ll keep your open-aired feet from looking crusty and busted as you traipse about in the heat. Plus, it’ll keep away the no see’ums that come out when the sun goes down. Ask your mom or an aunt for help finding an Avon salesperson.

3. Poncho: It’s been raining all summer, so of course it could pour at Pitchfork or Lolla. Good thing you can get a poncho from anywhere. Macy’s has designer level ponchos that can cost $150. But Wrigleyville Sports offers a $6.95 Cubs poncho that is perfect for events such as this.

4. Cheap street corner sunglasses: Now is not the time to bust out Prada or Gucci. Go for cheap and chic.

5. The large Mophie juicepack or the pocket-sized Jackery mini. The larger, heavier Mophie ($99.99 at Best Buy) charges two phones once, one phone twice or one phone and one iPad. The Jackery ($19.99 at holds about two charges for the average phone, plus it’s relatively tiny. Note that with the Jackery, the recharge process takes up to 45 minutes.

6. The Camelbak eddy refillable water bottle ($14) will also go a long way as a music festival.

As far as looking fashionably svelte and not sweaty, I like Chicago blogger goddess Afrobella’s suggestions here.

— Adrienne Samuels Gibbs

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