Rocks Off's Music-Centric Hurricane Survival Kit

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Lost in the middle of all the pre-Summer Fest excitement was the fact that the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season started on June 1. Of course, that's only the official start; unofficially things kicked off back on May 19 with the formation of Tropical Storm Alberto.

While forecasters predict this to be a mild hurricane season, that's no reason for us to get lazy. We're not saying you have to go drop a ton of cash on supplies, but being a little prepared doesn't hurt, either. If a storm does start heading our direction, do you really want to spend an afternoon fighting your way through the angry hordes to buy peanut butter and powdered milk?

Being prepared for a storm doesn't have to be serious business, either. The truth is that if a storm does decide to visit the Lone Star State, there's going to be a bunch of downtime, whether it's waiting for the storm to get here, waiting for it to pass or waiting for things to get back to normal.

And whether you decide to pass the storm by having a party or making your own music, it doesn't hurt to be prepared to keep the music going through the storm.

The rules for making a musical survival kit are roughly the same as for making a regular one: You'll want to pack light, you want it to be easy to carry and you want to keep it in a location you'll remember in case you have to make a hasty exit. This doesn't just have to be a hurricane kit, either: It can be a general, all-purpose musical bug-out kit for anything from cannibal uprising to flame tornado.

Remember: This is about making the best of a situation that can range from wet annoyance to major catastrophe. No matter what you end up packing, be sure to take care of your basic survival needs first. There's no glory in dying from dehydration because you were so concerned about having guitar picks you forgot to pack water.

A Musician's Survival Kit:

One main instrument: Your brain might default to guitar in this case, and that's not the worst idea in the world. A guitar will have to go in a case, which opens up all sorts of storage options for the instrument and the rest of your equipment.

But don't limit yourself to just that, because there are all sorts of portable instruments in the world, from small synthesizers to pieces of percussion to whatever instrument you played in high school and have been ignoring since.

Whatever you go with, make sure it isn't too valuable. On the off chance something bad does happen, you don't want it to happen to your good gear. Go for function over fancy.

Accessories: Now that you have an instrument, what will you need to play it? If it's a guitar, you'll probably want some extra strings and picks. If it's an electric instrument, you'll want batteries. Drumsticks, reeds, trombone slide grease -- whatever it takes to keep things running smoothly, have some.

Notepad/writing implements: There's no guarantee that you'll write the great American song while braving the elements, but on the off chance that you do, you'll want to write it down. You don't want to come up with your next masterpiece and then forget about it because you took a piece of debris to the head.

Candles: This is probably something that should be in your main disaster kit, but if you want to keep things going on after dark, it would sure help if you could see. Save the flashlights for important survival stuff. Plus, candles will give you a more pleasant performing ambience.

A Music Lover's Survival Kit:

One music-playing device: This can be anything from an old-school stereo to a personal CD player. This probably shouldn't be your phone. Smartphones are great multitaskers, but you'll want to save the battery life for getting in touch with loved ones after the storm is over. This is the time to bust out the old Walkman you've been meaning to get rid of but haven't thrown out yet.

Something to listen to: A no-brainer, but if this is something you're not using on the regular, it could slip your mind to make sure you have your music synced or CDs ready. Have a few mixes on hand: a hurricane party mix; a housecleaning/recovery mix; a mix of songs to help you fall asleep.

Batteries: If you're using a device that takes them, make sure you get the right kind. Don't mix up AA and AAA and end up having nothing to listen to but insects and wind.

Headphones/Speakers: For headphones, go with something cheap. A hurricane is no time to be a quality snob.

Glow sticks: Grab some of the safety-style light sticks that last for a few hours. They'll give you light and create a party atmosphere if that's the vibe you're going for.

Other Items to Consider:

Earplugs: High-speed wind can be pretty loud. If you're not playing music as the storm moves in, consider wearing these to protect your ears.

A Towel: From dampening a drumhead to improvising a pillow to wiping the sweat off your body if there's no air conditioning, it's the second great multitasker after duct tape.

One heavy-duty garbage bag: On the off chance the case/box you're keeping your gear in falls apart, you'll need something to protect it. A garbage bag may not protect it from impacts, but it will keep it dry and make it easier to carry.

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