During the Hackathon
Now that you have done everything you can to prepare for the hackathon, here are some tips to help you on the day(s).
Wi-Fi networks at Hackathons are renowned for being poor. To be fair, imagine 100+ attendees all connecting 3 devices each to a network that isn't designed to handle that many connections.
I'd advise to rely on wi-fi as little as possible. It may help to download as much online material that you may need as you can before the event.
Many mobile phone contracts these days include a large data package, and most phones these days, the ability to tether. If you can, i'd recommend having tethering off of your mobile phone for internet access as a backup plan.
Try and get a prototype of your project working as soon as possible.
Food And Drink
Most hackathons provide food, though some wont. I'd recommend taking snacks to stave away hunger between meals.
Some hackathons provide a bar in the evening. Whilst this sounds like a great way to blow off steam and relax, if you are already tired, alcohol can send you to sleep. That said, some people swear by the Balmer Peak effect.
Sweets & energy drinks
Whilst you may really like sweets and energy drinks, i'd advise you to not over indulge in them. Fruit contains natural sugars that are released slower, and is a tasty alternative.
It is super important to keep hydrated during the event. Water is a crucial part of maintaining peak brain activity.
Bringing the right equipment will help you during your hackathon.
In case the number of available powerpoints is less than ideal, it's always useful to have some charged powerbricks to hand.
Hackathons can be noisy environments, with many people/teams conversing the ambient noise level can be more than your used to when developing. Make sure you bring some headphones to blockout unwanted sounds. They can also be useful when sleeping (see below).
Sometimes there just aren't enough power sockets for everyone. Having a spare power extension cable can be useful, though make sure to name it and ask organisers permission before using one.
Whether your hackathon venue allows you to sleep at the venue or not, i'd always recommend getting some sleep during a hackathon. It is not a good idea to try and go 24 hours without sleep, it is not 'macho' or an 'achievement'. Once you start getting very tired, your decisions will become increasingly erratic and concentration increasingly difficult. I'd always recommend that you get at least a few hours sleep, you'll feel much better for it.
If you are planning on sleeping at the venue, you'll need to make sure you can get comfortable or you wont be able to sleep. I've found sleeping bags to be useful, and sleeping masks incredibly useful! Armed with a sleeping bag, headphones and eye mask, you should be able to get some sleep.
If the hackathon is in another city and you like to sleep in a comfy bed i'd recommend looking at the cost of nearby hotels as some like Travelodge can be very cheap if you book in advance.
Just remember to set your alarm if you don't want to sleep for too long!
Being in the same place for 24 hours means you should consider your personal hygeine. I'd always recommend taking a toothbrush and toothpaste. Also, after 24 hours a room full of developers can get pretty funky so i'd recommend packing anti-perspirant, not only for your benefit but for others as well.
A room containing dozens or hundreds of people as well as their computers can give off a lot of heat, so i'd recommend taking clothes you will find comfortable if it gets hot. I always take shorts.
Conversely, some venues turn up their air conditioning to max, so you may need something warm to wear.
You may be in the same place for 24 hours so make sure you dress comfortably.
Whether you like it or not, you need time away from your computer. Your brain needs downtime.
Please try and be courtious to other people attending the hackathon. I once sat next to a couple of guys whom dropped the f bomb every other word. I've also been to hackathons where someone thought it was acceptable to sing Abba's Waterloo at the top of their voice at 2am when some people (including myself) were trying to sleep.
After the hackathon
Now that the hackathon is done and dusted, check out the tips about what to do after the hackathon.