The Art of the Line-up: A Beginner's Guide to Camping
The internet and raffles are making the sneaker line-up an old concept, yet there's still many stores that offer the 'first come, first served' system. With the age of the bot upon us, the tried and true method of camping still remains the best way to guarantee yourself a pair on the day of release.
To an ordinary person, lining up for sneakers seems like such a crazy concept. However, to us die-hard sneaker fans, the wait is definitely worth it.
Lining up for kicks is something every sneaker enthusiast should experience at least once. The sheer rush you get after enduring a night on the streets to get your hands on that one pair is exhilarating. Being able to successfully participate in the age-old concept of the sneaker line is an art form; and following the correct procedure will ensure that your next camp-out is a success.
1. PLAN AHEAD
If you’re lining up for Yeezys or Jordans, and you think rocking up a few hours before the release is going to secure you a pair, you're very wrong. Research and planning is always key. The internet and social media are obvious tools to use, but head into your local stores. Talk to the employees and get the low down. Establishing a relationship — knowing the right people may get you inside information (like how many pairs in each size will be available). Check if there's any special circumstances such as specific places that are designated to line up. In the morning, you’re going to be exhausted, so getting laughed at and told you’ve been in the wrong spot for the past 10 hours will not go down well. Keep in mind, if you live somewhere that only gets a small allocation of pairs, plan to be one of the first 10 people in line. Don’t delay! Get to the store with enough time to check out the surroundings and line location. You want to wait in line for as little time as possible, but still get yourself a pair that’s your size.
Also remember to pick your battles. Is taking time off work worth getting the pair of kicks on release day? Can you wait a few days and get a delayed W, or just cough up the few extra bucks and pay resale prices? And beware of school holidays, because some kids are ruthless. With little responsibility, they can be seen camping out days in advance for a pair. Whether they are going to flip their sneakers or keep for their personal collection, these kids won’t budge, so don’t bother competing. Ask for live line updates from store employees (who you made friends with) or from comment threads on Facebook groups. Knowing exactly what the line looks like leading up to the camp out will help with judging when you arrive, and whether it’s even worth going.
2. GET YOURSELF A CREW
Rounding up all of your sneaker homies and sitting on the side of the road waiting for hours is a recipe for a good time. With hours to kill, and only inches between you and the next person in line, you will get to know your friends better than ever before. After multiple camp-outs with the same people, it’ll start to become a ritual. Early morning runs to McDonalds and watching your spot while you take a piss in a poorly lit alleyway are just some ways friends prove useful at a camp out. However, keep in mind which friends you pick to line up with, nothing is worse than sitting next to some idiot who makes you feel uncomfortable all night long.
3. ORGANISE SUPPLIES
This is one of the most important parts of the procedure. Bringing along the right supplies to a camp out can make such a difference to your comfort levels throughout the night. The basic supplies you will need are:
• A comfy camping chair
• Something to keep you awake — e.g. energy drink, coffee
• Debit/credit cards
• Blankets and/or sleeping bag
• Appropriate clothing.
From personal experience, sitting on a milk crate for 12 hours with nothing but your phone and wallet (and I’m not exaggerating) is one of the worst experiences of my life. Bringing along debit/credit cards as well as cash is imperative. No one wants to walk up to the counter and have their card decline, or have lost cash during the campout. Even during summer nights, temperatures can get pretty cold — especially if you aren’t moving around — so dress the part! Warm clothing and blankets are perfect if you don’t want to get frostbite. Having the perfect supplies can also make a line-up go a lot faster because, trust me, boredom will strike.
4. GET IN LINE
Walking to the store and seeing 40 kids oin the distance already in line will make your blood boil. However, if the planning in the previous steps is done right, you will arrive right on time and it will be an easy W. After you settle in the line and the streets start to quieten down, talk to everyone. Make friends and try to find out what sizes people are going for. There’s big money to be made in sneakers, so some people will be there to resell or proxy. If you feel as though there is a chance that you may not get your size, find someone who may want to size swap as early as possible. If it’s an option, consider heading to another camp-out location. Ask around and see if there’s a list created to hold people’s spots and keep order. If there is, make sure you get your name on there ASAP! Remember what number you are in line, and take note of who’s in front and behind you in order to prevent idiots pushing in. Figure out if there's any rules, because line-ups are always different. After you have the rules down pat, enforce them on others. If someone steps out of line (pardon the pun), let them know. If you want your pair, you have to stand your ground and not put up with any BS.
Rocking up to a sneaker line can be intimidating and occasionally tense. However, rest assured that by the end of the night you'll be friendly with everyone, and maybe even make a few new friends. Remember everyone is there for the same reason: they love sneakers. Make friends, because you may find them lurking around your next camp out.
5. DON'T BE THAT GUY
If you've ever lined up for sneakers, you'll know what I’m talking about when I say there’s always ‘that one guy’.
They are loud. They are obnoxious. They are annoying. They push in. They talk smack. They always joke about starting a riot in the morning. Then when they realise they arrived too late and are too far back in line, they hit the shop employees with a 'Come on bro, this line system’s unfair. Can we turn it into a raffle?’
Please don’t be that guy.
6. STAY SAFE, FAM!
Being rolled for your kicks is sadly a very common occurrence. Once you get your pair, get out of the general area as fast as you can! Hop in a taxi or order an Uber so you can make a brisk exit with the precious cargo. Nothing is worse then spending countless hours and amounts of money to get a sneaker just to have it stolen in the morning.
7. HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
There is always a chance that you'll be crying all the way home because you took a major L — whether that's because of limited quantities, or you just arrived too late. If worst does come to worse, and you are sent home empty handed, is there a chance you could cop online? Are you able to let this one slide and save your money for the next release? Or are you able to put up some more cash and pay resell? Also keep an eye on international websites and other low-key boutiques around to see if they received any pairs for a future release.
To keep updated with all future releases, keep a keen eye on our release calendar.