LAN Survival Guide 2022

Have you been sharpening up your skills ready to show them off at LAN or looking to meet some new friends to game with and witness the pros doing their thing in person? Yes? Good! Our LAN survival guide has got you covered.

We’ve covered all the essential gear you’ll need to take (with an all important check-list), how to safely pack your PC for the journey and how to keep your gear safe and sound. 

Research the event and book in advance.

It’s always good to keep it local, and it’s a great way to pick up some new gaming buddies for your team. As Esports is growing at an astronomical rate, you’ll be surprised at how many local gamer communities are popping up - so keep an eye out for local events. It’ll keep the costs down and also help grow the local gaming scene. Steam, Facebook and Reddit groups are the best way to hear about local events.

If you’re a go big or go home type of person, want to see the pros in action and all the latest games & hardware, then looking at large national events such as Insomnia is the way to go.

A weekend Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) ticket is what you’re after, and start at around £104 (prices may vary). This gives you access to the event expo hall, community games area and the Esports stage and bar for the whole event. 

In the BYOC arena, you’ll get your own deskspace & chair (you can bring your own chair if you want), so you can take your own PC and kit with you and hook up to their ultra-fast network and start gaming with your mates (plus the hundreds of other BYOC goers). Travelling light? Rent a PC for the weekend if you can’t bring your gaming rig with you, these start from around £110.

This is an awesome way to meet new people and game for the entire weekend without getting moaned at by your parents/other half/boss. What’s more, you can stay close to the action by staying at the onsite camping grounds (available from around £36). Sounds amazing, right?

As well as being able to chill out all weekend and play whatever game you want, there are always tournaments happening at LANs if you want to get competitive. Check out the event’s website to see which games will be played in the tournaments (see: Insomnia’s BYOC’s Tournaments). Sign up with your friends or form a new team with new friends using the official Insomnia Discord server

Looking for something a bit more laid-back? Then have no worries, as BYOC casual tournaments will run throughout the weekend, with games to be announced closer to the event. No pressure, all fun :)

So whether you’re going local or going large, do your research and make sure that you book up early to avoid disappointment. If you’re going with friends or with your team, it’s important to book at the same time so that you can all sit together. For the larger events such as Insomnia, Early Bird tickets should be available and will save you some cash. 

How to pack your PC for travelling

Making sure your PC arrives at the LAN in one piece is paramount to determining your happiness, so don’t slack on the packaging or pre road trip checks!

  • Check all screws - Thoroughly checking all the screws are tight to prevent any movement that could cause cracks or chips.
  • Pack the inside - To add extra support to your components (mostly the CPU cooler & GPU), it's worth packing the inside of your case with anti-static bubble wrap or foam. Plenty of packing paper will also do.
  • Use the original box - Flat packing your original PC box and keeping it somewhere safe is really smart, as finding a pre-made box that fits snug will be a tough ask. If you didn’t think this far ahead, then use a box as close to the case size as possible, heavily packing the gaps with foam or bubble wrap to avoid movement and shock damage. Use towels if you have to.
  • Reinforcement - Tape that box up. Make sure there are no weak seams that will give way under the weight of your PC.
  • Lay the box flat - Let gravity help and have your PC flat with your motherboard being closest to the ground. This will keep all the components in a more natural position, making gravity your friend.

Keep your gear safe at LAN

When it comes to overall safety at the event, the staff have you covered. The event centre has extensive safety measures put in place to ensure everyone at the event is safe for the duration of their stay including;

  • State of the art CCTV monitoring and communications centre
  • Walk Through Metal Detector security arches
  • Search and screening technology
  • Bag searches at venue entrances
  • A Response and Conflict Management team
  • Behavioural Detection team
  • Dedicated Security Dog team
  • An onsite West Midlands Police team
  • Vehicle checkpoints
  • Hostile Vehicle Mitigation protection

To ensure your gear is safe, upon entry each item (PC, Keyboard, Monitor etc) you bring if often stickered with unique identification that matches your credentials. So anyone leaving the venue with any hardware will be subjected to security checks to ensure they match, ensuring you're as safe as can be.

Nonetheless it’s never a bad idea to take extra precautions when it comes to your valuables including the following;

  • Disconnect all your gear and stick them in your backpack before you leave for any length of time. 
  • Same goes for your wallet, phone and any other valued items. If you'd prefer not to carry all your gear around with you, invest in a secure bag that can be locked and chained up.
  • The event centre may have on site storage facilities at additional cost. A great way to ensure your valuables are safe, when indulging in some R&R.
  • Keeping your fellow gamer safe; Report anything that doesn’t feel or look right to you. For example any unattended items or someone acting suspiciously. 

The essentials checklist for LAN - what to take with you

Forgetting these items can seriously affect your happiness and ability to game, so be sure to pack all the accompanying accessories and cables.

For Gaming:

  • PC/Laptop
  • Monitor
  • Mouse
  • Mouse pad
  • Keyboard
  • Console Controllers
  • Headset/Headphones
  • Carry bag/case
  • Power extension strip

For Sleeping:

If you’ve spent all your money on tickets and traveling expenses, there’s a good chance you’ll be ditching a hotel and sleeping at the LAN, so these will help make the situation slightly more pleasant. And don’t worry, we’ve all done it.

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Pillow/Cushion (a travel cushion is ideal)
  • Ear Plugs

For your (and your team mates) wellbeing:

Don't be that smelly person that everyone at the event avoids. These essentials will be similar to what you’d take to a music festival.

  • Change of clothes
  • Towel 
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant)
  • Wet wipes
  • Breath Mints

And finally, don’t your forget ticket, your ID (for beer) and cash (for said beer, food and any cool stuff you want to pick up over the weekend).