Conferences tend to be both exhilarating and exhausting. The right gear can help keep you at the top of your game during all the panel discussions, breakout sessions, and cocktail parties. If you're heading off to the Inc. 500/5000 conference in Washington, D.C., later this week, here is a list of must-have items to bring along:
CardScan Mobile App: Tired of sorting through piles of business cards after an event? CardScan's mobile phone application lets you take a photo of a business card and automatically add the information to your phone's contact list. Simply approve the contact details and hit submit. The app works on iPhones, and some Windows Mobile and BlackBerry phones. Cost: $9.99 for iPhones and BlackBerrys; $14.99 for Windows Mobile
Moleskine Folio: Keep your notes, ID, and pens in one secure place with Rickshaw Bagworks' stylish moleskine folio. The zippered folio is sized to fit a large Moleskine journal and comes in a wide array of fabrics, patterns, and colors. We like the distinguished Tweed Earl Grey folio with brown binding. Cost: $50
Livescribe Echo Digital Pen: Looking for a more high-tech way to take notes? Livescribe's latest digital pen records both audio and notes written on a special pad of paper. Connect the pen to a computer using an included USB cord to upload audio and notes, which you can then search, organize, and export as a PDFs, audio files, or Flash movies. Cost: $169.95 for a pen with 4GB of memory or $199.95 for 8GB
Orabrush: Fresh breath is essential for conference networking. The Orabrush, which has a scraper and bristles similar to those found on surgical scrub brushes, claims to cure bad breath for up to 12 hours. At the very least, the brush, which has a series of popular YouTube videos, could provide you with some entertaining cocktail party chatter.
Ledbury Work Shirt: Not too stuffy, not too casual, Ledbury's work shirt has a lowered second button, which shows just the right amount of skin. The collar won't collapse when worn without a tie, and stands up straight under a sweater for use in chilly hotel meeting rooms. The shirts are available in a variety of fabrics, colors, and patterns. We like the Blue Box Check Worker, which is made of Italian woven 2-fold cotton poplin that does not wrinkle easily. Cost: $125
Purewater 2Go Metro filter: Stay hydrated during long conference days with this 20-ounce water bottle, which has a built-in filter that removes chlorine from tap water and makes it tastier. The BPA-free bottle is clear and has a sport top. Cost: $12.95