Tips & Tricks

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These are little tips & tricks I picked up from various places. Things that will make it easier for you in your costume.
 
Tip #1
Find you a CamelBak water pouch. These things can run between $30-50 USD and are a life saver. Get the largest capacity bladder, with the thinnest backpack. What these units do is keep a water supply (like a canteen) on your back. Fill it with ice water before you go out, and let it be the 1st thing on your back. Now you have a cold source on your back keeping you cool, and you can snake the tube under your armor into your helmet, and you can get a drink of water whenever you want. If you like, you can fill it with Gatorade, or any fluid of your choice. This one addition to my costume added HOURS to my ability to stay in costume. I tried the suit out in May in South Alabama (temperatures ranging in the mid 80's to high 90's deg F). I was using ice pack in the shirt. I could stay in costume only about 20 minutes at a time before I had to open the shirt, and take off the mask. Adding the CamelBak increased that time to an hour easy, because I was constantly getting fluids.
 
Tip #2
If you can get lucky enough, get some packing freeze packs. These are used by hospital laboratories for shipping cold items via UPS & FedEx. They are a gel substance, that once frozen, stays that way for about 2 days. They come in various sizes from ketchup packet to pop-tart size. These things are GREAT. Combine them with the CamelBak, and you will be a lot better off in the heat, than without anything. Now, here is some info I figured out about them. While they are good for up to 2 days in shipping containers, they are good for about 15-30 minutes inside the costume. The more you can get your hands on, and keep in a hidden cooler somewhere near, the better. Then you can change them out when you go on break.
 
Tip #3
This one I have not done yet, but I can see the relevance. Many Vaders and Storm Troopers use this trick. Get a small 5 VDC fan from Radio Shack and mount them in your grill in your mask. This forces cool air in from the outside, and helps cool you off. Like I said, I haven't done it, but with the number of people I see doing it, it must work.
 
Tip #4
Always have a spotter near by. They may be a friend, or family member who does nothing more than stand in a corner, but have them where they can see you. Work out some signals between the 2 of you so if you get overheated, or in a situation you need to get out of, you can signal your spotter to come help. That will get you out of the situation, and still allow you to stay in character. Just keep in mind, these masks are hard to see out of, and if someone blindsides you, you could end up in trouble. The spotter can also help keep trip hazards (you know, little kids, etc.) out of your way. I'm lucky. My wife is my spotter, and we have what seems like a telepathic connection. She knows before any signal what I need to stay out of trouble.
 
Tip #5
At Radio Shack, they sell a Hearing-Aid Device. Basically what this thing looks like is a small radio, with a string to hang it around your neck. What it does is even better. Plug in a set of earphones, hide the unit under your armor, and now you can hear. These helmets are very quiet. It is HARD to hear in them. This device amplifies the sound so you can. It can even be disassembled and hidden in your chest box (if you have space). That puts the pick-up microphone out in the open, and lets you hear even better. Plus, for some reason, most people talk to Vader's chest box anyway, so this makes it REAL easy to hear what people are saying or asking. A good idea for about $20 USD.
 
As you can see, most of these deal with keeping you cool in the costume. You are wearing LEATHER. You're gonna get hot. So I hope these help. If you have any other tips or tricks to make life easier, please them to me. I am always looking for a better way.