Tip of the Day #10: Your Most Important Companion…

a.aaa-Chinese-backpack

For this week’s tip, we’re going to be talking about something simple but can still have a big impact on your Comic-Con experience- your BACKPACK. I know what you are thinking, “what’s the big deal? Well, there is actually more to it than grabbing your pack from college and covering it with the latest nerd swag. During the grueling 4-days in San Diego, there is no companion more faithful to you than your backpack. It will be there for you during the good times and bad- it will never leave you or forsake you. Besides carrying your prized SDCC Exclusives, it will also be filled with much needed food, water, and other con supplies that might make the difference between life and death (ok, not really death but how about a really bad day). Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a carrying companion.

warner-bros-comic-con-tote-bagsWB Swag Bags
Upon entrance to the show, you will be given one of the exclusive Warner Bros Swag bags. A time honored tradition and a visual reminder that you are in the happiest place on Earth. The various bags, advertising WB/DCs properties, are collected, traded and converted during the 4-days. However, as awesome as these bags are, they are not ideal to carrying around a lot of precious cargo during the show. Designed for you to be a walking billboard, these giant bags are really more for show than functional. With the exception of the poster sleeve, there are no compartments so everything just pools at the bottom of the bags. Another drawback is unless you are around 5 1/2 ft tall or above, they have a tendency to drag on the ground unless you start modifying the strap. A few years ago, WB made the bags convertible to a backpack (pictured above) which was really cool. Overall, I LOVE these bags and they have become a signature of the show. However, I would not rely on them to be the luggage workhorse for you during SDCC.

xnintendo-reversible-messenger-bag.jpeg.pagespeed.ic.KE85Wdc_unSide Satchel
I used to be a hardcore backpack guy but I have been able to reduce my ‘attendee footprint’ over the years. I pre-print the schedule or use my smart phone so I don’t carry the program book. I also don’t collect much of the swag- most of it get’s tossed anyways. So the space I need is just for food, water, and some basic survival stuff (which I’ll post later). Because of this, I go with the ‘man-satchel’. The problem I have with the backpack is that in order to access it while walking, you have to sling it off your back, hold it with one hand, or drop to the ground. When you are in a PACKED showroom, that is difficult. I like being able to reach down and grab my camera or a granola bar quickly and easily. Plus, since it can shift side-to-side I can squeeze through tight spaces. If you are only carrying a moderate amount of supplies, not buying a lot, and fashion is a priority, then go with the satchel.

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 10.30.45 PMBackpack
We are all pretty familiar with the traditional backpack- none of us would have graduated college without it. They come in all shapes and sizes- range from the the cute and plushy to the functional and all purpose. I would definitely encourage you to use a backpack if:

  • You are carrying a lot of tech like a laptop, iPad, extended batteries, etc.
  • If you are prone to being cold, you will need one to stuff extra clothing layers in.
  • If you need extra space for food and water
  • Buying a lot of larger items like toys and you have no place to store them.

Remember, something cute like R2 here won’t be feeling cute by the 3rd day. You may want to have something with more functionality and options.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 6.57.26 AMThere are a few things to consider when choosing a backpack for SDCC. First, ask yourself what you will be accessing the most. Make sure you have an easy way to get to them so you’re not having to drop and unzip every pocket. For me, I like to have food and water where I can reach it quickly, so having a side pocket would be critical. If tech is your highest priority, get a tech designed bag. You don’t want your tech and food to be in the same compartment. Plus, there are ‘external battery’ backpacks that can be used to charge your tech (pictured left). A must for heavy bloggers. You never know what the weather will be like so you may want to get a waterproof bag just just in case. Regardless of your backpack of choice, remember your ‘backpack ettiquittte’- The WORST is getting the backpack ‘body slam’. The is when a fully loaded attendee turns and unknowingly slams into you with his pack. It unintentionally happens A LOT at Comic-Con. A backpack can extend a full foot backwards so you have to be careful when weaving in and out of the crowds.

I know this is a lot to consider for just what bag you are carrying at a convention. While it seems a little overly-complicated- believe me, it’s important. For those veterans of the show, we know that what you carry and how you carry it will make a big difference. Like I said, it’s your closest companion during the show. The right bag will either weigh you down or assist you in a dire moment. I posted this 2 months out to give you time to shop around and try out some options. For you con vets, what is your bag of choice? Leave a comment of what is your favorite bag. See you in 2 months!

7 thoughts on “Tip of the Day #10: Your Most Important Companion…

  1. Tony-Love your site!

    I used to be a die hard bag carrying con goer…but since I don’t camp out overnight for Hall H and I have a hotel that is close by, I’ve given up carrying anything around at all. I’ve reached a point where I only carry a spare external phone battery with me in my back pocket and simply release the need to carry a satchel weighted down with a boatload of items that I barely touch.

    I used to carry Snacks/water/Chapstick/pens/magazines/charging supplies/etc…but then I discovered the joy of simply walking around the con not weighed down with Santa Clause sized backpacks. If you are staying at a downtown hotel and you aren’t planning on a 2-4 hour weight to get into a room, I encourage you to shake off the notion that you NEED a bag at all. There are few things worse than being repeatedly bashed by attendees wearing absurdly large backpacks that have no common courtesy and are oblivious to people around them. The only thing worse than this , is the WB bags that people strap to their backs like hang gliders and plow through the crowds decimating everyone in their wake.

    The reality of the situation is this..every vendor you buy something from will provide you with a bag…so you don’t need to worry about your collectible getting trashed…and there is a huge perk to being able to maneuver freely on the floor and not be anchored down by these things.

    While I do acknowledge that if you are not staying at a close hotel, you will want some creature comforts, I would recommend a side carrying messenger bag as it’s easy to carry and it’s always in your eyeline…backpacks are easy targets for pickpockets. But above and beyond that, I beg you to please use caution and be courteous to your fellow con goers by not treating your bag like a room clearing battering ram.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts! Yes, last year was the first time I went with out a bag (cosplaying) and it was so liberating. Sure I didn’t have my necessities with me but you just make due and plan accordingly. Thanks so much for your great thoughts and for commenting!

  2. With three people: So far we use a mix of 1 old backpack from school (with many pockets) and a laptop holder back, where we put the comic books we get, 1 Marvel Messenger bag (used for camera and easy to go snacks) and a Camel Bag back pack. Sometimes we just go down to the regular backpack and the messenger bag. Water can start to feel heavy after a few hours.

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