Comic-Con 2012: Don’t Leave Home Without It

The San Diego Comic-Con is only two weeks and many of your are starting to gather key supplies to prepare for the 4 glorious days in the Gaslamp. However, prepping for the Con is not as simple as dusting crops boy. If you are a veteran of the show, you know that being prepared can significantly help you in conquering the Con. Here are my top 10 items I don’t leave home without. See you in San Diego!

10. Picking The Right Sidekick
While I love the super geeky Warner Bros SWAG bag, I find that it is too bulky and cumbersome while navigating the crowded Con. So I opt for a messenger bag type. It’s easy to access and shift around when squeezing between cracks in the crowds. Pictured above is the one I bought a couple of years ago. I think the big backpacks are kind of annoying. I’ve been unintentionally knocked around by an over-stuffed backpack on more than one occasion.

9. Keep It Fresh
I know, you’ve heard the infamous legends of the wretched hive of scum and body oder of Comic-Con. Fellas, besides using common sense hygiene, pick up a travel body spray deodorant from Target that you can keep with you in your bag. They are tiny and only a couple of dollars. I say this to the fellas because, lets face it, Slave Leia’s don’t like scruffy smelling nerf herders.

8. How To Hydrate
While hydration is essential, so is space saving. The typical water bottle is round and takes up too much space. Check in on water bottle brands that are malleable (pictured above) or flat shaped. Check out a camping store or REI for a bladder water bottle. These types of bottles will conserve space and leave more room for those inconveniently sized Exclusives.

7. Power Up
It’s amazing how a little snack can give you the energy boost you need to make it through a long day. Granola bars, nuts, or peanut butter crackers are ideal- but avoid chocolates since it’s summer. Focus on protein.

6. Business Cards
You can make a TON of connections just by standing in line or meeting others in your panels. You don’t have to have a website to have a business card. Just print out a few dozen personal cards and cut them out by hand (your name, e-mail, Twitter, etc). It’s much easier to give out your info, especially if you want to connect with new friends after hours or months later. creates awesome, creative, and cheap cards, or you can just go to Kinko’s.

5. Tech
Make sure you have your technology ready. Remember, wifi is pretty strained and unreliable. Because your tech is trying to find signal, it drains your batteries much more quickly. Start shopping for extra camera batteries, an extended phone battery case, small extension cords, etc… It might also be worth getting a wireless card for your laptop. I know its a hassle but whoever posts pics and blogs first wins. I plan on doing a whole post on preparing your tech for the Con next week.

4. Save Our Souls
I know you are probably thinking a comfortable shoes will be good enough to withstand the long lines outside of Hall H. Well that’s really only half right. It’s actually more important to have TWO PAIRS of comfortable shoes. After a long day, your feet leaves a firm imprint and a night isn’t long enough for them to recover. Wearing the same pair days in a row is what causes sore feet and blisters. Swapping between two pairs of shoes gives them a chance to rebound and support your feet better each day. A cheaper route would be to buy multiple pairs of soul inserts (pictured) and just change those out daily. Believe me, nothing ruins a trip faster than ‘Con feet’.

3. Mints and Meds
Keep your breath fresh and your body medicated. Nuff said.

2. Autograph Book and Sharpie
You never know who you will run into at the Con. It might be on the convention floor or out at a bar so you want to be prepared. Keep a small notebook and a Sharpie with you at all times. Pens are terrible for autographs. With a sharpie you can get your hat, shirt, WB bag, badge, collectible, forehead, or whatever you want signed. Just have in mind WHAT you want to signed when the opportunity arises.

1. My Sched.
This could be the most important pre-planning that you do. Use the MySched from the Comic-Con website (When it opens) to determine what panels you will go to a head of time. By thumbing through the program book at Comic Con, you will waste precious time trying to decide your fate. Use the MySched and don’t even bother flipping through the book- heck don’t even carry it. It’s extra weight and it will just frustrate you anyways. Print out MySched or just use it straight from your phone. Take it from me, it will make your days a lot easier. At the very least, just print out your preferred panels with back ups.

I know there are more helpful items to bring. Leave a comment of what YOU don’t leave home without. See you at the Con!


13 thoughts on “Comic-Con 2012: Don’t Leave Home Without It

  1. Thanks for the advice. About the schedule especially that is what messed me up the most last year as a noob.

    A counter point for the use of messenger bags is that after a day or 2 the weight of the whole bag on 1 point in your shoulder will start to kill. Rotating shoulders only prolongs the inevitable.

    Moo is great I get all my cards from them, for the quality & customization they are actually pretty cheap.

  2. The backpacks are more than annoying!! Some of them are so full, they literally triple the “depth” of a person. You do not need that much stuff on you!! Are you hitching it around SDCC? In 2010 I just decided to be a jerk and plow through them like I’m throwing a check in a hockey game. You reap what you wear packers!! Your list is spot on Tony.

    • Thank you. Yea the backpacks can be pretty annoying. When a backpacking wielding attendee turn whips around last second, it’s like getting body slammed. Not fun. Keep it light and nimble people 🙂

  3. Can’t leave the hotel room without ibuprofen and an accordion-style file folder to keep my comics/papers unbent and at the ready!

    • Yea, I take usually have a steady intake of ibuprofen throughout the week! Good idea with the accordian folder for your comics. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Again — A great post. After a few years with the regular swag bag, two years ago I acquired a similar bag but in backpack form from SyFy outside the convention center. I really enjoyed that bag, though it did get a bit bulky.

    Last year I experimented with just a camping backpack, and found that I really took less swag overall (a lot of which may be tossed after SDCC anyway).

    I think it\’s all about preference – and what you like. Personally, I prefer not carrying the giant bag.

    Also – for those with iPhones, I definitely recommend the Duracell Pocket USB Charger. You can sometimes get a 20-30% power boost to get you through the end of the day. They work with other phones as well – just speaking from experience.

    @mikestockton – follow me on twitter – and let’s connect in SD

  5. The malleable water bottles are awesome! I’m definitely looking those up before the Con. Genius.

    All your tips are right on…but I’m kinda with Laura on the messenger bag thing. I did that for several years and it just killed my back/shoulders. I carry a backpack now, but I promise I don’t load it up like I’ve seen others do! I’m also careful not to whip around in a crowd. 😉

  6. This year will be my 10th SDCC trip, and and while it’s too late now, I would recommend that if it’s possible to get the advance parking under the convention center. It’s $10 a day, but so worth it. When the backpack get’s too heavy I just take everything down there and unload. Also this year I will be filling up a cooler with food and drink so if I don’t feel like buying an $6 bottle of water or a $10 sandwich plus stand in line 20 minutes to get those items, I can still stay be ok.

    For battery back-up, I would recommend checking out, they have good products at great prices since they don’t have fancy name brands on them.

    And most important, bring a good attitude. Everyone is there to have fun. Understand there will be long lines to wait that will stop allowing people in to panels three people in front of you. It happens all the time. Just know there are a ton of other things going on that are just as awesome.

    • All great advice- especially the last part. Patience and a good attitude will make your Con experience a positive one. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  7. I learned my lesson last year. For me I like to keep organized so I got a Maxpedition Mongo Versipak. I was planning to get one any ways, so I figured now was a good time as any to invest in a bag that keeps all my stuff organized. The Mongo has a ton of pockets and options so everything has its own spot. Also with the spacious main pocket allows me to dump almost anything without having to stop.

    Thanks for another great article.

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