2013 Comic-Con Tip #6: Who’s Got Your Back?

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 10.32.18 PMFor 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? Just find a comfortable one and go- right?” 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 during the show. Designed for you to be a walking billboard, these giant bags are really more for show than functionality. 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 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 just not possible. 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. 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. 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 and let me know. See you in 2 months!

8 thoughts on “2013 Comic-Con Tip #6: Who’s Got Your Back?

  1. The bag I take depends on what I am doing that day and takes pre-planning. Will I be shopping? Large bag. Will I be in a panel during lunch or in Hall H or Ballroom 20 all day and need to bring food? Side satchel. I limit my shopping to one day so I only have to go onto the convention floor once with a large bag. The last couple of years, I have even gone at least one day with no bag at all and have found that all the stuff I think I needed to carry around, I didn’t need. Phone, cash/ID and the page for that day’s schedule in the front pockets of my jeans (or you can put a couple of 20’s & ID in your badge holder behind your badge). The convention floor is easy to navigate and I don’t take swag (which I found I rarely keep) when I don’t have a bag. Want to baffle someone at comic con – refuse a free item. On the bag-free days I usually only go to one, perhaps two panels and leave the convention center for lunch. If I get a ticket in a panel to redeem, I do them all on Sunday. I used to carry tech, but other than my cell, no longer. I’m happiest when walking around with no stuff.

  2. Having been the last six years, I can safely say the man purse is the way to go. Or satchel or courier back or whatever you call it, unless you have a rocking nerd pack, such as the R2D2 backpack.

  3. This tip is for the ladies – last year I bought a very small side satchel to carry my cell phone, money, hand sanaitzer, and ID card in seperate from my big bag. Since our clothing isn’t made with functional pockets like our male counterparts, it was great for keeping that stuff handy without having to dig through my bigger bags.

    Here’s a link to the one I purchased:


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