For today’s tip, we’re going to be talking about something simple but can still have a huge 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 hitting SD for the week. 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 nor 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.
WB Swag Bags
Upon entrance to the show, you will be given one of the exclusive Warner Bros Swag Bags- which are a time honored tradition and a great Comic-Con keepsake. The various bags, advertising WB/DCs properties, are collected, traded and coveted 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 an occasional poster sleeve, there are no compartments so everything just rolls around at the bottom of the bags. Another drawback is last year some of the bag straps were breaking because of the weight, so you have to be careful how much you put in them. 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.
I used to be a hardcore backpack guy but I have been able to reduce how much I carry 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 since most of it get’s thrown out. 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 to my side 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 (which is common on the floor). If you are only carrying a moderate amount of supplies, not buying a lot, and geek fashion is a priority, then go with the satchel.
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- especially one that has cushioned straps.
There 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 electronics 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 be mindful of how much space you are taking up when you walk- The WORST is getting body slammed by some random backpack that is crossing your path. It unintentionally but is a hazard 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. With just 6 weeks to go, I wanted 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 type is or how you wished you chose differently your first time. Thanks and check out my other Tip of the Day Posts!