We are in the beginnings of the summer con season. While every season is con season the summer con has some of the most exciting cons of the seasons in America and abroad.
There are multiple to things to think about when thinking about the gear that will make things great for your stay at SDCC and at various others cons.
There are things to think about for inside the hotel, while you travel, and for use at the con and the associated events (especially important for all the outside events of SDCC).
Several of these items will be things to pack in advance, I’ll mostly be focusing on items for travel, going around, and for the hotel.
Getting ready at home:
One of the best ways to get ready for con travel is with packing cubes (at least one set). Packing cubes make it easy to pack street clothes and such for travel as well as certain kinds of cosplay items. An entire inflatable dinosaur costume does fit in large one. I know because I tested it myself for a Devil Dinosaur cosplay.
Packing cubes also make it easy to pack when you do eventually leave the hotel. With more than one set of packing cubes you could actually decrease your packing time by having a “clean” and “worn” sets of packing cubes. The Amazon Basics Packing Cubes are quite useful. Of course packing cubes are not the be all end all, once you arrive there you will want to hang up some items. Usually hotels don’t have enough hangers (especially when sharing a room) which is why I recommend portable hangers.In addition, you can fit the hangers into the packing cubes which can definitely help in the management of travel space.
Cables and Power Supplies:
Pretty much there are three kinds of cables to be concerned about for the pop culture set:
Lighting, micro USB, and USB C. These are the common ones for phone charging and keeping the phone powered from the trip to the con, at the con, and coming back home. Not all cables are made equal which is why I like Anker Powerline+. These cables are also braided making them much more difficult to destroy. You’ll also want to them in multiple lengths. One foot cables are great for a cable to keep on you usually in a pocket with a battery. Six foot (or longer) cables are great for charging in the hotel room. While traveling so you do not have a bunch of random wires you will want to get a travel cable organizer at airports a bunch of jammed into a carry-on or personal item wires may get your bags inspected.
- 6 foot USB to USB C
- 10 foot USB to Lighting
- 6 foot USB to microUSB
- 1 foot USB to Lighting
- 1 foot USB to microUSB
- One foot USB C cables are not too common yet but adapters for microUSB to USB C are extremely useful.
A good USB charger will be best for yourself and those you share with. At least a 4 port but usually a 5 or 6 USB port or more charger is best.
This Anker 5 port this also has quick charge which can help charge microUSB and USB C devices faster. This can be especially useful after a long day of con doing. Having the multi-port with the extra cables is not only good for yourself but others who you might be sharing your space with. I usually have more than one multi-charger. (Ironically for my gear I usually need at least 5 USB ports, so I usually have more than one).
Along with this you’ll want to have a power strip. A standard 6 plug can work but 10 or 12 outlet surge protects can help accommodate laptops, camera battery charges, as well as other items. Hotels (and usually houses) never have enough outlets and they are not always placed in optimal locations. Some surge protectors also come with some USB ports. It helps to have surge protector that has spacing between the outlets so any larger plugs will not block multiple outlets I use an APC one myself.
In addition a few outlet extenders like these from Etekcity can be a big help for those few oversized bricks that remain or to add a few inches to help plug something in if the outlet turns out to be at an odd angle.
Gear while traveling:
Traveling to SDCC is a part of the fun (to and back) so having good earbuds for the plane trip if traveling is essential. But not only that you’ll want to have a second set, especially if you use Bluetooth earbuds like I do. I recommend Anker SoundBuds Slim and TaoTronics earbuds because they are the type that magnetically link themselves together. It helps in making sure that they won’t accidentally fall off in transit. However you should still have cases for headphones for storage when not in use.
To keep them charged up while doing convention things are battery cases for headphones such as the mophie Power Capsule and other sellers such as Smartree. (I prefer the mophie because it has a removable USB cord. The removable cable makes the Power Capsule also useful for charging things like a fitness tracker [in case it runs out of power while using it]. However since most headphones use microUSB for charging this is fine.)
- The Anker PowerCore 10000 is pocket sized and combined with a short cable is great for the events away from the hotel, while traveling, etc.
- The Anker PowerCore+ 13400 is also pocket sized and is great for sharing a charge with a friend or to charge something else while an item is being used. These two items charge via microUSB.
- This Aukey unit charges by lighting as well as microUSB, so if all your gear is Apple this reduces the various types of cables you’ll have to get.
As we know a case is a requirement for any smartphone and battery cases are extremely useful they extend the battery by several hours which is very helpful for traveling and events. The best kind of battery cases usually come from mophie.
The iPhone 7 does have a battery case. Not every type of phone gets a battery case but usually the flagships do, however it might not exist for your phone. One the best ways to check is using the name of your device and “battery case.”
There are a few random accessories that can help migrate data around if you have to. Usually because of smartphones, this is not an issue but there are times when you do have to print something, scan, and send things such as map props, contracts, or other things. Forunately, you will not have to bring a printer because of the Fedex Offices at or near the convention center, but you’ll need something to plug into the computers there so flash drives are very useful.
I like to have dual drives with microUSB and/or USB C to USB like those from Sandisk:
I chose 128GB because that would be larger than most things you might need to transfer or carry at one time.
In addition, a USB SD card reader can be very useful for transferring SD card files to a flash drive which can be very useful if you ever need to quickly hand off footage or pictures from a DSLR.
As a note not all hotels have free Wifi and especially with the large amount of people cellular networks can be overloaded so having the ability to quickly transfer files around can be a big benefit.
Finally, Tiles are extremely useful to keep track of your things like wallets, keys, and other small items that can be accidentally lost. This can save a lot of time and also help find them. They will ring if you active the tile from the app and help you locate the item.
Is there some gear that makes your con-going easier? Is there a category of tech that you’d like me to research for con-going? Let me know!