Essentials for the Perfect Con Bag

Seven days from today I will be in San Diego and preparing for a whirlwind week. My head is already reeling at the thought of it. Since I have to fly across the entire country to get to SDCC, I’m always a little nervous about forgetting things. Packing a great con bag can be a bit of a challenge since there are so many little things to remember. I won’t attempt to tell you how to pack since some of you may need separate suitcases JUST for your cosplay, but I can help a bit with the things you want to carry around while you’re there.

  1. Comfortable Bag
    Everyone has a different “perfect” con bag. Some use backpacks, some use totes…I have tried several different bags, but the one I seem to stick with is Think Geek’s Bag of Holding: Con Survival Edition. I tend to fill it to overflowing and it can get heavy on one shoulder, but it has all kinds of pockets and special features. Add all your patches to the front and stop by the Think Geek booth during SDCC to pick up a free one! There is a new Convertible Fast Travel Bag that I’m interested in. I hear it is significantly larger, but I do like the idea of converting it to a backpack if need be.
  2. Water Bottle
    Small expenses can get out of control during conventions and hydration is important. Bring your own refillable water bottle and not only will you spare yourself a lot of standing in line, but you’ll save a good amount of cash as well.
  3. Electronics
    Don’t forget all of your important electronics in your con bag. Chances are that you’ll need cords, a backup battery for your phone or other devices, and maybe even some additional storage. Take a look at Lawrence’s Gear Guide for all the things you might need.
  4. Medication
    If you have prescription stuff, you’re obviously going to want to bring that, but sometimes we forget the other stuff and then end up having to pay more for things at a drugstore at the last minute. I fill a little pillbox with things that I might end up needing like pain reliever, antacids, and Airborne.
  5. Travel Size Deodorant
    This one should be self explanatory. Let’s be kind to each other. Cons are a circus of aromas and adding to it is NOT one of my goals.
  6. Hand Sanitizer
    You’ll be shaking hands and touching merch that others have touched. Lines for the bathroom are killer, so keep some sanitizer on hand to avoid the lines AND the germs.
  7. ID and Cash
    How could you forget these? Trust me, it happens. Make sure to bring your ID for picking up badges and afterparties, and cash in case card readers are down.
  8. Travel Size Tissues/ Saline Wipes
    Chances are, you’ll get sweaty or have a drippy nose from air conditioning in a panel. Bring some tissues and wipes so that you’re covered.
  9. Your Con Schedule
    I tend to take a look at all of the off-sites and panels and make my own schedule, so I know all the places I want to be and when. It tends to make things easier than constantly going back to the large schedule and searching for what I need.
  10. Snacks
    I have a bunch of dietary restrictions, so grabbing food can be a pain in my rear. I tend to carry KIND bars or tuna packets so I don’t need to leave a panel or the con floor if my blood sugar gets low.

This is by no means a list of ALL the things you can add to your con bag, but it’s some of the essentials. If you are a cosplayer, you may want additional items such as a sewing kit, or saline solution for contacts. What items are in your perfect con bag? Leave me a comment below or tweet me at @amlehr to let me know. See you in a week!

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