Tuesday, July 1, 2014

San Diego Comic Con Tips & Tricks Part 1: What I Should Pack?

So you think you're ready for Comic Con? 

Or are you new to SDCC, or conventions in general, and have no clue where to start? No worries. Even the most seasoned fan was once a shell-shocked newcomer. I have only been attending for a handful of years, and I am always learning new things. It is my hope that I will save other fans heartache and headaches by sharing some of these tips and tricks. 


Part 1: What the Hell Should I Pack? 

Aside from the obvious necessities like clothes and toiletries there are other things you should consider throwing in your suitcase. 

Dress for the weather. On average the temperature in San Diego can be between 60-80 degrees (fahrenheit). So keep this in mind when packing. Shorts, short sleeve t-shirts, tank tops and dresses are ideal. Light breathable material is best. Though I'd recommend wearing poly/cotton blends, rather than 100% cotton t-shirts to avoid them sticking to you like a second skin when you sweat. 

Extra Clothes. I always pack one outfit per day, and then throw in extra shirts and one addition pair of pants/shorts to give myself the option to change mid day. You never know when you're going to be standing in line in the hot sun for hours, and end up soaked in sweat. Or you might accidentally spill food or a drink all over yourself. It's nice to have a back up outfit and not have to wash your clothes in the hotel sink. Also pack extra socks and underwear. Trust me, it’s better that you pack them and end up not needing them than the other way around.

Pajamas. Sounds like a given, but some people don’t think about it. You’re not going to want to sleep in the clothes you sweat in all day, and you might not feel comfortable sleeping nude in a strange hotel room bed, especially if you're sharing a room for 20 other people you met on the internet.

Bring a Jacket. While the day time weather is hot, once the sun goes down it gets very cold. Especially right next to the water, where most people camp out in line for the really popular panels. So bring a jacket. 

Comfortable shoes are your best friend. Good walking shoes are worth their weight in gold. I even buy special inserts for my shoes to ensure to maximum support and breathability. Even if you plan to cosplay always leave yourself the option to change into comfortable shoes if your feet start to hurt.

Special Note: If you plan to camp out bring a sleeping bag or blankets, and warm clothes. It will be worth the extra baggage fees if you’re flying. Though many sleeping bags are designed to be small and you could carry them on with you. 

Power strip. This is especially helpful if you have a bunch of people, with a various electronics, all trying to charge their stuff at the same time. If you don't want to bring one of your monster power strips from home there are small, travel sized ones you can buy online or at your local electronics store. 

Plastic cups. Whether it’s for water or alcohol, or using them as makeshift bowls these are invaluable. You can buy a big pack of the classic red, "keg" cups from your local grocery store or Target for super cheat. When you pack stuff some rolled up socks inside them so they keep their shape.

Cooler/insulated bag. You can fill these with ice from the ice machine in your hotel and use them to keep all kinds of food and beverages cold. I recommend keeping the bag in the bathtub to avoid getting water on the floor. Refill it with ice before you leave the room and as soon as you get back to ensure everything stays cold. 

This works best for beverages (beer, soda, bottles of water), but it can keep fruit and containers of perishable foods cool too. Just make sure the containers at water tight and remember this can create condensation inside the food container. So put food in there that will be ruined by getting wet. I would steer clear of foods that could get you sick if the ice melts and they get warm, like lunch meat, yogurt, milk, etc. But it works great for hummus, bags of baby carrots, grapes, and celery. You can also get cooler bags in various sizes, even huge ones the size a beach/tote bag.

Bag/Hamper. This is just something to put your dirty clothes in through out the weekend. You can even use one of the free bags you get at the Con or bring a plastic grocery bag with you. It's just nice to have a place to put your dirty clothes that isn't the floor, especially if you're sharing your room with a lot of people, who probably don't want your stinky socks in their face while they sleep. 

Airborne or EmergenC. This is a great hangover remedy, but also a great way to keep your immune system boosted while rubbing elbows with the unwashed masses of humanity both in and outside the convention center. I take one in the morning and one before bed. 

Painkillers (Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, etc). These are a must have. You never know what kind of ouchies you're going to have. Headaches, hangovers, sore back and shoulders. It's best to be prepared for everything. 

Antacid. With all the various things you eat and the general stress of the Con it’s inevitable that you or someone you know is going to need them. 

Bottled of water. You never know if you can trust the hotel water and with standing in line and walking in the sun dehydration is a BIG issue. There are near by grocery stores where you can buy some if you're flying in. If you're driving or have a friend who is, ask them to bring some with them. 

Fruit. Bananas, apples, pears, and even grapes make a great breakfast or snack (though I'd caution against keeping them in your bag all day when it's hot). They keep your energy up and they're good for you. 

Nail clippers. Broken nails happen. It’s best to have the right tool to deal with them before they split or snag. Plus these can make great make-shift scissors. 

Baby/Talcum powder. It helps to prevent and elevate chaffing. I put it on my thighs (especially if I’m wearing shorts all day) and inside my bra. Any where you sweat and skin rubs against skin, baby powder it. 

Ear Plugs. Bring them, whether you think you'll need them or not. When it’s 3 in the morning and people are drunkenly howling at the moon outside your hotel room, you’ll thank me. You can buy these online or at most pharmacies/chemists. 

Flushable Wipes. I'm not going to explain why you need these, just bring them. 

That's a good start to packing all the things you'll need to have a comfortable and fun time at Comic Con, but that's not all of it. 

In the next post I'll talk about your Con Bag, and all the things you'll need to carry with you while you walk the Con, wait in line and roam around downtown San Diego. 


Great tips! I was wondering if other people brought cooler bags to the con with them. Now I won't feel so silly wanting to carry mine around. ;)

Actually, I've kept mine in the hotel room (in the tub), but you've got me thinking about carrying it with me. Especially since we're thinking about camping out for the Marvel panel.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Post a Comment