Convention Prep – The Bag
Conventions can be long, stressful experiences – especially if you’re in cosplay. Things can and will go wrong. Luckily there are loads of ways to reduce the stress of going to a convention by preparing your handy con bag. It’s a given that if you’re going to dress up, you’re bringing your costume and your regular clothes – but what else should you be carrying?
A good con bag should be able to fit into a backpack or any type of mid-size bag that you or a willing mate can carry around the event. The items listed here are based on what I carry in my personal con bag and is a general guideline of what has worked for me and people I know.
- A water bottle and food. Keeping yourself fed and hydrated is very important. Con food can be expensive and limited in options, especially if you’re on a restricted diet. Stick to foods that are easy to eat such as trail mix. fruit slices and granola bars, which also have the added benefit of being quite healthy.
- Cosplay repair kit. The size and scale of what goes into this depends on the costume you’re bringing. A small sewing kit, the appropriate type of glue, safety pins, fashion tape and duct tape are often what I carry. Keep all of this together in a small bag so it’s easy to find. Some people bring velcro, spare fabric or worbla pieces to patch over small tears and those with backs of iron carry portable sewing machines and glue guns.
- Make up and wig items. Whatever make up you need for the day, brushes, contact solution, bobby pins, hair ties, wig caps – keep them together as these items can be quite small and can get lost. Investing in a makeup case can often make carrying these a lot easier.
- Money. A lot of artists and vendors in Dealers Halls only accept cash. Unless they’re a big seller, chances are they won’t be able to take card or Paypal. Don’t rely on the venue having an ATM either, as often there will be massive queues and they will run out of cash quickly.
- Spare bag. Usually a shopping bag or market bag made of cloth or plastic that can fold up small and be kept flat. These can be used for your purchases at the con or if you need somewhere to place your costume to keep it clean.
- Medicine. If you have emergency medication, have it in an easy to find place and clearly marked. It’s best to take medication before you get to the con, but sometimes it just doesn’t end up that way. Antihistamines and paracetamol are just generally useful to have.
- Chargers, cables and power bank. For your phone, your camera or whatever tech you’re carrying on you. The venue might have sockets you’ll be able to charge your phone at, but if not having a power bank and cable will let you just pop your phone in your bag and have it charge while you’re walking about
- Writing tools and a small notebook. Sometimes you won’t have mobile signal and you’ll want to note people’s social handles so you can find your new friends after the con. Alternatively it’s an easy way to give people your own information, particularly photographers who shoot lots of cosplayers during the day. A permanent marker is also good if you want items/prints signed by convention guests.
Use your own judgement when it comes to packing your own con bag, as it’s ultimately what you’re comfortable with. Some people bring a book or a portable game console such as the Nintendo Switch if they expect long lines. Some people just go with a wallet in their pockets and nothing else.
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