18 things to pack for SDCC

12 JULY 2019

I know, I know - you've already seen at least a dozen articles titled "What to Pack for San Diego Comic-Con." And you've already been to the Con before and also, you're not stupid. So why am I posting this?

Because in your excitement, you might forget a few basics. Or you might still be new to our chaotic world and not quite realize what's required. So let's review: what should you pack?

#1. Something warm to wear. Next week's San Diego weather looks perfect to me - some cloud cover, days in the low-mid 70s and nights dipping into the low-mid 60s. If you're part lizard like I am and get cold easily, bring a sweater or jacket. If you're going to camp outside overnight, wear layers so you can bundle up and strip down accordingly.

#2. Something comfortable to wear. You may be getting snazzed up for some kind of glittery event or maybe you plan on cosplaying 24/7. Even so, the time will come when you just want to be comfortable at Comic-Con - even if you're the vainest princess ever.

#3. Portable chairs or air hammocks. Speaking of comfortable...

#4. Cosplay repair. Wigs, weapons, armor, dresses, zombie makeup wounds, alternate costumes or repair tools and sewing kits - just be prepared.

#5. Extra batteries, headphones and portable chargers. Don't count on charging up when and where you need to. It's more reliable to just pop in a fresh power source or use your own charger.

#6. Promotional material and contact cards. You won't always have time to hand them your phone and have them text themselves. If you're marketing yourself in some capacity, you really want to bring the right materials, but even cards can help you stay in touch with people you meet in line and before panels.

#7. A big tote or bagpack. The SDCC bags are great, but a bit too unwieldy for most of us to carry around. You'll do better with a huge purse, tote or backpack - anything that doesn't fit in can go to Bag Check.

#8. A moderate number of devices. Do you really need your laptop, GoPro, phone and iPad at SDCC? I'm going to say you can get by on 2 of those. Don't weigh yourself down.

#9. Snacks and water. Even if you intend to eat out for every meal at SDCC, it may not always be an option. Being able to grab power bars or fruit gets you in line earlier as well, and bringing snacks into the convention center can stave off your hunger pains long enough to delay lunch for the right panel.

#10. A hard copy of your friends' contact info. In case you lose power or Internet or your phone - it happens. Or you're just Twitter friends with someone and they're offline and you can't text them and oops, there goes the Conan ticket they promised you.

#11. A list of everything you promised to pick up for your friends. It's just easier instead of running through text messages from 42 people, trying to remember who wanted what and where you can find it.

#12. Aspirin, band-aids, eyedrops, condoms, sunscreen, drugstore cures. Travel can do a number on you but add in the noise and stress of Comic-Con and you could be waylaid by headaches, constipation, dry eyes and other ailments. Sunscreen is mandatory. Yes, you can buy all this stuff there but it's another trip you'll be too busy for - and hotel gift shops will charge you a mortgage payment for 3 ibuprofen, when they aren't constantly closed.

#13. Earplugs and sleep mask. These aren't just for ladies of leisure who sleep till noon. If you don't sleep well in hotels or are sensitive to city noise, earplugs and sleep masks can help you get restful sleep. Also consider a white noise app and some melatonin.

#14. Sketchbook, writing implement and art storage tubes. If you want to collect sketches, don't settle for the back of a promotional flyer. Bring a nice sketchbook and use it for multiple Cons. Art storage tubes will protect any prints you buy.

#15. A regular book. This may seem like bringing sand to the beach, but you will find yourself with more reading time than you think. Even if you buy a stack of fresh comics, do you really want to read them all in the Ballroom 20 line? Bringing a paperback will keep you from running down your phone, too.

#16. Swimsuit. Even if you don't visit the beach, getting in your hotel hot tub or sauna is a nice break from the Con.

#17. A refillable water bottle. Comic-Con is dehydrating, so get in the habit of carrying a bottle around that you can keep refilling.

#18. Your badge. There aren't enough panic attacks in the world for the moment you step off the plane and realize your badge is back home in Portland. Also bring a lanyard, even if you intend on buying a new one. 

What shouldn't you bring?

A ton of different outfits and shoes. You can probably get by on your support shoes and one pair of going-out shoes.

Shipping materials.  The convention centers and nearby hotels have UPS or Fedex stores to ship your stuff home - and they'll have all the boxes and tape you need.

An entire of suitcase of back issues and old action figures to sell. The vendors aren't interested unless you've got something super special.

Enjoy your last weekend before the storm.

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