The Convention Survival Pack

convention survival

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Convention season is in full swing. We here at the Nerd Out Blog are interested in making your convention experience a positive one. To that end, we polled members of the Nerd Out Squad with a simple idea. Everyone should have the essentials at a con or festival. If you were building your Convention Survival Pack, what would be in yours? Why? We were impressed with the answers and bet you will be, too.

Convention Survival Pack Basics

If all of the Nerd Out Squad thought about it, we would each own stock in Purell. Almost everyone polled with this question answered hand sanitizer and bottled water. Geekscape.net writer Matthew Kelly puts it simply. “Hand Sanitizer and Emergency Vitamin C packages are the only thing that keeps me alive.” Battery and phone chargers were also highly recommended. Many folks included cash as a must-have. Breath mints, tylenol and extra deodorant also made the list. Also, don’t lose your photo ID or your phone. Extra clothes and shoes are also important.

convention survival

Food & Drink

Dumbbells & Dragons founder Kenny Rotter recommends carrots and bananas to stay fueled up at conventions. Jerky is also a popular selection. Themed desserts also make the list. Nintendo-themed cupcakes are all the rage at Super Smash Con. Cosplayers and costumers often find creative ways to work food themes into their overall design. Packing protein bars is another way to make sure you have options.

Podcasting

Many conventions have designated areas available to podcasters. Having the proper equipment is still up to you. Podcasting for Dummies author Tee Morris says, “I recommend having amps and speaker so people can gather round and passers-by know something is going on here…but that you have to coordinate with the con staff. Recording panels can be tricky, unless you can assure guests that they are all miced. otherwise you are doing open air recording of panels and those can be hell when playing back.”

Nobilis Reed of the Nobilis Erotica podcast offers this advice. “Don’t worry too much about audio quality. Live events sound like live events. You’re not The Grateful Dead.”

convention survival

 

Cosplay

Costumer Robyn McIntosh raises some additional concerns for cosplayers and costumers. “Nail glue. It’s like super glue but way less toxic and does not reach to heat. Also, a lighter is key to taking care of loose threads, etc.” How bout somewhere that serves for pockets? Sara Logan Hofstein offers some cosplay workarounds. “If I’m wearing something where my feet are relatively hidden (like a dress) I’ll usually wear really tall boots, like thigh highs, because I can stick my phone, makeup, small wallet, etc, in my shoes.”

Miscellaneous

SFX artist Zombianca suggested poster tubes. “I hate finding awesome art then having to lug it around to get damaged…it’s the worst!” Make sure you have a schedule ahead of time. Many conventions now have apps dedicated to the schedule of events. Plan around the popularity of the guests so you can set your priorities.

convention survival
Never underestimate the importance of downtime

Downtime

The key to convention survival (and sanity) may also be downtime. Author Pip Ballantine says downtime is important and sometimes overlooked. “I love people, but after a few hours I need a place to decompress and prepare myself for more.” Holistic Health Dr. Stacia Kelly agrees. “Being an introvert, large crowds and massive amounts of time with people drains me. During a day long or weekend long event, I have to manage to sneak in some downtime so that I can continue to chat, be nice, and not suffer from exhaustion for several days after an event.”

So, there you have it. From tables to panels to cosplay, your many tips to packing for convention survival. Anything we missed? Please let us know!

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Nick Kelly
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Author, musician, blogger, and podcaster. He authors the cyberpunk Leon "Catwalk" Caliber series, and is co-author of the urban fantasy series featuring the Urban Samurai.
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