By: Nicholas Eskey
Attending conventions can be the highlight of anyone’s year. They allow fans to share their fandom with other likeminded individuals, purchase rare and exotic collectibles, explore new destinations, get the latest news from industry people, meet their favorite actors or artists, and maybe show off their elaborate cosplay creations.
However, attending conventions come with their own amounts of headaches. A counterpart to all the good times. There’s one that stems all the way from the start: Packing. “What do I bring? What will I need? How the heck am I going to tote all of this around?”
The idea alone is very daunting, the execution is laborious, and the carrying around can be tiring. I’ve experienced my share of conventions, both local and out of town. All the experience has helped me to streamline my convention pack to tailor my own needs. Mind you, my pack might not completely be suited for what you may need, but I want to share it with you so you can get ideas for your own.
When I travel, I like to be ready for many different eventualities. First thing is to start with a large enough pack that will be able to hold all of my necessities and gear. I chose a REI brand backpack. It’s meant for backpacking, so it comes equipped with many pockets, as well as a zipper that can expand the pack. Best thing, it falls within the airline’s carry on size regulations. You’ll just have to make sure it’s below the weight limitations. Often there are papers I need to bring, so I can’t forget those. I use a Nikon D300 SLR digital camera for all the photos I’ll be taking, and because changing lenses isn’t really a feasible option I use an 18 to 200 telephoto lens, which is great for travel and many other situations. A flash can also come in handy in low light situations or to counteract harsh light, so I use a Nikon SB-800 speed flash. Special batteries are required so the recharge is quick. I go for Energizer Ultimate Lithium.
A computer is very important for writing my articles. I use a Microsoft Surface tablet, first generation. It’s compact, can take a USB flash drive, and has touch screen capabilities. It’s also used to take notes during panels and for interviews. The detachable keyboard is an expanded battery for the tablet, and the leather case is to keep them both safe. As a precaution, I have a Moleskin notebook as a backup for taking notes. The printer is more of a luxury choice of mine. True, a number of hotels have business centers that are available for use. But I find that some of them are only available for rewards members or for an extra cost. I choose to bring a small foldable HP printer in case I need to print, and yes that happens.
After these, and of course clothes (which I always choose to measure out only enough for the days I’m attending) there are loose things like a pill box for medication, USB hub, tablet charger, extra battery pack for my cellphone (since the convention plugs might fry one’s cell), screen cleaner, business cards, wireless mouse, earbuds, cellphone cord, USB memory card reader, camera memory cards, camera batteries, a box with various toiletries, and a small should bag for carrying around the convention. I used to have a portable wifi hub, but found myself rarely using it due to complementary hotel wifi.