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convention guide

Convention Survival Kit – what to bring to a convention

With a bunch of conventions soon upon us, like EGX, MCM London and Glasgow, you might have the itch to attend a con for the first time. Great! The more the merrier! However, if you’ve not been before, then let this Convention Survival Kit guide help prepare you on some basic essentials to bring with you. Some of these may seem obvious but trust me, we’ve all forgotten at least one of these before, and you always regret it when you do!

Convention Survival Kit – Plasters / Bandages

You’ll be doing a lot of walking over the course of a weekend. A lot. Having some plasters (or band-aids for you US-based folk) on you will help with those inevitable blisters that you and your friends will get at some point, especially if you’ve decided to cosplay over the weekend. You never know if a particular prop you’ve created is digging into your shoulder more than expected, or those shoes that you knew were a size too small but “they weren’t that bad around the house” are now trying to steal your toenails. Also, you’ll be covered if you accidentally trip.

Convention Survival Kit – Energy Drinks

Okay, it doesn’t need to just be Lucozade Sport, but there is a reason I chose this one – Not only does it act a bit like an energy by giving you a nice gulp of glucose, but it’s designed to stop you from getting dehydrated. Conventions are hot and sweaty, and you might not have a chance to go get yourself a bottle of water, or even food while you are out and about, queuing to meet stars or see panels, so something like Lucozade will keep you energetic.

Convention Survival Kit – Deodorant

Speaking of hot and sweaty. You will be. I hate to be the one to tell you, but you are gonna smell at some point over the weekend. You can’t help it, nor can anyone else. In a hall of a few thousand people, it’ll get stuffy. You can, however, help combat it by remembering to bring some deodorant with you. I would recommend bringing a roll on version. Not only is it smaller to carry in your bag, but you won’t affect anyone around you that might have breathing problems like asthma.

Convention Survival Kit – Duct Tape

This might seem like a bit of a weird one, but I promise it makes sense. If you are going in cosplay something will break on you over the weekend. At a Con, while I was dressed as Undyne once, someone had walked into one of my pauldrons and had almost knocked it clean off the rest of the armour. Of course, I didn’t have duct tape, so it was a mad scramble to try and find anything remotely adhesive to try and fix it up. In the end, it was rigged up with plasters. It didn’t work too well. Just bring tape.

Convention Survival Kit – Sewing Kit

This one goes hand in hand with the duct tape – If you’re cosplaying, or you’re going with friends in cosplay, something is bound to rip or tear over the course of a few days. It is comforting to know you have one about when you hear “rrriiiiiiiippppp” at your side.

Convention Survival Kit – Superglue

The last item in the “You will need these if you are in cosplay” bunch. Super Glue is very handy to have for the smaller things that either cannot be sewn or taped back on, such as gems falling off a staff. Do not apply it to fabrics for a fix though, because it can burn through the fabric!

Convention Survival Kit – Portable Battery

If you do not have one already, definitely pick up a portable battery. You’ll be using your phone a lot during the day without realising it; Taking selfies with cosplayers and guests, ringing your pals cause you’ve lost them again for the 14th time, taking pictures of the cool items on display, vlogging, and posting all about it on social media.

Convention Survival Kit – Hand Sanitizer

You will be meeting a lot of strangers over the weekend, with at least something in common with you, awesome! Not awesome: they might have the infamous “Con Flu” and neither you or they will know it, but you’ll know all about it by the time Monday comes around. Fortunately, having some hand sanitizer will help combat some of the grossness that might occur, or keep your own hands slightly less grubby for other people. Also, sometimes the toilet runs out of soap during the day, and you don’t wanna be the guy with those hands.

Convention Survival Kit – A Decent Backpack

Last but not least, you are gonna need a backpack to put all of this in, and all your merch throughout the day. Here are the reasons I’ve chosen this particular backpack:

  • It’s got a padlock on it. Just in case. If you have found yourself that shiny Charizard card at long last, you really wouldn’t want someone with a high pickpocket skill to take if off your hands.
  • External USB port. This will work great with that portable battery we spoke about earlier.
  • Just the right size. You don’t want to lug a monster of a backpack on your shoulder all day, and this should be a nice balance between space and comfort.

And that’s it! One Convention Survival Kit for you. Learn from all of my mistakes over the years and years of convention attending. You will likely forget something, but don’t worry too much, you can always ask for help from the people around you, most will be willing to lend you a hand if you’ve lost a friend, or help you find a steward.

Just do not make the mistake of leaving your tickets behind. I have definitely done that one before, and that was a very dejected two-hour journey back to my home, to grab the tickets, to go all the way back to London again. I have many more stories on various missteps through conventions but that is a whole different article, for now – go have fun and indulge in your fandoms!

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