Con Survival Part 3: Stuffing the Con Bag

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Hello Sunday readers!

I hope you are ready for the fun part of organizing your con bag – stuffing it! Let’s get realistic here…remember the questions you asked yourself last week? It honestly boils down to one very important question: how much are you willing to carry around for what may be a 12-14 hour day?

For any given convention, I will generally have the following items in my bag:

  1. Zipper pouch containing writing utensils, a small pad of paper, lip balm, individually wrapped bandages, feminine hygiene items, and gum
  2. Secondary wristlet/zipper pouch containing various money/credit cards and business cards
  3. Small umbrella
  4. Dice bag full of dice
  5. Charging cords
  6. Battery pack/power bank
  7. Handheld gaming system
  8. Small bottle of water
  9. Hand sanitizer
  10. Small container of over the counter meds (including vitamin supplements)
  11. Packets of nuts, dried fruits, fruit pouches, and protein bars

So what kind of zipper pouch are we talking here? You could go with old reliable and snag a good pencil pouch at the dollar store. But if you’d like something a little more personalized, how about crafting something really quick? I enjoyed this tutorial from Melly Sews because it is spelled out in writing in addition to the video! These little projects are great to get over a fear of sewing in zippers!

The best part is picking the fabric!

The best part is picking the fabric!

Ok, so let’s say that you don’t have a working sewing machine or maybe you don’t have time to sew something while still getting your awesome cosplay done on time. That’s where some of the lovely vendors we’ve seen before here on Craft Hackers come in. I love the Voulala bags from Top Notch by Design:

Perfect for all of your storage needs, complete with tentacles!

Perfect for all of your storage needs, complete with tentacles!

They have that neat little strap that can either go on your wrist, through a belt loop, through a D-ring on a bigger bag, or anywhere you need, really! She has quite the selection of smaller bags for the same sort of purpose as well. If nothing there suits your style or you’d just like something smaller, dice bags are not just for holding dice, if you know what I mean. Seriously! A good drawstring pouch can double as a wallet or wristlet. It just so happens that our fearless leader, Toni, is a purveyor of fine drawstring bags:

And they come in so many patterns, you can have a different one for every occasion!

And they come in so many patterns, you can have a different one for every occasion!

Ok, so besides more pouch-like organizers in your bag, what else can help keep everything from either ending up on the bottom of your bag or tangling horribly? I would highly recommend using Velcro straps or twist ties to keep all of your cords organized. For little things like your over the counter meds or pins and such for cosplay repair, the one a day pill boxes are also great for keeping things visible but not all mixed up. The packets of food tend to be placed into one big plastic bag, also for easy access and less of a likelihood of spills or crumbs. I have found some pretty cool hand sanitizer accessories that clip onto the outside of my pack for easy access. I will say that the most important part of packing your con bag is making sure you are comfortable with the bag itself. More pockets may mean more stash spots but that may also lead to overstuffing it which also leads to back and shoulder pain. You definitely don’t want to have 3 more days left of a convention and be in massive pain because you overpacked. Next week, appropriately enough, I will be at Wizard World Chicago so I think we will wrap up our Con Survival series with a quick primer on convention etiquette. See you then!

~Laura

 


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