Preparing for Gencon: Packing the Bag of Holding

2008 July 22
by Stupid Ranger

I know many of you are preparing for Gencon, and I also know that some of you are first-time attendees. For all the newbies out there, I’d like to offer some insight into what you might need for your trip.

1. Badge & Tickets – If you have pre-registered and received your badge and tickets in the mail, DON’T FORGET TO TAKE THEM WITH YOU!!!
2. Backpack – You will definitely want to bring a backpack for your days at the convention center. Besides being able to carry your required gaming paraphernalia (books, dice, pencils), your backpack can be useful for carrying snacks, your Gencon event guide, and all your loot.
3. Game equipment – You aren’t likely to forget this one, but make sure you take along your game equipment (books, dice, cards, etc). Even if you aren’t registered for a gaming event, you’ll find pick-up games around the corner without looking too hard.

4. Camera – There will be things you want to capture to savor your Gencon experience throughout the year, to tide you over until next time. Take your camera and plenty of batteries/memory cards/film.
5. Ziploc bag – This is one of my standards in packing my backpack for Gencon. It never fails to rain at least one day. I carry a gallon-sized Ziploc bag to protect those things that can’t get wet. This my just be your cell phone, but may also include irreplaceable items of a paper-like nature (cards, books, tickets, badge).
6. Rain coat/umbrella – Along the lines of the Ziploc bag, you might want to bring a rain coat or compact umbrella. Arriving drenched at the convention hall isn’t a whole lot of fun, and I speak from experience here. Of course, you could always just bring your towel, you hoopy frood.
7. Comfortable shoes – You will be walking. Alot. Make sure your shoes are comfortable.

8. Cell phone charger – Especially if you plan to keep in touch with friends during the convention, don’t forget your cell phone charger. You don’t want a dead battery to prevent you from finding out where the coolest loot is on the sales floor.

9. Personal care items – Seems silly to include this, but you’ll wish at some point during the convention that someone had left a similar message for about a third of the people there.

10. Geek clothes – You gotta wear the coolest geek threads you’ve got. And no, that’s not an oxymoron. Gencon is one of the fabulous places in the world in which you can wear your most fantastic geek clothes and be totally, awesomely cool.

Now, I know many of you have been to Gencon before. What other advice on packing can you share?

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Ben Pop permalink
    July 22, 2008

    I haven’t been to GenCon, but I’ve been to enough cons in my life. So,

    I endorse most heartily item #8. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten one. And it totally blows. #7 comes in on a close second, and I am reminded of when I wore old skate shoes to Disneyland… *PAIN*. And #2 is quite important as well.

    All of them are important, really, but those are my top priorities. Those, and a toothbrush and a towel (do you know where your towel is at?).

  2. DNAphil permalink
    July 23, 2008

    Before we get on the road for our 8 hr drive from Buffalo to Indy, everyone in our group is required to show their badge.

    Same holds true when we get up and head out to the convention center, we perform another badge check.

    I am always get new sneakers and comfortable sport in-soles right before GenCon, because you will be on your feet a lot.

    I also endorse something like Advil. If you are an aging gamer, as I am, and if you are in gamer shape, as I am, all that walking and standing is going to leave you with some minor aches and pains. Having some Advil on hand will take away those minor aches and pains and let you keep on exploring.

    One last thing…bring a water bottle. There are water fountains that you can use to fill up your bottle, and its free, compare that to the near $4.00 bottle of water, and you can save yourself a lot of money, and keep hydrated as you hike the convention floor.

  3. Stupid Ranger permalink
    July 23, 2008

    @ ben pop: I’m a hoopy frood who really knows where my towel is. 🙂

    @dnaphil: I forgot about the water bottle. Good call.

    I also meant to add and completely forgot, the small first aid kit I always carry with Advil, Tums, Neosporin and bandaids. You never know when you’ll need them, and you don’t want to have try to hunt them down if you do.

  4. Martin Ralya permalink
    July 23, 2008

    I’ll second Advil and Tums. I always carry some snacks (usually fruit/granola bars, fruit snack pouches or similar) and a drink or two as well.

    I’ve tried backpacks and messenger bags of various sizes over the years, and found a small backpack to be the best option overall. When I’m carrying too much loot for the backpack, it’s time to go back to the room anyway. 😉

    I stopped bringing gaming books a few years back — I never used them. Now that I have to fly instead of driving, they definitely don’t make the cut. I’m not big on pickup games, though, so I can see why they’d be useful for some folks.

    If you’re planning to hit the dealer’s room hard, bring most of your available funds in cash. Some booths can’t take credit cards (although this has gotten less common), which is can be an unpleasant surprise.

  5. Dante permalink
    July 23, 2008

    Last year we significantly slimmed down the number of books that we brought, and happily so… we never really used ’em.

    This year I think I might go entirely book-free, we shall see.

    There’s a certain booth that actually cheers you when you have exact change, so if you want a free (with purchase) round of applause carry a bag of change. 🙂

  6. Louis Porter Jr. permalink
    July 23, 2008

    Bring vitamins and Purell. That many people is various degrees of health and cleanness is a bredding ground to catch something.

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