#ConLife Essentials


As all visitors to this site are aware, the Bros are all about living that #ConLife. So long as the convention is related to one of the many aspects of #NerdLife (Comics, Film, Television, Video Games, whatever) you can bet the Bros are dying to attend….whether funds allow our desires to come to fruition is a completely different story. Nevertheless, there are a few things we carry with us whenever we venture off to Cons and we wanted to share that list with you. Feel free to offer suggestions to your fellow Con-goers below, as when it comes to tackling behemoths like PAX and SDCC, we’re all in this together (Unless you’re after the same #Exclusives-then it’s every Bro for themselves! I jest, of course!).

  • Backpack – Goruck GR1
The best bag you could ask for. Doesn't come with the patches or the attachments, but they're useful and swag.
The best bag you could ask for. Doesn’t come with the patches or the attachments, but they’re useful and swag.

When something’s going to be strapped to your back for hours, housing all your #Exclusives and all of your personal effects, you want something comfortable and durable. These bad boys have reinforced straps which don’t dig in to your shoulders, look as if they go with everything and are fantastic for carrying around bricks wrapped with duct tape-don’t believe me? Scope the official website. Needless to say, if they can handle bricks they can handle the free scarves and Lego boxes I’ll inevitably secure. They’re easily the toughest bag I’ve ever owned and after numerous Cons, vacations, moving and overnight trips they look as fantastic and rugged as they day they arrived in the mail. They aren’t cheap but you won’t buy another backpack, probably ever. #BroApproved

  • Power Bank – Noontec Cubee 10000 mAh Power Bank
My source of power throughout all Cons
My source of power throughout all Cons

Your cellphone is your ticket to the world when it comes to living that #ConLife. At a Con you’ll use it around the clock-killing time in line, texting/calling your Bros, trolling Twitter for last-minute updates-and as such you need a power bank that’ll be able to keep your phone juiced up. The Bros opted for these bad boys due to their 10,000 mAh storage capacity. Don’t know what mAh stands for? Neither do we, but we know more of ‘em means our phone keeps running for longer. These power banks aren’t the most compact we’ve seen, but considering the storage capacity (During #SDCC2014 we only had to charge these once) it’s a worthwhile tradeoff in my book.

  • Organizer- Maxpedition E.D.C Pocket Organizer
Perfect for storing your earbuds, cables and power bank
Perfect for storing your earbuds, cables and power bank

Carting around numerous devices and their corresponding cords-and that slightly bulky power bank-means you’ve got to have a way to keep everything organized. Enter this small organizer, where the Noontec powerbank fits snugly in the inner pocket. It’s got spots for multiple cords and zips up to ensure nothing slips out. The fabric-hook on the top means if you’re like the Bros, you can use a carabineer to latch it to the inside of your GoRuck, or just hook it to your belt loop and walk around your Con while using your phone. We’ve all been there.

  • Hoodie – Fangamer & American Giant
#NerdLife or classic - your choice
#NerdLife or classic – your choice

We’ve been to Cons housed in chilly hotels, sweltering convention centers and all manner of venues in between. Places like #SDCC are notorious for overnight camping, so you’ve got to have a hoodie you’ll be comfortable wearing for 24 hours+ in case you’re dealing with chilly weather. If you’re primarily housed in a scorching building, remember those concrete floors you’ll inevitably be sleeping/sitting on are hard, and if you’ve no room for a pillow a hoodie can substitute. From a previous post you’ll know the Bros are big fans of Fangamer and the subtle #NerdLife designs they carry. More often than not you can catch the Bros roaming around Cons in our Pokemon-themed hoodies we scooped up from there. Still, if you’re looking for something more nondescript, look no further than American Giant. They’re soft, comfortable, can be casual or sophisticated and come in multiple weights in case you run hot or cold. They’re pricey for sure, but you get what you pay for.

  • Snacks – Quest bars, Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie
These are legit #BroFuel
These are legit #BroFuel

The Bros are all about #BroFuel. When you’re waiting in line hours for a panel, autograph or an #Exclusive, eventually hunger pangs strike. Maybe you’re a health-conscious Bro, maybe you just want something that tastes good that isn’t whatever concession stand stuff they’re hawking at the Convention center, doesn’t matter-all you need are these bad boys. Quest Bars come in a variety of flavors and are good. They’re sweet but not overly sweet, pack a #BroApproved 20 grams of protein per bar, tend to be around 200 calories and come in so many flavors they’re bound to be a few you like (Big fan of Cinnamon Roll and Cookies & Cream). Only downside is they can melt a bit, so try to keep ‘em out of direct sunlight if possible.

Sometimes though, you just need a cookie. Don’t deny it-even a Bro needs a cookie every now and then. We also have a healthy stash of Complete Cookies whenever we’re camping out. They’re around 400 calories for a whole one though, so you might want to split this with another Bro or save some for later. Unlike most packaged stuff I’ve had, these aren’t dry and I find myself wanting to eat these when I’m hungry. That’s a good thing, and the 8 grams of protein aren’t too shabby. These are just the two snacks I carry whenever I’m prepping for a Con-this isn’t a health blog, though. I’m just telling you what I eat while I’m camping out for Hall H and Legos.

  • Water bottle- Platypus
Tons of options for a collapsible water bottle-this was just the cheapest I found
Tons of options for a collapsible water bottle-this was just the cheapest I found

This Bro right here is a picky eater; I readily admit it. I tend to opt for filtered or bottled water whenever possible. While there are a number of water bottles with filters available, they take up a bit too much space in my bag for my liking. It’s a tradeoff-I don’t drink nearly as much water as I should while I’m living that #ConLife since water from fountains can range from “Tolerable” to “Why-oh-why-did-I-not-get-the-bottle-with-the-filter”, but sacrifices must be made when you’re trying to get your hands on #Exclusives! I’ve gone with the collapsible water bottle and whenever I’m in need I’ve always got it in my bag, and the footprint is so small I seldom even notice it (when not in use).

  • Noise cancelling earbuds (With microphone if possible)-

Although I love my V-Moda CrossFade LP’s they’re too darn big to fit in my bag when I’m living that ConLife.  Maybe you’re in line by yourself, maybe you’re camped out trying to catch some Z’s, maybe the people next to you are getting on your nerves, maybe you’re venturing between offsite events situated a mile and a half from each other-whatever it is, it’s almost always better with music. You want something that’ll block out the deluge of ambient noise you’ll inevitably be submersed in, and on the off-chance you get an important call you don’t want to have to put your phone up against your sweat-drenched face. You’ve many options here and I’ve yet to find a pair I’m absolutely hooked on. Just be sure they don’t take up too much space in your bag and you don’t lose the rubber attachments.

  • Time occupier-3DS? Book? Tablet? Cards?
The case I use for my DS-also from Goruck.
The case I use for my DS-also from Goruck.

Doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with your best Bros or the love of your life-eventually you’ll reach a point where due to the extended period of time you and your crew are in such close proximity to one another, you’ll have nothing to say. Still, you’ve got to keep your mind sharp-you’re competing with the masses for limited seating in panels, a limited number of #Exclusives…limited anything and everything. Be sure you’ve got something to keep your higher cognitive functions engaged, like a 3DS (gaming is quite possibly my favorite thing to do) with a solid carrying case, so the games don’t get lost in your bag. A book/tablet is always good, but never forget you’re operating with limited space in your rucksack. Take whatever you want with you, just don’t forget to take something-even though you’ve got your power bank, you want to try and conserve the battery of your phone as much as possible.

  • Extra Lanyard
Some lanyards from RTX. SGC and SXSW
Some lanyards from RTX. SGC and SXSW

The mileage on this guy varies-I could see why when you’re always operating under the confines of limited space you’d want to take as little with you as possible. That being said, I’ve gone to a Con or two where the provided lanyard seems like it’s as razor thin as an insect stripper pole (big ups if you get the reference). Since your badge serves as the metaphorical key to the kingdom when you’re living that #ConLife, protecting it should be priority number 1. I say take a lanyard with you and stash it in your bag. They hardly take up any space and not only do they provide an extra bit of #NerdLife flair to your ensemble, but you can take one you know is sturdy and won’t lose your ticket to living the illustrious #ConLife.

  • Personal Stuff

I include this entry for two reasons: First, to make this list cap at an even 10 entries. Second, to ensure you’re comfortable. I’m a big proponent of feeling at my absolute best at all times, and that’s not the easiest thing to do when you’re cramped like sardines in a room dying to get a peek at the latest entry in the Halo franchise. Maybe you wear contacts and need eye drops, maybe you like having gum and/or mints to feel refreshed, maybe you get headaches easily and you could use with some aspirin-the point is to have a few things on hand to make you feel on top of your game when it’s not easy to. This is a highly subjective entry, but I’ll provide you with some examples.

I always have mints, oil wipes, eye drops, aspirin and deodorant on hand. Sure, not everyone’s going to care if they look oily after 10 hours in a convention center, but if I’m lucky enough to run into Felicia Day, I’m going to make damn sure I look at least halfway decent when I nervously stroll up and ask her for a picture. Feel me? Maybe it’s your makeup, maybe it’s your lip balm, maybe its wet wipes-whatever. Take what you need and try not to over pack-again, you’re dealing with limited space and the goal is to be comfortable, not prepared for the zombie apocalypse when you’re in the Hall H panel for Doctor Who (which there had better be at #SDCC2015!).

Inside of the backpack. First picture has a magazine for reference, the second is me packed for #ConLife
Inside of the backpack. First picture has a magazine for reference, the second is me packed for #ConLife

This list is by no means comprehensive and I admit it’s pretty subjective. This changes depending upon the Con we’re attending, but more often than not this is what I’m carting around. I’ve left off seemingly essential items like your phone, wallet, camera (if you use one, more power to you), badge-to-whatever-con-your-attending and cash….and for good reason. Living the glorious #ConLife requires a measure of responsibility if you’re doing it correctly; you know what’s a necessity, but you might be unfamiliar with what #ConLife entails. That’s where the Bros come in to help you.

Certain Cons are smaller and don’t even require a backpack-some Cons like #SDCC require a significantly greater deal of planning. Whether you’re a #ConLife vet or gearing up to attend your first regional Con, the basics here (and adding or subtracting as necessary) will set you on the right path for making sure you attend the panels you want and get your hands on those elusive #Exclusives you covet. Considering we’re coming up on our second #SDCC in just a few short months, odds are I’ll do an #SDCC exclusive packing list as we get closer. Until next time, Bros!


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