Ultimate SDCC Packing List


We are now one-month away from the Granddaddy of all cons, #SDCC2015. With that in mind I’ve decided to share the packing list I’ll use when prepping for our trip to San Diego. This list comes with a few caveats/assumptions:

  • This Bro doesn’t cosplay
  • I’ll be taking two checked bags in addition to my backpack. Whenever I travel to anywhere that isn’t SDCC I’m a firm believer in only taking a carry-on bag, but considering the wealth of #Exclusives I plan to pick up I’ve got to take two additional checked suitcases
  • You’re a minimalist who wants to be prepared-it’s not going to snow in San Diego and you don’t need seven pairs of shoes when you’re camping out for Hall H and racing between panels or off-site events. The tennis shows you wear to the airport are enough.

If you’re fortunate enough to be going to SDCC, odds are you’re hoping to snag some exclusives, you’re going to be doing some waiting, you’re going to be staying in a hotel or AirBnB and perhaps getting a rental car. I’m going to go into a section-by-section breakdown of this packing list, elaborate upon why a few potentially eyebrow-raising items are included and then also explain why the list is divvied up the way it is. This is the big one, Bros-make sure you’ve got a game plan and you’re prepped.

complete pack list pic

Travel/Flight Essentials

Everything contained under this header is going with this Bro on his flight. On the off-chance my checked bags go missing I’ll have not only my most expensive gear with me, but the most important/hardest stuff to replace as well.  A few of these items may make their way with me during the day to day of living the #ConLife (snacks, powerbank, etc) but I group these items under these headings because they go with me on the flight. All of the necessary paperwork goes in a single folder in my backpack because even though you can typically pull all of this information up on your phone, it takes up minimal space and too many variables can go wrong when using your phone for everything. This Bro doesn’t like clutter, but you won’t catch me traveling without everything I need.

ConLife/Packing essentials

Considering you’re taking two suitcases and there’s no way you’d ever fill up both with just clothes and the like (and if you do you’re going about this packing thing all wrong), you’ve got some room to take a few additional things. Everything in this category are things which will help you secure your plethora of #Exclusives, things you’ll use for walking around #SDCC or which will be useful to have in your hotel room.  Your carry-on bag may double as the backpack you’ll use for roaming around the Con, and if that’s the case you’re saving additional space.  You also may not need poster tubes or bubble wrap, but we prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to protecting our #Exclusives. Speaking of which, the print I was dying for at #SDCC2014 couldn’t be rolled up, so it ended up being my personal item to carry-on the flight back. Still-we used the poster tube for a number of other items we received, although if you really had to you could ship the items to your home directly from any number of stores. We’re all about minimizing costs, though.

#SDCC brings an insane amount of extremely large reusable bags with it (even if the only one you snag is the one provided when you pick up your badge), so taking an additional bag with you may simply be overkill and take up some precious suitcase space. Also, you may not need or be interested in a money belt-I’ve a flipbelt I use for running and prefer carting my wallet and other necessities around in that instead of my pockets since it fits discreetly below my shirt. If you like playing it safe, there’s no harm in taking travel locks and locking up all of your goods in your hotel/AirBnB when you’re out living the #ConLife.


Whenever we travel I fill up reusable bottles with shampoo, aftershave, body wash and any items I can so I don’t have to pack full-size bottles. It maximizes space and saves me some cash on buying travel size stuff. Also, I opt to use a 3-1 body wash/shampoo/shaving gel product in order to limit the number of tiny bottles I’m packing, although I figured everyone may not do the same so I separated the items in the packing list. The only full-size things I pack are my toothbrush and sunscreen, considering my crew and I go through quite a bit of sunblock when we’re prowling through all the off-site events.


I always make sure to take a small first aid kit in my toiletries bag which consists of a pillbox filled with various types of medicine (you get sore when you’re walking/sitting for hours), Band-Aids, ointment (paper-cuts, miscellaneous small injuries) and aloe, because even though you’re going to be slathering on sunscreen odds are you’re going to get sunburned a tiny bit. I don’t like over-packing, but all of these things take up only a small amount of space in my toiletries bag and if something happens I won’t have to huff it to store and pick anything up.


If you’re cosplaying, odds are this section of your packing list will be substantially longer than mine. Cosplay is one of the best parts of the convention, I just prefer to get my hands on #Exclusives and spend my time plotting out which booth I’m going to hit up on which day than assembling a costume. That being said, t-shirts and polos are all I pack when I’m making the pilgrimage to #SDCC. T-shirts double as sleep/workout wear and polos serve as my “dressy” options for those nights when we decide to explore the Gaslamp district. Considering it’s so dang hot most of the clothing options I pack are black-the last thing I want is to run into Summer Glau and have my shirt drenched in visible sweat! (still waiting for that to happen)


I pretty much only wear jeans when I’m traveling and I’ll pack one pair in addition to what I’m wearing to the airport. Workout shorts double as my pajamas since I’m all about maximizing space in my suitcases. I only take a hoodie since San Diego tends to be hot and the hood can prove useful if you end up caught in the rain, as well as doubling as a pillow during flights. Travel pillows are nice but as you can tell, I’m all about items serving multiple uses.  I pack water shoes/flip flops because while in San Diego I plan to hit up the beach (I’m all about the #NerdLife, but #SDCC is an around-the-clock excursion and this is a vacation); other than that the running shoes I wear to the airport will be the only kicks I’ll be rocking throughout the Con.

Maybe you cosplay, maybe you’ve a camera and charger you’re taking with you or maybe you don’t want to cart around all the bonus stuff with you I take with me; whatever you do, TAKE AN EXTRA SUITCASE OR AT THE VERY LEAST AN EXTRA BAG WITH YOU. Cash is also essential for the numerous off-site events (a select few vendors only take greenbacks exclusively) so be sure you’ve got a fair amount and it’s stashed in a secure place.  Things like small folding chairs and pillows are luxuries which come in quite handy when you’re camping, but I don’t have the suitcase room to spare for items like these. Also, personal wipes can be great if you’re in need of a quick shower, but I find the actual act of showering to be too refreshing after hours of walking/staking out a spot to pass up.

The Bros advice: Make a packing list ahead of time, try to eliminate everything you can do without and maximize all of the space you have.  #SDCC is a great Con and you absolutely want to be prepared. The countdown is ON! Until next time, Bros!


2 thoughts on “Ultimate SDCC Packing List

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