What's in your bag?
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Posted by cheddarbob619

Probably depends on what I'm doing that day. If I have I'm playing my TCG it looks like:
1. Deck Boxes
2. More Deck Boxes
3. Binder
4. Hand Sanitizer
5. Two External Batteries
6. Travel Locks (Mostly for when walking around or if I'm playing a game and not paying attention)
7. More cards somehow.

Otherwise I want to bring basically nothing but dice.

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Posted by matthias9

...as little as possible as weight can really be a factor if you are carrying stuff for a long time.  I see some people carrying large backpacks and I just cannot see how they live like that.  Of course, some of it depends on where your hotel is and what you need for the day.  Ideally, the heaviest thing I am carrying is a beverage.

In rough order of importance:
1)  Badge
2)  Tickets
3)  Schedule chart for the Con on one page (what I am going to, things I might go to)
4)  Water bottle / Resealeable Soda
5)  Small quantity of food:  apple, jerky, nuts, or Cliff bar
6)  Anything I know I will need for that day like dice, characters, books (hopefully not).  Only bringing this if I am using it today
7)  A few ibuprofen, acetaminophen
8)  Pen
 

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Posted by trace_sl

Not in my bag:


  • Badge, money and event tickets as I have a holder for them :) 

In my bag, which is a ThinkGeek Bag of Holding:


  • iPad, because PDFs of rules are easier to carry than rule books
  • Dice
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Charger & long cable for iPhone and iPad
  • Water Bottle
  • Snack or Two
  • Meds & Ibuprofen
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Cloth shopping bag for easy purchase carrying
  • Program Book
  • Deodorant - kind of a pickup after a few hours 
  • Small Face Towel - I sweat - it is attached to my bag
  • Tracking / Alert device :)  

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Posted by kellishaver


  • Quest bars, nuts, jerky
  • Water bottle
  • Mints/gum
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Small notebook & pen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Power bank for phone
  • Band-Aids (in case of blisters)
  • Deodorant
  • A large cloth shopping bag
  • A set of dice

Plus whatever program/coupon book I pick up there. I'll wear the badge and have my phone, event tickets, and money in pockets. 

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Posted by nikas zekeval


  • A modest size backpack to carry nearly everything. 

    • Phone, wallet, and keys for my pockets, the rest goes back there.  Keep the bag small, getting slugged by someone's week long in the woods sized bag is a common story.  And it will help prune you list.  If you can't get it all in the bag, less your wallet, keys, and phone?  Think if you really need to carry it all day.

  • powerbars, granola bars, and/or trail mix

    • You might have a long time before you can break away to eat.  Or that time you have between games might find it is shorter than the lines at most places you can reach.  Something to keep you going, and less likely to snap at other players due to hunger.

      • Important point, unless you have an insulated bag, avoid chocolate for the above, it WILL melt by the time you get to it.  Trust me.


  • Waterbottle, and a way to tie it to you or your bag.

    • The last is very important.  I wandered by con ops last year and saw several boxes of water bottles (and at least two of glasses and glass cases!) people left behind.  A large external pocket or carabineer to clip it to your bag or belt so you are less likely to forget it. 

  • Water flavorer for the above

    • It helps cover if the taste is different from home, and anything that makes it easier/tastier to drink helps keep you hydrated.

  • Aspirin on top of any normal meds, add Pepto or the like if you get digestive issues easily.  Probably a few bandaids too.

    • Lots of walking, and the halls can get loud just from all the conversations.  Trust me your head and legs will thank you.

  • Conbook/schedule.  In case a game falls through, or ends early enough to see if you can squeeze something in.
  • Dice, pens, pencils, maybe a small pad of scratch paper.  Gaming supplies 101.
  • Rule books?  Depends on the game.  If I do have it, only for the the day(s) of the game, and maybe plot at trip back to the car when I can to drop it off again.
  • Ipad.  I just feel I can read things like downloaded rule books and Gencon scheduling more easily on a larger screen than a phone.
  • Charger adapter and cords. Remember to plug everything in before you go to bed
  • A towel.  It's not just for hitchhikers.  Your water bottle will sweat for starters, carry this at least to keep from dribbling on your hosts' games.  And if you ever need one, it is generally needed now, not running to the bathroom and hoping their is still enough paper on the rolls.  I suggest packing it between where you put the water bottle and your books, just in case.  Doesn't have to be large, hand towel size will do nicely.

 

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Posted by dragonheart

I know, slacking this year.  I usually start this thread... Thanks to the original poster for starting it.


  • Dice
  • phone
  • camera
  • spare battery pack 
  • business cards
  • 2 water bottles
  • aspirin
  • leatherman
  • belvita breakfast wafers

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Posted by the amethyst dragon


  • wallet
  • phone
  • battery pack
  • 2 pencils
  • Sharpie
  • half dozen index cards (impromptu nametags when playing)
  • a few granola bars
  • a couple cans of Diet Dew (my caffeine of choice)
  • a set of dice
  • tiny container with a few tylenol and ibuprophen (in case of headache)
  • event tickets
  • program book (maybe)

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Posted by snnakebite

Beano after the burger I ate for lunch

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Posted by njseahawksfan

A few of the mistakes that I've made over the years:

Using a shoulder bag instead of a backpack.  My shoulder was really sore that year.

Related:  over packing.  I'm on my feet for a majority of the time I'm there, so lugging around stuff I don't ever use is a bad idea.  I leave the rulebooks and iPad at the hotel now.

I bring and empty water bottle and fill it at one of the stations around the ICC when I'm ready for my first drink.  Also cuts down on the weight.

Make sure you wear you most comfortable shoes.  I bought a new pair of sneakers one year and "saved them" for the con, and it turned out they weren't as comforatable as I thought they'd be.  
 

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Posted by brooks njseahawksfan

njseahawksfan wrote:

Using a shoulder bag instead of a backpack.  My shoulder was really sore that year.

Make sure you wear you most comfortable shoes.  I bought a new pair of sneakers one year and "saved them" for the con, and it turned out they weren't as comforatable as I thought they'd be.  
 


I think these are kinda related. Whatever bag/shoes/clothes/etc. you plan to use at the convention, test them out ahead of time. If you consider Gen Con a 4-day backpacking trip, no backpacker in their right mind is going to trust brand new gear that they've never broken in, much less tested. Carry around your bag to a few local festivals (containing whatever you plan to have it contain at the convention), wear those shoes for at least a week or two carrying said bag with said contents, and see how everything works out.

Regardless pack a roll of moleskin in case your feet wear in a weird spot you didn't anticipate. You can pick up a roll for somewhere around $10 from Amazon (absolutely saved me last year wearing a pair of boots that I'd thought were long since and well broken in.) 

Another thing I've found out is that your load doesn't have to be the same every day. If you have a morning of seminars or something similar and can make it back to the hotel/car before an afternoon of heavy gaming, don't even mess with carrying your bag that morning. Stage your bag the night before and have it ready to grab and go for the afternoon or however your schedule works out.  

Finally, as a solo attendee I've sworn off carrying a smartphone, tablet, or anything similar. You'd be amazed how many cool people you can meet having lunch by yourself at the bar in the Ram, hanging out at the beer garden, or waiting in line for an event. Staring down at a screen misses all of those opportunities and, after all, gaming really is a social activity and we're all gamers. 

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Posted by trace_sl njseahawksfan

njseahawksfan wrote:
A few of the mistakes that I've made over the years:

Make sure you wear you most comfortable shoes.  I bought a new pair of sneakers one year and "saved them" for the con, and it turned out they weren't as comforatable as I thought they'd be.  
 


This is most important, break-in any new shoes.  As, it is now at the 40(ish) day mark, you should be doing this...NOW!  Also, start getting use to carrying your bag now too, walking with it, even if it is almost empty.  :) 

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Posted by vondiesel


  1. Wind
  2. Fire
  3. All that kind of thing

Sorry, I couldn't resist.  But to be serious, your bag should be configured for what you may need.

However here are some tips:


  • Bring a water bottle or buy a Dasani and use as a water bottle for the whole con.  Dasani is the brand that the ICC uses and the plastic is thicker and more durable than most other bottled waters.  There are plenty of fill stations everywhere (and infused water in some of the hotel meeting areas).
  • There is a CVS Pharmacy near the Hilton on N Illinois and W Ohio (4 blocks from the ICC) that has normal prices (not inflated like at hotels).  Over the counter emergency items that are suddenly needed can be left behind as this is a 10-15 minute walk from the ICC to get there.  WARNING: they maintain normal hours during GenCon.  They have a 7:30pm close except Saturday which is 6:30pm.
  • Food trucks have similar pricing for their food as the ICC, but can provide much lower prices for water and soda than the ICC.
  • Read the "break-in your shoes" tips from the previous posters njseahawksfan, brooks, and trace_sl.  Those tips are truth.  Plus no open toes, it gets crowded at times.
  • MOST IMPORTANT TIP: at the end of a day of GenConning, empty your bag completely.  Evaluate each item that you have dumped out.  Keep the coupons you are fairly sure you will use; throw out (recycle if possible) trash; put away receipts and purchases that you know you don't need.  Then place the items you still feel you will use back in the bag.  (Short version: rebuild you bag every day.)

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Posted by lesleykate

Along with what others have posted, I carry a small umbrella. It normally fits in my purse, so it's an easy fit in my messenger bag. If you have to walk anywhere not connected, it's always great to have just in case.

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Posted by lesleykate

Oh, and my husband bought us both small personal fans that can hang around your neck. (It's smaller than my Pixel 2, so it's definitely not taking up much room!) That will be in my bag as well. Hot flashes strike at any time....and along with a long sleeve shirt for layering, this keeps me cool in the rooms that get hot. Temperature control is hard in the convention center, so be prepared for being hot and cold during the day.

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Posted by hahnarama


  1. a spare t shirt. I don't sweat enough to need a towel :) but I am running events every night from 4:00 -8:00 PM. It's amazing how human you feel with a fresh shirt
  2. I'm very conscious about how much weight I'm lugging around, almost OCD. If I need a dice bag with 60 d6 to play Shadowrun on Thurs, I'm not carrying 12.1 oz with me the rest of the week. First aid kit...gone, small baggy with 4 pain pills and a band-aid. External battery..nope. I have a Samsung that I can put into ultra low power and get 81 hours off a single charge. 
  3. I'm normally not a breakfast guy but for GenCon I make sure I eat a high calorie one each day that way I can take ONE snack with me. 
  4. My goal is to make my bag lighter as the day goes on just in case I do start to fill it with purchases.
  5. This works for me but maybe not for you. I've discovered that the past 7 Cons I feel great after walking all day. 

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Posted by ascantla vondiesel

Rebuilding your bag everyday is probably the best advice I've seen so far. Our first year we were WAY over prepared, and I lugged around a good sized backpack with everything in it, plus the one my wife ended up not wanting to carry that had the sequel to everything in it. The next year it was reduced and I started looking at what we used each day, and the items that were packed as just a "maybe". Now the 3 of us use 1 messenger bag with essentials. 

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Posted by hahnarama

I'm no expert this will just be my 24th GenCon and you learn from pain and experience. Whay back when I use to lug a 35mm camera, extra lens, 3 spare rolls of film, a flash, D&D source books etc... had to be 15+ lbs if not more.

I even to go as far to use different bags for dferent days. (the bonus of being a local) I know on Thursday I will be picking up 2 pre-order games, std size Euro boxes. I will use my work/laptop bag. The rest of the week I plan on using an ultra light bag from REI that is good enough to just hold the basics

 

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Posted by fethbone

I am in the as-little-as-possible camp. I pretty much have my wallet (with CASH), tickets, phone, charging cable, convention program, pens, pencils, maybe a couple business cards or post-its just to have something to write on in a pinch, one set of dice, chapstick, and a sunscreen stick (despite it not being an "outdoor" event, I find myself walking around outside more than one would think, and last year spent a fair amount of time socializing in/around the beer tent as well). I brought my tablet one year and didn't really use it except to kill time. I don't bring a water bottle because there are plenty of drinking fountains and water sources all over, and a water bottles is just more volume and weight I don't need. 

 

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Posted by hahnarama

OK so I went a little OCD, like CDO...like beyond Anal Retentive LOL

I weighed what I will have every day in my bag and it comes in at  4 lbs 3 ounces. The biggest offender is my camelbak water bottle with built in filter. Filled with water it comes in at over 2 pounds. 

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Posted by rgresch

I bring what I need for the day but generally leave my bag at the onsite bag check. If I make any large purchases I just cram my bag into whatever larger bag has my purchases. It saves on lugging stuff around or having to go back to a car/hotel or finding someone who I can leave things with.

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