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F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon

Offline Trathor

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F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« on: January 24, 2014, 12:56:36 AM »
So for first-timers... what should you bring to DragonCon?  We touch on this some on 'how much will dragonCon cost' FAQ.  I will put in a disclaimer that I am a packrat, and am always fighting the urge to overpack, so first things first:

PSA: Especially if you are sharing a room with more than one person, keep in mind that the room space can get real tight real fast if you want to use the room to do more than two things.  As in, look at the list below and decide if you OR YOUR ROOMATES want to use the room for:

  • Sleeping
  • Getting into/ out of costumes
  • Eating/ Hydrating/ refreshing
  • Showering/ primping (I have seen grown men take over an hour just to walk into the bathroom for a shower at Dragon*Con)
  • Boozing/ Partying
  • Watching Sports
  • Watching Dragon*Con TV
  • Doing the Horizontal Tango (that's a euphemism ya'll... you know... for sex.)

Anyway, once you have multiple people wanting to do multiple things, you start tripping over each other, and if you bring a ton of stuff, it can bring in bad mojo.

Now that is out of the way, here are some things to consider bringing: 

Traveling by Plane:
  • Clothes.  Keep in mind there are vendor halls, so if you are a person who loves their quirky t-shirts, remember you can buy some at Dragon*Con... like the Dragon*Con Forums T-Shirt!  Note on cloths (and disclaimer, I'm a guy who is always overheating anyway)... being inside most of the time, in Hot-Lanta, with many tens of thousands of people... you probably will never be cold... so back light and airy... no need for sweatshirts or anything like that. 
  • Costumes.  Go as nuts as you want.  I promise there are people who are packing a full size van full of costumes.  If it is your first time, and you are considering a costume, go for one or two costumes, and remember you can supplement a lot of stuff from the dealer halls if you want. 
  • Food.  If you are traveling by plane, do not bring food, but if you want anything you cannot get a a CVS, stop by a grocery store on the way in.  Avoid anything that needs to be refrigerated.
  • Booze.  Also, not to bring on the plane, but if you want it, you are wise to get several miles out from Dragon*Con and pack it with your clothes on the way in. 
  • Water-bottle/ Camel Pak.  There is water everywhere, but good to have in case you want to sit in a 2 hour line/ whatever. 
  • Digital Camera.  Unless you are a 'what happens at Dragon*Con stays at Dragon*Con' type of person. 
  • Portable Battery Pack for Digital Devices (like your iPhone), per this thread: http://dragonconforums.org/fantasy-tech/to-support-your-phone-tech-at-the-con/
  • Emergen-C (health drink... if you believe in that voodoo). 

If you are Driving in, you may also want to bring:
  • Backpack that has seat built in/ lightweight chairs - if you are the type that likes going to the high-profile things that require chairs. 
  • Rave Gear.  You know, if you like swinging glow-sticks on string/ whatever.
  • Drums - Duh, for the Drum Circle room.  Oh, I guess and if you have drums/ like to use them. 
  • Spare key for your car.  In case you loose the one you came in with, it is nice to still get to go home.  This actually saved my ass one year. 


Do not bring:

  • Laptop.  There is wifi, but unless you have a specific known need for your computer, it is just something to get lost/ dirty from people making PB&J on it/ whatever.  Your iPhone will do everything you need. 
  • Ex-Boyfriend/ Ex-Girlfriend.  Go to Dragon*Con to have a good time.  If you really need one, find a new BoyFriend/ Girlfriend (or both?) at Dragon*Con.  You can even find one on the boards!  http://dragonconforums.org/dragon-connection/

If people post more ideas here, I will update the FAQ.  Also, ask questions if you should or should not bring X/Y/Z. 
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 01:04:59 AM by Trathor »
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Offline Voidhawk

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2014, 08:41:45 AM »
Do not bring:[/b]
  • Laptop.  There is wifi, but unless you have a specific known need for your computer, it is just something to get lost/ dirty from people making PB&J on it/ whatever.  Your iPhone will do everything you need. 

As far as I know, you're the only person who has made a PB&J on a laptop somebody else's laptop.[/list]
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Offline Trathor

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2014, 10:10:08 AM »
Thank you voidhawk and trathor!! I'm very anal person when it comes to travelling. And my boyfriend is counting on me to be the strong one. But have a checked bag will in sure my stuff won't get jacked from security? Because some stuff I have for a costume is odd in my opinion.

No problem.  If you post your questions, including anything about specific items, in the new F.A.Q. post I made, we can probably help you with any specific questions you have.  Several of us travel *a lot*, and can probably give you all the pointers you need. 

From the other thread. 

A few pointers off the top of my head if you have not flown/ not flown in a long time:
  • It costs money to check bags unless you have status with an airline
  • The bag limit is usually 50 lbs for most airlines
    • You can check the weight by standing on a personal scale holding the bag, take the measurement, put down the bag (stay on the scale), take the measurement, and calculate the difference. 
  • Liquids must me in a small zip lock back and should be 2.5oz or less.
  • Depending on your airport, arrive at the airport 1.5 hours or more... sometimes check-in is nuts. 
  • If you do not have status with an airline, expect the overhead bins to be full by the time you get on.  Since it costs money to check bags, everyone tries to do carry on. 
  • When it comes to flying, less is more. 
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Offline Charismaryllis

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2014, 11:51:42 AM »
all of your device charging cables--!
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Offline Voidhawk

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2014, 02:22:29 PM »
all of your device charging cables--!

That's a great one to add.  Also, if you want, one of those little portable recharger batteries.  I got one that Trathor recommended and *love it*...was able to keep my phone and ipad at or near 100% for the entire DC 2013 even with heavy use.
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Offline Eternal Zan

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2014, 09:16:19 PM »
I've contributed to the Packing List page on the DragonCon wiki. http://dragon-con.pbworks.com/w/page/18183845/Packing%20List It is fairly comprehensive, but there is always room for improvement.

The best advice I ever heard about how to pack is to pay attention to every product you use for two days. This will tell you a lot about yourself. For DC, it also helps to visualize everywhere you will want to go and everything you will want to do. Mind-walk through your days.

I keep a notepad of ideas every year both during DC and right afterwards. I keep this list accessible all year. I never stop getting ideas and adding things to my packing list. For me, the anticipation is a huge part of the fun.
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Offline FallenStardust

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 10:40:58 PM »
all of your device charging cables--!

That's a great one to add.  Also, if you want, one of those little portable recharger batteries.  I got one that Trathor recommended and *love it*...was able to keep my phone and ipad at or near 100% for the entire DC 2013 even with heavy use.

I haven't even considered that.  I must get one before the next con.  My phone was in a constant state of death.

Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 07:55:26 PM »
Great information. Since we are talking about packing and bags. How do you all pack you costumes? With props, armor, and just odd clothing. I have a pair of football shoulder pads with a deer antler attached on top.(mad max) And I'm not totally sure how to pack that!  ???
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Offline basheesh

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 08:41:54 PM »
Great information. Since we are talking about packing and bags. How do you all pack you costumes? With props, armor, and just odd clothing. I have a pair of football shoulder pads with a deer antler attached on top.(mad max) And I'm not totally sure how to pack that!  ???

I use those "under-the-bed" plastic containers...like giant Tupperware. You can find them on the "under-the-bed-plastic-containers-like-giant-Tupperware" aisle at Target.
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Offline basheesh

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 08:43:51 PM »
[/li][li]The bag limit is usually 50 lbs for most airlines

I believe it's 60 for Delta. On one trip recently, I was over by 8 pounds and to don a few extra layers, including a full-length winter overcoat, in order to avoid the $90 overweight fee.
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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2014, 09:00:42 PM »
Great information. Since we are talking about packing and bags. How do you all pack you costumes? With props, armor, and just odd clothing. I have a pair of football shoulder pads with a deer antler attached on top.(mad max) And I'm not totally sure how to pack that!  ???

I use those "under-the-bed" plastic containers...like giant Tupperware. You can find them on the "under-the-bed-plastic-containers-like-giant-Tupperware" aisle at Target.
.     And do you then pack that in suit case? Or will it be its own luggage?
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Offline Trathor

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2014, 11:28:26 PM »
Great information. Since we are talking about packing and bags. How do you all pack you costumes? With props, armor, and just odd clothing. I have a pair of football shoulder pads with a deer antler attached on top.(mad max) And I'm not totally sure how to pack that!  ???

I use those "under-the-bed" plastic containers...like giant Tupperware. You can find them on the "under-the-bed-plastic-containers-like-giant-Tupperware" aisle at Target.
.     And do you then pack that in suit case? Or will it be its own luggage?

Don't pack those to bring on an airplane.  Here is why:
1.  There is not a lot of space to pack stuff on a plane, even with checked luggage, and you will have enough stuff as it is. 
2.  Anything you check will potentially get brutalized.  Pack it like it can take a 10 foot drop onto concrete.  Most of those containers will crack. 
3.  TSA will need to be able to check in inside, so you cannot tape the top up.  This also means the top could come off from other bags rubbing rough on the handles. 

I would say you are better off trying to do costumes you can pack in normal travel bags, go by car, or ship the box with someone else traveling by car, or even mail it to yourself at DragonCon. 
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Offline Richness

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2014, 04:21:32 PM »
being inside most of the time, in Hot-Lanta, with many tens of thousands of people... you probably will never be cold... so back light and airy... no need for sweatshirts or anything like that.

Actually, I most definitely recommend people bring a light jacket or even a sweater, especially for those that get cold easy. The hotel AC units work overtime, and it can get cold in the panel rooms, especially if you're under/near the vents. Even though the rooms are bound to heat up as the day/weekend progresses, it may be chilly during the morning panels. It's much easier to add layers than to remove layers or cool down.

As 2013 was a very soggy year, those small, cheap plastic disposable rain ponchos might be a godsend, especially if you have costumes/make-up you don't want to get ruined. They also make me heat up under them, so they might do double duty as a coat/sweater, though you might look a little weird... ok, weirder... wearing it indoors. Zhora Blade Runner cosplay anyone?

I NEVER travel without a 3-pronged extension cord. You may even want to bring a 3-to-2 prong grounding adapter. A surge suppressor power strip with a long cord will do even more. Very few hotel rooms have extra outlets in convenient locations. Since you will be charging a lot of your electronic devices, the convenience of having an extra outlet within easy reach is incalculable.

For those packing a lot of clothes, this slideshow never ceases to amaze me the amount of clothes this lady fit into a carry on. I don't know how she does it even after viewing it multiple times.
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/05/06/business/businessspecial/20100506-pack-ss.html?_r=0

+1 to skzb for mentioning that wiki.

Offline k8ekol

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2014, 12:39:32 PM »
I found the forum today while starting to draft our DC packing list.  Even for a non Con newbie there were things I hadn't thought to pack on prior trips!   And skzb's list reminded me we're arriving early this year so a swimsuit and coverup are a good idea :)

Offline Lady Cala

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Re: F.A.Q.: What to Pack for DragonCon
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2014, 08:28:35 AM »
This is super helpful, thanks for all the info!!!  8) I do have some more specific questions - especially for any of the ladies on this forum - as to why type of clothes you all pack for con?  Suitcase space will definitely be limited and we don't want to over- or under-pack!!  What would you say are your must bring clothing items for con or do you all mainly stick to the jeans/tshirt recipe when not in costume?  Is there anything we should consider bringing clothing-wise that we might not think of?
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