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Con Survival Gear for the Family

by April Carvelli
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Convention season is here which means there is a lot to get ready. I cosplay with a family so that means a lot more prep work and because I have a child that means I carry a lot more stuff. This also means that I have perfected con survival for me and my family.

Here is my con survival gear for a one day con:

1. Food

Food at a convention is typically pretty expensive and when lunch time rolls around, everyone is standing in the food line. If you aren’t quick, then this can mean that you are just standing in line for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and frequently when you get up there you find that what you wanted to eat is currently out. If you have children, you know that this isn’t going to cut it.

To avoid this I pack food. I like to take a handful of nutritious food bars so when someone gets hungry I can easily pull one out and hand it to them. They have the convenience of being lightweight, tasty and nutritious. When it comes to meal times, I like to stop at Walmart the night before and grab some of the sandwiches from their deli. Unlike Subway sandwiches, they are tightly wrapped, making them compact and they are not going to fall open in the con bag when I rummage around for something else.

2. Beverage

Water is essential for everyone, and when you are walking around in a hot, heavy cosplay all day it is even more essential. The problem is that water bottles are big, bulky and heavy. If you want something to drink at the conventions, then you also have the same problem as with the food: expense and long lines. I have found the perfect solution to this.

I found these glasses full of wine in a little bin at the liquor store, they were single servings of wine. The wine was okay, but the plastic glasses are fantastic. They come with a lid that seals perfectly, I can put water in them, snap a lid on them and easily carry them to where ever my family is sitting without spilling them. I have been knocked into, flipped these cups over, or had to awkwardly juggle them with other things and they have never spilled a drop.

As for water at the cons, that is usually pretty easy to find. Water fountains by the bathrooms, there is frequently water available outside the panel rooms, or if nothing else, straight from the bathroom faucet. And before you get on my case about ‘city bathroom water’ let me ask you, what do you think is coming from the water fountain? And where do you think they filled the water jugs at the panels with?

3. Batteries

You are going to need these, or your charging device. And probably more than you realize. Whether it is your camera, your phone, the cooling device in your cosplay or something you brought along to entertain your child. Make sure to bring some way to replenish the juice in your devices.

4. Hairbrush/Comb/Hair ties

This may not be an essential for everyone, but it is for me and probably most people with long hair. Everyone with long hair knows what I am talking about. Even if you keep this in the car for after the con, you are going to want one.

5. First Aid Kit

This may not be an essential for everyone, but I have always carried a small kit with me, and I have had to use it or at least its components more than once. I use an Altoids container as they are small, close tightly and can carry almost everything I need.

The essentials inside my kit are:

  • Bandages in various sizes – A small bandage will instantly make a little kid feel better. Bandages are also great for that piece of costume that rubs, or as an emergency repair when something tears.
  • Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Acetaminophen – I carry all three because someone is going to have a headache and only one will work for that person. Aspirin is also a great thing to have on hand for heart attacks.
  • Antihistimine – I frequently need these in the spring and fall, it’s also been a lifesaver for friends
  • Panty Liners – this may seem silly, but frequently there is a female in distress that needs something, but they are also fantastic for actual injuries. They are made to absorb blood and they won’t stick to the wound.

6. Wet Wipes

If you have a child you know that these are vital, but they are also great for a quick wipe down when you are sweaty and sticky.

7. Emergency Repair Kit

It may not have everything you will need, but it is great to have in a pinch.

Our Emergency repair kit contains

  • Thread and Needle – great for fixing buttons, and stopping a tear
  • Safety pins – fantastic for holding almost anything together
  • strip of Double sided velcro – another great fix all
  • Krazy Glue – good for stopping material runs and doing quick repairs

8. Eye Care

Technically this could be part of the first aid kit, but if you wear contacts it can also be costume repair. The cons are hot, dusty and sweaty, top that with any seasonal allergies you have and your eyes are going to suffer. Take some good eye drops to refresh your peepers and keep them from looking sore and nasty. Also bring a case to drop your contacts in after the con, fill the case with solution before you leave the house and you don’t need to worry about them drying out. Don’t forget glasses if you normally need them.

9. Personal Medication

If someone in your family has medication they need NEVER forget it. IF there is the slightest chance it might be needed, then be safe and take it along.

And the most important thing at a con… Don’t forget to have a big bag with a shoulder strap (or a backpack) to carry everything. You also want to make sure the bag is big enough to carry your con loot.

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