Hey there kiddos, Handsome Jack here.
Just kidding. This is my usual ‘I’m going to PAX, so here’s my two cents on various sundry things you might need/want to have on you at the con, as well as some general advice based on my years of experience at various PAXes.
So without further delay:On my person for the con floor
- Water bottle. You WILL get thirsty, and soda/red bull is not a good thing to be drinking all day.
- Bag of some sort (I've used sling bags and backpacks in the past. I used to use a Con Survival Bag of Holding. I’ve found I like a little more capacity and will be rocking one of these this year, from a kickstarter I funded
- Cell phone
- Backup power charger (Mine is 10,000 mAh)
- Switch + games (Or 3DS or Vita)
- Small, analog line game (Usually Star Fluxx)
- Cliff bars/other munchies (In my case, either Cliff bars, trail mix or beef jerky)
- Hand sanitizer
- A pen
- I do not use this, but many people swear by it: a poster tube, to keep posters from being crushed (I don't collect posters, so there ya go)
- Mints or gum- always nice to avoid bad breath, especially if you had something fragrant for lunch
- Changes of clothes (Use your own experience for trips as to how much you need, but make sure you bring enough socks, underwear and shirts-in the case of t-shirts/shirts underwear and socks at least one for every day, plus one extra.)
- Hoodie/sweater (I’d suggest bringing 2, one hoodie for the entire weekend can get a bit manky)
- 2 pairs of shoes. As someone with seriously flat feet, I’ll elaborate on this: 1) The shoes should be comfortable, and broken in but they also need to be supportive: I had a comfy pair of sketchers one year. They didn’t support my feet enough, and I felt like death by the end of day 1. The next PAX? I wore hiking shoes. No problemo. 2) Two pairs so you can switch between them- wear one set one day, the second the next, then revert to the first the following day, etc- it seriously helps reduce foot strain, etc.
- Set of nicer clothes (just in case- a nice set of jeans/button down shirt/polo will do)
- Hygiene supplies (Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant/antiperspirant, hair product, maybe a razor/electric shaver)
- If you are in a hotel room with multiple others: A NON-WHITE towel. I recommend a darker colour, like navy blue. There never seems to be enough towels in the hotel rooms, and bringing your own that’s distinctively different from what the hotel stocks can be a lifesaver
The four most important rules for the con
- Bring some cash: credits cards fail. Connections get lost. Cash will always work.
- Occasionally a laptop for hotel use, or a tablet (Handy for longer flights, too)
- A collapsible empty bag. If you pick up swag, you may not have enough room in your luggage. When I hit West a couple of years back, conscious of airline bag check costs, etc, I came up with this solution: I packed a collapsed gym bag in my luggage. True enough, I had just enough stuff that it wouldn’t all fit in my main luggage. So I offloaded some into the gym bag, checked the luggage, and had the gym bag and backpack as my carry-on.
- A lighter. It comes in surprisingly handy
- I tend to pack OTC sleeping pills. It helps if your roommates snore, or if you are that weird mix of utterly exhausted, but too wired to sleep. Just note: they will make you sluggish the next morning, the sleep will not be as good as if it was natural and DO NOT TAKE THEM IF YOU’VE BEEN DRINKING. Still, a mediocre night’s sleep is still better than next to no sleep.
- If you are from outside the US: Bring your passport with you to anywhere you plan to order alcohol. They may not accept out of state ID. They WILL accept passports. This is especially important if, like me, your driver’s license is in a language other than English (I’m from Quebec)
- If you plan to go partying, buy Gatorade. Drink it before you go to bed, it will help with the hangovers.
- At least 5 hours sleep. At least 2 meals a day. At least one shower a day. The con is closed between midnight and 10 AM. The parties tend to close at 2. Getting 5 hours of sleep, assuming you take an hour to get back to your hotel is 3AM to 8AM. Similarly, it needs to be 2 full, balanced meals. A Vector bar is not a meal, a bag of chips or beef jerky is not a meal. You can skip one meal without too much issue. If you skip two, you will be ravenous. Following these guidelines is the different between feeling a bit tired and feeling like death warmed over.
- For all that’s holy, wear deodorant or antiperspirant. (Similarly, please don’t overdo the cologne or body spray or perfume)
- Wear good, comfortable, broken in, supportive shoes. You’ll be on your feet all day, so don’t skimp on this.
- Bring your good cheer and good manners
- I’ve only been to three West/Primes, so I’m less of an authority on this than east, but I’ll give my two cents there and take it with a grain of salt, as I’m a Montrealer, used to warm and humid summers and freezing cold winters.
- I’ve been to Seattle 4 times in my life, twice for PAX. In the PAX period of time, I’d been 30C and warm, it’s been cool and humid enough to see my breath, it’s been sunny, it’s been rainy. Check the forecast before you leave and make sure you don’t ONLY pack shorts or long pants, or you might shiver/swelter for part of the strip.
- Bring an umbrella/rain jacket. It’s Seattle. Weather there can be gorgeous, but it’s SEATTLE, so rain is always a possibility. Make sure they’re small/light so you aren’t tempted to leave them behind.
- Unlike East, Prime is in the downtown core: if you forget something, it’s much easier to pick up, say…spare socks/underwear or shorts or whatnot from the multitude of stores in the area. So don’t worry too much if you forget something.
Anyways overall, remember- you’re in the downtown core of a major city. You’re not trying to bring the One Ring to Mordor, so you don’t need to bring everything but the kitchen sink.
Most of all- have fun, folks! I Hope you find this useful!