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14 Essential Items to Bring to Every Fan Convention

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Thu, May 10, 2012 at 11:02 AM

click to enlarge Are you ready to hit the convention hall? - SHANNON COTTRELL (FROM SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2011)
It's that time of year where it seems like there's at least one big fan convention going on every weekend somewhere in the country. Whether you're planning to head to New Jersey for the Steampunk World's Fair later this month or counting down for San Diego Comic-Con in July, there are a few essentials you'll need to bring with you.

On Tuesday, I asked my fellow con-goers on Twitter and Facebook what's the one thing they have to bring to a convention. The responses were varied. Some people pointed to a few good checklists available online, like this one that goes back to 2000 as well as one from Fanboy Comics. Parenting Geekly has a great list for those intending on bring kids to the con. Also, if you're going to SDCC, I suggest picking up a copy of Doug Kline's book, The Unauthorized San Diego Comic-Con Survival Guide, which covers everything from parking to the line at Hall H.

Our respondents' answers ranged from personal hygiene necessities to personal technology musts. Check out the list below and add your own must-have items in the comment section.

14. Sunscreen

My Twitter bio reads "gets sunburn at comic book conventions." To be more accurate, I've also acquired a few nasty burns at anime and video game conventions. My problem isn't forgetting sunscreen -- I apply it every morning. Instead, it's a matter of forgetting to reapply sunscreen. I'll often think, "It's just a short walk from 7th & Fig to the Convention Center" or "I won't need to trek 20 blocks back to the hotel before sunset." I learned the painful, peeling way -- always carry sunscreen in your bag.

L.A. Weekly writer Nicole Campos agrees on bringing sunscreen. You don't know, she tweets, when you "might end up standing in a parking lot for two hours waiting for Hugh Jackman to show up."

click to enlarge Don't forget the camera and Sharpies. You never know when you'll run into Stan Lee. - DIANNE GARCIA (FROM SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2011)
  • Dianne Garcia (from San Diego Comic-Con 2011)
  • Don't forget the camera and Sharpies. You never know when you'll run into Stan Lee.

13. Camera

Several people mentioned that they don't venture into a con without a camera. "You don't have to be a professional photographer to capture great moments during conventions," says Dianne Garcia, co-host of the podcast Defective Geeks and an L.A. Weekly writer. "You never know who you will run into, whether it be a favorite artist, writer or, if you're at San Diego Comic-Con, a celebrity."

12. Sharpies

If you haven't been to a convention before, you may not realize that a Sharpie is one of the most important things you can have in your kit. A couple people mentioned the thick, inky marker by name.

"A Sharpie is essential because you never know when you can spot a celebrity who is willing to give you an autograph on the spot," says Paula Angeles, director of marketing and community outreach for L.A. convention Pacific Media Expo. "Also, it's great to write random notes or numbers on your program guide, especially when the guide is glossy and a pen just won't do." If you're like Paula and you work at a convention, you'll want to have the Sharpie for all those last-minute signs, too.

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