A-Z what’s in my backpack for SDCC


Wondering what to take to San Diego Comic Con? This isn’t a full packing list, but is what I carry in my backpack day to day. The items I put in there will change if I’m line camping or not, but a lot of it will stay the same. Since it’s the Saturday before, I’ve provided links to Amazon Prime items where possible so you can still get them in time if you order today and have it shipped via Prime. (If you don’t use Prime, you should try it… it’s amazing and has seriously changed my life). *links are affiliate links where possible.


Obviously you need a backpack to carry all your crap in. I purchased a new one this year to try and more efficiently store my stuff. It has quick access pockets on the sides, is lightweight and is better compartmentalized so hopefully I will look a little less like a turtle walking around SDCC. Here’s the one I ordered:

A. Comic Con Badge
Not in my backpack, but don’t go anywhere without it. DON’T only use the pin in the back. Clip through the pin AND the plastic badge holder.

B-C-D. Chair
I’ll carry one of these around wherever I go depending on if I’m line camping or not.
B. Stadium Chair is probably the most lightweight but is the least structured and isn’t extra compact

C. Mantis Chair. The Rolls Royce of backpacking chairs, as close to a real chair as you can get while still fitting in your backpack. The one downside to these types of chairs is that it takes a minute to assemble and once the line moves, you have to frantically pack it up quickly.

I would get the Helinox  (grey above) because you an get it Tuesday (if you order today) with Prime and it looks a little bit smaller than mine. I have the Alite Designs (orange) but got it around Christmas because it was on sale for $60. I kind of wish I had gotten the Helinox because of the size.

D. Tripod Chair The smallest option and is great if you don’t need to rest your back on something. I use this one the most. I can get a little uncomfortable in the crotchal region if you sit on it for too long. 

E. Sleeping Ground Pad
Therm-A-Rest NeoAir ground pad for sleeping in line on the concrete. I bought this ground pad for SDCC  in 2013 and have used it for every camping event since. I LOVE this pad. It’s pricey, but well worth it and rolls up VERY small. The one I got is only available sometimes… but this one should be pretty similar: 

F. Sleeping back with no stuffing
It gets a tiny bit chilly, but we’re in San Diego. I’d rather be a little chilly than lug around a full sleeping bag all day long. I bought a $20 bag from Wal-Mart, cut along the sides, pulled out the batting and duct-taped the seams shut. I was a little tempted by the small Fleece sleeping bags, but they were just a bit bigger than I wanted (but would have still fit in my backpack). Here’s a link to a cheap one if you want to throw me $1.00 worth of affiliate cash: 

G. Crystal Light with Caffeine
Yep, for that boost of energy in the morning and throughout the day, Crystal Light saves the day and is WAY cheaper than Starbucks. I don’t think it will replace your morning coffee, but it will help take the edge off. Don’t buy it from our link on Amazon though, it’s much cheaper as singles at your local grocery store. 

H. Deodorant
Comic Con is long hot and sweaty. It’s nice to be able to freshen up should you start feeling gross. You have some already right? I don’t think I need to provide you with a link…

I. iPad and Keyboard
I keep my iPad loaded up with Orphan Black and other favorites so if I get bored in line I have something to do. Another dark secret I haven’t really told many people.. one year the MTV WiFi in Hall H worked significantly faster on our iPads than on our phones. If you need to tweet quick, the iPad may be the way to go. I no longer take a keyboard with me. 

J. Karma 4G Pay-As-You-Go Hotspot
I no longer carry this item. If you must have internet on a device other than your phone, use your phone as a hotspot.

K. Cash
You never know when having some cash on hand will be helpful. Not your whole week supply of money, most places will take a card.. just enough in the off chance you should need to pay a buddy back or do a transaction on the quick.

L. Chapstick and Hand Sanitizer
My lips get way chapped in Cali for some reason and it’s always helpful to have hand sanitizer on hand in case the bathrooms are out of supplies for whatever reason.

M. Extra Memory Cards
It’s gonna stink if you’re taking pictures or videos and in the middle of the fun you run out of memory. Take an extra memory card or two to help not be worried about it. I like the Extreme Pro, it writes much faster to the card than others I’ve had. 

N. Phone Lens Kit
I don’t do this anymore. It was too much of a hassle.

O. Business Cards
It’s nice to have business cards on hand. Even if they’re personal business cards just saying who you are and how to reach you. You’ll meet a lot of new friends in line and it’s way faster to hand someone a business card than trying to write all that stuff down in your phone or on paper.

P. Autograph Supplies
I carry a clipboard, paper, markers and other memorabilia I’m hoping to get signed. I try to keep it small. I’ve gotten several autographs over the years because I’m ready at a moment’s notice to get an autograph. I like black cardstock and a silver pen because it looks classy.

Q. Ibuprofen or Tylenol
Because at some point your head is going to start hurting and you’ll be sore. It’s helpful to be able to do something to get rid of that.

R. Water Bottle
So you can mix Crystal Light and have water on hand. Then you can refill it throughout the day. I just get a one from the grocery store because they’re made from the least material possible so they weigh very little. It won’t stay cold, but let’s be honest, there’s a lot about SDCC that isn’t ideal.

S. Phone and LOTS of batteries
I have enough backup batteries that I can recharge my phone at least twice during the day and still go back to my hotel and have another backup battery to swap out without waiting to charge the depleted one. You can see from my pile (only some of them) that I have quite a few. Using your phone for entertainment and internet at SDCC burns through batteries fast. This year I’ve switched back from Android to the iPhone can only use power packs. I can’t tell you how many people around me have been glad that I’ve had some extra juice. I’ve had good luck with the Anker brand ones.

T. Binoculars
I no longer bring binoculars. They’re too big and heavy and I can see well enough. If it’s your first time to Comic-Con, it might be worth bringing so you can see well.

U. Charging wall adapter.
Wall charger just in case there’s an outlet nearby and I need some juice. 

V. Food
Not tons, but enough that if I can’t make it somewhere real to eat that I have stuff that will get me by. I try to do some fresh fruit from Ralphs, granola bars and a little candy to up my blood sugar if I’m getting exhausted.

W. Headphones and Splitter
I take headphones so I can watch Firefly without disturbing those around me who are trying to sleep. I no longer bring a splitter.

X. GoPro and straps.
I like being able to film on the go, I’ve strapped cameras to my shoulder straps before so I could film autograph signings and such. It depends on the signing if they will allow you do this. 

Y. MultiTool
Just in case. I have a Gerber multitool. You never know when you might need to climb a lamp post and relieve it of it’s banner. I wouldn’t do that though, that’s purely theoretical.

Z. Cameras
I no longer bring a point and shoot camera to reduce overall weight. I use my iPhone for quick shots and I bring a DSLR to walk around and take awesome cosplay pics and panel pics with. I’ve had good luck with the entry level Canon line if you’d like something to start with. 

Hope it’s helpful! We’d love to hear in the comments your different vital day supplies.


Trevor Nielson
Writer & Photographer at ComicCon.tips
Trevor began his forray into nerdom as a kid peddling his bike all the way to the local bookstore to purchase comic books. The boring superhero comics weren’t good enough for Trevor, he wanted the real ones. The ones with ducks. Now who's laughing while he’s on his way to cash in all those valuable Ducktales comics. Soon he’ll have his own money bin full to the brim. These days, to fill the time before the money bin construction completes (and begins), Trevor fills his time with photography, movies, television and comic book conventions. You can find his cosplay Meet & Greet mini-shoot and articles on this site as well as prints of his photographs being sold by cosplayers throughout the land.

P.S. Trevor converted to Marvel & DC comics and movies later on, so no heartburn on that one, right?