Cosplay Survival Guide: The Ultimate Con Packing List

January 31, 2020

One of the worst feelings in the world when traveling is the sudden realization that you forgot something important at home. As a cosplayer, travel is a big part of what you do, so this feeling is probably all too familiar. Whether you attend cons close to home or thousands of miles away, making sure that you have everything you need to get you through the weekend can be a tall task. But if you think too hard about covering all your bases, you might end up overdoing things too, which is another problem you don't want to deal with when you're away from home.

Never fear! We've put together this edited packing list that includes everything you'll need for a weekend away at a cosplay convention without going overboard. In this cosplay survival guide, we'll give you the ultimate con packing list and give you some tips for avoiding overpacking.

What to Pack for Every Convention

The Ultimate Con Packing List

Travel Needs

  • Toiletries
  • Deodorant (non-negotiable!)
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Other hygiene needs
  • Medications
  • Pain relievers
  • Bandaids
  • Chargers
  • Wallet
  • Cash/cards
  • Hotel info printout
  • Tickets/wristbands/badges
  • Camera
  • Glasses/contacts/solution
  • Umbrella
  • Stain remover
  • Lint roller
  • List of panels/signings you want to attend
  • Pajamas
  • Street clothes
  • Coat/jacket
  • Shoes and socks
  • Purse/bag
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Cosplay Stuff

  • Costume pieces
  • Underclothes
  • Props
  • Accessories
  • Wigs/wig caps
  • Makeup/body paint
  • Batteries/battery packs
  • Reference pictures
  • Checklists for each costume

Hotel and Con Supplies

  • Snacks
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Items to be autographed
  • Earplugs
  • Power strip
  • Cards
  • Headphones
  • Mirror

Repair Kit

  • Scissors
  • Extra fabric/scraps
  • Buttons/embellishments
  • Glue
  • Velcro
  • Sewing supplies

Over-Plan, Don't Overpack

Kamui Cosplay armor packed suitcase for conventionIn an effort to be prepared for EVERYTHING, it's easy to end up with way too much stuff in your suitcase. Of course, if you're flying to the convention, then it'll be easier to limit how much you can pack (nobody wants to pay to check extra bags when cosplays already take up enough space!). But when you're just loading up the car, you might be tempted to cram in as much as possible. While you could use your car for extra storage at the hotel, your room and your head will probably thank you if you try to cut down on how much you pack.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to plan ahead in order to avoid overpacking. First of all, coordinate with any other people in your hotel room to make sure you're not bringing too many of the same thing. For example, if you really think you'll need a sewing machine, make sure everyone else isn't also bringing a big, bulky sewing machine that will take too much space. Just have one person bring theirs. Same goes with other duplicates. Communicate with your roomies to determine how many power strips, hair dyers, etc. you will actually need.

Finally, something most experienced con-goers will tell you is that you often won't end up using half of what you bring, but you should still have it just incase. However, the one thing many cosplayers say they always underestimate is how much money they'll need. It happens time and time again: you're likely to find more things in the vendor section or artist alley than you anticipated buying. On top of that, you might end up going out to eat or (surprise!) need to fix or replace a part of your cosplay that breaks or goes missing. In these cases, it's good to plan to bring/budget more money than you think you'll need. Then even if you DO forget something crucial at home, you'll be able to run out and get it.

Topics: Cosplay Survival Guide, Cosplay Culture, Convention Tips

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