Attending a convention of any kind is not always the easiest thing to plan. Many of us attend for pleasure while some attend for work-related reasons. There are scenarios that need to be planned for “just in case”: inaccessibility, no cellular phone reception, or lines longer than a Black Friday sale.
Modern advancements in technology and engineering design have allowed phones to have GPS, spare batteries, and internet. Some slightly older accessories are getting a new lease on life, including a hydration pack, Walkie Talkies, and a folding chair. An expandable or foldable plastic bag may help as well.
Just make sure to check with security before your expensive accessories are denied at the door. The items mentioned below are some of the top-sellers in their respective categories on Amazon.com and are not an endorsement by Toonari Post.
Honorable Mention: Walkie Talkie- Motorola MH230R- $40 on Amazon.com
Depending on the range and the battery, some of these units can transmit through three miles of solid rock or steel. That sort of range is more than enough for most convention goers who report dropped calls and zero cellular phone reception, though there is some snickering at the unrealistic distance range labeled on some of these units.
Used by outdoor hikers, as well as other travel groups, the Walkie Talkie is also good for car-to-car communication from a time before cellular phones. A set of these split between groups of friends at a convention is an easy way to communicate without paying through the nose for Wi-Fi calling or free internet access.
1. Folding Camp Chair: Byer Tri-lite Folding Stool- $20 on Amazon.com
If standing around at a convention is not your preferred method of waiting, pull up a chair, or rather, unfold yourself a chair! This folding chair weighs in at a light 1.2 pounds and folds down into a compact size to fit into the same length as a regular-sized umbrella. It holds up to 200 lbs. of weight by using heavy duty nylon and is fitted around aircraft aluminum to provide support. Just don’t expect to be able to recline at all.
2. Hydration Pack or Water Bottle: Camelbak Hydration Pack or Camelbak Nalgene- Price Varies
You might not be able to carry a bottle of water into a convention center, but usually, you can. Bring a Nalgene or two so that you will not spend $4 on water when thirst hits you. Avoid the sugar from soda, and stay with natural water; it will help with the heat of a convention if you are somewhere hot. Better still, have a hydration pack or a backpack that is hydration bladder compatible. The drinking tube will extend out of the shoulder or at the top of the back pack. No muss, no fuss at all.
3. Packable Backpack: ChicoBag Daypack 15 or Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Daypack- $30 on Amazon.com
An accessory that is a godsend for hikers and shoppers alike, the expandable daypack from today’s era features sturdy construction and plenty of design options that any convention-goer can use as a secondary bag to carry new purchases or to lend to a friend.
Though not all of them are padded in the shoulder straps, the loss of that padding gives the user portability since many of these packs bundle into a small package about the side of a pack of candy or a small bag of chips. Available in multiple sizes, colors, and designs, some also feature water-resistant materials as well as an attachment clip to carry the collapsed pack on a belt ring or in a primary bag.
4. Extra Battery Power: New Trent iCruiser IMP1,000 11,000mAh- $80 on Amazon.com
Electricity is the modern convenience that changed the world, so not having it can drastically disrupt your world while at a convention. Chances are, there will not be a ton of wall outlets to plug in smartphones, cameras, or iPads. It is one of the primary frustrations for convention-goers to have a dead battery while trying to contact friends on the other side of the convention. Lack of battery power for entertainment devices is also bad in case of emergencies or worse: full-on boredom.
While it is unlikely that either of these two events will occur, keeping a spare battery or a portable battery pack will save the trip to find a payphone that is likely not only dirty, but broken as well. Additionally, having extra battery power may be helpful for impressing new friends or a new boss. Many mobile phones have battery packs under 2,000mAh per full charge, so plan to get a pack according to your battery needs.
5. Internet Capable Device: Priceless (not really)
In a growing world of iPads, Android phones, and Wi-Fi, most convention centers will have Wi-Fi, so it is advantageous to have a mobile device that can access these kinds of connections. Sometimes there may not be any internet connection with your primary cellular service provider, so Wi-Fi makes a good substitute.
There are many reasons to have Wi-Fi, the least of which is to use the Wi-Fi calling feature, but there are many others as well. On the one hand, the internet usage will hurt your battery life, but on the other, you will gain the ability to comparison shop online before making a purchase on a convention floor.
Internet is also useful for planning out the rest of your afternoon, mapping out transportation, and lodging, as well as sending pictures to friends and family about what a wonderful time you are having.