I'm pretty happy with the Osprey Skarab 32. Quite comfortable to have on your back all day, holds a fair bit, and has a water bladder.
I legit laughed out loud at pallet jack.....well done
I would recommend a backpack for anyone who is carrying more than 1 or 2 lbs of stuff from more than 60-90 minutes.
Otherwise, I fully endorse the Messenger Bag of Holding.
I tend to not really use a backpack if possible. I can carry dice, a pencil, and some notecards without needing a bag, but I carry a messenger bag when I want something more. This is my 19th GenCon and I originally started with a traditional backpack like like the recon from north face. It was nice since it could hold a decent amount of stuff and had some decent straps that made it more comfortable than other traditional backpacks. I then switched to a messenger bag from Timbuk2. It was a nice enough bag, but I wasn't in love with the interior design and the quality was only OK. I more recently, for the last 6-7 years have used the medium messenger bag from Rickshaw with great success. I also purchased small deluxe accessory bag and strap pad. The bag has stood up to the test of time including some severe beatings. You can customize a ton of the colors, etc as well. The pocket works great for all my rpg needs and the strap pad makes it super comfortable. The accessories are pretty customizable for the bag as well. I also like that they are made in the US.
I would recommend messenger bags as they tend to fit closer to the body, which is a great asset when navigating narrow/full aisles in the dealer's hall.
The Everki Titan is pretty awesome. Very comfortable, extremely well designed, durable and classy looking enough that you can use it in real life. It also travels well by plane if you have a laptop. However, it ain't cheap. You can sometimes find it on sale for about $175, otherwise it retails for $200. They also have smaller versions in the line, but I've found that this beast is actually big enough for board games, *all* your DnD books, minis, etc. plus your laptop.
I got this one specifically with gencon in mind. The back breathes really well and it’s pretty low profile for crowds. It fits dnd books and iPads and water but doubtful if it would fit any board games. https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/daylite-DAYLITE.html
if I want to bring a boatload of dnd books, I’ll use my pilot from Tom bihn. It holds like 6 hardcovers.
I bought these messenger bags last year for my sons and the loved them. They use them every week now when we game.
While they are pricey... okay extremely pricey, I've had immense success with several of Saddleback Leather's products. I've carried their classic leather briefcase for maybe a decade of Gen Con's as well as daily regular wear and it's just as solid as when I bought it. It's not really a briefcase, but a slightly oversized courier bag.
They last forever, are amazingly durable, and just work:
I use this bag.
I've done a lot of bag searching over the past few years and my favorite has been the North Face recon, I like it so much when my first one got stolen I went out and replaced it with the same one (slightly newer version).
It has two large stretchy mesh pouch on the side that can reliably hold a tall water bottle (even the big metal ones) a front mesh pocket for quick access, a dedicated laptop and tablet space, plus pen and accessory holders and finally the big main pocket. What I like most is that the straps on the side can control how large the bag gets, you can tighten them to keep the bag smaller profile. Overall I find it comfortable as the should straps are nice, and it has both chest and waist straps if you really fill it up. I use it for all my standard gaming, con, hiking and travel needs.
At 99$ it's not the cheapest, but far from the most expensive, I had my first bag for about 2.5 years before it was stolen and it had suffered no issues in that time.
im big on a north face hiking backpacks.. they are very well padded
This messenger bag on Amazon is the exact same as the one they sell with the Gencon branding but for $20 less. You can even get it in green or khaki color instead of black for even less.
I've used it for the past two years and it's worked out very well.
I can’t say enough good things about my Tom Bihn synapse 19. It’s pricey but it’s my everyday bag so it gets tons of use and I just trade out stuff depending on what I’m doing. Lots of pockets to keep organized and o rings to clip things to. Had it for a couple of years and still looking new. Small enough not to kill you at the con but big enough to hold the essentials and then some.
I have used a Targus 15.6" laptop backpack for years. My old job gave them to the techs and it will hold everything needed for work or for a convention. Don't know the model name, but it has two huge pockets, a large pocket, a medium pocket and small pocket, all with heavy duty zippers and pulls. Internally there are numerous zippered or Velcro pockets. The shoulder straps are thick, adjustable and comfortable with a padded cross-piece for carrying in one hand. The back side has padded mesh so anything hard does not dig into your back and there are water bottle holders on each side.
I pack it for the convention, unpack in the room, load it with snacks and drinks and still have room for purchases. Anything too big I can just ship home.
Wait...we're still on the backpack discussion a month after the initial post? Come on people! It's time to let this dead horse lie and move on to more important topics! How about what insoles we should put in our shoes? Another topic could be what products we should use to stop chafing or the ever popular how to stay hydrated during a full con?