A little while ago I published a Top 6 Board Game Bags article in which I compared and contrasted several board game carrying solutions in preparation for my trip to Gen Con. Three of the bags that I overviewed in that article actually belong to other writers here on Meeple Mountain. The remaining three were untried and untested. However, that has all changed! In the time since writing that article, I have obtained samples of all three of those bags and I present the first of those three to you now.
In the interest of consistency, I am going to grade each of these bags on the criteria which I listed in my earlier article: Straps, Portability, Price and Availability, Functionality and Durability, and Capacity. So let’s talk about…
Everything Epic Games’ Con Carrier Bag
Straps: The Con Carrier comes with a sturdy, 4-inch wide shoulder strap that can be carried in your hand like a gym bag or slung over your shoulder like a messenger bag. My initial impression, just based on looks alone, was that this would translate into better support due to distributing the weight of the load over a wider surface area. In practice, though, it didn’t turn out this way.
Initially, the strap was very comfortable as I carried it around from booth to booth, but as I began purchasing more games, I started to notice something. When the bag was lighter, I could pick it up easily and maneuver the strap so that it lay flat without bunching up. However, as the bag grew heavier and heavier, it began to become more and more difficult for me to adjust the strap. Instead of lying flat, as I would have liked it to, the strap began bunching up and rolling over onto itself. This made it feel more like I had a piece of rope wrapped around my shoulder/neck area rather than a flat strap. This, coupled with the weight, caused some serious discomfort.
When my wife and I arrived back at our hotel, post-Gen Con shopping spree, we were met at the front door by the maitre d’ who was working overtime trying to score Travel Advisor points with the hotel guests. She initiated an impromptu “Match Game” style quiz between my wife and I. Rather than excuse ourselves we begrudgingly played along. I must have stood there awkwardly in the lobby for 30-45 minutes with this massive bag full of games hanging over my shoulder before she mercifully decided that we’d had enough and let us go. I mention this because, ignoring the discomfort of the weight pulling down on me, the straps on this bag never gave out. They never even protested. When we got up to our room, I unloaded the bag and inspected the seams; not a single thread was out of place. These straps, while not necessarily comfortable, are incredibly sturdy.
Portability, Price, and Availability: When not carrying games, the Con Carrier folds down into a nice, neat bundle about the size of a standard file folder. It can be neatly tucked away inside of a backpack until needed. Obtaining one of these bags is easy. The Con Carrier can be purchased from their Kickstarter page for around $15.
Functionality and Durability: During my use of this bag at Gen Con it became apparent that it would serve little use outside of a convention. It’s very wide and very deep making it great for holding a ton of games. But if you aren’t carting around a ton of games why use it?. For instance, think about your local game group. How often do you find yourself selecting 20 or 30 games from your collection to take with you? I’d wager, not often. If that does describe you, though, this is your bag!. While on the topic of carrying 20-30 games, it is worth noting here that the bag becomes difficult to walk with at that point. This is partially due to weight, but also it’s full of boxes. I could feel the corners of several of the boxes constantly jabbing me in my thigh every time that I took a step.
As far as durability goes, this is one tough bag. Fully weighed down, I walked through the Indianapolis Convention Center Exhibit Hall. I was constantly jostled and bumped into by other people. It took a lot of punishment and it never gave up. I talked about the strap earlier and about how durable it was. This strength and durability is not present everywhere in the bag, though. With my Con Carrier, at least, there is some obvious fraying present along the seams. It’s only a matter of time before this small imperfection turns into something larger. When that happens, it’s inevitable that the bag will eventually fail.
Capacity: Taking into consideration what I’ve already said about this bag’s usefulness overall, when it’s used for that one specific thing (i.e. – carrying around your convention purchases), it exceeds all expectations. I could talk to you about how much you can fit into this bag, but instead, I’ll just show you.
Every one of those items fit inside of my Con Carrier, with room to spare! Amerigo actually sat flat at the bottom of the bag. That’s how wide this thing is! When I arrived back home, the first thing I did was to weigh my haul. The result – almost 60 pounds of games. No wonder my neck and shoulders were sore! That’s a lot of weight!
The Con Carrier is an appropriately named piece of hardware. It does one thing – carrying around your convention purchases – and it does it well. Color me impressed. I honestly cannot imagine ever going to another convention like Gen Con without this bag.
Were it not for my Con Carrier, I can guarantee that my wife and I would not have bought as many games as we did. Our hotel was enough of an Uber ride away that going back to our hotel to drop things off was out of the question. That meant that we would have been stuck carrying whatever we’d bought until we were ready to leave each day. The Con Carrier afforded us the luxury of being able to both acquire the games that we were excited about and stay around to enjoy the Gen Con experience for a much longer period of time. While the bag isn’t perfect (some padding on the shoulder strap would be hugely appreciated, for instance), it’s still a very well-designed and useful item for any board gamer’s arsenal. If you ever go to large conventions and find yourself buying a lot of stuff, then I highly recommend you get yourself one of these amazing bags.