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conference swag bags on table with Avetta logo
Madison ShepherdApr 23, 2024 10:45:27 AM5 min read

10 Must-Have Swag Bag Ideas That Won’t End up in the Trash

Looking for swag bag ideas for your upcoming conference? 

You’ve come to the right place. 

Did you know that over 70% of event swag ends up in the trash before attendees even leave the venue? This not only impacts the environment but also misses the mark in terms of making a lasting impression (Retail Insider). Why invest in branded giveaways that are quickly tossed away?

Not all swag is made equal; attendees desire items in their gift bags that they'll genuinely appreciate and use after the conference. 

Here are 10 conference swag bag ideas that won't find their way into the trash. 

1. Quality Bag

Give your attendees a high-quality swag bag that can be used during and after the event. They will appreciate a bag that can be repurposed, like a durable tote for grocery shopping or a convenient beach bag. Additionally, showcasing your company logo on these reusable bags will help increase your company’s brand awareness wherever they go.

swag bags with fleetpride logo and blue and red tissue paper
conference swag bag with avetta logo
woman at a conference holding swag bags
conference swag bags lined up with espaces logo

2. Notebook and Pen

A nice notebook and pen are always a great conference swag item and can be incredibly useful for attendees. These items are not only handy for taking notes and jotting down ideas during the event, but can also be used for personal organization after the conference. 

Additionally, equipping your attendees with a notebook and pen encourages active listening during the conference. Research indicates that physically writing notes down on paper improves memory retention, making the event experience more impactful for participants (Psychology Today)

swag bag pen
swag bag notebook
swag bag pens
swag bag notebook with groundworks title
swag bag notebook with GoGather logo

3. Lanyard

Branded lanyards are a must-have at conferences. 

They are not only a practical item for holding your name badge, keys, and important documents, but they also serve as a great promotional or sponsorship tool for your event. By including branded lanyards, you can increase brand visibility and create a sense of unity among attendees. 

swag bag lanyards for conferences
swag bag lanyards for conferences
swag bag lanyards for conferences
swag bag lanyards for conferences

4. Portable Charger Puck

One of our favorite swag bag items, the power bank, is a fantastic gift that is sure to get people lined up to grab one. Keep your attendee’s devices powered up with a compact, lightweight wireless power bank, an ideal gift for busy professionals who are always on the go. 

Pro tip: Be sure to fully charge the power banks before bagging them up, so attendees can use them during the conference. 

portable charging puck as a swag conference gift
portable charging puck as a swag conference gift
portable phone charger and speaker
portable charging puck as a swag conference gift

5. High-Quality Chapstick

Consider the benefits of providing high-quality chapstick to attendees, especially in dry climate conference destinations like Vegas or Denver. This simple yet impactful swag gift will ensure your attendees stay comfortable throughout the event. 

conference swag bag chapstick
conference swag bag chapstick

6. Survival Kit Theme

Headache at a conference? Not a problem when you give attendees a survival kit-themed swag bag.

With essentials like Advil, anti-bacterial hand wipes, Liquid IV, trail mix, Emergen-C, and gum, imagine how much more prepared and comfortable guests will feel during your event. This gift is a great way to showcase your thoughtfulness and care for your attendees’ well-being.

You can even wrap up the survival kit in a cute branded fanny pack that your attendees can sport around the event.

trail mix, liquid iv, tylenol, advil, chewing gum, fanny pack

7. High-Quality Water Bottle, Mug, or Tumbler 

Are you tired of trying to track down water during an event or (gross) drink out of the sink in your hotel room? We definitely are. 

Give your attendees a high-quality water bottle, mug, or tumbler to keep them hydrated and caffeinated throughout the day (and one that won’t end up in the trash can). Not only will this swag gift serve as a lasting memento of the conference, but it can also be utilized as a practical beverage container. Consider investing in reputable brands such as Yeti, Stanley, and HydroJug that your attendees will appreciate.

Also, make sure to place refill stations throughout the event so your attendees can easily access water during the day.

tumbler conference swag bag attendee gift
water bottle conference swag bag attendee gift
water bottle conference swag bag attendee gift
water bottle conference swag bag attendee gift
mug conference swag bag attendee gift

8. Backpack

Instead of a regular tote bag, you can give your attendees a nice backpack.

Branded backpacks add a touch of functionality and style to the conference experience, allowing attendees to carry all their items while displaying your logo. After the event, attendees can use their backpacks for work or adventure. 

Pro tip: Invest in a pack that has a place to stash a water bottle and a secure laptop compartment. 

backpacks with gogather logo and water bottle and fanny packs
man holding up a backpack with fleetpride logo at conference
a conference swag bag gift backpack and two water bottles
woman giving a man a backpack at a conference
backpack swag gift at a corporate conference

9. Lightweight Jacket

We all know how chilly conference halls can get, so it's a good idea to have a jacket on hand.

Offering attendees a lightweight, branded jacket as a swag bag gift will ensure they stay warm and comfortable throughout the event.

Pro tip: Opt for a jacket that's not too bulky, making it easy for attendees to pack for the journey back home.

man wearing a lightweight jacket with gogather logo
man wearing a lightweight jacket with gogather log

10. Customize it to Your Group

To leave a lasting impression, personalize the items in your swag bags to cater to the preferences of your conference attendees. Some may enjoy candles and self-care products, while others may prefer the practicality of Swiss Army Knives or toolkits. By customizing your gifts to align with your guest’s tastes, you ensure that each individual feels valued.

mixology kit as a swag bag gift
soaps and lotions as a swag bag gift
selerant swag gifts

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a conference swag bag?

A swag bag at a conference is a bag filled with promotional items, gifts, or freebies that are given to attendees.

swag bags lined up at a conference with text 'nice to meet you'

Why have swag bags at a conference?

Swag bags are typically given out to conference attendees as a gesture of appreciation or a marketing strategy to promote brands or products. After all, who doesn’t love receiving free goodies?

swag bag conference goodies such as a mask, socks, notebook and pen 

What kind of items can I typically expect to find in a conference swag bag?

Swag bag items often include branded merchandise, samples, product demos, promotional materials, and sometimes even useful or novelty items. 

Are swag bags included in the cost of conference registration?

Yes, swag bags are typically included in the cost of conference registration, depending on the event organizer and the sponsorship arrangements.

swag bag conference goodies such as bags and hats

What swag bag items should you avoid?

Don’t give your attendees anything that is low-quality, likely to melt in case it’s hot, difficult to pack in a carry-on, or anything that you wouldn’t keep yourself. 

Are there any guidelines or restrictions on what can be included in conference swag bags?

Yes, there are often restrictions on what can be included in conference swag bags, which vary depending on each company and its brand restrictions. Certain items may need to match specific color schemes or branding requirements, while others like alcohol may be subject to company policies. 

Can I opt out of receiving a swag bag if I prefer not to have one?

Yes, of course, attendees do not have to take a gift bag if they do not want one. 

swag bags lined up at a conference

Where can I get branded promotions?

Reach out to your project manager for assistance with ordering branded promotions. If you're working with GoGather, we utilize our sister company GoPromoPro for all branded promotional items.


Madison Shepherd

Madison Shepherd is a Marketing Specialist at GoGather. When she's not writing blogs or sending out social media posts, she enjoys hiking, traveling, or reading at one of the many beautiful beaches in San Diego.