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The Official "CPAC Swag" Grading Post

Three things in life are guaranteed: death, taxes, and incredible swag at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference held yearly in the DC area. At this year's CPAC, a lot of organizations really stepped up their game, providing some pretty sweet free merchandise to CPAC attendees. Here's some of my personal favorites:


If you'd like a soundtrack to accompany this post, press "play" and begin scrolling:

"F" Grade

Pens, fliers, and stickers.

While these items are mostly fine at any other conference, CPAC is different. Stickers may be fine to cover a water bottle, but compared to other swag distributed, they're pretty weak.

"D" Grade

Bracelets, bags, anything with a low chance of re-usability.

Bags: great for toting around CPAC swag and groceries, but how many of them do you really need? Bracelets and wristbands are an easy way to promote an org, but they're not really "in vogue" right now.

"C" Grade

Pins, cups, and koozies.

There's nothing inherently "wrong" with pins, cups, and koozies, but they're a little "meh." Fun to collect, but they also just take up a lot of space.

"B" Grade


Shirts, hats, sunglasses, and water bottles.

Shirts are denied an A grade due to weird availability of sizes. (Full disclosure: Townhall distributed shirts this year) Sunglasses are quite fun, but quality can be varied. If they're great, you're golden, but if they're crappy, they're useless. Water bottles are awkward to carry around, but they're dead useful post-CPAC.

"A" Grade

Phone chargers, squirt guns, candy, and frisbees.

Squirt. Guns. Need I say anything else?

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