Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tour Prep

I'm getting ready to head out for a one nighter in Philly and it got me to thinking I should write a post on tour prep. There's a ton of stuff that needs to be thought about but this post is about what goes in your bag. Since everything else on a tour is optimized for utility, easy transport, and is either vitally important or it's left behind, you should do some thinking as you choose and pack your bags.

On my first tour I had just my bunk and half the space under it for my personal gear. I was out for three months with just a twenty-two inch suitcase, a back pack, and an empty duffel bag for dirty laundry. Here's a brief rundown of the contents and some of the thinking behind it.
  • Enough t-shirts to hold me for two weeks
  • Two pair of cargo shorts
  • Two pair of jeans (that could become shorts if the heat got too much
  • Lots and lots and lots of socks (clean, dry socks are like prison currency on tour)
  • One set of dress clothes that I never wore
  • Two hoodies (double em up if it gets very cold)
  • One pair of sneakers and one pair of boots
And then there were a bunch of tiny items that I picked just to make life a little better. Sewing kit, travel alarm clock, Palm Pilot (the iPhone wasn't even a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye at that point), small tool kit, toiletries, reading light, earplugs, tiny fan, and some notebooks.  Every trip since then has either been scaled up or scaled down from that package as space and duration allowed. For shorter runs I'll try and make do with just a good sized backpack. Two changes of clothes, the usual bunch of socks and a few odds and ends.

There's a tendency to want to bring along just a ton of stuff, just in case. It's a good idea to really think about every item you pack and decide if it's something you absolutely couldn't live without, or something you could just as easily pick up at a stop if you wound up needing it.

Just one more word about one of the items listed above. The earplugs. You probably have a phone or iPod that can supply you with all the music (read: isolation) you could need. Throwing in the buds is a great way to "go to your room" when you're crammed in a small space with a bunch of other people. There's a lot to be said for the sound of silence though. A pair of noise cancelling headphones or just a decent pair of ear plugs can get your brain some much needed quiet time as opposed to blasting it with more noise. Pair them up with a sleep mask (you could make it look tough with some skulls and studs if you need to) and you're all set up with a quiet, dark place you can catch a few z's in.

Let us know what's in your tour kit Brethren of the Knob and Fader. Hit the comments section below.

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