Whether you're hitting the road for a weekend or going on-two month tour, packing the right things is important.
Especially if it’s your first tour, you might not know what to bring. That’s why on this week’s episode of the podcast we go through our tour essentials, as well as tips shared by our listeners.
Don’t go into your next tour blind: listen now to find out what you should pack so you have (almost) all the comforts of home while on the road.
What you’ll learn:
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#92: Never Leave Your Bass Player Behind: The Power of Checklists
#94: Keeping Track of Your Gear: The Dewey Decibel System
Welcome to Episode 95 of the Bandhive Podcast.
It is time for that episode of the band. I've podcast. My name is James Cross and I'm here with Matt Hoos of Alive in Barcelona. It's been longer than 15 minutes, but less than a week since we last spoke, how have you been doing in the last four hours or so?
You know, man, the day has only gotten better. We got to go and have an ultrasound and see a picture of our newest baby. It's on the way. So pretty exciting to do that. That's amazing. The family is expanding. Let's bring you up to three. So, and your first daughter as well. So congratulations. Thank you three's company. I'm sure my buoys will be eager to beat her up. Nice and young boy. At least he'll have the older brothers when she's in high school. Oh yeah, she'll be fierce.
No joke. I mean, my wife is already pretty fierce and on top of that. If my boys have anything to say about it, they're both pretty wild. Their sweethearts, but they definitely wrestle. And so it's like we're going to have this new baby sister just by proxy and the fact that she's going to have older brothers. She's going to be tough. Oh man, you've now officially or you will in a few months have maxed out the capacity of a standard sedan. Yeah. Don't remind me. You're going to need a larger vehicle.
Don't remind me they're not cheap. Yeah, that's for sure. Especially touring vehicles, which we're going to talk about a little later in the episode. You like my segue there? I did and that was great. You should tour in a segue. Oh, 12 mph. They went out of business though. The company shut down a couple years ago probably because the guy who started the company literally died while testing an off road segue. I totally forgot about that. I guess he could not roll with the punches. Oh my gosh, too soon.
I apologize if anyone is related to him. I'm sincerely sorry. That was just low hanging fruit. If that was a limbo bar what had driven right into it, I tried too hard. Oh gosh, and got so far. But in the end it didn't even matter, I guess. I mean that is an accurate description of the situation. All right, well, we're going to have a rather light hearted and fun and easy podcast this week. We're talking about what you should pack for shows or tour and not necessarily like the gear and all that stuff.
We've talked about that a lot the last few weeks and keeping track of things with checklists on episode 92 which if you want to listen to that, you can go to band of that rocks slash 92 or on episode 94 we talked about labelling things, which I definitely recommend and I've got rocks slash 94 but now it's coming down to the personal items that you want to have with you on the road. So matt and I are each going to share what we consider essential in our own packs, Then we're going to have some things that our listeners have added our lovely band, Hive group members at Bandhive dot rock slash group.
Or if you search for banned Hive on facebook, you gotta get the plug in there of course. And then we're gonna close things out with stuff for the van or bus if you're really killing it. But for most of us, that's going to be the van. I'm just going to dive right in matt because I think this is going to be a pretty quick thing for each of us. The first thing that I double check for my backpack and that's gonna be the thing that everyone is going to need to double check is all your electronics.
So, ipad, iphone, laptop, whatever it is, the chargers to go with it, any accessories, airpods, headphones in, ears, all that kind of stuff. Don't leave home without it. Just reference back to episode 92. I make a checklist of everything that I need to pack in the week or so before a tour, I'll start making a list of what I need to take with me. So I know that everything is in there the day that I leave. The second thing is passports for me. That's too just because I have dual citizenship with the US and Germany.
But even if you don't, you might actually have two passports. A lot of people on the road actually have for example to us passports because there are certain places that you can't travel if you have a stamp from certain countries. So sometimes it's very useful to have two passports and it is legal. The U. S. Government will issue you a second passport. And that way if you want to go to, I don't know some country that is picking a bone with the Middle East and wouldn't let you in.
If you have a Middle East passport stamp in it, let's say Iran Afghanistan river, you can show them the other passport. So the customs agents don't see that you've been to that country. So it's a way to protect your privacy, then you would want to have your standard idea. You know if you're driving, you want your driver's license if you don't drive, which kind of sucks for your bandmates then you would want your non driver's I. D. And emergency cash. I tend to just keep like about 100 bucks in cash not in my wallet because my wall, it's always on me.
So that way if my wallet gets stolen or something like that. I know. Hey, I have my backpack in the green room or in the van with some emergency cash in it. The idea is that they're never in the same place at the same time unless it's like me walking into the venue or into a hotel or something like that. The only time there together is like five or 10 minutes a day tops. It's just good to have some emergency funds out there for you. Next thing is a pen and note pad because you never know when you're going to have to write something down, especially if your phone dies.
It's really great to have a pen and paper handy. And that way if you need to leave a note for somebody, great, I don't put sticky notes in my backpack, but hey, if that's how you want to roll do sticky notes instead of a backpack and then you can sticky everything all over the place, sunglasses. Super important. I just ordered my first pair of prescription sunglasses. Thanks to Xeni. So shout out to them. Got my eyes checked a couple weeks ago and got three pairs of glasses for under 100 bucks.
So we're not sponsored or affiliated with them, but I just want to shout them out because they have good stuff for cheap prices. So if you wear glasses, check out Xeni again, not sponsored. It's just a product that I use and stand behind. Next up is a mag lite pocket flashlight. I have a little one maybe it will make it into a video clip. Maybe not, but it's super bright. I'm blinding that right now. And it does cool stuff like you can turn it into a strove, it does an S. O. S. Pattern, I didn't click it right, but you can do all kinds of stuff, it's like 30 bucks and it's super bright, fits in your back pocket or your front pocket.
But I don't recommend that that's the sound guy and you're right there mag lite pocket flashlight but it was like I need something super bright for when I stick my head in the back of this rack and try to figure out these 10 billion cables that are all overlapping with each other. I actually got yelled at by another band, sound guy because I was setting up murch in a super dark venue and it was a weird setup. They had like a an early evening show and then a late evening show and so was setting up murch and I was using the flashlight to see what I was doing and he's like yo can you turn that off?
It's like really annoying for people watching the show which to put it into perspective. The show was in the basement with like an open area around it and then I was up on a balcony Basically 90° from where the stage and audience were. So it's like not shining at the show at all. And it's like okay dude, but like there's no lights here. I kind of need this just like you just pointed at the stage. I'm like, dude, I'm not plenty at the stage. There's a window right next to me that it's reflecting off of, I can't really do much about that.
But yeah, that's a little mag lite that fits in my hand. Did that. And I've seen some tour people with like giant flashlights and like dude, you do realize that you could have something like 1/10 of that size that has the same output power. It's the magic for L. E. D. S. You don't need a baseball bat sized flashlight anymore. High lumens, All you need is high lumens. Yeah, there will be an amazon link in the show notes and that will be an affiliate deal because you know, We're cheap like that.
Give us that 1% of the sale that Amazon pays out. But really these flashlights are great and it's also really cool. Like if you are taking the stage and all the stage lights are dark and you want to let the sound person know that you're coming out. You can wave a flashlight at them. Just tell them in advance big. Yeah. When we waive the flashlight at you, that means we're about to hit the stage. So get ready. Cut the house music. That's what a lot of artists do if they don't have radios, I never thought I would spend like five minutes talking about flashlights, but I apparently just did.
Next up is an external battery bank. That way you can always keep charging, especially if you're working like festival or something, you want a battery bank that you can just stick in your back pocket and have your phone plugged in the whole day. If you're running around that way, you never run out of battery earplugs. I have ultimate ears custom earplugs, They cost me like 200 bucks to get done. But that was over 10 years ago was july of 2011 and I'm still using them to this day. So if you average it out, that's about 20 bucks a year on earplugs, totally worth it because they're super comfortable fits way better than the foam or the little like christmas tree type earplugs and definitely recommend it.
Ultimate ears is good. There's a couple other brands that do it and you just go to like an audiologist and they do a mold of your ears and then you get custom earplugs. So yeah, protect your hearing. And I also keep phone plugs as a backup. Sometimes you don't need the most comfort or you don't need to hear accurately. So it's okay if you have something that cuts all the high end ridiculously but doesn't do much for base. So phone plugs work for that business cards. You know, it's something that's good to have, I would just have banned business cards.
So if somebody like, oh hey, where can we check you out? You can be like here you go. And it's not gonna be like a traditional business card that says sales manager for X. Y. Z. Band, it's gonna be like, hey this band, Find us on social. Is that these links? Here's our website, here's our Spotify, here's a QR code, you can scan to get to our link tree or our sleek bio toward documents. I'm always gonna have a copy of all that stuff in my backpack.
Obviously everything is digital, but I'm kind of old school and I like to keep a tour binder as well that way I don't have to leave any electronics at the merch table. If I'm not there supervising, I can say to a family, hey, here's the binder with a printed out merch sheet and just tally off stuff as you sell it. Like if we're up on stage and you're selling stuff for us, just tally it off because my laptop's locked away in the back somewhere and then last but not least baby wipes.
These are so ridiculously helpful. I was the kind of guy who would shower every day on warped tour, but it would still be nice to when I wake up in the morning, baby wipe off real quick because I would shower at night like after being hot and sweaty all day I wouldn't want to get into a bunk, totally filthy and grammy and then just you know wake up in the morning baby while I put on deodorant be like okay good to go. So yeah that's the essentials for my pack list.
I've probably forgot something cause I didn't actually make a checklist. 01 more thing a pencil. It's always gonna have a pencil because some things should not be in pen. See this is all about practicality. That's that's the whole point of this episode because we want you people to realize that practicality is everything one of my favorite quotes is you know when you're making a plan, the plan is often useless but the planning is invaluable. And this is kind of just those things that really keep you sane on the road and it's just things you don't think about.
So James, you had a great list just to add real quick. Sometimes the pencil really is better back in the 60s and 70s for the space race. The US could not get ballpoint pens to work in space. So they spent I forget it was either 20,000 or 20 million or I don't know the exact number but some have seen amount of money developing a pen that would work in space. The Russians used a pencil so sometimes you just gotta go the practical route anyway matt, sorry to cut you off.
Go ahead. No not at all. That's very pertinent. But James, you had a great list. I think a lot of those things, I double down on earplugs and on baby wipes and external battery pack sunglasses for sure. Just did you like living your whole life squinting? Just like, oh my eyes hurt so bad from the sun. Yeah. Now sunglasses are fantastic both for while you're driving walking around and if you're an extremely cool musician, you can even get custom made sunglasses that don't actually dim anything so you can wear your sunglasses inside at night time.
So a lot of rock stars like doing that herd one guy say, I asked him, I was like, oh that was very dark. He goes, no dude, these aren't dark at all, they're the same tint is outside and I was like really? He's like, oh yeah dude, I'm full do sh I was like, what an interesting way to describe yourself. He's like, yep, so the way I can learn my sunglasses all the time, it's like, hey man, you said it out loud, not me. Mhm. So yeah, I love sunglasses, Love baby wipes, love external battery bank, you're on your phone so much when you're on tour, so like that's just super valuable to have, I've actually even been able to help other fans with external battery packs before I remember being down in Dallas one time we just finished playing trees and this girl at the show was like About to hyperventilate because she didn't have a charge on her phone.
Her like her phone is like 1% and she was waiting on her right to pick her up. So she was just terrified that her phone was going to die and her ride would be able to find her and she wasn't from Dallas. So I was like, is there any way you can help me? So I actually have three spare battery bank so I can always rotate and I let her use one. And I was like, this girl is probably gonna steal this for me being like, oh yeah, this is the singer for this band.
But now super sweet girl. She plugged her phone in. Charge it up as much as possible until her ride got there and then she came and returned it to me and was like super thankful in that particular situation. Like it was cool for me because I got to help her out and she didn't have to feel like she was stranded in downtown Dallas. But also it was just, it really showed the utility is not just for yourself. Considering the fact that I had three battery banks, I would constantly be learning them up to my bandmates.
It's also something really, really useful because you use square or Paypal here or some type of point of sale system at your merch table and if you don't have your battery judged on your phone. Well then to put it lightly, you look like a jackass, you're like, oh yeah, hold on, let me charge my phone real quick so that I can take your card information. I know we've talked about having your batteries charged in episodes past, but these things are very, very, very important to not overlook.
I mean, in my opinion, not having a charge point of sale system at your merch table is just as unprofessional as like walking out on stage with a guitar that has a broken string. Your professionalism has to be seen from start to finish putting your best foot forward, make your mistakes behind closed doors essentially. And then when people are looking at you, make sure that your phones are charged. Yeah. You don't want to be amateur hour. It's not worth it, right? And I think you have something to add to that red James.
Yeah, I just want to say, you know, you remember the story from Dallas helping that girl out charging her phone, You know, who else remembers that she does? She is probably like, oh my God, that band was so cool. I'm a fan for life. They totally saved my but I'm going to listen to them every time they put out a new album. I'm remembering that looking back at the interactions I had with bands when I was a teenager and I'm just assuming she was a teenager. Maybe she wasn't.
But either way, if a band interacted with me like that, I'm like, oh yeah, I'm gonna remember this forever, and I gotta say, I'm really lucky that I've had a lot of great interactions with artists, Just because I've always kind of been trying to get my foot in the door of the music industry and I was able to do that very early on, I think I was like, let's see, I started doing interviews at 16, started working shows at 17, I guess. Either way, lots of great memories of the artists who are super chill.
You go in for an interview, they're like, oh, hey, can we get you anything to drink from the bus fridge, and like, you know, I'm good thanks, but it's still like, some artists don't offer that and others are like, no, you're a guest, here, we are going to make you as comfortable as we possibly can, culminating with the last time I interviewed a f I we had just taken over running the official news portion of their site, and this is totally off topic for the episode, but I just want to say like, how moments like this are so memorable.
Their drummer Adam came out, Adam was so kind and we were all there, everybody who worked for the HQ, he said, you know, when we go into the studio, I have one pair of sticks for every single song and I only use it for that song and I just write the song name on the sticks and then I put them away. So I've got here a box of sticks from the album and you each get to pick a song. And so that's what's up on my wall right behind me is the drumsticks for their song Dark Snow off of the Blood album or self titled F album from 2017.
That's a memory I'm never going to forget because he literally gave away half of his drumsticks that night. Like, there were six of us there and he gave us each a set of those sticks. That's a piece of history right there. A f i is not like a small band, people care about that band and that was just one of the coolest moments of my life to have that recognition from somebody being like, you've done a lot of work for us. I want to give this to you.
My point here is your fans will absolutely remember when stuff like that happens, whether it's lending them a battery bank, giving them a set of drumsticks or a guitar picker or whatever. That's just so cool in my opinion. Anyway, matt, sorry to sidetrack for so long while you're doing your list there. I love it. I really hadn't even started. I was doubling down on yours. So, here's mine. Here's the things that you definitely forgot a very long phone charger. Okay, if you have a van or a bus or anywhere that allows you or forces you to sit or sleep Somewhere that you're far away from power, you will need a long power cord in order to keep your phone charged.
For instance, we have bunks in our bus. Some guys sleep on the top bunk. That by nature is already like six ft off the ground. So for them to even have the ability to plug their charger and they need a long cable for us. We actually have a power strip that runs up the side and its camera re zip tied it or bell credit or whatever, but it's attached to the end of the bunk. So that way a three ft capable do. But the thing is you're limited to where your power supply is coming from in the van.
Most of the time, if you want a good power supply, you need to go get a power inverter and actually hook it up to your battery and you want to make sure you have it hooked up to a battery that's like strong and good. Maybe even a second battery if you have the space for it. So that way you're not drawing from the power of the vehicle, but that will allow you to power your things on the inside. It'll only power certain things will power your computers, it will power your phone chargers, it'll power standard electronics, you can even do TVs, office stuff like that, game consoles, what you can't do, it depends on the inverter.
Some people are able to do it, but things like blow dryers, coffee makers are like right on the line, pretty much anything you would think that gets plugged into a kitchen or a bathroom in a standard home. Those are the circuits that have higher voltage in the circuit. So you have 15 amps and kitchens and 10 and regular, I can't remember the exact numbers but 15 and 20 is it 15? Okay, so yeah, 15 and 20. So basically kitchens and bathrooms require more power and so things that you would plug in their hair straightener is blow dryers, coffee machines, you know all of those kind of active power things.
Those don't really work well in power inverters. And so your power is going to be in a specific place most likely. Which means that you need a long phone charger for it to be able to reach all the different places you needed to, Especially like your bunk when you're driving 800 miles and you're like, wow, I really like to be able to watch a movie and charge my phone. So that's number one. Tea and honey. I'm a singer. So being able to have tea for us, we actually do have a coffee pot, it's actually just a, it's for t and it uses a little less power than a standard coffee pot does.
So we are able to actually make hot water with it just because it turns on the heating element is very simple, very archaic. Being able to make tea in the van for us was like super important. We have a screamer in our band. So it's nice to be able to wake up in the morning, start your day off with hot tea honey. Great for the throat throat coat tea is a fantastic one. But honestly, when all of a sudden done, there is nothing that you can do better for yourself.
Then just hydrate, you're on the road. So just drink as much water as you can. You're going through different elevations. So drink as much water as you can. Your body's gonna react different ways to different humidities, climates, different seasons, allergens, pollens, and pretty much the answer to all of those and staying better, staying healthy on the road is drinking more water. So stay hydrated, but also keep that t close as a singer. I have to make sure that I get a lot of sleep while I'm on the road to because if you start to get sick, then it's almost impossible to recover while you're on the road.
I generally bring some type of my own med kit. I have asthma. I have eczema. I am a very light sleeper. My drummer has sleep apnea. So like there's a cocktail of things that I generally bring to make sure that I'm ok, I need to have my inhaler, I need to have cream from my eczema. I have Benadryl to help with my allergies going through different climates. It also helps some nights to sleep through my drummer sleep apnea. Sometimes this is just like something that you have, you know, like most nights we don't hear them every once in a while, it sounds like we have a bear inside of our bus.
We've figured out ways to not and not easy ways, but we figured out the hard way and how to deal with it over the years to avoid, you know, like breaking room cycles and not getting quality sleep. Some of the time it was as simple as like popping in some headphones and taking a Benadryl and then you'd be able to breathe wonderfully all night, you'd sleep well. And on top of that it was just the Dramamine would help you fall asleep even if he was snoring. So that's more of a personal thing.
But like some people will struggle with that. Some people want, if you have trouble sleeping on the road, take a Benadryl and see how it helps you because it definitely is something that will ease you into like sleeping a little bit more comfortably in a foreign environment. So, highest marks there, dry shampoo, dry shampoo is super clutch because not all of us can be a pretty boy, like James and shower after every world tour date. Some of us have to be dirty, grimy, disgusting, nasty people who just sweat profusely and then get in the van, sleep in their own filth and then have to wake up and do it the next day for those people.
I recommend a dry shampoo very similar to baby powder or talcum powder only it's sent it wonderfully and actually has like some good cleaning products and honestly it's just nice to because when you're like a hot summer tour and you're just disgusting, sticking this pattern and it's just like makes your hair like go from feeling disgusting and grammy, it's like, oh my hair feels nice again and then you can at least function. This is like a Band aid. This is not the healing process, this is the band aid.
That is like, all right, I'm disgusting. I need, it's two more days until I'm gonna be able to shower. I have to stand at the merch table so I need to make sure I have like a really strong deodorant slash perfume slash cologne and I need to make sure I've got some dry shampoo. Some musicians actually will, even as soon as they finish playing if there's a green room or a shower, they will instantly go and shower, change their clothes before they go and see their fans.
Not all of us can be divas like that. Some of us just gotta be disgusting and say, hey, welcome to the 150 degree warped tour where we're all gonna sweat together and smell gross. Let's have a little dry shampoo. Mm Yeah. Fun story about dry shampoo is the T. S. A does not consider it dry to usa considers it a liquid because it's in a can and I guess it is technically a liquid when it's compressed I think is my second work tour. A friend and I met up in boston to fly out to the start of the tour together because she was on the same team as I. Security took away her dry shampoo from here, carry on.
So if you're flying somewhere just because it says dry does not mean it's not liquid well. And that's, that's a good point to James. Well, side note that because there are certain things that it might be common to think you should bring on tour, that you shouldn't actually bring on tour and we'll get to those in a little bit. But dry shampoo when flying is one of those things also with dry goods, not only dry shampoo, but dry food, some ramen noodles. If you have the ability to make hot water cup of noodles, something simple, this doesn't need to be how you feed yourself on your entire tour, but if it's like 10 o'clock at night, somebody wakes up and they're like, man, I'm really hungry and everything is closed or it's like 100 and 50 miles to the next city.
A great thing you can do is heat up some water. Make yourself a cup of noodles to tide yourself over. I really like dry food and canned food. Canned food holds its integrity well in terms of shelf life and holds its integrity well in terms of its in a metal can. So it's really nice to be able to have. Keep in mind if you don't have a can opener and it's the old style of can, doesn't have an easy pop top open like a can of Campbell's soup or whatever.
If it's an old style can, you need to have a can opener as well. So keep that in mind or just go with the ones that have the cool little soda can opener on the top, like pre made meals in a can. These are fantastic for emergencies and you never know. Like heaven forbid you pop a tire on the side of the road in between Albuquerque and phoenix and you're just like, dude, it's 100 degrees here. Like we need to eat some food, we need to have water.
So food and water especially are just very important things to have as a part of your pack or even in the trailer or whatever that can be as a van. Good. It doesn't have to be your personal stash. But if you want to hold your good stuff to yourself, that's a good idea is to bring some extras. Now, my personal favorite is extra socks. I'm sure I've said this before, but a fresh pair of socks is like literally the difference between murdering your bandmates and not, and what I mean by that is it's always the straw that breaks the camel's back.
It's never, it's never the big load, you know, your band can go through hell and back and then it's something stupid. I remember one time we had been on warped tour for like, it's like day 35 and we're just all tired and exhausted, not sleeping, not eating well, drinking too much, living vicariously. And it was me and Phil and jesse and we stopped at like this rest stop and we were just all tired and it's been a long tour. We went in and like went to the bathroom and on the way out I saw this piece of modern art that I just thought was absolutely disgusting.
I was like, I was like, what is this trash was like, people call this garbage art. This looks like a child threw paint at a canvas when he was mad and sold. It was like, this is garbage, we'll fill. Really took offense to that because we had been on tour for 35 days and he was miserable and maybe he liked it. Maybe he thought it was artistic, maybe he took that as a personal attack and so literally fill, just freaks out on me and I'm tired and I'm angry, I freak out back on him and then before we know the two of us were just screaming at each other and then jesse had to like mitigate, he's like, dude, fill you just jumped on matt's throat because he said he didn't like a piece of art matt, You just retaliate.
It's like, you know, crazy. I was like, yeah, well, I went back to the car and I changed my socks. Having a fresh pair of socks on my feet was like, all the pain was gone. I know they're clean, they're brand new. They're still folded their ironed to fit inside of their plastic sleeve. So generally every single tour I buy one or two brand new packs of socks. It is my ritual. I will never, ever, ever go on a tour without a brand new package of socks even, it's like after you play a show and you're just exhausted and you go back even just a bed and you like, take your shoes off from playing your feet reek.
You've been sweating. You're like, maybe we're in boots or whatever, your socks are stuck to your feet, you're like, oh, this is gross. Get a little water, we're in some off, dry them off, put on fresh socks before you go to bed and you're just like, oh, this is like sleeping on a cloud because you're so used to living in a van down by the river, living like garbage traveling from parking lot to parking lot and you're like, yes, fresh socks, I'm walking on cloud nine and then if your bandmates start getting on your nerves, you can tell them to put a sock in it.
Uh, I could literally give them a fresh sock to do so No, no, you give them the old one, you put on the fresh ones and give them the old, stinky ones. They don't want that, nobody wants the old, stinky ones. That's the point. There's times when we literally have just gotten finished playing this show and it's like, yep, just take those socks off and throw them in the garbage, nobody's ever gonna want to wear those again. That's not even good enough to give away my warped Tour shirt still smells like warped tour five years later, pretty much they're tainted forever.
There's no coming back. I have like a weird sweat stain on the shoulders and oh, they're bleached, the sun bleached completely. Same shirt every day. Same three. Yeah. Right, so speaking of clothing, we just mentioned socks, swimming wear is also an incredibly important thing to have, it doesn't matter what season you're going into because if it's going into a warm season, there's a chance you're going to run across the water park or have a day off where you might want to do something fun, you might, at some point, if it's a long tour stay in a hotel and you might decide you want to go to their pool or their hot tub doesn't matter what season it is, you may also be traveling down south and you're from the north and you're like, Wow, my place is 30° right now.
I traveled down south and now it's 70° and the idea of getting in the water sounds wonderful. So there's plenty of applications for swimwear. It's a really good thing to have. Sometimes you might even want to have it for the places you have to shower. Some places have like public showers and things like that. If you like a little extra privacy, it's nice to have swimwear, don't bring a towel and here's why towels get used one time, one single time and then they retain their water and then you have this big soppy mess, you have nowhere to put it but inside the trailer and hopefully you have some hooks on the inside of your trailer.
Then what that does is that turns your trailer if it's warm into this giant humid swamp box because you have wet towels instead of a hot wooden box and it gets absolutely disgusting. So don't bring a towel. I would honestly recommend going to either a dollar store or a walmart and buying a new towel whenever you need it for very cheap. Maybe even going in on a towel with one of your band mates and the both of you decide that you're going to use the same towel to dry off.
I mean seriously, you can buy a towel for like $4 and then throw it away unless you have plans to actively go and do laundry after every single time you shower and there's no way around this. If anybody has any good ideas on how to dry their towels, I'm all ears because it doesn't happen. It's literally just turns your entire trailer into like, I'm just mildew. He smells like mold house And you open it up and it wafts in your face and you literally regret every life decision you ever made because you brought one single towel.
So it's better to just go to like the store by a $4 towel. It depends on how often you shower, it depends on how often you do laundry. If you're just gung ho about a schedule and routine and it's like every other day we go and do laundry every morning we wake up, we go to Planet Fitness for showering, you know, and if you have just like this awesome schedule that you're able to maintain or you've set up routine, then power to you and that's awesome. Go for it for you guys.
I would also recommend a mesh laundry bag, mesh laundry bags are like when you get dirty laundry, stick it in a bag that breathes and then you can store that in the trailer as well. So that way it doesn't get all military and gross because it actually has the opportunity to breathe and then if you're doing laundry like every other day, then you don't really have to worry about everything getting super disgusting in a trailer or turning it into a swamp box. So again, if anybody has good ideas on towels go for it, but until you get to a point where you have a friend in every city, across the United States that is going to let you stay at their house after a show and would allow you to do laundry there until you get to that point, you run the risk of just like turning your trailer into a disgusting swamp box.
I cannot stress how disgusting it is, especially if you keep things like your merch and your, your musical gear and your food. We don't keep our food in the laundry room for a reason, it's gross. So get stuff like that. If you do go swimming, you need things like sunscreen hats and sunglasses as a ginger. I like sunscreen. Try to make sure you're getting as much vitamin D though as possible because vitamin D is super important for your health. And especially when you're on tour, good vitamin D is quality.
You can go a long time without getting vitamin D because you're going from inside the van to inside of dark venues. So soak up that vitamin D. While you can. Now, I really like this one too is a bluetooth headphones, specifically bluetooth headphones and the reason is because your charge port on your phone most likely will be monopolized by your charger, you can also use a splitter. If you have some small device that allows you to both charge your phone and to use headphones at the same time, then use that.
Or if you have, you know, a wireless charger or whatever, there's all sorts of ways you can do it. But the point is you want, you're charging device and your headphones device to not connect the same way that way, if you want to watch a movie while your battery is low, you can still do that. So bluetooth speakers or something that allow for that. Or let's say you have an ipad and you want to be able to watch a movie more than one of you. A bluetooth speaker connected to the ipad is absolutely wonderful.
Just a little mobile DVD player, nice and simple. Two people sitting in the same seat can watch it if they're feeling like it, it's a nice piece of entertainment. I highly recommend everybody have whatever their form of entertainment is. If you like playing magic, the gathering, bring some decks. If you like playing video games, find a way to bring in tv and your console, any type of small stress relievers that you have, you really need to capitalize on those when you're out on tour. It's hard, it doesn't matter who you are.
Doesn't matter what you're doing, you always will get sick of like one or two, your bandmates at any given moment you're always gonna want your space. Sometimes sometimes you're gonna disagree on what event you should go and do. And it's always nice to have just like a few options rather than wherever you are geographically located. Like sometimes you don't want to go to the next city and go walking around the next city, You've done that for the last four days in a row and sometimes you just like, dude, to be honest, I like want to get on World of Warcraft and go like slay some people and that's cool.
Do that. Highest recommendations. I've never, ever, ever been on tour with an artist who didn't spend at least a couple of the days on tour doing something that they would do is like a home hobby while they're on tour, the easiest way to succeed in tour life is to make it as close to home life as possible, so you're not having to make these drastic changes. Pre workout. We like to go to Planet Fitness, having some pre workout is really awesome. You need bottles of water in order to mix your pre workout comfortably unless you're bringing dishes from your location to location.
So keep water, bottles of water, gallons of water whatever you need. It's good to have emergency water and then potable water. So water for your van and then water for you to drink. Also a nice thing that I like to have. The last thing on my list is that when you're driving some of the time, especially if you're doing long stretches in the midwest or on the west coast, there's a lot of long straight roads with nothing to look at. Best way to deal with. That is to have some type of small munchie gum is a munchy that I would consider good for driving.
Sunflower seeds are a great munchie for driving beef jerky, something like that, something that's kind of like a small repetitious hand to mouth, kind of gesture, something that keeps you cognitively kind of passively functioning. There's studies done when we were kids James about how chewing gum actually helps you when you're taking tests because your brain is firing on more neurons. And so it's like a small form of rapid tasking and just kind of keeps you sharp, er I would equate that to this. It's just an extra little thing that your body is doing That's not just like trying to focus on a straight road late at night or whatever.
I drink coffee, I love it, I drink at 50% for the effect of the caffeine, but 50% of it for the temperature. And so this is kind of a similar thing, just, it's an extra stimulant to help you focus on really whatever your main main goal is and any little things that you can do in order to keep you and your band mates safe is always always a good thing in my opinion, especially when you're driving 2 to 400 miles every night, lower the possibility of those extraneous risks as much as possible.
Yeah, definitely. And it's one of those things, a similar thing is if you get motion sickness, which thankfully I don't, but chewing gum can help with that as well. So it's amazing what having a little something Chuan can do for you. Well, matt, thanks for sharing your list. That's awesome. I think there's quite a few things there that, you know, I didn't think of definitely like the sun block, which is something I need. But depending on the tour, I didn't pack it. That's something that I should always have with me.
One note for canned goods is if you are doing that, you want to make sure you're not getting high sodium canned goods just because that will dehydrate you. And if you're stuck in the middle of the desert, you don't want to be dehydrated, but still, definitely a good call. Have some canned goods out there towels. I personally like to carry one that might be because I typically did bus tours. I was lucky with that. So I was just hanging off my bunk in the air conditioned bus and it would cool off and dry off really quickly.
Must be nice. Oh, it was amazing. I loved it. I saw people hang their towels off of the bus mirrors though and that is just gross because if you've ever seen a vehicle, the front of the vehicle is covered in dead splattered bugs. So I would never put something that I'm going to rub on my body on the areas of that vehicle that are covered in bugs. That just seems like a disgusting idea to me. It bugs you. Oh yeah, it bugs me like bugs bunny and what's up doc.
So anyway, I think we're going to move on here and get into what our listeners are. Group members have recommended. First up, Richard, Carlson says a multi tool. Yes, Good choice. Richard. That's something that personally I don't actually carry even though I probably should, but for any of the tours where I was doing tech or TM work, I had like a giant case and it wasn't like a road case. It was just like a plastic three drawer office setup type thing that had latching drawers and I just would fill that with extra strings tools, Anything that I would need.
I didn't have a multi tool, but I had everything separately, but I probably should have a multi tool in my backpack just in case. Nate Bonet says granola bars or other snacks specifically. He said, peanut butter and bread. I agree Clif bars are very good. Sarah King and I should mention, we're taking out things that were already mentioned previously. So for those of you who mentioned stuff. If it's not on here, that's because matt and I had already mentioned it up above somewhere, but Sarah King says water bottles, throat lozenges.
If the show has a green room, she will also take her gig clothes and make up and do it, their mouth wash and then a splash of whiskey just for the pre show. She'll take one sip, get ready for the show and then she keeps all her tools, stage supplies and power for gear in a separate bag and takes two backpacks, which I think is a great idea because that way you have a personal bag and a work bag. Zach Fulton of Common Choir matt, he's got one on here that I think you're gonna like it's the last one.
I'll get to it. I'll save it for last cough drops vitamins with fiber tied pens for when you get a stain on your clothes, a neck pillow like what you would see on airplanes, which fun fact they're actually the way most people wear it with like the you at the back and the opening at the front. You turn them around that way you can put your head down and it's resting on the pillow so you can do it right or wrong. There is actually the wrong way.
You can trust James on that too. He's totally an aviation nerd. He would know about the airplane neck doughnut. Well, ironically I cannot sleep on planes like there's too much going on, which is a good thing because that means I'm not going to fall asleep while flying a plane. So there's, there's a plus side to that and then here's Zachary's last one that I said, I think you're going to enjoy, which is a camping towel. Apparently they fold up really small and I'm not sure if they work.
No, go home Zachary. You don't agree Zachary, you're drunk, go home. What needs to be a thing? Here is the camping towel with a little like press that, you can roll it through that squeezes out all the water. You just need a panini machine so you can do shower and they need to throw it on the panini machine heated by back up, give it to your bassist, let him use the panini towel. Uh No, that's good. I if a camping towel works well for him, then that's absolutely awesome.
I like the fact that folds are pretty small. My issue is that they retain water really well. That's the nature of what a towel does, really ideally. If you could have a quick drying towel, that's what you need. But it's like literally I have more than one occasion, gotten out of the shower at Planet Fitness, dried myself off and then start getting dressed and I'll just go over to the like the hand dryer machines and just stand there for like 20 minutes trying to dry it out as much as possible.
So I don't have this gross swamp towel and most of the time it still doesn't work, it's, I've thrown away so many towels on tour, it's like like a home towel that I had for a long time. Never should have left my home and then it did and then it got gross, nasty mildew, swamp towel only thing it's good for after that is pranks slapping your basis while he sleeps and stuff like that, slapping the bass. Does this towel smell like chloroform? This again, shows my privilege of doing mainly bus tours, but I would borrow a girl's hair dryer to dry off my towel.
That was definitely a thing that I've done at points in the past. What else is life like in heaven? Air conditioning with a generator that's on all day, even when the motor's stopped internet on your bus. Not really, we would have my thighs typically, but we weren't allowed to use them for streaming because the data charges would add up so quickly. So they said if you want to do streaming use your phone, technically they had it, but it was only if they needed to print something off really quick.
We were allowed to use it for like emails and surfing the web. It was just, you cannot use it for streaming, no youtube, no netflix, nothing like that. Having a bathroom on board was great because you know, you can get up in the middle of the night, wake up like, oh, I got to go to the bathroom, okay, whatever. Running water was great. Although it was not portable, microwave, mini fridge, all that good stuff, but I want to say, I wanna give a shout out to Pickwick commons, we've had them on the show a couple times, the return of live shows and touring Adam Loki of Pickwick commons.
If you want to hear that, go to band, I've got rocks slash 85 or find it in your favorite podcasting app wherever you're listening to this right now. They had a set up where they had a generator in their trailer, which would provide power to outlets in their van. It was in the trailer, the exhaust is vented out the side, but they could just start up that generator, it was properly wider too, so they could run their air conditioning off of it. And they had like a microwave and a mini fridge in the back of the van, stellar work genius.
That's what bus life was like two. There was actually uh, the generator could be flipped on remotely like it was under the bus, in one of the cargo bays and the driver could just flip a switch on his panel and the generator kicks on and you can use the microwave. It was amazing. I love stuff. It's well done like that. I get nerdy about how to tour. Well, there was uh, a guy who used to travel around the world tour who had solar panels on the top of his van, which allowed him to run all of all the power in his van while the van was off and the van was converted to bio diesel.
He was just traveling around to grocery stores And asking them for like their leftover fryer oil and he was using fryer oil to power his vehicle. And on top of that dude, he was, he was the full 10 yards on the very top of his car. He had basically a giant cantina where he had a spout where you fill it up with water and the whole thing was black and so it would capture the heat of the sun and warm the water up inside of his van. He had stripped everything out to where it would fold up or fold down.
So when it was folded down, the whole thing was a bed, but then the front part would fold up and he had a toilet there, but it was all wood underneath and he like coated it with some type of sealer and he could shower with hot water standing up inside of his own van. And I was like, this guy gets it. This is multiple levels of like traveling nerd um compiled with each other. You are like the elite traveling crazy person and I loved it. So there's a lot of really cool things that you can do if you end up going down the rabbit hole, I mean look into solar energy, bio diesel fuel or hydrogen fuel cells or I mean like get on Pinterest dude, there's people out there who have made some of the coolest stuff you'll ever see.
I agree. And you know, I got to say I was not that posh to borrow a term from the brits, seafaring brits. We didn't have a shower on the bus, but there are buses that have showers on them. Bandwagons even have showers on them. That would have been the dream. I was this close. I had everything except the shower. Anyway, Matt speaking of vans, you had a list of stuff that is essential for a van. Do you want to go through that? Yeah, sure. I'll just rattle it off real quick.
These are essentials for the van. Okay, water tools, jumper cables or a jump starter. A jump starter is a tool that does not require you to have a second car to jump your car. So if your battery is dead, you are in the middle of nowhere, you can't flag down somebody to jump your van. A jump starter will do that. A tire pump is also another one or air compressor. You want the ability to, if you have a slow leak or something like that that you've discovered before.
It's too late tire pumps are fantastic spare tires, spare tire or spare tires, plural. We always had multiple tires in the back of our trailer or actually I guess in the front of our trailer for whenever we needed to have any type of spare change and we wouldn't do a regular little doughnut. We actually bought 1/5 tire of the same type of tires that we have on our vehicle. So that way, if something goes wrong, you're actually replacing with a full sized tire that's not going to be taking or bearing too much of the load itself.
So having an additional regular size tire and rim, realistically if you just have the tire, you're still going to need to go in and take the tire to a place and have them spin and balance it, put it on, but you'll want an extra rim and tire. So that way you can just swap it out side of the road, carry on and then you can worry about it the next day rather than having to get towed somewhere and having to deal with that whole nightmare. A trailer brake, trailer brake is incredibly important because when your trailer is full, you are a battering ram, you want the ability to stop on a dime that is only possible with a trailer brake.
If you don't know what a trailer brake is, learn about it, Buy one, get one installed. They're not very expensive and it will literally save your life and the life of the car in front of you who you smash into accordion style when you come over a turnpike and there's a random traffic light on the highway because for some reason, there are places that do that, there's a lot of places in this country and in other countries, I'm sure where the traffic lights systems or where traffic piles up in certain cities, it doesn't make sense.
And if you're not poised and ready to strike with something like a trailer brake and able to stop on a dime, it can result in some serious injury or death. So trailer brake, very important, a med kit, you want to make it period, you're carrying heavy equipment, somebody gets hurt, you need the ability to treat it. So slashes, gashes, you want types of Neosporin bandages, wraps, things like that. Be nice to have, you know, a small amount of pain medicine, Maybe even a small amount of Benadryl like I mentioned earlier, there's a lot of different things that you can put in here.
I have asthma. So it's nice that my med pack on the bus has an inhaler in it just in case I lose mine while I'm on tour too. So that way I have, you know, I kind of think of it like a digital copy in a hard copy. I have my inhaler in my pocket, but if for some reason I forgot mine, I still have the hard copy in the med pack in the van, very important to have you want fluids for your vehicle, oil, gas, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, water for your vehicle as well.
These are all things that if for some reason a light comes on while you're in the middle of nowhere, you have an emergency supply that allows you to not be stranded in the middle of nowhere. I stress this a bunch because I'm a West Coast touring artist. That is a majority of where we do our touring because we have to do big, huge long tours to hit over the East Coast. A lot of our drives are really long and really in the middle of nowhere, having those fluids can literally be the difference between a life or death situation.
So have a small little milk crate in the, in your trailer with those things in it. Extra locks locks for all your doors, locks for your tongue on your trailer and potentially even some extra locks just in case something happens to the ones that you have traveling around on the road. Things like rock, salt, dirt, grime, mud, they get kicked off the road while you're driving and some of the time you get to the spot where like you can't even get a key in your locks. So sometimes it's great to have extra locks for replacing the locks that you have.
And also just to make sure that all of your stuff is extra protected. It's also a great idea to make sure that the locks that you purchase are locks that cannot be cut by a bolt cutter because you do not want your stuff stolen and believe it or not, nefarious people are out there whether we like it or not, so it's best to not assume they don't exist and plan accordingly. There are circular master locks which have just a small thing on the top. The lock feels just like locking a dead bolt on the door, their circular and they have a small gap in the top, so you actually can't cut those with bolt cutters.
Those are great locks, propane grill and propane. If you're gonna be doing a lot of your cooking on the road to keep costs low, it's fantastic to have a small little Hobart propane grill or or Coleman or whatever and some propane that way, you can make all sorts of fantastic meals with stuff that stays very well. If you travel from walmart to walmart, you can literally just go in and buy the groceries you need for the morning, come out cooking their parking lot, everybody eats you dispose of the trash while you're still there, you clean up and then you leave, how do you cook and eat well, you have to have utensils, So that's the next piece, spatula, tongs, whatever tools you need for whatever thing.
Also a little scrub brush for cleaning, you want scrub brush, so maybe some soap and some paper towels, a lot of the time and I'm very proud to say this, we have been the absolute crazy people inside of a walmart bathroom scrubbing off a cast iron pan with soap and a scrub brush in walmart bathrooms, if you're going to be a touring artist, you're going to get seen in this light eventually and then people are gonna think you're crazy. But the thing is, the reason we're able to live our lives, like nobody else can is because we're willing to live our lives like nobody else will, so don't be afraid of having to do things like that.
It's ok, you'll get some weird looks, but there's weirder things that happen in walmart bathrooms, so paper towels, soap to clean off as for your actual van cleanliness is really important. So you want something like a broom for cleaning in and out cleaning supplies, for keeping everything nice and tidy while you're in there. Floor mats, you want to floor mats, have an indoor floor mat and an outdoor floor mat. Your outdoor floor mat goes outside of the van as soon as you get your next destination, you have one outside because you don't know what the terrain is going to be.
Maybe it rained there. You want something that somebody can wipe their feet on the outside and then you want something that when they go inside they can take their shoes off and set them on it, you're still going to get your van dirty, there's no way around it, but when you live in this thing, the last thing you want to be doing is getting it as dirty as possible. So having mats can be really, really helpful and then whatever you don't get off with the mats you do with the broom and cleaning supplies.
The last item I have on the list for emergency situations is extra blankets. We've mentioned some hot weather touring things to have. This is a cold weather touring thing to have. We have slept at the top of the continental divide before it was very cold. It would have been nice to have extra blankets in turn, we ended up turning the van out in the middle of night letting it reheat because it just got so cold. So you can never have too many blankets when it comes to saving somebody's life or saving your own life.
Or not freezing to death because that's like, that sounds pretty terrible. So have some extra blankets, blankets, water really, the core essentials. And then on top of that, few things for cooking. A few things for cleaning. If you just try to think about what the most basic form of living looks like and really apply that to your life. If there's some things that you can't live without, maybe you absolutely positively have to have product X in your life or whatever. As far as cleanliness goes, maybe you need, I need a shower bag or whatever for all of my toiletries, then that's fine, then that should be something that's high up on your priority list.
So different people are going to organize things differently. In my experience, it doesn't matter what you bring, it's all going to get destroyed, lost, smashed or ruined. Anyway, so that brings me to the small list of things you shouldn't bring. Don't bring really expensive electronics that don't have the proper cases for them. We've already been over, don't bring a towel. I don't like bringing bread. I would prefer stopping at a place along the way to purchase bread. Bread gets smashed so freaking fast. It literally is like you buy bread and then you make like one sandwich and then like one of your idiot band members, he's like kicked in on the floor and stepped on it and it's ruined immediately.
And then like, you forget to throw it away and then three weeks later you find this disgusting moldy, smushed loaf of mold that reeks up the van. So basically perishables fruit. Your van gets really hot. So things that are like going to expire with heat, Those are really, really bad to have in the van. So make sure you don't have those stinky foods. Yeah, stinky foods. Absolutely. Because you're changing climates with like, humidity and stuff like that. It's just anything that is not going to be favorable for that specific climate.
Try to only bring as much food as well, last for like two days. In terms of like, whatever supplies you're buying at the grocery stores with the exception of dry foods or canned foods. So the dry foods and canned foods you can have last a while because that's more of your emergency supply. And they could literally last for a long time. But if you're going to buy a package of chicken, you need to cook all of that chicken. If you're going to buy a thing of jelly that needs to be refrigerated after it's opened, you need to use as much of that jelly is humanly possible.
And that's like a two day item. After two days it gets thrown away. A thing of eggs, you can get a dozen eggs you use half of them. That is a two day item. If you ever try to use some of these items that are going to like basically get really nasty really quick, you are going to get really sick really quick. We refrigerate and cook things for bacterial purpose is to kill as much bacteria as possible. So when you're eliminating one of those two components, you are basically opening up yourself to 50% of the potential bacteria.
If you don't keep it cold, then the bacteria that that only surviving the heat and don't survive in the cold are still there. Then you cook it and they're still there because they survive in the heat, not in the cold. So that's why we cook from cold to hot or from fresh to hot. So make sure that your you know, whatever supplies are bringing, it's not super nasty, gross stuff. Dry goods are fantastic. Lots of tea, lots of water, extra gas, long long phone charger, headphones. Benadryl, something to keep you entertained, insane.
Who knows? Maybe you're lucky, maybe you, you get entertained and stay sane by being with your band mates, which is a fantastic thing to or by an insane clown posse, don't be afraid to bring your favorite hobbies on the road with you because a lot of the time that will be the difference between whether or not you make it through the tour or not. Yeah, agreed. Just one last thing to add to all this and that's what would you add? Let us know in the Bandhive community Bandhive dot rocks slash group or search for banned Hive on facebook.
Looking forward to seeing what you would add to your backpack on the road. Mhm mhm, mhm mm That does it for this episode of the Bandhive podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in and listening and we meant it, we want to hear what you always pack for tour or shows in your personal bag. What can you not live without? So, head on over to the Bandhive community on facebook. Either by searching for us on facebook or going to Bandhive dot rocks slash group to be automatically directed again.
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