Welcome to Gig Bag, a BGS feature that peeks into the touring essentials of some of our favorite artists. This time around, Dirty Mae detail the items they always have nearby when out on the road.
A GOOD PACKING PLAN: Having a good packing plan is essential. Know what you’re taking. Lay it all out and cut down wherever you can. We each took one small suitcase/bag and still all felt that we overpacked. With laundry machines everywhere these days, we really only needed 2-3 changes of clothes.
We also highly recommend hard cases. We learned the “hard way” (pun intended) as when stacking gear, it helps to not have to worry about things getting damaged. We have some hard cases, but if everything was in a hard case (including mics, cables & keyboard), nothing would get damaged.
A ROOF RACK: It saves so much space and is great for storing items you don’t need or use every day. However, it’s still easily accessible anytime. We keep sleeping bags, winter coats, air mattresses, and extra merch up there.
AIR MATTRESSES, SLEEPING BAGS, & DAY BAGS: We invested in a high-quality air mattress and it’s turned out to be better than some beds we’ve stayed on. Plus it folds up small. A sleeping bag is even easier because, well, you can sleep anywhere. No sheets or blankets needed. For short overnight trips, we find having a small day bag with essentials and clothes for the next day is way easier than hauling a heavy bag or suitcase to every stop.
EYE MASK, HEADPHONES/EARPLUGS, & PHONE CHARGER: These are key for sleep while in the van or sleeping in noisy places. Plus you can never have enough phone chargers on the road. They always go missing, so I keep one in the car and one in my day bag.
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE & COFFEE MUG: Some water bottles work as both. Those are best. Then you have two-in-one. A good water bottle helps save the planet, save money, and is easy to refill at every stop.
SAYING YES TO HOME COOKED MEALS: It may seem obvious, but we feel that a tour essential is having a good meal with friends and family (or strangers) wherever possible. Many people offer to cook for us, so as a rule, we always say yes. A home-cooked meal goes a long way. It balances us, grounds us, and it’s just delicious (and free).
CO-PILOT & BACKUP DRIVER: Tours are exhausting. It’s also easy to get excited and take on too much driving. We try to trade off so we can stay rested and safe on the road. A co-pilot helps keep the pilot on point and safe and is a good backup for late nights when you may need a designated driver. We take turns on that.
EXTRA GUITAR PICKS: Because you always lose them. Ben keeps them in every pocket.
EXERCISE: Working out on the road. Kettlebells. Yoga. Staying fit and flexible helps keep our bodies intact, our minds functioning, and our overall morale and performances higher.
RELAXATION & DAYS OFF: Days off are key to decompression and rejuvenation, but also connecting to nature, relaxing, or meditating whenever possible is very restorative and soothing.
SETUP TO PRACTICE ON YOUR OWN: Robbie, our guitarist, likes to practice and write when alone so headphones, an interface for his laptop, and a small keyboard or electric guitar allow him the time and quiet to practice on his own — and he doesn’t bother other people either.
Cory, our drummer, has a skeleton drum kit that’s easy to take on the road. It’s simple and can be set up easily at venues that don’t have a backline. He also has a practice pad and metal sticks to help exercise his drum muscles and sharpen his skills during downtime.
Photo credit: Shaun Mader