Travel OR Tour: Packing for 2 days or 2 Months… the idea is still the same.
While getting ready to leave on tour, there are always a couple of things that must be done first.
- Make sure you have all your proper gear and instruments
- Make sure you’ve packed your bags for the road
**Warning: The pure joy and excitement of tour can often overshadow the latter… but don’t let it! This is a very important step. ALSO, because I’m a musician I’m saying “tour”, but feel free to insert your own word, whether vacation, work, or whatever else takes you away from home!
I’ve found that one of the best ways to help a tour run smoother comes directly from a properly packed suitcase. You think I’m crazy? Well think about it this way, it’s 2 minutes till showtime and you’ve just spent the entire day recovering from your exhausting drive through the night; you and your bandmates are grumpy and hungry (and I believe we’ve all seen the devastating affect of a coworker becoming h’angry!) and the last thing you can handle now is a 5 minute rummage through your bag only to find out now that you didn’t bring your favorite stage shirt. No one wants to go on stage with that attitude, as we all want to be 100% there for our fans! We say to ourselves, “If I had just packed properly before I left, if I had just been a little more organized I wouldn’t be in this conundrum right now when I should be focusing on the show!” It seems minor, but trust me, after a few tiring days, not to mention after the three-week mark on tour… this can be what puts you over the top…
Let your suitcase be the Zen in your life…. look down at it… feel the warm glow of comfort that may arise in your soul. No matter how stressful a tour, work and even vacation can get, a well-packed suitcase can be a breath of fresh air. And trust me, fresh air is hard to come by when you’re crammed in a bus with band mates who haven’t had the luxury of regular showers.
Ok maybe all I’m saying is this… There are enough distractions and frustrations on even a smaller 3 date tour, so do yourself a favor and create your own source of inner peace and inspiration among the madness, LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY PACK YOUR SUITCASE, and you’ll be able to more freely enjoy the amazing experiences that touring and traveling has to offer.
Have fun out there… after (and during) packing of course!
Simply put, to maximize the amount of space in your suitcase, you must fold your clothes to suite THAT specific suitcase.
It’s simple math, so for all y’all out there worried about even reading the word math, relax! All I’m saying is that if your suitcase has a depth of 9 inches then fold your clothes to a vertical height (when filed upright of course, they way this whole site preaches!) of 9 inches; If your suitcase is two feet long, or 24 inches, then fold your clothes in 2x stacks of 12″, or better yet, 3x stacks of 8″! Or NOW JUST RELAX, forget the numbers, forget the math, just use your suitcase to best suit you! Find out what works best for your particular bag, not what works for others and their bags, but for you and your suitcase! Don’t forget to have fun with it, think Tetris! Made blocks of clothes to fit into the one big block of a suitcase! And that’s the simple Math of Packing.
… but if you want to get all nerdy with it, I’ll be right there to be nerdy with you! For instance a while ago I measured out my go-to carry-on bag, all dimensions. Then I figured out exactly how wide and how tall I needed to fold my clothes to use the dimensions of my bag to its fullest. Taking it further, I made myself (out of cardboard) a “perfect t-shirt folding” contraption with those exact measurements. You may have seen these folding devices while clothes shopping? Like an employee of the Gap, off in the corner folding their clothes to look all neat and tidy (and ALL the exact same size!) for the rack? The only difference is that I added on more fold so to best suit my Rock Star Pack, Fold ‘N File style. Anywho, it can get nerdy, it can get fun, and I highly encourage you to do both. I promised long ago to post about how I made the folding machine, maybe it’s time I do just that
…but until then I’ll just attach a little video here of me packing for my last adventure, a 6 week journey to Africa, Ireland, France and the Netherlands. Quite a diverse trip, but I still feel I brought too much and didn’t even wear everything I brought. Except underwear… I definitely went through that! Enjoy! let me know if you have any thoughts or questions!
Shaun – email@example.com
These next few posts are all going to be directly from the How To Pack Like A Rock Star book, so stay tuned cause up first is a series of posts on folding from the chapter, In The Fold… Oh and like always in the book, I start off by talking about how I do it and which method I feel is best, then followed by the thoughts and opinions of many other well traveled musicians on whether they agree or disagree with me, or just think I’m nuts :) So here is the first one, How to Fold A T-Shirt:
Everyone has their own way to fold. Whether you were taught a special folding method by a parent, or you discovered your own along the way, almost everyone has a folding preference. While any old method will work, there are better ones than others. I know everybody loves the rolling method… but I don’t roll for the same reason bricks aren’t round. When it comes to a square suitcase, cylinders don’t stack well on other cylinders, therefore, they don’t save you space. And while some would argue that rolling clothes leaves fewer wrinkles, I don’t find this to be the case. Here is my preferred way to fold shirts to best suit the Rock Star pack:
From there you have a perfect little t shirt package to stack vertically in your suitcase. See how many you can fit in to make one whole row, color coordinate them or alternate them around for aesthetic reasons… find out what suites you best! (check out the photo galleries if you need a better visual of how to “stack vertically“)
*HINT: The depth of your suitcase should ideally be the same length as your shirt after its been folded, so roughly the shoulders to chest dimension, like in picture 4.
And now for a few thoughts and Q&A’s with Rock Stars:
Jack Antonoff _ Steel Train, Bleachers, FUN.
Q. Where did you learn your current method of folding?
A. From you! for real. its actually changed my life. for me, staying sane on tour is all about finding small things you can control and keep in order. i can finally now file my bag under that zen umbrella where things like my iphone and neatly wrapped wires exist. and because i live my life in the occupants of my bag, you can only imagine the joy this brings me. i can see it all, right there, no more digging, just calm choosing.
Tegan Quin _ Tegan and Sara
A. Well, it was actually my dad who taught me most of what I know about clothes, laundry, folding etc. once, my mom and my step dad Bruce went away and my dad came and stayed at our house to take care of us for a few nights. My mom was very bad with staying on top of the laundry and our laundry room was easily knee deep in clothes. My dad taught Sara and I to sort, wash, dry and put away all the clothes while my mom was on holiday. We were 6 years old.
And now for a few more thoughts… ones that I don’t really agree with but are still an option for you… I suppose. If you must… :P
So thats how to fold a t-shirt. Well, actually I’m referring to earlier when I taught you how to fold a t-shirt properly and not the last couple comments about rolling your clothes… but I rant enough about rolling HERE if you want to read more on that topic… which I think you should if you are on the fence about rolling vs folding.
Until next time, Happy Travels my friends!
I’ve having a BOOK SALE! And just in time for Black Friday, or just in time for Christmas, or just in time to sort out that super messy packing friend of yours before their next vacation… or worst of all, before you two go on vacation or tour together and you have to deal with all their crap, migrating into your personal space within minutes of leaving!
BIG SIDE NOTE: I like to call this “expanding disorder” and I know it well. The tour bus life can sound pretty luxurious to most, but let me tell you something, it’s not, UNLESS there are added bus rules to help maintain everyone’s sanity. When I say added bus rules, I mean there are always two universal rules when on a tour bus:
1. Sleep with you feet facing the front of the bus.
2. No “number two” on the bus. (Ironic that it’s rule #2?)
The added rules can vary but in general, I’m referring to general cleanliness rules. And even if everyone in your band is ok with leaving clothes, old stinky food and anything else you can think of on the ground, your bus driver will no be. They clean the bus daily and care about their baby. Your band and your driver is an important relationship to maintain, trust me.
I’m getting super sidetracked here I know, but first I must remind you that expanding disorder is a real thing, my old tour manager had it and when it goes diagnosed (as it often does) it can be detrimental to the health of others around, especially while in tight spaces. Luckily for me, Tegan and Sara and the rest of the band, we made sure to keep our TM on track and aware of his disorder, and by doing that we were all made more aware of our own abilities to expand with our own belongings as well. This was good. Healthy living within a healthy band life. Do you get how important it is yet? Anywho…
So now that you know all of this, I will now take it back to the main point of this blog… My book is on sale right now for less than $10! Give it to your friends, give it you your bandmates, give it to your family! Let’s all help each other to learn a better way to pack, to be organized, to laugh at the silliness and cleverness of this book, to impress our guests with the best coffee table book around, or most of all, to be considerate to all those around you! :P
$10 for a great book! …(Unfortunately shipping is on top of that but I’m only charging you what the post office charges me, or actually less in some cases cause I can’t justify saying it’s that much even though it is… stupid expensive postal service :(
Not a ton of these books left out there, each one is basically a limited edition version so get them while you can!
So a couple more products were sent to me just to round out my Olixar experience, one of them being the X2 Pro Bluetooth headphone set and the other a waterproof case for smart phones. Both of these seem quite practical to me, the headphones because they’re one less item to plug into my computer or phone while traveling, and the waterproof case because who has the time to stop texting during your shower, right? So this week I’m going to talk about the headphones, the good, the bad, and how I can or cannot live without them.
The first thing I noticed after opening up the package and holding onto the headphones was the weight. Super light. I’m fairly old school at times, so i get nervous when I expected things to be heavy and they aren’t, but in the case of headphones, things that sit and weigh down your head, this is a really great thing. You have to remember that I’m a musician first and foremost and a bass player at that, so my amps I play through are massive, and only recently have I been excited to shed those large suckers for a more portable little guy… for a smaller local show at least. Back to the headphones. So aside from being light, the wireless/cordless function is pretty nice. How many times have you had headphones on and forgot to unplug them before you get up and almost strangle yourself or better yet clothesline yourself as you’re about to jump out of the tour van. It’s a rhetorical question, but just for the sake of it, it’s 17 times and counting for me. So yes, it’s a definite plus for me to go wireless. They also come with an 1/8th to 1/8th inch cable to plug it in still, for when you actually want to go old school.
Aside from good looking, another nice feature is the built in microphone for receiving phone calls. One click of a button on the side of the headset and you are good to walk and talk away (assuming you were hooked up via bluetooth to your smart phone to begin with that is :) Plus, the fit and comfort is pretty good; I’ve had them on my head listening to music the whole time I’ve been writing this blog and I’m not getting that itch to shake my head and remove them… like I get while wearing hats at times. Also going back to the buttons on the headset, they work well for a simple pairing with your device also well as work to skip back and forth between songs. Oh, and they also fold up nicely so needless to say I like that feature for the sheer sake of portability and travel.
So how is the sound quality? First of all I must remind you again that I am not your average consumer of headphones. I don’t often by generic headphones and I don’t even think I’ve used the classic white iPhone headphones. Maybe cause those white headphones don’t fit my ears and hurt me, but more likely because I have a couple different pairs of special, custom-fitting in-ear monitors from some really expensive companies that I needed for touring. My first pair cost me $1200 back in the day. Yikes. They’ve come a long way since then and there are some pretty decent sounding headphones for much less these days. These ones, the Olixar X2 Pro Bluetooth Stereo Headphones, aren’t too bad. Definitely not the best sound quality I’ve heard, but for their price, not too bad. There’s a fair amount of bass and it’s a decent warm timbre overall, but I wouldn’t use them to master an album. I find that a lot of headphones companies try and sell you on big lows and some highs and forget about the mids. I just want a nice balanced mix. But again, for just a casual listening while walking around or commuting downtown on transit, they’re totally is passable.
So overall, I have to admit, despite the many features I enjoy, I’m still not in love with these headphones. I think there is a lot to like about the X2’s, including the weight, the headset buttons, and of course the wireless option with the built in mic, but overall as far as main functionality goes (headphones that play music, remember) I’m pretty sure I’d miss a better sounding set of headphones still. I’ll use them still, just not as my main set. Now maybe it’s a little unfair that I’m comparing them to my really nice pair of professional in-ears, but at the same time, it’s totally fair since anyone can also buy customs, they’re not exclusive to me! And I do also have a pair of (somewhat) cheaper earbuds that I pack with me when I don’t want my really nice ones and I feel I’d pull those out too before this headset. That’s me though, always preferring to be a bit more inconspicuous with a hidden pairs of earbuds rather than have a bigger set of over the ear headphones. So maybe a different argument here, but for me, I still prefer to choice my headphones based on sound quality first and then maybe style second.
But how do you feel about headphones versus earbuds? What do you travel with? Do you need the big bass and the big headset or do you care more about portability? Or sound quality tops all that? Let me know your thoughts!
Happy travels my friends,
What on earth is a Day-Off day shirt you might ask. Well let me first tell you what it is and then the importance of it will start to make sense…
When you are on a long tour, or even a work trip, you look forward to your next day-off, logically. These are your new ‘weekends’, but they are more than that to those on the road. Road life can be long and tiring and although there’s no 9-5 that we are following, there is still a 10am-2am, or 3am, or… that we are having to be “on” for. Most of that time is spend doing nothing. Then again, a lot of that time is doing everything. You never know, each tour is different and every season of touring changes as well.
All this being said, the day off shirt is important because it separates this day from tour life and there’s nothing better than a clean, fresh shirt that makes you feel good about yourself. This shirt is special. It could be your favorite shirt all time, or it could just be your goto, your, “this is truly me” shirt. The only stipulation: You CANNOT wear this shirt on work days, you cannot wear this shirt on stage. It is simply there to make you feel great on your days off. A good day off can recharge you for quite a while, so do all you can to help that be a great day. Add a special day-off day shirt to your suitcase and see how it can help you.
As an extra trick, keep this shirt tucked away and out of sight underneath your row of clothes. If you really want to differentiate it from the rest, put it in a large ziplock bag so it can keep its “fresh laundry scent”… or if it’s a dress shirt, keep it’s plastic bag on after picking it up from the dry cleaner? Either way, hide it from plain site so you even forget its there on the work days, BUT then when your day comes, lift out the entire row of filed clothes and reveal your special day off shirt. Take it out, put it on, and live it up!
Ok so here it is, a free travel gadget giveaway that you’ll actually want! It’s an Olixar Worldwide Adapter that will plug into any power source in the world world! I got one myself the other day have brought it around to a few places and have found it to be pretty dang useful, especially with the 2 USB ports on it as well. It’s basically a clever 4-in-1 power adapter so you don’t have to worry about losing individual power adapters, or especially if you are traveling between countries with different power sources. Oh and also, it has 2 USB ports, so not only can you click a button, and the UK power supply plug pops out for you to plug in your computer, but at the same time you can charge two of your devices! Maybe you could even charge your friends device at the same time… either way, if you win this, you’ll have the choose to be nice or not to your friends ;)
OK so ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO ENTER THE CONTEST is either reply here, or on instagram, twitter, facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell me where you are from, where you are going (maybe who’s going with you?) and why this would help you?! Also, it wouldn’t hurt if you were familiar with the Pack Like A Rock Star book and methods and wanted to add pictures of you packing BUT you definitely don’t have to!
Contest only runs until Sept 15th so reply, spread the word to your friends and let’s see who’s gonna win this sexy little travel gadget giveaway
BONUS: ALL entries will get a PDF of the book, How To Pack Like A Rock Star, (just make sure to ask and supply your email address so I know where to send it!)