7 Serious DJs Share How They Pack and Transport Their Gear

Seven DJs share essential things and how they pack their DJ bags.

For a serious DJ, few things are more important than to remember to pack all their essential gear when they travel. Without those things, it will not be possible to run a great show and have fun!

To improve how we pack our bags, we have talked with 7 experienced DJs and asked them to share their best advice.

Read on and learn from their best tips and tricks (all the DJs have lots of experience, so they know what they are talking about!).

DJ running a great show


The 7 Experts


Luca Schreiner
I’m Luca Schreiner, DJ & producer from Stuttgart, Germany, the place where Mercedes & Porsche comes from. 😉 It’s in southern Germany and I still live here and absolutely love this place!

My dad is the owner of a music distribution company that mainly works in the electronic music scene, so that’s why I always had that connection to that particular genre. I remember watching videos of Tiesto when I was 16, where he performed in front of thousands of people. I was completely fascinated by the fact that one guy can sell out stadium shows with “only” DJ-ing on two CD-players basically. From that point on, I knew I wanted to try this on my own and started producing music and started DJ-ing at smaller places.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all DJs bring?

One thing I’ve had to learn in the past is that bringing a robust headphones case with you is absolutely worth it! There was this festival show I had last summer where I didn’t have one with me. So I opened my bag, grabbed my headphones and they where completely broken… Luckily, one of my Dj colleagues helped me out with a new pair, but since then I always bring a case with me. Besides that I always bring my little digital camera with me, which is super light but still makes some amazing pictures! Perfect for traveling light, which is what I absolutely love! Plus, it does not take up much space in your bag.

How do you bring things with you?

I do have a bag that perfectly fits my style of traveling, but I always look for new ones, since the one I have is quite old and done now. I think a bag for me has to be quite robust and it should offer a few pockets for things to store. Especially a separated pocket for a laptop, since I do travel a lot with my laptop so I’m able to produce new music wherever I feel like I’m inspired.

What are your top tips for other DJs?

I do see a lot of DJs pack loads of stuff in their bags without even thinking of where they put it. That way often stuff gets lost. I always try to place my stuff in separated pockets so I always know where I can find everything. Also, as I said before, having a separated pocket for a laptop is quite essential. I know people where liquids inside the bag leaked and broke the laptop, so having a separated case or pocket for it can save you a lot of money.

Visit Luca Schreiner’s website


Xenia Ghali
I grew up in Athens, Greece and I currently live between New York and Athens. I am in Mykonos, Greece at the moment! I have been involved with music since at a very young age. I started playing the classical piano and flute at the age of five and later, when I was 15 I picked up the guitar and the drums. I formed an alternative rock band and began songwriting for the first time. That was when I realised that creating music was my true passion.

When I graduated from high school I went to the UK to study Music Composition, Film Scoring and Production. Initially I was going to follow a career as a music composer and film scorer, however while studying in the UK I got completely infatuated by DJs who were performing with vinyl records and turntables. I invested in buying a couple of second hand Technics 1210s and five House vinyl records and started teaching myself how to mix. One thing led to another and I began playing small shows near my University. During one of these shows, a promoter approached me and told me that he organised parties at Ministry of Sound in London and that he wanted me to play at one of them. As such, I had the incredible opportunity of playing at one of the most legendary clubs in the world, and consequently my career as a music producer and a DJ began from that point onward.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all DJs bring?

I always pack at least two to three extra outfits. It gives me a sense of security knowing that I most likely won’t ever be out of options (as a DJ/artist you may have unexpected occasions to attend such as a dinner or a meet and a greet).

Other than the common things such as my USB drives, laptop, chargers, external hard drives, headphones, etc., I always pack my Go Pro, a powerbank and bluetooth earphones (on the road especially I’ve found that it really helps to have a pair of bluetooth wireless earphones, as the wired ones sometimes get caught up in things and can become quite annoying).

How do you bring things with you?

I always carry a backpack and a carry-on suitcase (as I rarely like to check in bags to save time at the airport). I have all electronics in my backback and clothes, beauty products, etc., in my carry on.

I have fallen in love with my Adidas 3D roll top backpack. It literally fits everything including my laptop, hard drives, chargers, wallet, Go Pro and it looks amazing! I organize my things in my back vertically, since the specific backpack is long, so that way I can find everything quickly and they all fit very nicely inside. With regards to a suitcase, I opt in for smaller suitcases and I optimize the way I fold my clothes so that they fit. The ‘thinner‘ the clothes are after folding, the more clothes you can stack inside a smaller carry on style suitcase.

What are your top tips for other DJs?

First of all, I would advise that you take a look at your schedule and see how many days you will be on the road and what types of things you will be doing during those days. Plan your outfits per day and per occasion and pack two to three extras in the event that something unexpected comes up or something goes wrong (a spill, etc). I would also advise that the backpack and carry on combination is the most effective in terms of having enough room for everything you need, while still traveling light and not spending a lot of time at the airport during check in/baggage claim.

Visit Xenia Ghali’s website


Lovely Laura & Ben Santiago
I’m originally from London, but I live in Ibiza now. DJing has been a hobby of mine since I was 13 years old. I got into it for the same reason as most, which is for the love of the music.

After many years of it being my hobby, it never occurred to me for one minute to attempt to go professional but my brother won a holiday to Ibiza and invited me to join him. When I came here, I fell head over in heels in love with the place, and something told me I needed to come back and make a go of turning my passion into my profession. Somehow I managed to get lucky and completely land on my feet, and I’m still here now 15 years later absolutely living the dream.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all DJs bring?

Number one has to be my custom ear-plugs. They are great for the clubs, but I also have another stonger set I use for flying, which are probably my number one ‘cannot travel without’ accessory. They significantly reduce the noise levels of screaming babies and stag parties on flights when you’re trying to sleep after a gig!

Number two I think are my noise cancellation headphones. Are you seeing there pattern here? Haha! They make all the difference, and are great for listening to music on the plane and preparing for your set because they cut out all the background noise and consistent low-frequency hum you get on planes.

Number three has to be my spare USB battery pack because let’s face the battery life on smart phones is far from smart. My phone is plugged in so much, it’s more like a bloody landline!

How do you bring things with you?

I’ve got a great little bag that has wheels on it and lots of compartments for different things. It’s perfect for travelling.

What are your top tips for other DJs?

When you fly, get a bag that comfortably fits under the seat in front of you and it doubles up as a foot stall. Take your shoes off, put your feet up and, if you have earplugs and an eye mask, it makes falling asleep comfortably on the plane a complete doddle!

Visit Lovely Laura & Ben Santiago’s website


Mason

I’m born and living in Amsterdam. When I was seven years old, I was singing children songs for a somewhat tacky TV show, but because of that I got to see the inside of recording studios and was instantly hooked… All I knew was that I wanted to become a sound engineer, you know, one of those dudes with ponytails and black t-shirts that smell like old sweat. It sort of worked out, apart from the smell. I didn’t know back then making music would be even more fun, but I do get to spend the majority of my time in music studios. I picked up my grandparents turntables in the early ninetees and started mixing vinyl. I kinda sucked at sports so spent all my time at it and drove all my neighbours mental with the noise. Still do.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all DJs bring?

A book. Some good luck token my mom gave me (that I don’t believe in but still bring) and a pair of fresh underwear – cause I know for a fact lots of DJs don’t bring that.

I know some people will hate me for it, but I don’t really see much reason to still bring vinyl to shows these days. Maybe people think it looks better for instagram. But most of the music is also available digitally, and if not, it’s easy to digitalize these days. It saves you travelling with 40 kilograms and saves your back while you’re at it. I’ve done my share of travelling with vinyl back in the days and happy we can reduce it to a single USB stick nowadays.

How do you bring things with you?

I have a Samsonite Pro DLX3 Spinner and very happy with it. It really pays of investing a bit in good equipment like that. Ow wait, it was endorsed. But still.

This is Mason’s girlfriend: I have to break in at this point. He is the worst bag organiser you could imagine, just dumps everything in a bag, sits on it, and tries to close it. It’s really horrendous.

Mason: this is kinda not true or maybe is.

What are your top tips for other DJs?

If you’re a DJ and you’re bringing equipment, always bring spare parts of everything like cables, power units, etc. You can’t take the risk of f*cking up your show because of a broken cable. Also: take into account that all equipment you check in with an airline will probably get investigated and possibly even taken apart.

When flying with equipment, try to keep everything handluggage. If it’s too much, make sure you check in online so you don’t have to pass by a check-in desk. ‘Cause that’s the only place where they’ll b*tch about too much luggage. From immigration onwards they don’t care, even if you have five bags.. Golden tip here.

Do. It. Life is too short not to. I don’t think on your old age you’ll be thinking much about those boring office days, but you will think back on all the wonderful places you’ve been. Experiences are worth more than ‘stuff’

Listen to Mason’s latest single, Stop Start Slow Fast.


Caden Jester

My name is Caden Jester, I was born and raised in San Diego, CA, and I’m 20 years old. I’ve been producing for about 10 years now, and it all started when my father first introduced me to Garageband when I was 10 years old.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all DJs bring?

I don’t play shows yet, so most of my traveling consists of driving back and forth between San Diego and LA for studio sessions with singers and other producers. The top 3 uncommon things I bring:

  • LOTS of sparkling water. I love sparkling water so much, it’s not even funny. I started drinking it instead of soda and learned that my addiction was not the soda, it was the BUBBLES.
  • Backup hard drive in case my main one fails. I’ve had my main hard drive fail on me in the middle of a session (before we recorded anything, luckily) and I didn’t have a backup, so we had to record on my friends laptop and transfer the files later. It was a nightmare. That’s why I always carry an extra hard drive with me now.
  • Extra guitar pick (even though I don’t personally play guitar). I always carry an extra guitar pick in my wallet in case the guitarist needs one. The pick has actually been very useful in the past, I’ve had many sessions where no one seems to have a pick and I just have the extra one in my wallet. You gotta be prepared for anything.

How do you bring things with you?

I have a Tommy Hilfiger duffle bag and a Tumi briefcase that I bring with me everywhere. Sometimes I just throw my stuff in my Jansport backpack if I’m really in a hurry. I definitely have more than enough room, since I normally only stay for the day (or a few days at max), so I don’t really need to overpack. I really like to pack light and only pack what I need. If I need anything else while I’m traveling, I’ll just buy it.

What are your top tips for other DJs?

Only pack what you need. Count the number of days you’re going, and decide how many times you can re-wear and re-purpose the same articles of clothing to have different outfits (if you must). No more than two pairs of shoes. PJs optional. But don’t skip out on the underwear and socks. Find a way to pack your wires safely so they don’t bend/break in your bags. I recommend the “Side Winder” for Mac chargers. Have a designated electronics bag and make sure it is secure. A lock is always a good idea, you never know who has sticky fingers.

Listen to Caden Jester’s latest single, Serpiente.


KURA

I’m a DJ and Producer from Lisbon, Portugal. I’m at home, just arrived from playing at Dreambeach, in Spain. DJing and electronic music came into my life early on as I used to listen to Daft Punk, Martin Solveig and a lot more when I was a young boy, but it was actually Carl Cox’s “Fact 2” that blew my mind and made want to pursue this route. I kept on studying and working part-time, and at the same time I practised DJing. One day, out of sheer luck, I landed my first gig, replacing the resident DJ that hadn’t showed up for work. Since those days I’ve played Tomorrowland and Ultra Europe several times, toured Asia around 10 times, and played Ultra Miami this year. It has been a hell of a ride and I’m thrilled for what’s to come!


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all DJs bring?

I usually bring my laptop obviously as cards and headphones & my ps4 to get my games in.

How do you bring things with you?

Bags, I have two Samsonite bags, one of them is a 50L-cabin size and the other one is just a backpack for my laptop, Samsonite is always my go-to when choosing bags.

What are your top tips for other DJs?

I’d counsel everyone to roll shirts and trousers and stack them, it’s a much easier way to have more space in your luggage.

Visit KURA’s official Facebook page


MOTi

I’m from Amsterdam and right now I’m in New York. When I was 18, I was working at a fashion store in The Hague. I loved partying, sneaking into clubs before I turned 18 and was a huge music fan. My colleague wanted to sell his turntables and I bought them. From that moment on, I was looking for new vinyl two days a week at the recordstore and started practicing every day.


What top 3 things do you bring besides the common stuff all DJs bring?

  • Thin 4 plug power socket. All my plugs are european, this way I don’t have to bring four converters, which saves space.
  • Mophie. I have most of my airline tickets and itineraries on my phone. I make tour photos with my phone and I run my social media accounts from my phone. My phone needs to be charged at all times.
  • Bose Noise Cancellation in-ear headphones. It’s great to listen to music or watch movies without all the background noise but mostly I use it un-plugged but turned on for sleeping or reading my book in silence on the plane.

How do you bring things with you?

I usually bring my Samsonite Spinner 21″, which is a carry-on size trolley and a Samsonite XBR backpack. I have to be clever in how to use the space I have and what items to bring. Checking in luggage delays my schedule to much, especially when I’m at a destination for less than 24 hours so I’m always travelling carry-on.

What are your top tips for other DJs?

I throw away my dirty underwear and socks. I’m always wearing H&M underwear. It’s cheaper to buy new boxer shorts than getting them dry cleaned at the hotel.

I make sure all the clothing I’m bringing matches with one pair of shoes. Shoes can take up a lot of space in my trolley, I like to save the space for something else.

If you are travelling economy, bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wipes and an extra pair of socks in your backpack (in business class you always get an amenity kit from the airline).

First thing I do when i get on the plane is take off my shoes and change my socks. When I’m almost at destination, I freshen up, brush my teeth, change my socks and put my shoes back on. So refreshing.

Visit MOTi’s website


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