Tips for easy loading - my car my way

Captain Bash

Silver Member
I am sure many on here as regular gigging drummers have to go through the grind of loading/ unloading our own cars/vans/ pick-ups at least once a week. It's not glamorous but it is a reality. What are your methods for loading unloading and general traveling.

My tips are

1) always have your heavy stands case located mid car, don't have them located right at the tail

2) On long motorway drives that rattling snare will drive you crazy, disengage it and dampened it down before returning to case

3) Flight cases and hatchbacks are a bad mix, those metal corners will tear into everything.

4) if it won't fit don't try to force the boot shut (I've had a smashing (rear windscreen) time).

5) Bring your AA card, at some point yours or somonelses car/van will breakdown. 6) If you can't afford 5 make sure the bass player is a mechanic ! Also, get a cheap sat nav, and pre load the venues zip/post code.

7) A cased 24" drum won't actually fit through some cellar venue club doors.

That's all from me
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I pretty much do the same as you.
I use a Hyundai Elantra wagon and I fold the rear seats down. I use soft bags that won't destroy the interior of my car. Soft bags also keep the snare from rattling. I put the hardware bag over the rear wheels. and the drums in front of it on the backs of the folded seats. All other gear goes toward the back. I use either a 22", 20", or an 18" BD depending on the size of the venue. I use the TomTom App for my iPhone to navigate. I have a holder that keeps the phone in easy view while driving. I have a folding cart for, "One Trip" hauling of my entire kit. Being organized makes gigging less stressful that's a fact :)
 

Michaelocalypse

Senior Member
I've got a Ranger, which tend to lean because the fuel tank, battery and driver are all on the left side. I usually put the heavy hardware bag/case on the right side, lengthwise, towards the front of the bed to balance it out a little.

I need to get a pole with a hook on the end to make fetching things towards the front of the bed easier with the camper shell on.



I knew a guy with a larger kit than mine, and drove an older 2 door Civic. He would take his passenger front seat out, and that got the job done.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I just make sure I play big enough venues, and I have minions that cart my stuff around for me. I might keep my sticks and cymbals with me in the Maserati, though.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I've got a Ranger, which tend to lean because the fuel tank, battery and driver are all on the left side. I usually put the heavy hardware bag/case on the right side, lengthwise, towards the front of the bed to balance it out a little.

I need to get a pole with a hook on the end to make fetching things towards the front of the bed easier with the camper shell
It may seem trivial to many people but balancing a load in a vehicle is important.
In bad weather, or in a situation where you have to make an evasive maneuver a secure balanced load can be a deciding factor.
A pickup truck should always be loaded with the heavy items toward the front of the bed. Heavy items should be secured and not allowed to slide around.
A passenger car should always be loaded with the heavy gear over, or just in front of the rear wheels.
The hook is a great idea that I have also used in the past when I used a pickup truck.
Sorry Bo, but we all can't have your luxury :)
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I actually put my hardware bag across the back of my Mazda 3 hatch. I don't want to lift or drag it any further than that. Not a lot of overhang so it doesn't really increase the polar moment of inertia (for you former Corvair owners). Everything is in soft bags including my QSC K10s when I bring them for PA. I try to pack so I avoid a lot of reaching in really far for things. With a 5 door hatch I can usually get things in and out without leaning into the car.
 

Super Phil

Senior Member
I've got skb hard cases and they're worth their weight in gold! My 5 piece fits in the hatch area of my bmw 318ti with an skb hard cymbal vault also. All hardware goes in a soft Roadrunner case in the front seat.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I've always encouraged youngsters to play Tetris. It helps to develop skills that work wonders for packing band vehicles in later life.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
I agree with this
"It may seem trivial to many people but balancing a load in a vehicle is important.
In bad weather, or in a situation where you have to make an evasive maneuver a secure balanced load can be a deciding factor"

In the event of a rapid stop a cymbal case stowed poorly will launch itself into the air and in worst cast hit a person side on - owchhhh.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I agree with this
"It may seem trivial to many people but balancing a load in a vehicle is important.
In bad weather, or in a situation where you have to make an evasive maneuver a secure balanced load can be a deciding factor"

In the event of a rapid stop a cymbal case stowed poorly will launch itself into the air and in worst cast hit a person side on - owchhhh.
This is the big one right there!!! If you hit something in your vehicle, every piece of kit is a potentially lethal flying object. I use a trailer on almost all gigs, so negating that issue, but for rehearsals, I stow my gear very much with a potential accident in mind. Hardware should be against some form of bulkhead. behind the rear seats & preferably secured to the floor. Cymbal bag behind one of the front seats in a footwell. Make sure every item has some form of retention from forward motion. Never load above the top of the rear seats in an estate car (station wagon). You can't account for everything, I know that, but at least giving a thought to flying drums & hardware may well save your life.

Many years ago, a dear friend of mine was killed by his cymbal case flying from the back of his car & colliding with the back of his head. It snapped his neck like a carrot. The collision was under 30mph, so it doesn't take much.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Thats an eye opener for sure!
A big eye opener, & has shaped the way I load a vehicle ever since. Think about it, a cymbal case weighing anywhere from 25lb to 60lb hitting your head at even 10mph - you're dead! Stow that case behind the driver's seat & low down snug in the footwell. Even better, behind the front passenger seat then push the seat back on it's rails so as to clamp the case in place.

Bury stands & such low down, preferably against a bulkhead or stop of some sorts, & strap them down. I have anchor points in the back of my estate car (station wagon), & I use them - EVERY TIME!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
It is easy to overlook the fact that an object that weighs just a few pounds can be lethal when projected during a crash.
The reason why I lay my drums on their sides behind the front seats is so that they will aide in decelerating the hardware bag that is directly behind them over the rear wheels. In a collision it is best when heavy things have something to absorb their impact. I would rather have the hardware bag crush my drums than break the locks that hold the front seats upright.
 

Michaelocalypse

Senior Member
It may seem trivial to many people but balancing a load in a vehicle is important.
In bad weather, or in a situation where you have to make an evasive maneuver a secure balanced load can be a deciding factor.
A pickup truck should always be loaded with the heavy items toward the front of the bed. Heavy items should be secured and not allowed to slide around.
A passenger car should always be loaded with the heavy gear over, or just in front of the rear wheels.
The hook is a great idea that I have also used in the past when I used a pickup truck.
Yup. I try to balance any vehicle I load, even if it's just arranging passengers.
I forgot to mention I have some motorcycle tie downs to keep thing stationary. I figured that was implied, but a lot of people like to let things fling about willy nilly in the cargo area.
 
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