January 10th 2023
As DJ’s we do our best to prepare our music for each gig, spending hours curating our music libraries. But, it's always a mad scramble to get out the door to a gig, quickly stuffing a set of headphones in a bag moments before stepping outside.
Having a well-packed DJ bag eases the nerves and gives you a boost of confidence to play a great set.
Every DJ’s bag will look a little different, depending on the gear they use and their personal needs. Here’s what I pack in my own bag to give you some ideas.
81QCoU7qOYL._AC_SL1500_ / Trunab Store / Amazon
1. UDG Ultimate Sling Bag Black MK2 ($123.47) -
Proper packing begins with an empty bag. A clean slate. It’s easy to accumulate random junk in a bag, so take everything out - screwed-up receipts, chip packets, some weird guy's business card.
I’d recommend that every serious DJ owns a bag specifically for DJing. This bag is not used for any other activity. You can use any decent bag, but I highly recommend UDG, since they are purpose-built for DJ's and I have found them to be very durable. I’ve owned a UDG Sling bag for years, It has even lasted a move overseas. I’ve used it for club gigs where I am playing on turntables and CDJ’s and also for mobile gigs when I bring my laptop and digital gear.
Stokyo-Black-Box---GID-C / scratchproaudio / http://scratchproaudio.co.uk/
2. STOKYO Black Box Cartridge Case (Glow in Dark Edition) ($63.00) -
A solid protective case to keep your cartridges. It’s brightly coloured and glows in the dark, making it difficult to lose.
vicearplugl-vic-firth-ear-plug-large-all / The Roack Shop / www.rockshop.co.nz
3. Vic Firth Ear Plugs $39.00) -
For the love of god, save your hearing! Sure you can get custom musicians' earplugs, but speaking from my own trauma, these won't be as devastating when you eventually lose them.
Home - Rock Art Picture Show / Rock Art Picture Show /rockartpictureshow.com
4. A Big Stack Of Records ($5 - $30) -
Despite its cumbersome, heavy, and costly nature, I have a love for playing vinyl records whenever possible. My favorite place to find new records is the bargain bins at local record shops. A hidden gem for me is Tron Records in Hamilton.
When preparing for a vinyl DJ set, I need to be selective with my track choices. I only bring records that I'm fully confident about for the day.
I organize my records by BPM, with slower tracks at the front and faster ones at the back. This helps me quickly locate the next record and ensure that it will blend smoothly.
Once I've played a record, I keep it out of the bag for the duration of the gig.
5c8392843c381145f28e568f51c9f631 / Sennheiser Pro Audio Store / Amazon
5. Sennheiser Professional HD 25 On-Ear DJ Headphones ($318.83) -
Sennheiser Professional HD 25 are hardest working headphones in show business and the go-to choice for film sound recordists, live sound engineers, and DJs. Known for their exceptional clarity, dynamic sound, superior isolation, and easily replaceable parts, these headphones are a smart investment that will endure for many years to come.
3064475_10_articlelarge_Orbital_20LATM_20-_20Photo_20By_20Ray_20Keogh-48_1_ / Ray Keogh / www.irishexaminer.com
6. Petzel Head torch ($75) -
The concept of a head torch may seem absurd until you actually try one out. Take a page out of Orbital’s book (Seen above) and keep a head torch like this one from Petzel in your kit at all times.
Kingston DataTraveler Kyson 64GB High Performance USB 3.2 Metal Flash Drive | Speeds up to 200MB/s | DTKN/64GB / Kingston Store / Amazon
7. Flash drives + SD cards ($12.58) -
If I’m playing on CDJ’s, I bring at least 3 flash drives for redundancy.
Most of the time, only one is necessary, but you never know if the link cable will fail between decks or if a flash drive will become corrupted.
Due to a number of unfavorable experiences with unreliable USB sticks, I have transitioned to using SD cards with my CDJ players. SD cards have proven to be faster and more reliable than USB drives, but the trade-off is the increased likelihood of losing them due to their smaller size.