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Music Nomad Article: Band Touring Checklist

Band Touring Checklist Guide

 After extensive research, the following is a checklist that we compiled of the essentials touring needs divided into specific categories and including various tips for a little inside info. The lists are extensive so you may decide to customize it to your specific needs and length of your tour. The idea is before you head out you will review this list to make sure you have everything to survive and thrive out there. So, happy touring from MusicNomad and we hope to see you out there!

TOOLS(keep in small tool chest or Plastic Bins)

-Torque Screwdriver

-Wrenches (incl. truss-rod)

-Leatherman multi-tool

-Soldering Iron & Solder Kit


-Wire Cutters



-String Winder

-Crazy Glue

-Hot Glue Gun

-Zip Ties

-Electrical tape, Duct tape

-Replacement Batteries (for pick-up & other devices)

-Flashlight (Get a strong one that can be used as weapon also)

-Swiss Army Knife

-Extension Cords

-Power Strips

-Jumper Cables

-Power inverter (basic ‘plug into cigarette lighter’ type)

-Mobile WiFi hotspot connection device

-Gaffer’s tape

-Magic markers


-Locking cash box or bag with at least 2 keys


-Flash drives with poster/flyer designs

-Ziploc bags (endless merch & personal uses)

-Trash bags

-Community laundry (Rubbermaid) bin with locking lid to contain the smell.


-Main Guitar

-Back-up Guitar

-Extra Cables (straight-end 25ft, right-angle 25ft, patch cables, mic cables, speaker cables (4) )

-Guitar Speaker Cabinet

-Amp (main & back-up) traveling with backup amps can be impossible given the space restrictions of a band doing its first van/small RV tour

-Back-up Tubes for Pre-Amp/Power Amp

   -OR-Speaker Sim. to avoid having to change out tubes in 

   middle of set

-Pedals (effects, booster, TUNER)

-Noise Supressor

-Strings (Enough for amount of shows playing) &/or Drum Sticks

-Picks (12-20 packs)

-Small PA system (many punk & indie bands travel with one in case it turns out a venue doesn’t actually have one)

-Microphones (in small dive clubs, house mics are GROSS)

-Guitar & Drum Polish and Polishing Cloths


-Get best van/RV you can possibly afford to fit band and gear

-GET ALL PREVENTITIVE MAINTANENCE ON VEHICLE BEFORE LEAVING; change oil, flush transmission, check fluids, hoses, brakes, tires, etc…

-A key for every member of band

-Road Atlas/Dist-o-map; Do not depend on navigation systems; cell phone service or wi-fi . Cross-check ALL directions

-Purchase AAA roadside assistance/towing, also gets you 10% discounts at most hotels. Best investment.

-One envelope w license, registration, & insurance

-Gas Card

-BAND BANK – start w $100 envelope of cash, use for travel expenses, store ALL receipts in envelope, & replenish after each gig. 


-Create Tour Folder of all directions, contact info for all      venues, contracts, copies of emails

-Contracts of gigs with Contact Info

-List of Everyone’s Emergency No. & Support Staff-Manager, PR, Merch Supplier

-Excel sheet to record info from each club(venue, vendue contact, date played, attendance, money made, what type of merch sold and how much.

-Put all show dates and locations on band website

-Bring Band Merchandise (see “Selling on the Road Tips”)

-Merch booth necessities: folding table, tent/canopy (if outdoors), folding display stands 1 or 2 spotlights and a couple extension cords.

-KOA Kampground directory (Great way to save money and still have shower/water/power laundry access when traveling in an RV)


-Cash & Credit Card, I.D.

-Sleeping Bag/Pillow (neck pillow or take pillowcase and stuff w t-shirts)

-Cell Phones

-Cell Phone Charger (extra if possible)

-Ipod w earphones (prefer noise-cancelling) or speakers


-Flip-flops for nasty showers


-First-Aid Kit

-Earplugs/Eye Mask

-Liquid Laundry Soap (cheaper in long run)

-Baby Wipes (double as shower, toilet paper, and sanitizer)

-Hand sanitizer

-Dryel kit for dryclean only clothing

-Mesh bag and Nalgene bottles - all toiletries in a small pkg

-Baby powder (for summer/festival tours, it’s a MUST)

-Laundry bag (preferably each is a different color)

-Spillproof/locking thermos or cup


-EmergenC (great way to keep immune system strong)

-Dramamine (RVs and non-high end buses get bouncy)

-Febreze (or other air neutralizer)

-Small personal (2-man) tent


-http://www.betterthanthevan.com, a website that acts as a couch-surfing site for musicians

 -Walmarts are good about letting people stay overnight in their parking lots, use Sun Shades to block out daylight or keep folks from looking in

 -Know in advance where you will be staying as well as plan the follow day schedule in advance

 -Think CAMPING for an affordable way to travel. For the price of a scummy room the whole band sleeps and with a fire pit and fully plumbed bathrooms

 -Shower by going to a public pool

 -Be proactive and prepare two sheets of sticky labels w your press contact address and names.

 -Checklist of all equipment and stage gear with serial no., in case of damage or theft. Purchase Gear Insurance.

 -Division of Labor List- Delegate tasks & work as a team to minimize oversights

 -Check-in with all venues a week in advance. Send posters to venues 4 weeks in advance.

 -Truck stops (Love’s, Pilot, Travel America) are you best friend. If you’re sneaky, you can pay for one shower room and quickly cycle 2-3 people through it without them knowing. Makes sleeping in the vehicle much more doable.


-Clamp light for dark clubs so people can see merch

 -Roll t-shirts and tape w Duct tape, label SIZE on tape, carry in a duffle bag, as you sell more the bag can be folded & takes up less space (gaffer tape would be preferable for this as duct tape will leave residue on everything)

 -Make contacts every day, go to radio stations, music stores & record stores to promote your show.

 -Have a mailing list at Merch Tables and get Name, Email, Phone(so can text), City, State, Zip Code. Where ever you go each guy should know where it is & be easily accessible in the Van so you can add to it if meet someone at a truckstop, etc.  

 -Large Rubbermaid type tubs (preferably with larger than 1” wheels); no matter what you do, cardboard boxes WILL get wet and merch WILL get moldy if you’re out for a lengthy period of time

 -Price/display list that’s easy to change; depending on the kind of venue/show you’re playing, being flexible on pricing can be the difference between selling a little and selling a lot

 -Contact info for Merch Supplier so can send you more merch while on the road