Packing Your Trailer/Truck - Rate Your Band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jaywa, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I'm curious at how adept (or not) your band is at getting a "good pack" in your trailer/truck. By which I mean, everything fits, space isn't wasted and you don't have things rattling around or falling over onto other things.

    I know of some bands that are super-anal about this, to the point of having a chart and everything numbered out or color coded so things get packed in the EXACT same place, in the exact same order, every time. I'd rate a band like that a "5". I also know of other bands (and was in one for awhile), where every loadout was a new adventure... as long as everything fit when you closed the door, that was OK. I would rate a band like that a "1".

    I'd rate my current band as a 3... possibly a 4 on a good night. We get the big pieces of gear packed in the same order and the same place in the trailer -- most of the time -- but after that it's kind of catch-as-catch can and as a result some packs are better than others. We actually have quite a bit more trailer than we need for our gear so it's easy to get lazy about packing because everything always fits.

    So... scale of 1 to 5. What kind of band are you in?
  2. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    2. My wife wraps a sound board from the sixties (not really the sixties - it's a joke!) in a wool blanket, and nothing can ever be on top of it. This 16 track board is for her monitor mix, mind you. How many channels does she use? 1. She also uses two EV 12 inchers for her monitors, and nothing can be on top of those either. So we waste a ton of space, and if she is left in charge of the packing, we're about a 2. If Arthur and I are in charge, maybe a 3.
  3. the yeti

    the yeti

    Nov 6, 2007
    raleigh, nc
    until recently i was hauling my personal gear and full pa in a volvo wagon. i was a "5" by necessity. i wouldn't buy a piece of gear w/o taking the measurements and calculating how to pack with the new gear.
  4. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yeah that whole thing about stuff expanding to fill the space allotted is so true.

    My band actually has two trailers... a big one we use in the summer when we have to roll our full outdoor production (lots of P.A., commercial grade light trussing and crank-up stands), and a little two-wheeler for when we're playing bar gigs and other smaller indoor jobs. That little trailer will just BARELY fit two subs, two tops, two light trees, power amps for the P.A., our board/IEM rig and our personal gear and that's with a 4-piece drum kit and two of us going ampless via pedalboards. You better believe we're disciplined packing THAT trailer cause otherwise it won't all fit. With the big one though we have enough excess space we can afford to be a little more casual but then the problem is stuff falling over or rolling into each other.
  5. the yeti

    the yeti

    Nov 6, 2007
    raleigh, nc
    i'd have a powered sub, 2 powered tops, 3 monitors, a powered board (power for monitors), head in 4 space rack, 4x10 cab, 2 duffels w/cables, mics, etc, 2 basses, mic/speaker stands in that volvo. and a pedal board and a couple of fans. and a laptop. and occasionally a flask of tequila. sometimes my suit too.
  6. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    Wee probably a 3. Most of the bigger stuff is loaded the same way but smaller racks, cord boxes go in different all the time. We use to use a smaller trailer and had to be more careful.
  7. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yeah I think we've talked our BL into downsizing (somewhat) our big trailer. It's this big old beast of a tandem axle thing that he bought from a building contractor. It is quite a bit bigger than we need and super heavy... to the point that our full size GMC SUV with a V-8 struggles to handle it when it's fully loaded. I think he's gonna put it on the market next month (when our outdoor season wraps up) and then pick up something newer, smaller and hopefully a lot lighter before we need a bigger trailer next spring again. We're just throwing money away on gas pulling something that big all over the country when with a little discipline and logical packing we could probably get by with a trailer 2/3 the size.
  8. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    We don't use a trailer. We play bars and clubs for the most part, there would be nowhere to park a trailer. Plus nobody wants that sort of stress on their vehicle.

  9. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    Well maybe someday when you get a real PA and light show you will have to rethink it. :bag::D
  10. 45acp


    Feb 5, 2013
    Texarkana TX
    Stress? I guess maybe if everyone has a small car... but a small single axle box trailer with gear in it is maybe 2500lbs- and im talking packed FULL.

    We played out our first year before our drummer got a trailer. It has made life sooooo much better.
  11. lpdeluxe

    lpdeluxe Still rockin'

    Nov 22, 2004
    Deep E Texas
    I was in a serious gigging CW band for a few years. We carried our own PA and light rack, as well as each of us being responsible for our own gear. We had a 9-ft covered trailer that got packed exactly the same way every night after the show. Our lead singer, who owned the trailer, had lived for four years on a 38-ft sailboat with his wife, and before that he was in the submarine service. If ever a man existed who knew how to stow gear, it was him!

    It was a treat to pull out the neatly rolled cables (each one tied together with a Velcro strap and labeled), folded and stacked stands, light bar and stands, and get set up quickly and efficiently with a minimum of wasted effort, regardless of whether we had played the venue a hundred times or never.

    We packed the trailer again every night after the show, and the trailer lived in a garage during the week. Any maintenance needed on the gear was done in the garage.

    These days I rely on a friend with a pickup, and we haul a much-downsized PA compared to the good ol' days.:D
  12. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    My one band I do the PA, and load it in my truck with a rating of 5.
    I'm fresh, and it's daylight.
    The number degrades somewhat at the end of the night,
    when I'm tired, and it's dark.
    The fellas always help load in/out.
    I keep the gear in a storage shed with ramps to the street.
    Love to have a trailer, but would have to build a parking spot for it.

    IMO what separates the amateurs from the pros is cable winding/packing.
    I'm quite anal about mine, used to work for a sound company.
    My main band is quite lax about it,
    resulting in a tangled mess pretty much every time.
    Made a few attempts to do things right, and gave up.
    I just place speakers, and let THEM deal with the mess.
  13. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    One thing that kind of makes our current trailer a PITA is that instead of a door that folds down to be a ramp, we have a split door. And the floor of the trailer is about knee-height to a 6' man. Which means we have to haul a ramp around along with everything else. Our LG built the ramp and he WAY overbuilt it (3/4 inch plywood , 2x4 stringers and about 3.5 feet wide) so it is heavy as hell. (I personally think he did it to get back at the BL because he had begged the BL to buy a trailer with a ramp door but the BL ignored it). :meh:

    But on the plus side, whenever we're playing on a "flatbed" stage (which is quite often during the summer), all we have to do is bridge the ramp between the back of our trailer and the side of the "stage" and we are good to go. Rolling gear up or down a foot of height on an inclined ramp is a whole lot easier than lifting it 4 feet straight up or team lifting it up steps.
  14. I would rate our band about a 4 because occasionally things don't go back in the trailer in the same way they came out. I feel like when we get a good pack I really need to take a picture and attach it to the inside wall of the trailer lol. One thing I've found helps out a lot is a set of lightweight aluminum ramps. They are actually designed for wheelchairs and powerchairs. They are hinged in the middle so we just fold them up and store in the trailer.
  15. hxcJORDAN


    Jan 16, 2012
    Northwest Ohio
    Myself, a solid 4. It takes me one or two loads to get it right, but once I have it figured out everybody just hands me things as I call out for them. Big heavy stuff on the bottom, light small stuff on the top packed so it won't move.

    Last summer I was packing a 6x8 trailer with 2 drum boats, 3 4x10 guitar amps, my 4x10 cab and 12u head, a keyboard, 6 monitor wedges, 2 pa towers, a 2x15 sub, and a 1x18 sub plus all our guitars and luggage for 9 people. It was filled to the brim but it always fit.
  16. Slough Feg Bass

    Slough Feg Bass Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    San Francisco
    oh man, we range from 1 to 5 depending on the gig.
    if it's a local gig, then there is no planning on this stuff.
    If we are on tour, then yes, it is very organized except for the nights when we all party crazy and then just shove it all into the van or trailer with spaghetti cords hanging all over.
  17. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Alright. I'll bite.

    *** is a drum boat?
  18. Ever go to a big arena show and notice that all the roadcases backstage have numbers on them? That's the packing order for the trailer they are going in.

    We have very little unused space in our trailer. Everything we have is in road cases with wheels (except my Berg HT212 - I need to get a case around it ASAP).
  19. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    The first few gigs the last band I was in would have rated a 2. After that we were an easy 9.876. Same procedure on tear down, loading, who was in the trailer stacking, where the stuff went, how it stacked and what order it was moved to the trailer.
  20. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    My band doesn't use a trailer, but if we did and I were in charge we'd be a "5" if the drummer or guitarist were in charge we'd be a "1"

    I wouldn't have a chart or need to label anything, but stuff would go in the same place every time. I used to deliver furniture and know how to pack a truck so nothing moves or gets damaged.

    The drummer & guitarist have been driving together to gigs lately and watching them pack up at the end of the night is a disaster. Sometimes they do a good job, but most of the time they have like 3 things that still need to get packed in and you already can't close the doors. It always ends by forcing the door shut. Dumbasses.
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