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Transporting gear with a tiny vehicle...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by TimPlayBass, Jun 10, 2007.

  1. TimPlayBass


    Dec 23, 2006
    Long post, but possibly interesting....

    Everyone knows bass gear is often big, and that's a problem when it comes to moving it from gig to gig. I've got a good bit of gear, and can put together rigs of varying sizes - from my full-up tour-ready rig all in ATA flight cases and shockmount racks, to a small Schroeder 1210, a processor and power amp for small gigs. I hate the Schroeder, but "it fits in the Civic (tm)".

    Here's the problem: The big rig rides in its trailer and gets pulled around by our SUV - which is officially the wife's vehicle. Sometimes, I just can't get the vehicle in time to make it to the gig, and she hates my car and won't drive it. :eyebrow: When that happens, it's a mess..

    Anyone else play bass and relegated to a tiny car? Read on..

    Did I mention that I hate my Schroeder? It's true, but I very much love my SWR Triad. Problem is, no fitty in the Civic. So it's occurred to me to make a really small trailer, just big enough to hold a weatherproof box with the cabinet and a few odds and ends, maybe with wheels on the box so I can roll it into gigs and unload it inside.

    I found this tiny trailer frame, weighing 130LB:

    Add a plywood deck (about 25lb), a weatherproofed box (about 50lb), and a bass cab (about 80 lb according to SWR), the whole thing is 285lb. Honda says no trailers on a Civic, but hitches are available, and pulling 285lb isn't a lot different than having 2 or 3 friends in the back seat.

    Anyone else tried anything like this? I know the obvious answer is "get a bigger vehicle", but that's not one of the choices (and the fact I'm giggin' as much as I am came after the vehicle purchases, etc).

    Anyone have thoughts? Done anything like this? Does it seem realistic to try it?

  2. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have a small trailer like that. I bought it to haul a motor back from Quebec. We spent the weekend camping, so the truck was full of camping gear.

    They pull very easy, even with the motor on I didn't notice it was there.

    The biggest problem is you can't back up. With such a small tongue they jacknife very easily. And, at least with the Ford Ranger, you can't see them. Except on sharp corners, I could not see the trailer behind me. I guess you could add flags.

    However, when I did need to back up, I just removed the trailer and pushed it. I have used it quite a few times for different things, including moving around heavy objects at home sans vehicle.
  3. Sell your civic, buy a new SUV for the wife and take her old one if it's financially an option.
  4. BenderR


    Jun 1, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    Although I've yet to see one in-car-nate :) I've heard that Chevrolet is making an HHR panel truck starting this model year. What a great vehicle for hauling gear!

    When my current Ford Ranger pickup is replaced I hope that I can find one. If not, I may well go to a small car and a cargo trailer.

    As far as backing is concerned I agree completely with seanm. A trailer with a short tongue is not a lot of fun to back up. I've backed up semis and I've backed up trailers as small as the two wheel tow dollies that people use for transporting cars. Backing the empty tow dolly behind a small pickup was much harder than backing up a Kenworth with a 40' + trailer.
  5. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I have the ability to transport everything I need for a gig on my scooter/vespa... though I havent tried it yet.

    Bag End S15D secured to the back 'shelf' I made (I havent actually attached it to the scooter yet).

    Focus rig would be bunge-eed behind my heels (with lots of foam for protection) and bass in my bass-backpack. I could just put the Focus in the bass-backpack as well, but its not as combfortable.

    I almost always go to rehearsals on my honda ruckus scooter with my bass and amp along for the ride. I usually use a cab that's provided.
  6. rfclef


    Jan 19, 2007
    Gervais, Oregon
    I HAD a Dodge Grand Caravan. I was making two 360 mile round trips every weekend to get my kids & take em back. SO I traded it in for a Scion xA. I am a tuba player, an amateur astronomer with a 10" dobsonian scope, and now a bass player. Plus, I am a school band teacher split between 2 and now 3 buildings. You shoulda seen me carting equipment across town in that xA... I fit a timpani in the back. And a cet of Concert Chimes (on different occasions, of course.)

    I do not know if that little car would handle a trailer. This summer, it is taking me, my 2 kids, and hopefully 2 basses to Texas and back. In the caravan, I would take the kids, my tuba, my telescope(s) and a buncha other stuff with room for a hot hitchiker. Now I gotta make choices... My parents want to see the kids, so the tuba and scope stay home... Though I can take the kids and my tuba to a gig. Was thinking about getting something for the top of the car to put maybe our clothes in, but I do not have a luggage rack... will have to see if anyone makes anything for a rackless car...
  7. There's nothing in the world that doesnt fit in a car.

    And a Civic is not a tiny car in any way... do you know what car the Fiat Punto is? Well... much smaller than a Civic for sure, and in every gig we manage to get in it a full drumset, the guitarist amp (a Marshall Valvestate), all the guitars (3 for the guitarist, 2 for me), and my bass amp (Hartke VX410 + Hartke 3500).

    And of course the singer, who drives.

    The drummer, the guitarist and me, we go by public transport or cab.

    So don't say you can't fit a single bass rig on your Civic, because I'll come and hit you!:p
  8. TimPlayBass


    Dec 23, 2006
    Ok, I'll grant that there are rigs that will fit - I have one that will, if I play my Schroeder cabinet. I just can't stand playing through it. I only keep it around for those emergencies where I have to load it in the little car and go, otherwise it'd have been Ebay'd long ago.

    I'm just trying to figure out how to move a rig I'd much rather play through - the SWR cabinet simply doesn't fit in the car, not through the doors, or in the trunk. And I'm not going to crowbar it in, I'm one of those goobers that keeps his car nice. :)

    The rest of the rig is small as heck - a 2u size power amp, and a floorboard type processor, plus a few basses and stands.
  9. TimPlayBass


    Dec 23, 2006
    I wondered that too. Here's how I rationalized it to myself: The weight of the trailer and its load would be about 300lb. On the other hand, I routinely have three friends go to lunch with me in the car, and it has no problem moving them around. I think the guys are at least 150lb each, probably more like 200. So their minimum weight all together would be 450lbs, and I'm talking about pulling only 300. It seems like the stress to the driveline and brakes wouldn't be any different than having a few people in the car.

    Does anyone know (I'm asking honestly, not being a wise um, butt): Is there a difference between pulling 300lbs and carrying it in the car? On the surface I see little difference, but am I missing something?

  10. Tony G

    Tony G

    Jan 20, 2006
    My car is pretty small. I have a 2002 RSX Type-S and I can fit my gig setup in it with no problem. It does require a bit of tetris skills, but I fit my UL410, UL502, at least 2 basses, and a large duffle gig bag with stands, cables, etc. in the hatch. The biggest obstacle is the 12" subwoofer I keep in my hatch. What can I say, I like bass...:D
  11. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    It's not the size of the car but the size of the openings.

  12. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    My old hatchback mustang has just the right amount of room to contain my 8 space rack that contains my head, one 15" ampeg cab, my bass in hard case, and a stand. With the rear seats folded flat I've got the entire front seats open for a passenger -- usually the girlfriend.

    It's not the easiest load or unload and the interior has taken a beating from it, but it works for now.

    My suggestion for your situation is to see if you can exchange transfer duties with your bandmates. If your fridge won't fit, offer to safely cart all the drum hardware which is easier to breakdown (old drummer used to transport his entire kit in an accord).

    In most cases it's not the available cubic feet that's the problem, it's the dimensions of the pieces. Take whatever pieces conform to the dimensions of your vehicle.

    Or pop for a mini rig that you can tolerate the tone of...

    EDIT: Or remove a front seat. That's how I originally was able to transport my fridge before I realized I was tired of busting my back for local bar shows.
  13. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Trade in the Schroeder for a better one that fits in your Civic... :)
  14. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
  15. TimPlayBass


    Dec 23, 2006
    That's probably the smartest thing to do.... I guess I should go peruse the "little cabs that thump big" section and see what I can find.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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