Transporting your drums and "load in"


Platinum Member
I must be in the minority, because I don't use anything with wheels to tow around equipment. I only gig out maybe once a month, so it's not a ton of hauling for me.

My snare and all my toms are in soft Gator bags, and cymbals are in a soft Zildjian bag. In addition I have a rack, throne, hi hat and snare stand. I also have a bag that includes my music and miscellaneous percussion instruments.

I place the bass drum in the back seat of the truck, and carry it unprotected (carefully). All the hardware goes in the bed of the truck (covered), while the toms/snare go in the front of the truck. I have to make about 6-8 trips to get everything in, but I usually don't have to go very far. For the occassional gig where I've had to walk far, a cart would not have helped since it was up and down stairs and narrow hallways.

It only takes me 20-25 minutes to unload from the truck and setup for a gig. Sometimes others help me bring in a few pieces. Because of the short distance from the truck to the stage (50-100 feet), it would take me longer to pull the equipment from the truck and place it on the cart, than it would to just walk each piece to the stage.

The guitar amps and sound system are a different story, because of the weight. We use carts and dollies for most of that.


Senior Member
I've been playing for 13 years and gigging for about half that. I only just got cases for my drums three months ago. Makes it a lot easier to carry everything in, that's for sure.

I've always had cymbal cases. No pictures of those, but those have been a necessity since the beginning.

I initially got a hardware bag as well, but with everything inside it was incredibly difficult to lift into my car. Plus it barely fit in the car as it was, and with everything it hurt my visibility (I've been told visibility is important when driving). So for now, until I get a bigger car capable of fitting two hardware bags, I load and unload all of my hardware individually.


Silver Member
That golf case looks like a great idea. I use an old Protector case for stands. To me the #1 feature for a stand case is it has to be long enough to hold a straight stand with only the legs folded, and has to have wheels.

I LOVE this case, best money I've spent on cases. I did have to add a handle for pulling it along, their handle is too high up. I have their bass & cymbals combo case also, which would be great if it rolled more easily. It needs one of those extending luggage handles.

My favorite case by far is called a Dodge Caravan. Set the whole kit, standing up, in the side door, and stand the snare on its head. Pull up tight to the stage. Fastest tear down I can think of.


Junior Member
I've learned from trial and error what NOT to use lol. Me and Gator hardware bags, I had three that all ripped near the zipper. I would recommend a hard case with wheels. For drummers that can't afford or just don't have the time before a gig to get your stuff to point a to point b protected.
Cymbals bags are cheap.
You can put your snare in a t-shirt tie the top up then put an a thicker sweater or shirt around that.
Duffle bags always help with hardware.
You probably have a drum rug, if you don't you can't buy one on amazon or at target for $20. A rug can easily become a hardware case, break down all your stands and pedals. ALWAYS make sure you unscrew the hi hat stand top, the can bend very easily if pressed. lay your stands in the middle roll the rug around them tape the edges. And you've killed 2 birds with one stone.

That's what I did when I just starting out. Thankfully I have bags and a hardcase for my hardware. I'm not particular, drums de-tune when you travel so be sure to tune em up after you take em out. drum on. for those about to rock we salute you.


Gator Rolling Hardware bag and a Rock n Roller cart lets me get my 5-piece kit in the venue in one trip.

I push the cart and pull the bag. I'm good to go as long as there are no steps.


Platinum Member
For the gigs I do, drum bags are all you need. I'm a complete package I do my own roadie-ing/tech so I'm responsible for taking care of everything.

If it wasn't the case, hard cases would be a must!

I don't tend to bother with hardware cases, I find them a hindrance more than anything and the back footwell is designed to hold drumstands. Not a lot of people know that :) I find just folding the legs up and placing them in the back footwell makes my setup quicker. I only use 2 cymbal stands with a arm attached for my ride, 2 snare stands and a hi hat stand.

At the end of the night my duvet is a calling so pack down time needs to be as efficient as possible.


Silver Member
I have a big Stagg Bag for the hardware, no wheels on it. When full, it's bloody heavy, but, hey, that's why Guitarits are here for ;-).
I generally don't like people helping me with my equipment, but for the hardware bag, we lift it, one guy on each side.


Senior Member
My hardware is transported in an SKB microphone stand case. It has straps on the inside and wheels on one end with a handle on the opposite end as well as in the middle. It's rugged enough that pulling it over hard, irregular surfaces is not a problem. But, hefting that loaded case up and into the back of my truck can be a real back breaker at the end of the night.

I carry my drums in soft cases and always....always....the band members help me load up at the end of a gig. In fact, we all pitch in to load up..and load out.
I have one of the SKB 48" cases with wheels, handles all my hardware, save for the pedals and other small stuff, which I use a smallish Rubbermaid tub for. That case is getting heavier and heavier, it seems. :) It's funny, using my car is actually easier than using my sons SUV, if only for the fact that putting that big case in the back seat is easier than lifting it onto the back of the truck. Heh heh.

Soft cases for all the drums currently. I would prefer to use hard cases, but as I have a sedan currently, I need to maximize the space in the vehicle. I can move my whole kit (kick, snare, three toms) the SKB case, the tub and the cymbal bag, in my car.

The car is also why I don't bring a hand truck or rolling cart, it won't fit. When we take a trailer for our full band gear, they have a rolling truck in that which we all use. And everyone in the band hauls gear, all of it, if we're all there for load in. (Work sometimes complicates that.) Certainly everyone works together on load out.


Silver Member
I've got my drums in gig bags, my cymbals in a backpack gig bag and my hardware in a hardware bag, I bought a dolly/cart from a pawn shop for $20 a few months ago just for making load in/out easier!
I load the cart up with the drums stacked on the kick drum and I run the drums in with the cymbal backpack on, I unload all that gear and put the dolly in the back of my truck then I run my hardware bag in and I'm done!

I'm still TRYING to make it a one trip process!!
Hey Bermuda, I think you're talking about the the SKB X2 trap must be, it's the only one that has I fold out cymbal compartment. I used to have this case and have another on order.
It's heavy when fully loaded, but empty, it's 39.7 lbs. - that's from the website. While I agree, that's not uh....light, it is a very sturdy case. Do you know of any sturdy trap cases that are considerably lighter?
The primary use for this case will be as the catch-all to go with my Hipgig kit - small, light hardware, a few small cymbals, throne (top in the 'snare compartment' , bd pedal, mics, in-ear monitors, stick bag, towel, parts, etc etc. In other words - a two piece load in - and in one trip.
Humes & Berg vulcanized fiber trap cases with foam lining. Best piece of equipment i own. Weighs nothing when empty, can fit my snare, pedal, cymbals (up to 24") and all drum hardware plus little random things. The hardware tray is on top (in line with the handles) so the weight is distributed well for lifting.

The fiber has also held up to years and years of local gigs and touring around the country. Been thrown in and out of numerous vans and trailers. I'll probably never go with anything heavier as long as I'm the one doing the lifting/setting up.

Aside from the weight savings, it's also peace of mind when packing up knowing I have all my stuff... no more "oh crap where's my pedal bag"... "aw $%^& I forgot my sticks"... "hey did anyone grab my snare?"


Senior Member
I love my rock N roller cart! And yes it can descend a few steps, but does not go up stairs. And there is ALWAYS stairs!
I use Interstate Music's Union brand of bags for each drum of my kits. Economical, padded enough, and each has a nice big strap. I have a Road runner hardware bag on wheels and a tuxedo cymbal bag with foam dividers for it I got as an X-mas gift from my parents years ago. I stack the drums on the cart and then the hardware bag on top. It all gets bungee'd down with long bungee straps from every angle. I don't shorten my stands way down because my bag is long enough and I don't take apart my hi-hat stand. I just pack it carefully. In fact I pack and stack everything carefully. Show your drums some love! I simply roll it all in in one trip! (or up to the stairs, then one by one.. lol)
I actually took a day I had off work and just stacked my drums on my cart over and over different ways to see the best way I could do it. A couple of dry runs later and I have an efficient routine I use all the time. I try to get it all in one trip because some of the Portland Maine gigs required parking in city lots up the block or more and walking up to the venue. (BTW what venue has a nice big empty parking lot out back and big yellow gate bar blocking it off from everyone? I know to keep out people who'll park there during the day, but even the acts performing there at night? Whaaaat?!?)


Gold Member
This will sound like amateur hour, but -
when the situation allows, I prefer to not use much in the way of cases.

When I was gigging with bands that loaded a single truck, I of course put everything in cases. However, when I switched to bands where we all just carried our own stuff in our own cars, I eventually figured out - simple works best for me. I actually keep the kit partially assembled and just carry it in that way - without cases. Then there's a bag for Stuff, and a bag for the cymbals. That's it.

I play low end stuff, and I don't care about nicks. I just play and enjoy. I'm loaded in and set up literally in just a coupla minutes. The rest of the time is spent helping everyone else.

Matt Bo Eder

For years, I've driven an open-bed pickup truck - and I have a collection of Humes & Berg Enduro hard cases, or the SKB ones. And I have a couple of trap cases with wheels, and a Rock n Roller cart I bought back in the early 90s (when they were grey with red handles - mine is still going strong!).

But in the last three weeks, I've since gotten into a fairly new Ford Flex, what the industry is terming a "crossover" car, and I have to say, I really love it. It seats six, but when I put the four seats in the back down, it opens up to a nice big open space that's big enough for that Ludwig monster kit. After using cases for decades, it's so nice to just be able to put the drums in the Flex without cases. And my stands will go into a SKB golf club case that has wheels on it. Most of what I do these days are just one-off gigs, and I'll literally park the car right at the door to load-in, and walk stuff in, then go move the car.

I think my days of other people moving my stuff around are over, so if it's just me in the Flex, I'll go without cases and move everything by hand. My set-up and strike has gotten much quicker now that I'm not casing up every drum. I suppose bags would be a good investment, but I don't think I really need those either, and sometimes those take up more time when you use them when compared to hard cases. I do still have space to carry my Rock n Roller cart folded up if I think I need it, but I haven't needed it lately.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I eventually got smart and got a cart, started with an Ultimate Support but it wasn't too sturdy. This Rock N Roller has been great, and I can load in/out in one trip. I leave the cart set-up, and it goes straight into the van without having to expand/collapse it each time. Simple, fast, sturdy.



Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
Bermuda, the Rock n Roller cart looks to be just the right size for my needs as well, thanks for the tip. It looks like I should have room enough for it even after I add my trap case in the car. Here's my 4 pc. kit I have with the 24" bass drum.



Platinum Member
I use a soft case for my kick and hard cases for everything else. I do not have a hardware case (but I sure would like one!). Nothing has wheels, but I can usually park pretty close to where I play.

I will have to say that when I first started playing drums, I played a 3-up, one down (single kick) configuration. I had a lot of cymbals too. The longer I played, the less I started taking with me. I got down to two crashes, a ride, and hats, and I played a 22" kick, 12" rack and 16" floor. Now I play one crash, a ride, and hats, and my drums are 20" kick, 10" rack, and 14" floor. I'm even considering getting rid of the crash cymbal and the rack tom and just going with a 3-piece.


Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Bermuda, the Rock n Roller cart looks to be just the right size for my needs as well, thanks for the tip. It looks like I should have room enough for it even after I add my trap case in the car. Here's my 4 pc. kit I have with the 24" bass drum.
Mine lives in the van, completely set-up, and stays that way with the drums in as well. I drilled an extra 'lock' hole so it would hold that width, which happens to fit my 22 & 16" drums perfectly. But it also expands maybe another foot to its advertised length (I have the R8) and easily handles 24 & 18" on the bottom.



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Senior Member
Yeah I love my Rock N Roller cart. It is just so handy to have and everyone asks about it loading in and out. I use it for my drums but also my P.A. and my brother's guitar rig sometimes too.