Digital DJing has made most things easier for working jocks. No more lugging around backbreaking record crates around town. No more burning and labeling CDs. No more worrying about damaged needles or skipping. Some might be nostalgic for the glory days of all-vinyl sets, but a couple of gig with wax in this modern age is like driving cross-country in a ’60s Chevrolet Chevelle. A seemingly good idea that will have you craving modern advances in steer and shocks halfway through the first day.
One thing that’s not easier for the contemporary digital DJ is choosing a DJ bag. With so many different pieces of digital DJ gear to choose from, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for getting all your equipment to the gig, safely and efficiently. Here are seven things to consider when choosing the right digital DJ bag.
Almost all DJ bags are designed to fit at least a 17-inch laptop, most models of controllers, cables, power supplies, interface, and anything else you might need. However, if you have a 19-inch laptop, multiple pieces of gear or even like to pack a little vinyl (just in case), then you need to make sure the bag will fit everything. However, the bigger the bag, the less convenient it is to carry, especially if you’re flying. Some discount airlines have carry-on limits significantly smaller than regular carriers (looking at you Easyjet). Having to pay extra to check your DJ bag completely ruins the point.
Most digital DJ bags come with comfortable, well-padded, adjustable backpack straps. But you might want to actually try a couple (with the gear weight inside) before you go running across the airport terminal trying to make that connection, especially if you have a particularly large or small build. If you prefer a courier-style bag, there are a few on the market, including a limited-edition DJ Cosmo Baker messenger bag (shown above; $199.00) from Tucker & Bloom that comes with a fuzzy wool shoulder pad.
To Trolley Or Not To Trolley
We’ll admit we can be pretty lazy when it comes to lugging gear around, so trolley wheels on a bag can seem like a great idea. However, constant bumping along the ground can eventually damage your computer. If you do decide you need wheels, at least make sure your delicate gear is very well padded, and always make sure you wait until your laptop goes into sleep mode (a few seconds after closing the lid) before moving it.
Part of protecting your gear is keeping each piece of gear in its own padded compartment. All DJ bags have at least a padded spot for your laptop, but separate spaces for each individual controller, interface, etc., will keep your equipment in tip-top shape and will make it easier to pack and unpack. Also, the weight won’t shift around when you sling the bag on and off your shoulder.
Digging deep down into your bag is a pain, especially when you’re inside a dark and crowded DJ booth. Look for compartments that open as fully as possible and maybe even fold completely open when laid flat.
Netting or Loops
When it comes time for cables, there are two options to consider. Velcro loops will keep your cables wrapped tight, eliminating any tangled mess. However, a net pocket works almost as well, and is better for holding cable with weight on an end such as a Macbook power supply.
We’ve seen all sorts of cool extras on DJ bags, from an interior LED light (useful in dark DJ booths) and removable pouches, to rubber feet to help it stand upright, and even a DJ bag that separates into two smaller backpacks. How MacGyver of a bag you need, and what you’re willing to pay for it, is entirely up to you.