Luggage X-Ray

July 26, 2014

When I started playing music, my goal was to tour. Not just a couple weeks here and there when everything lined up correctly, but to play as many shows as I possibly could each year. I dreamt of being so tired from the road that I actually needed to take time off to heal the battle wounds — and trust me, when you’re first starting out and have no shows booked, you have a lot of time to take off, and no real battle wounds to heal.

As I picked up momentum in late 2007 bouncing from sorority houses to dive bars and fraternity parties, I’d plug in and give every little bit of me on whatever semblance of a stage existed (“stage” usually meant a small area they cleared out in the corner of the room). During 2010 and 2011 we were clocking about 160-170 shows a year all across the nation. I learned a tremendous amount about the world, myself and the touring life that I had always idolized. One of the most important things I learned was how to travel well and live with an insanely minimal amount of worldly possessions — you can only have what you can carry.

Here’s a quick look into my must have travel setup for the 41 show tour we did at the beginning of this year. If you saw me at any point on that tour these two bags were within 10 yards of me at all times, their contents were my life.

imageBackpack Empty



1. Bicycle Playing Cards (Easy to carry. Universal appeal. Essential to have on the road for any situation)

2. iPhone 5 w/ Mophie (Mobile technology allows me to run my business and stay in touch with the people I love. Mophie allows me to do all of the above all day without carrying a wall charger in my back pocket and being the guy that has to plug in his phone on the other side of the bar)

3. Little Martin LX (This guitar can take a beating, fit in any overhead compartment and doesn’t sound too shabby)

4. Chapstick (This will beat elevation, cold climates and dry hotel rooms)

5. Verizon Wireless Internet Card (A must have for any true traveler. Internet anywhere, any time. Oh and I’m not paying fifteen bucks for wifi at your ridiculous hotel and over priced airline)

6. Business Cards (Relationships are the key to life. Keep them, respond and stay connected)

7. Keys (Keep them in the same place every time at home and on the road)

8. Earplugs (Airplane crying baby, Tour Bus snoring bandmate, Concert loud band, Hotel Room neighbors 1st anniversary)

9. Guitar Picks (The one thing in life that will always disappear no matter how many you’ve purchased)

10. Peppermint Breath Spray (Blow em away on stage, not before or after)

11. Magazines (Always stay in touch with the pop culture side)

12. Oakley Shades (Subjective = They’ve supported me since day one, I love their brand. Objective = they have the best lens technology in the world; ask the military)

13. iPod Shuffle (The best device for getting through a workout in some random city when all you want to do is eat pizza and watch a movie)

14. Passport (You never know when the call is coming)

15. Earbuds (Multi purpose, but the #1 reason to have these little gems is so you can drive without distraction)

16. Money Clip (Makes the world and your tour go round)

17. iPhone/iPad Charger (Everything has to be charged every night no matter what – this charges them all)

18. Laptop (The brain behind it all)

19. iPad (USA Today in the morning, Southwest free tv and good movies on every other airline so you don’t have to watch Ryan Gosling’s latest romantic comedy with 175 of your new closest friends breathing down your throat)

20. Journal (I write in a journal when I fly — been doing it since 2010)

21. Bose Headphones (The traveler’s saving grace. It’ll put you in another world and make you feel like you’re alone in any situation)

22. Laptop Charger (Keep the brain fueled)

23. Melatonin (Sleep is the most important thing on the road — I set aside big nights for catching up on sleep — melatonin is key to really make sure I’m out. It also is a nice middle ground between no sleeping pill and Ambien/Lunesta — you can take a half a melatonin to ensure good sleep on a 4 hour flight)

24. Afrin Nasal Spray (I have allergies and can’t afford to be spontaneously hit with them and end up doing my version of Kermit The Frog sings Kelley James)

25. Books (Drop the iPad and inspire yourself in the traditional way)

26. Lacie Rugged Drive 1TB (Hard drives are only getting bigger and faster by the quarter. This is my favorite as of five minutes ago)

27. Gloves (Guitar players know what a nightmare it is to play with cold hands)

28. Coola Sunscreen (I surf so sun protection is a huge deal for me, and should be for anybody that’s exposed for long periods of time. This is hands down the best sunscreen on the market. Organic, cruelty free, environmentally friendly and it doesn’t even feel like you have anything on your skin)

*Incase Backpack (The best bags out there are made by Incase. The design and durability are incredible. Their attention to details and functionality is top notch. I wouldn’t use another backpack on the road)

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