Leon Hopkins’ Tour Survival Kit

Like preparing for battle, getting yourself equipped for life on the road as a member of a touring crew is essential. You can’t go in unarmed, and Recording Arts graduate (and upcoming Hall of Fame inductee) Leon Hopkins recently offered his advice on how to pack for your first live production gig.

“Don’t ever have more than two bags because you’ve only got two hands and are going to be running through airports a lot,” he says. “You have to be stealth in this world. Keep it basic, simple.”

Outside of the obvious like underwear and toiletries, here are Leon’s five picks for building your own tour survival kit:

  • You have to think of the weather in the places you’re traveling to. Will it be hot or cold? It’s smart to carry sunscreen if you’re doing an outdoor show, and I would always have a rain jacket just in case.
  • Safety equipment is becoming a huge consideration, and people have to carry hard-toed shoes and safety helmets. A lot of venues are really getting stricter on that, especially up in Canada.
  • Try to wear black clothing without letters or graphics. You don’t want to be on an Eagles tour wearing a Rolling Stones shirt. You have to be sensitive as to what you wear when you’re out there representing a certain artist.
  • You’ll absolutely want to carry a Maglite, because you’ll need a way to see in the dark when you’re on stage. Some people also like to bring a Leatherman or other pocket tool on the road.
  • The most important thing in the long run are ear plugs. I think people should definitely carry them if you’re going to do this night after night. Besides the music, sometimes the crowd can be even louder than the band.