7 Best Cymbal Bags & Cases for Touring Drummers

It pains me to think that so many drummers invest thousands of dollars into their gear, year in and year out, while guitarists can get away with just changing a few $25 string sets. That’s why I find it to be of utmost importance to always have your eyes set on the best cymbal bags & cases (if you’re a drummer).

Never mind the damage you do to your gear over the course of a few shows. At least make sure that nothing happens with it while you’re traveling between gigs, especially when you’re carrying various types of cymbals.

7 Best Cymbal Bags & Cases for Touring Drummers

You can rarely go wrong with a Pro Tec travel bag or case, which is why the Pro Tec HR290 22” cymbal bag is an excellent choice. It comes with soft and comfortable carry handles and an adjustable shoulder strap for an alternative carrying method.

The nylon exterior is rugged and offers decent protection. The bottom section of the bag is reinforced for an extra layer of safety. What’s even better is the non-abrasive lining on the inside. This should protect your cymbals from scratches that alter their performance on stage.

The padding on the inside is not too thick but it is dense. One more important feature, at least for some, would be the large zippered pocket on the front. It acts as a secondary storage space and has a convenient access point.

  • Comfortable handles and strap
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    Zippered pocket
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    Non-abrasive lining
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    Soft padding
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    Reinforced bottom
  • No dividers

The Gator Protechtor RP-PC302 has been designed to fit cymbals up to 22” in diameter. While it may not have the largest capacity out there, it’s worth noting that this case is a molded hard case. It can offer a great level of protection from weather and impacts while touring.

Its handle is also molded and has a rather ergonomic grip. While it may not have a strap, the GP-PC302 compensates with its secure wingnut system that prevents the case from opening when hit. Or when it’s carried in rough conditions.

The case should be able to carry all cymbals necessary in a basic drum kit, with some room to spare. However, since there are no dividers, you might want to avoid stuffing the case to avoid scratching and potentially putting too much stress on the wingnut.

  • Hard case for increased protection
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    Secure wingnut system
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    Ergonomic handle
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    Good anti-weather build
  • Slightly expensive

If you’re looking to get the most amount of space for your money, the Gator GP-12 might present a good alternative. This slinger gig bag is a reliable option if you ever need to travel with up to eight cymbals. The maximum diameter it can hold is 22”.

What makes this bag stand out from others at its price points are its dividers. Individual dividers, all fur-lined, are included in the bag’s design. As such, while you may pay a bit extra in the beginning, you won’t have to worry about separately purchasing felt dividers to get the job done.

The nylon exterior doesn’t offer the best protection from the elements. But combined with the foam, it does a good job of protecting the cymbals against impacts.

  • Easy to carry
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    High storage capacity
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    Fur-lined dividers
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    Protective foam inserts
  • Pricier

To say that the 1SK-CV22W ATA is a cymbal vault would be no stretch at all. If you’re looking for premium protection and travel conditions for your 22” or smaller cymbals, you may need to look no further. This case/vault can carry up to eight cymbals.

It has four padded dividers on the inside which protect most of the cymbals from themselves. The exterior of the molded case is hard as nails and should protect your gear from impacts, weather, and weight pressure.

Even better, you don’t have to carry it on your back or shoulders as you can simply pull out the carry handle and roll it with you on its in-line wheels. It’s not among the cheapest cases but it is definitely among the best cymbal carrying solutions on the market in terms of protection.

  • 8-cymbal capacity
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    Four dividers
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    Extra rugged hard case
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    In-line wheels
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    Durable pull-out handle
  • Doesn’t have dividers for all cymbals

Not everyone can afford high-end gear or gig bags. If you’re leaning towards more budget-friendly solutions, then the ChromaCast CC-CPB-Bag-20 might be a better solution. It boasts 10mm padding and reinforced carry handles.

It also has a shoulder strap and a large zippered front pocket. You can use that to hold cables, small mics, keys, or your drumstick bag. Although this carry bag is available in multiple sizes, the 20” cymbal bag offers the best value for the money.

That’s because it can hold all your cymbals for a standard drum kit while still leaving room for some additional ones. 

  • Very affordable
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    Reinforced handles
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    Shoulder strap included
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    Available in three sizes
  • Not a lot of impact protection

Another more professional solution for carrying cymbals while touring is the Meinl MCB22-BP gig bag. It has the capacity to hold multiple 22” cymbals. It comes with backpack straps, which will make it very easy to carry. The reinforced straps have good weight distribution and are padded for extra comfort.

Some of the unique features include a hi-hat and splash compartment. The dedicated compartment is actually the front zippered pocket and can hold smaller cymbals like hi-hats, crash cymbals, or splash cymbals.

Internal dividers are also provided, albeit just for the main compartment. Still, this offers some nice protection for cymbals against themselves and compensates for the less rugged nylon exterior.

  • Adjustable padded backpack straps
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    Exterior 15” pocket compartment
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    Interior dividers in main 22” pocket
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    Good internal padding
  • Slightly pricey for the amateur drummer

I thought it’s fitting to introduce a cymbal bag praised for its water resistance. The RBXCM22 has a quilted chevron exterior and superior padding. It can protect cymbals from weather and impact rather well, comparable to some cases even.

You can use the backpack straps or the zero-G handle to carry the bag. Smooth sailing or roughing it shouldn’t matter too much given the multi-layered foam padding and the padded dividers that isolate cymbals individually.

Although the RBXCM22 is not the cheapest solution for traveling musicians, it does offer satisfying protection for cymbals and doesn’t have the potentially uncomfortable frame of a hard case.

  • Backpack straps and handle
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    Multilayer foam padding
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    Reinforced bottom
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    Great water resistance
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    Padded dividers
  • Almost as expensive as some cases

Cymbal Bags vs. Cymbal Cases

To put it simply, cymbal bags are often the go-to choice for most amateur or underground drummers. They’re light, can hold multiple cymbals, and are usually a lot cheaper and easier to carry too. Plus, they don’t take up too much storage space in the studio.

On the other hand, cymbal cases are usually beasts in terms of protection. Some come with regular handles; others come with pull-out handles and wheels. They are versatile but also expensive and heavy once you load them up.

Weighing in on Different Brands

Pretty much any manufacturer of percussion instruments has its own version of a cymbal bag. Some make cases too, but not all of them. Even if they do, they might not make them affordably enough for drummers of all ages and levels of success.

That being said, when you’re looking for travel bags and cases as a musician, not just a drummer, it won’t hurt you to look at alternative brands. Gator, Pro Tec, and ChromaCast are great examples here.

These manufacturers aren’t synonymous with drum kits, double pedals, drumsticks, or cymbals. But they are synonymous with travel gear. Their cymbal bags and cases might be more affordable than something you might get from your drum kit manufacturer.

Focus on the Inside

Now, exterior protection is always welcomed. But what if you’re on a budget? How should you prioritize the design features and other perks? – Start with the interior.

As great as a hard case may be, it’s not the ideal solution if all your cymbals are going to bang against each other during transport. Therefore, the included dividers are a good place to start.

Then you should make sure that there’s enough room. A very tight bag with two or three dividers may not be of much help. Not if you can get twice the capacity elsewhere and supplement the bag with aftermarket felt dividers.

Weigh in the trade-offs between capacity, separation, and built-in protection. Ultimately, it should be about keeping the cymbals safe while touring.

Size Doesn’t always Matter Here

Cymbal bags and cases usually come with 20” or higher designations.  This obviously refers to the largest diameter cymbal they can hold. But, just because a cymbal bag can hold 22” cymbals doesn’t mean it can be stuffed with 22” cymbals.

Use your better judgment to figure out just how many large and small cymbals you can fit depending on the size and other presented features. Extra dividers may mean less room.

You may also want to be wary of bags and cases with exterior pockets. Some manufacturers might be misleading regarding the number of cymbals a bag can hold. That’s because the exterior pockets could be dedicated cymbal pockets as well.

Travel Comfy But Protect Your Gear

Many drummers today may choose a bag or case purely on their brand loyalty, comfort, or style. But by now I hope you can exercise better judgment.

All the cymbal bags & cases in this article are perfect for someone or meet the required criteria for specific cymbal and drum kit combinations. Use the information in this article to either pick a favorite or keep looking until something jumps out at you.

Gavin Whitner
    Gavin Whitner
     

    A guitar player, songwriter, composer, and also the lead editor of MusicOomph, Gavin is one of the four musician friends behind this site. Outside of music, he's an avid sports fan and hardly misses anything from football (soccer) to F1.

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