5 Best Drum Cases & Bags for Traveling Light

Being a drummer is probably the hardest gig you can land as a musician. You’re always the one that gets the hardest workout and you have to lug around the most pieces of gear, and sometimes the most expensive too.

This is why investing in the best drum cases & bags is important.

Hey, even if you only play at home, it’s a great excuse to start showcasing your talent somewhere else.

Damaging your cymbals by accident can set you back hundreds of dollars, affect your performance, and pretty much put you in a bad mood.

5 Best Drum Cases & Bags - High-End and Budget-Friendly Options

Here are some travel accessories that you should look into if you want to be a serious drummer.

The Protechtor Series is a go-to option for many touring musicians. This 5-piece set helps cover all the bases for a standard drum kit. It can help you store, protect, and carry a kick drum, three toms (one floor tom), and a snare drum.

On the exterior, the bags feature a strong nylon fabric. It doesn’t have the best waterproof treatment but the bags are not made for lugging your gear around in the open. Carry straps are available for all bags, so you can easily take them from the van to the venue.

10mm padding is used on the interior to provide a nice cushion for each piece of equipment. You can fit the following sizes: 22”x18” kick drum, 12”x10” and 13”x11” toms, 16”x16” standard floor tom, and a 14”x5.5” snare drum.

If your drum kit pieces are smaller, you may want to add some extra padding yourself to prevent too much shaking while on the road. When not in use, the Protechtor drum bags can be folded down to a compact size, easy to store and easy to clean.

  • Durable
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    Compact
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    Decent padding
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    Affordable
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    Fits a 5-piece drum kit
  • Could use better waterproofing

Here’s a 5-piece drum case set that I recommend because of its durability and near flawless design. Turtle Gear offers individual cases with the following dimensions: 22”x18”, 16”x16”, 13”x11”, 12”x10”, and 14”x5.5”.

This is enough to store and carry your kick drum, three toms, and a standard snare drum. The padding isn’t too thick but it’s not flimsy either. 10mm water resistant padding is used in all the cases.

What’s also cool about this set is that there are two zippered compartments available to store cables, cymbals, drum sticks, keys, and other accessories. You might still need a backpack for most of your other gear, but at least a couple of them can be stored along with the drums.

On the exterior, the nylon offers good tear resistance and a good amount of protection against light showers. The rubber handles offer a very good grip, although you can also use the shoulder straps if you’re carrying heavier drums.

  • Can be bought as a set or individually
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    Good water resistance
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    Impact-resistant padding
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    Zippered compartments
  • Slightly pricier than similar cases

Buying a complete drum case set for your drum kit is often a good idea. Especially if you travel with all your hardware. However, most of the time, affordable drum kit case sets will be lacking in one area – storage for your hardware (stands, mics, cymbals, etc.).

Gator offers hardware-specific carry bags in various sizes. The 13”x50” carry bag is one of the most versatile bags in Gator’s arsenal, and yours too if you decide to get it.

The storage capacity should be enough to carry all your cymbal stands and tom stands. The adjustable shoulder strap will make it easier to carry and support the weight. But the strap’s also removable, should you prefer to carry the bag in your hand using the reinforced handle with the non-textured grip.

The padding is light but then again, quality stands are hard to ruin, certainly harder than cymbals or drums.  

  • Designed for drum hardware
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    Other sizes available
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    Removable strap
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    Rugged nylon exterior
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    Spacious interior
  • Minimal padding

To carry your cymbals, Gator offers three options: a 22” backpack, a 22” sling bag, and a 24” backpack. The size of the backpack indicates the maximum-size cymbal you can carry.

If you’re close to being a purist, then 22” cymbals are pretty much the largest you’ll be using. This means that the 22” Gator Protechtor Series backpack will be most useful. You can make the most of its storage capacity by also slipping in smaller cymbals, drum sticks, or other gear in the three storage pockets.

The shoulder straps are rugged and well-designed and also quite comfortable thanks to its firm padding. However, you can always remove the strap and carry the backpack in your hand. Just keep in mind that cymbals can quickly add up in weight, especially if you’re using high-end gear.

  • Multiple dividers and slots
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    Rugged exterior
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    Removable straps
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    Good padding
  • May not have the most secure fit

The ProTec CP200WL is a love it or hate it alternative to classic drum kit carry bags. I recommend it because it offers a very secure fit for your toms and because it’s a lot easier to carry from point A to point B.

It should fit three standard toms easy. The diameter at the top is 14” and at the bottom is 18”, enough for a regular or larger custom floor tom. The length of the bag is 40”. This should be enough to fit your toms back to back without scratching them when getting them in or out.

I also like the bottom wheels. This makes traveling a lot easier and the pull handles seem rugged enough to deal with heavier wood toms. Last but not least, the exterior pocket should offer enough space to store drum legs, which is often an undervalued perk.

  • Great portability
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    Padded dividers
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    Extra storage space
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    Oversized wheels
  • Not the best exterior padding

Hard Cases vs. Bags

Although it may seem like there are big differences between the two types of choices, your decision should come down to the following factors: how much are you looking to spend and how much room do you have in your car, van, buss, etc.

Hard cases may offer better protection in the long run but they’re also large and may require additional padding on the inside to keep your drums from moving while in transit.

Carry bag cases are much more compact, collapsible, and quite a bit cheaper. They are also tight fitting for the most part, which is sometimes preferable.

How to Find the Complete Set

This is a very difficult thing to do since not all drummers travel around with a standard 5-piece set. Most like to mix and match the size of their drums and hardware to create their own unique sound.

And speaking of hardware, you would be surprised to know but not many drum kit case or bag sets come with a dedicated bag for your cymbals and stands.

Most often than not, that’s something you have to buy separately or improvise something.

Extra Perks that are Worth Paying a Premium Sometimes

I don’t always giggle at bells and whistles but they’re sure nice to have in certain situations. For drummers, bells and whistles come in the form of additional dividers or exterior storage pockets on drum bags and drum cases.

Whenever you can fit more than just a tom in your tom drum bag, you might be saving yourself some money. You might be able to fit drum sticks, drum keys, backup cymbals, cables, mics, and stuff in the same bag.

Take Pride in Taking Care of Your Gear

As mentioned in the introduction, being a drummer is expensive. The gear itself usually costs a lot, especially if you want to sound good on stage. Therefore, don’t settle for minimal protection and carry bags if you want your gear to survive touring.

My recommendations include everything you need from drum bags to hardware bags so you won’t have to improvise with laptop backpacks, gym bags, and such that aren’t designed to protect sensitive musical instruments.

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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