Posted: Oct 10, 2017
**Guest post written by Andrew Tufano, Nashville based Acoustic Pop Singer-Songwriter.
"When you’re touring full-time, every cubic inch in the back of your van counts. You can’t be a hoarder and tour efficiently, but fitting your daily necessities into a suitcase-shaped hole isn’t easy. Here are some strategies I learned on the road to help you consolidate your life into your car so you can comfortably tour for a living.
You will have to part with most of your clothes. You only really need one pair of pants and 8 shirts. Re-wear dirty gym shorts when you work out. Have one or two pairs of gig shoes and one pair of sneakers. Keep a (preferably scented) garbage bag in the trunk to use as a hamper. Almost everyone you meet will offer you their washing machine, so you shouldn’t have to frequent the laundromat. Remember, running out of shirts is better than running out of merch!
If you’re looking to tour full-time, sell or donate your furniture, decor, knick knacks, old instruments, kitchenware, and entertainment items. You won’t miss them as much as you think. There isn’t room for excess in your car, but do keep parking pay stubs, toll tickets, and actual tickets – these are nostalgic. Sell the cheap guitar a stranger in Colorado gave you. Save love letters in the glove box. Try not to get many Christmas presents, even if it frustrates the hell out of your relatives. If people ask, the only gifts you can use are guitar strings and car-fresheners.
You probably won’t read as many books as you want to pack. In fact, you won’t really have any downtime at all, so don’t stress about keeping yourself busy in your free time. Losing your mind behind the wheel? Listen to podcasts and full albums. Do vocal exercises. Call mom. Practice lyrics. If you’re in a duo/trio and not driving, you’ll probably spend car rides either working on your phone, sleeping, talking, or looking out the window.
Here’s everything that was in my car (for solo tours):
- Yamaha StagePas 600i PA system and speaker poles
- Two mic stands
- Merch bag
- Backpack with cables, mics, and extras of everything
- Foldable guitar stand
- Two acoustic guitars
- A tiny pedalboard
- One pillow and blanket
- Air mattress with foot pump
- Garbage bag for dirty clothes
- Running shoes, brown boots, black boots
- Duffel bag of clothes
- Laptop bag
- Tiny bag of toiletries
- Tiny bag of food
- Jumper cables I only ended up using to jump other people’s cars
- A dozen or so gifted beer bottles that rolled out from under the passenger seat whenever you grabbed one like a vending machine
Every tour is different. Maybe you are touring as a full band in a sprinter van. Maybe you’re touring solo in a Camry. The more you tour, the more DIY touring artists you will meet. Share your strategies with them and learn as you go!"
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