If you know a drummer touring with a band, ask what they think about packing up their drum set for traveling in between shows. It’s probably their least favorite part of being a drummer!
Fortunately, if you simply have your drum set at home and need to put it in storage for a little while, or you’re about to move and want to make sure it gets to your new place, you won’t have to pack it up too often. Just follow these steps.
Incredibly, a drum set, when properly packed, doesn’t have to take up a lot of room. With the method we’re about to explain, you need just one large, sturdy box for all the drums. It should be about two inches larger than the bass drum on all sides, top, and bottom.
You will also need padded cases for your cymbals and cymbal stands, which you should already have as they may have come with your cymbals, or which you can purchase at your local music store or online.
You’ll want one small box for the pedals, too. Other packing material you’ll need includes bubble wrap with large bubbles, bubble wrap with smaller bubbles, foam peanuts or packing paper, labels, a sharpie, and packing tape.
Disassemble Your Kit
With your packing supplies nearby, disassemble the entire drum kit. Put all small parts in plastic bags. You may want to put the parts for each individual drum in its own bag, or if you know where each part belongs, you can put them all in one bag. If you use the individual bag method, put a label sticker on each and write on the label, with the sharpie, which drum each bag goes with.
Remove the legs and wrap each individually in bubble wrap or packing paper. If you bundle them together, they can bump into and dent each other. This method protects them best.
Remove the heads from the drums. It isn’t necessary to remove the head from the smallest drum, the high tom, unless you want to. Why you remove the heads will make more sense as we continue, but rest assured, it’s to protect them from damage.
Remove the cymbals from their stands, then fold the stands correctly, and set these aside.
Pack Your Drums
Prepare the large box so that it’s securely taped on the bottom and the top is open, ready for your set. Crumple up packing paper and put a fair amount all over the bottom of the box, or pour in about two layers worth of packing peanuts.
Wrap each drum in large-bubble bubble wrap, and secure this tightly with tape. Place the bass drum in the box, then place the next largest drum inside the bass drum, and so on, like Russian nesting dolls. You’ll make excellent use of space, and each drum will be protected due to its bubble wrap armor.
Get the plastic bag or bags containing the components. Wrap these in bubble wrap and secure with packing tape, then set these inside the smallest drum.
There should be room in the four corners of the box, and this is where you put the wrapped legs of your floor toms.
Fill it Up
Fill the remaining space in the box with packing paper or foam peanuts to make sure your drums and parts are snug, but fill it just to the rims, so there is still a bit of space left on top. Place the drum heads atop the drums and packing materials, going from smallest head to largest, then fill the rest of the box.
With packing tape, seal the box tightly on top and make sure the bottom is tightly sealed, too.
Packing the Cymbals and Pedals
This will likely be the easiest part. Put your cymbals and stands in the correct cases. You may want to label them so that you know which stands go with which cymbals.
Take the small box, fill it partly with packing paper or peanuts, wrap each pedal in bubble wrap, and place them in the box. Fill the box with packing material and tape it shut.
That’s it! Now, your drum kit is safe and secure, and ready to be transported to your new home or to storage!
Musical instruments of all sorts are delicate and sensitive to humidity, dryness, and temperature fluctuations. Drum sets are no different. The metal in the frames can bend, wood can warp, expand, or crack, and heads can also crack due to dryness. This is why we recommend, if you are going to store your drums, getting a self storage unit with climate control.
These air conditioned units keep your belongings in an environment with a stable temperature and low, but not too low, humidity safe for your belongings, including your drums and other instruments.
Whether you’re moving, storing your drums, or you’re beginning a concert tour, you now know how to properly pack your drum set so that it will be in great shape whether you need it again tomorrow night, or in six months.