Drummer Survival Kit

Thomas Lang ponders a drumming catastrophe
Thomas Lang ponders a drumming catastrophe

With frequent gigging comes potential equipment emergencies. Being prepared can be the best course of action to reduce/prevent sticky situations during live performances.  Many drummers may not have the luxury of a drum tech to look after equipment so it’s wise to compile a Drummer Survival Kit to take on the road with you.  Here’s what’s in mine:

Drum Key
The ‘key’ item in the survival kit – a basic square headed drum key for tuning drums, loosening/tightening/repositioning hardware – even if you carry one with you closely, always have a spare in the kit – these things have legs and can often run away.

Approx £4-6 from dD Drums

Gaffer /Duct Tape
A roll of black or silver duct tape is essential (or for the more fashion-conscious drummer out there – This). Prevent tripping over cables by taping them down to the floor. Tape up wobbly stands, Patch up broken drum heads quickly. On one occasion I constructed a make-shift Hi Hat clutch from this wonderful stuff, which is why I now recommend having the next item in your Drummer Survival Kit.

Approx £5 from B&Q

Spare Hi Hat Clutch
A simple slim-line Hi Hat clutch can be a life-saver at a gig. When on an intense touring schedule – things can be left behind and trust me, there are not many things which feel worse at a gig than not having a functioning Hi Hat. Invest and thank me later.

Approx £10-15 from dD Drums

Stubby Multi Screwdriver
Ratchet-type with Flat and Cross Head bits – incredibly handy when you need to screw stuff.

Approx £5 from B&Q

Combination Pliers
Useful for nuts and bolts and the ‘snipping’ section may be handy too.

Approx £5 from B&Q

Allan Key Set
Hardware and pedals are littered with tiny little grub screws which can seriously affect functionality if they loosen off.

Approx £5 from B&Q

Spare Snare Drum Head
Don’t leave the house without at least one of these. Period.

Approx £15 from dD Drums

Spare Drum Sticks
I have a pair in my car, in my partners car, in the bands PA desk case, at my tuition room, in the garden, in the toilet – you get me?

Approx £10 from dD Drums

Cymbal Sleeves & Felts
Those pesky little darkly coloured felts which drop onto the stage when your setting-up or breaking down… they roll off into oblivion never to be seen again whilst you are on your hands and knees around your guitarists feet with a magnifying glass – no thanks!

Approx £5 from dD Drums

As a Gibraltar hardware user, a great design feature is interchangeable wingnuts, from rack fittings to cymbal tops, the wingnuts are mostly the same thread. Carrying a few spare will prevent you ‘winging-it’ and going ‘nuts’.

Approx £3 for set of 2 from Rattle & Drum

Small Bottle 3-in-1 Oil
Zap squeaky pedals, springs and chains in a few drops. A thin coating of the oil to bare components can help prevent them rusting in your hardware bag and it’ll make you smell like a person who knows technical stuff.

Approx £3 from B&Q

Micro Fibre Cloths
Wipe down grubby fingerprints from your gear, wipe you sweaty post-gig brow, divide cymbals in cases. Cloths are just great.

Approx £1 from most supermarkets

Snare Cord/Tape
Tape can be cut from an old drum head in 1/2″ x 6″ strips. Nylon cord can be purchased in 1 metre lengths from hardware stores. Practice marine knots during soundcheck.

Approx £1 from most hardware stores

Black Sharpie Pen
Doodling, marking, set lists. They smell great too.

Approx £1 from ScrewFix

Small First Aid Kit
What good is an injured drummer? A compact pouch of essential plasters, gauze tape and cleaning wipes for cuts, abrasions and general bumps. Fingers can get pretty gnarled-up while setting up drums and hardware so look after yourself out there!

Approx £2 from The Safety Supply Company

The costs start to add up for the Drummer Survival Kit, but I can guarantee these costs outweigh the headache of a stranded drummer with broken equipment.  You may feel that you wont need everything I’ve recommended here and that is absolutely fine as long as you are confident in your equipment! There may be some other things you would benefit from having in your Drummer Survival Kit – Mini Torch, Rubber Duck? Whatever it is, be sure to keep it handy and be confident that you are prepared for the unexpected with your Drummer Survival Kit.

Have a great gig!


Prices are approximate – I have no affiliation with any product manufacturers or merchants mentioned in this post – Links to websites operational on 01/02/2017 – Photo: Thomas Lang & Sonor Drums


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept that my given data and my IP address is sent to a server in the USA only for the purpose of spam prevention through the Akismet program.More information on Akismet and GDPR.

Scroll to Top