I've been working on streamlining my gear transport of late. I recently acquired a great large-capacity bag that holds my laptop, interface, backup recorder, mic preamps, headphones, and most of my cables. Mics ride in a separate bag. So everything basically fits in two cases (at least on small gigs, which is mostly what I've been doing these days.)
The big exception is, of course, the snake and stands. This past week, I've been recording a wind ensemble, and I've had three tall Manfrotto stands (for mains + flanks) plus 4-5 smaller boom stands for spots. I also have been bringing a 16-channel, 100-foot snake. It is this stuff that I find annoying and cumbersome to carry. Any elegant solutions for transporting mic stands and snakes? Anyone do the snake on a garden hose drum trick? Recommendations about cases/bags for tall mic stands?
I've been using an H&B snare kit case for my snake - same configuration as yours. I have my snake "trained" to coil up inside the case with stage box in the middle, very easy to extract what length I need and pack it back up when done.The drum thing is just too bulky and awkward for solo outings. Plus most of those garden drums either don't have wheels, or the ones that do have them have crappy little ones that actually make transport harder (they catch on sidewalk cracks, door jambs, etc.). I just stack the case on a cart with everything else.
A couple of decent keyboard bags (a 76- and a 88-key) handle the mic stand cartage pretty nicely.
I use a reeled snake, the reel also being the stage box, similar to this one:
Stands go in a mic stand bag with 6 compartments, 2 or 3 stands per compartment, and if that's not enough, the rest goes into my second 6 compartment bag. I found that in a keyboard bag, they hit each other too much and easily get dents and scratches. Each bag rides on a foldable "case cart".
Here are my custom-made solutions: garden-hose reel reinforced with threaded rods and the loose ends and box wrapped in canvas bags, and a rolling mic stand caddy (loosely based on a busted-open golf club bag.)
These might be almost as good as the commercial equivalents...
Those snake reels that people are recommending are really handy and useful.
For a stand and cable bag, when traveling locally by car/truck and there is no need for a hard protective case, I highly recommend this.
More often than not, I've worked with companies who fit their snakes into smaller brief style road cases, or small trunks (ranging from square boxes with heavy duty casters to larger quarter pak cases). We use tote cases made by Stanley and purchased at homedepot. Light, protective, and good for the poor mans cable bin. They are black and yellow.
As far as stands go, we've decided to use a rugged drum hardware bag. It has a reinforced plastic bottom with wheels. Handles with Velcro (to clasp handles together), and a strap(never used). It also has small handles across the top and bottom for a two person lift.
All of our weighted base stands usually go in first, or with the bases removed and stacked at the bottom. Then the rest of the folded stands go in next with the shorties placed high and low so as not to "bulge" at the bottom or one side. The really nice thing about drum hardware bags versus others is that they usually feature a pair internal nylon straps to keep the bunch together.
As mentioned above, an open bag or case will allow for sliding and cosmetic, if not actual damage. The internal straps keep everything nice and tight during transport and keep things from getting lopsided. It moves much like a 2-wheel dolly and is meant for some external abuse.
Lastly, there are accessory pockets along either side that we use for mic clamps, parts, and small stereo bars.
The best solution I found to move mic stands is a 3 wheel push cart made for a golf bag. I just strap them in with a bungee chord. The wheels are big enough that they don't get hung up on uneven pavement and the cart is very light.
The parallels between golf and audio recording are probably pretty extensive, if anyone wanted to delve into it.
At least I'm not buying outfits from NIKE for recording yet. If this recording "thing" gets real popular maybe they'll come out with a "TONMESITER" collection. Something like those long white pants and white shirts they wore for tennis in the 1920's could be very sporty.
For something that will carry (3) K & M tripod stands with booms or (4) Manfrotto 1004 12-ft stands or (6) Shure S-15's, I use ballistic nylon photographic tripod bags.
I actually have some Bogan 42-inch blue bags with shoulder straps that have held up very well for years. They are no longer available with a "Bogan" label, but are now sold as Manfrotto 3281B tripod bags and are now black. The full-length zipper makes it easy to unload the mic stands.
For going on 20 years I've used a SKB golf club case for stands... mic, light, tripod... whatever. I have two, and both have been overseas and in 25 or 30 states, planed, boated (QM2, no less), trucked, van-ed, WünderWagen-ed and schlepped. I've replaced a couple of screws and one handle. I am not gentle. The lads at the airport are not gentle. These are very hard to kill. When I bought mine, back in the Last Century, they were $119. They have done yeoman service, and are worth whatever they cost nowadays. Highly recommended.
Smaller, local gigs, mic stands (2x11' Manfrotto; 1x16' Manfrotto lightweight 6-stage; 1x15' PIC; 1x8' heavy K&M studio tripod; 2xAKG lightweight standard boom; 1x1' table stand) are carried in a Gator speaker stand bag from GC.
My PA rig has available several snakes (8x4x100; 16x4x150; 20x8x75; 24x8x100; (2) 8x25 sub snakes; (2) 8x10 fan snakes) which ride in two Home Depot black stackable bins (yellow topped) attached (one), stacked and strapped to a 2'x4' furniture dolly, with SKB RF and processing racks stacked on top. They reside in a 12x8 double-axle trailer (ramped), and the 8x4x100 often accompanies me on location recording gigs.
Record rack (SKB shock-mount, with Apogee Ensemble, D.A.V. BG8, TASCAM CD-R, power), backup rack (HD24 in a small SKB), and mics/clips/shockmounts cases (silver tool attaché cases from Home Depot, with custom dividers) ride on a flat dolly, with the stands bag and snake draped on top. It all fits in the back of a 525iT wagon, with the seats down. One-man-portable, one trip.
It takes a very special person to hit a 1 iron....successfully.
There's the old Lee Trevino joke:
If I ever get caught out in the open in a threatening thunderstorm, I'll stand on the highest ground in the middle of the fairway and hold a 1-iron straight up over my head. Because not even God can hit a 1-iron....
On topic--I still use one of those SKB golf-bag cases for stands, but the weight of 10 or 12 normal mic stands eventually kills the wheels. I've replaced mine twice and they are busted again. I might look for a more expensive and heavier duty video tripod case with wheels--the ones I've seen from rental houses are heavier duty than the SKB golf club case.
I have a small setup, so I've tried to make everything backpack or shoulder-carried in one trip without resorting to expensive audio-brand bags.
Another member on TS recommended this lacrosse stick bag to me for an over-the-shoulder carrying case for a Manfrotto 1004BAC. I've been using it for the past year, and it fits so perfectly you'd swear that was the intended purpose.
There's just enough room left in the bad to slide a couple of other things in, and I can fit a 099B extension pole and a 60 cm mic bar. To keep everything from getting scratched, both pieces go in their own velvet cue stick bag. I have a couple black and red ones, and they are about 30" long. The top of the 099B sticks out a few inches, but most of it is in the sleeve and the open flap keeps the top from rubbing against the 1004.