How to keep your music equipment safe while on tour

At the risk of stating the obvious, touring bands carry a lot of gear with them, and the cost of it all can really add up. So, knowing how to keep your music equipment safe on tour is important.

Have you ever gone through everything you take on tour and calculated how much it's worth? Give it a try. It might be even more than you realise.

Now, imagine how much it would cost to replace your things if they were lost, damaged or stolen. It could be devastating for you and your band. Luckily, however, there are steps you can take to minimise your chances of having to fork out for replacements or repairs.

In this blog, we speak to two UK bands, In These Walls and The 99 Degree, about how they keep their equipment safe on tour. We also provide some top tips of our own. Read on to find out more.


How to keep your music equipment safe on tour: hear from the bands

The 99 Degree

how to keep your music equipment safe on tour

Photo: Trust a Fox Photography

The 99 Degree, a five-person surf and garage rock band from Manchester, are no strangers to the risks of equipment theft and damage.

We recently caught up with guitarist Phil, who told us: “I’ve had a guitar stolen in a professional job from a practice room before, where lots of things were taken from lots of bands. Not nice.

“Since then, we tend not to leave any high value items in practice rooms anymore, and we keep a more critical eye on who’s around equipment at venues.”

The band takes a range of equipment on tour with them, including guitars, cases, amps, effects pedals, leads, extra power supplies, microphones, and other accessories.

“If you’re taking that much equipment with you on tour, you need to have somewhere safe to store it all,” says Phil.

“If they can, a good venue will always have a storage area under lock and key. If not, there might still be somewhere less conspicuous and hard enough to get to within the venue. At the very least, you must always keep a set of eyes on your stuff!

“A great way of protecting your equipment from accidental damage is to make sure everything valuable and potentially breakable is in a hard case or flight case. Anything not in a hard case, such as guitars, should on the person constantly. This can help to minimise the risk of your equipment getting damaged when transporting it between venues.”

We also asked Phil about the importance of specialist insurance for touring musicians.

“It is really important now,” he said. “Equipment theft is sadly rife in the industry, and it can be hard to go unnoticed when you’re carrying lots of equipment.

“The equipment is often expensive, too. The problem a lot of musicians have is that they can be  protective and sentimental about some of the stuff they have. Equipment can be rare, especially older stuff, so it’s often not just a case of being reimbursed financially if things do get stolen. Once some things are gone, they’re gone—but insurance can help you carry on professionally.

 “In the absence of armed guards, common sense is your best friend. Don’t leave stuff out, especially not visibly. Don’t tell people what’s inside cases they can’t see into. Don’t talk to people about what you’re carrying. Keep your eyes open, and if you can, insure everything to high heaven!”


In These Walls

how to keep your music equipment safe on tour

Photo: Laura Taylor

We also recently sat down with Corin, a guitarist from the York-based metalcore four-piece In These Walls

“When we go on tour, we take a full rack with us,” he said.  “This normally contains our in-ear monitors, mics, splitter, and a full sound desk. We also take cymbals, two snares, an Ibanez Axion guitar, Musicman bass, Helix LT, Bass Butler preamp pedal (plus FX pedals), and all our clothes and essentials. It's a lot!

“With all that gear in tow, it's a good idea to have some safety measures in place. First and foremost, we always lock the van and keep everything in a sturdy case. We also try to keep a close eye on our gear."

All of this can help keep your kit safe from theft when you're on the road.

“We’ve heard terrible stories about theft from lots of bands,” Corin added.  “It's probably our biggest worry on tour because if any piece of gear were to go missing, it could be game over, especially for a small band like us.

 “That’s why insurance can be useful for bands who tour extensively. After all, the more you tour, the more your equipment is at risk of things like accidental damage and theft."


How to keep your music equipment safe on tour: our 5 top tips

1.      Tag your gear and it’ll be it’s easier to find

If you can attach a tracker like a Tile or an Apple AirTag to some of your equipment, this will make it easier to find later if it does go missing (as long as it's attached securely). It'll also make your kit harder to steal and sell if it's got a huge picture of your band's logo printed on it.


2.      Record serial numbers and take pictures

In case the worst should happen, it is much easier to report any stolen equipment to the police if you have a record of everything you take with you and the serial numbers of each item, if possible. You can also take pictures so it's clear what they should be looking for when searching.


3.      Find storage options before you go

If you’re staying overnight somewhere, contact the venue and the hotel before you go to check where you can keep your equipment when it's not in use. You can also check what security measures are in place and decide ahead of time what the best plan of action is for where to store your gear.


4.      Avoid using a trailer

If you have no other option but to store your equipment in your vehicle, try to avoid using a trailer. If a thief is looking to steal your equipment and manages to unhitch it from your car, it then becomes very easy to speed off with all of your kit in tow.


5.      Don’t leave things out in the open or unattended

Both before and after you perform, it can get pretty hectic trying to get everything to and from the stage. In all of the back-and-forth, it's easy to lose track of who is keeping an eye on what, and who is staying with the van or even with the equipment that's being left inside. Always have an agreed-upon plan before you get there so no bit of kit is left out without anyone watching it.


Specialist Bands Insurance through Insure4Music

If you’re a band that tours regularly, you may want to look at insuring yourself and your music equipment through Insure4Music. Having insurance can help give you extra peace of mind as a touring musician that you’re protected against damage and theft should the worst happen.

Visit our website to find further information on the cover that Insure4Music offers, or get an online quote today.

Please note the information provided on this page should not be taken as advice and has been written as a matter of opinion. For more on insurance cover and policy wording, see our homepage.