Turntables, mixer, headphones — your DJ set up is covered. But what other gadgets and gismos should go in your DJ bag to ensure a flawless performance? We’ve compiled a list of things to keep handy for your next wedding, nightclub or live venue gig. Stash these items in your bag and you’ll always have a smooth night behind the decks.
First and foremost, let’s make sure you have a great DJ bag that will keep your gear protected and neatly house all of the items on this list. Check out our review on the 4&1 Mono Flyby Backpack. A little research on ratings and pricing will go a long way in choosing the right bag for your needs. There are also gear wraps for extra protection around controllers and other gadgets.
This is another accessory to keep your gear organized and safe. Neatly store all of your cables, USB drives and other items in this small carry case for under ten bucks! Throw in your lighter, a Sharpie and a Leatherman (see #3) and you’re ready for anything!
Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman
A cool gadget like a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman will have you thinking like a roadie and feeling like a badass. In one tool you have wire cutter, pliers AND a bottle opener. Does it get better than that? Disclaimer: Because this tool has a small knife, check venue regulations and travel rules before carrying it to certain gigs or on planes. They also range in price depending on the tools you need, but here’s a basic style.
Isolation “boots” or “feet” are for protecting your turntables from vibration in nightclubs and loud, bass heavy environments. Note that using isolation boots will raise your equipment about an inch higher than usual, so you’ll have to level out your other equipment. They’re easy to carry along with you and you’ll notice a significant difference in keeping your equipment more grounded and stable. Check out a range of options here, here, here, and here.
You just finished your set and your gear is filthy. Maybe from grubby hands, maybe a drink spilled, is that confetti? These soft microfiber cloths are perfect for cleaning all of your equipment after a crazy set. They’re made for electronics so you can safely clean up any mess and keep your gear looking great.
Colored USB Cables
Having back up cables is great, and what better way to keep track of them but by having bright or uniquely colored cables. Just make sure you check the rating on cables before you purchase so you can get the most life out of them. DJ Tech Tools sells some good ones that even have Velcro straps to stay organized.
A DJ set survival kit contains items like travel size aspirin, Pepto-Bismol, bandages, condoms, lighter or anything else that you need to survive a monster set. Oh and snacks, don’t forget snacks. No one likes a hangry DJ.
Quarter Inch Headphone Adapter
This one is pretty self-explanatory. DJing without headphones sounds like a nightmare – am I right? Having an extra ¼ inch adaptor on hand will save you every time.
Having a good pair of earplugs is essential for any DJ who plays frequently in loud environments. A typical nightclub can range in decibels from 100-120, which can start to do damage to your hearing in less than an hour! Cut down harmful decibels with a pair of generic, or even better, custom molds. We like EarPeace for generic plugs, and ACS Custom if you want to invest in custom molds.
Business cards are a must for mobile and wedding DJs. They’re an easy way to pass along your contact information and brand in a professional-looking way. Also, for DJs who play nightclubs and venues, it’s good to keep a few on hand to network before/after gigs or off nights.
USB Flash Drive
Whether you have music loaded up on a flash drive for an emergency situation, or you use it to back up your music at the end of the night, this is a standard essential to stash in your DJ bag.
If scratching is part of your routine, you’ll definitely need slipmats. They might be provided by the venue, but it’s also good to have your own that are the thickness level you prefer. Slipmats will improve your sound and help avoid too much friction on the vinyl.
A small one will do! A flashlight will help you during your set up and your break down, as well as save you if you drop something behind the booth or misplace something in the dimly lit nightclub. (Flashlight on your phone will do in an emergency.)
So many uses! Duct tape or gaffer tape are great for securing your equipment to the booth, keeping USB cords together, or even marking your cords by using different colored tape. This item will always come in handy when you least expect it.
We want to hear from you! Are there any items that have saved you at a gig or things you won’t go to a gig without?