Their bags are packed and they're ready to go, and soon corps members will have moved in with their respective groups for the start of spring training rehearsal camps prior to the 2013 Drum Corps International Tour.
While life on the road has remained relatively the same over many years—traveling from competition to competition on tour buses and sleeping on gym floors—today's corps members have an infinite number of online retailers and places to shop for the gear they need and want to take on tour.
While corps members work to cram those last few pairs of socks and T-shirts into their tour bags, we've assembled a list of some of the favorite products we've seen that will make touring with a drum corps more convenient and comfortable than ever before.
Packing and Organization
Grid-It Gadget Organizer
Keep tabs on all of the small items in your tour bag with Grid-It organizers from Cocoon Innovations. A rubberized woven elastic object retention system for gadget organization, Grid-It is designed to hold items firmly in place, keeping your most important possessions from escaping your bag and rolling down the bus aisle. Grid-It comes in a variety of sizes, giving you an infinite number of ways to configure your gear.
CocoonInnovations.com | $9.99 and up
A company founded to produce impact protecting sports gear, G-Form now offers a full line of super-tough cases for phones, tablets and laptops. G-Form's Extreme Sleeve for iPad is soft, flexible, lightweight and water-resistant. And when the company feels confident enough to drop a 12-pound bowling ball from three feet in the air on an iPad protected in a G-Form sleeve, you can rest assured that your electronics will stay safe when you're pulling your bag up and down from the bus racks.
G-Form.com | $89.99
Wet Happened? Laundry Bags
A ripe pair of sweaty gym shorts can spoil an entire bag of clean laundry out on the road. The Container Store's aptly named Wet Happened? reusable laundry bag offers a leak-proof lining and cotton exterior with sealed seams and zippered closure. It's perfect for keeping your sweaty socks away from your post-show change of clothes.
ContainerStore.com | $12.99
Tech and Gadgets
Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger
When it comes time to charge a phone or blow up an air mattress, corps members often find power outlets harder to find than a hot shower. Belkin's Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger is lightweight, easy to pack and travel with, and has three AC outlets in addition to two USB charging slots for your phone, tablet or other USB-charging device.
Belkin.com | $24.99
Long bus rides or a restless night on a gym floor are the perfect time to throw on some tunes. Labeled as "pajamas for your ears," SleepPhones integrate a lightweight and washable fleece headband with thin removable speakers that won't fall off your head or out of your ears while you're zonked out in your sleeping bag.
SleepPhones.com | $39.95
Anker Battery Backup Charger
Corps members beware: Mom and Dad will be able to see right through your "I haven't called because my phone died," excuse if you're packing the Anker Astro Mini while traveling the country this summer. This external backup battery pack will juice your phone with eight hours of talk time or 80 plus hours of music playback. The Astro Mini is just 3.5 inches long and comes with a variety of charging tips to fit your make and model of phone.
iAnker.com | $21.99
Bell + Howell Solar Charger
The Bell + Howell Solar Charger can generate a full charge for your phone, e-reader, or other electronic device utilizing both outdoor and indoor light. The keychain attachment makes it easy to clip onto your duffel bag or backpack, and the triple LED flashlight is an added bonus when you're navigating your way to the bathroom through an obstacle course of suitcases and sleeping corps members scattered across a gym floor.
HSN.com | $19.95
Solar Powered Backpack
Corps members spend hours toiling away under the sun during rehearsals, so it's about time to put the sun to work for them. Voltaic's Converter Solar Backpack has a 3.4 watt solar panel that's waterproof, lightweight and built to withstand abuse. Designed to charge handheld electronics like your phone or MP3 player, one hour in the sun will produce approximately 75 minutes of talk time.
VoltaicSystems.com | $129
An abundance of e-readers on the market means there's no longer any need to pack bulky paperbacks. It's never been easier for corps members to travel light and stay well-read on tour. Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite has up to eight weeks of battery life, can hold up to 1,100 books, and is thinner than a pencil. With a light built into the screen, your seat partner on the bus will thank you when you can turn the overhead light off while you pull an all-nighter to finish off the "Hunger Games" trilogy.
Amazon.com | $119
Health and Wellness
Fit Bit Zip
Being in a drum corps can provide members with a fantastic daily workout. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there of corps members amassing millions of steps in a single summer on way to the being in the best shape of their lives. But just how great a workout are you getting? A shade larger than a quarter, the Fitbit Zip tracks your steps, distance and calories burned. Plus, you can sync those stats to your smart phone or computer to keep track of the benefits you're getting from your summer marching. The Zip is rain- and sweat-proof and runs off a watch battery that can provide up to six months of power.
Fitbit.com | $59.95
Blue Lizard Sunscreen
Sunscreen, one of the most important commodities that is easily in short-supply among corps members, is liquid gold during the summer tour. This summer keep the entire drum line, brass section and color guard lathered up with the Australian Blue Lizard Sunscreen which is available in gigantic one gallon jugs. Designed for daily, full-body protection, Blue Lizard's sport formula is water resistant, meeting Australian standards of 240 minutes in whirlpool water.
BlueLizard.com | $250
SunBuddy Back Lotion Applicator
The SunBuddy Back Lotion Applicator will eliminate those awkward moments in the morning stretch block when you're trying to find a friend who will apply sunscreen to your back. At just 9.5 inches long when folded, the SunBuddy is easy to pack, but when unfolded extends to more than 18 inches and rotates 135 degrees to reach all areas of your back. If worse comes to worse and you do end up with a sunburn, the SunBuddy can be used to apply any type of lotion including aloe vera.
GetSunBuddy.com | $19.95
Chop Saver Gold
The lips are perhaps the most important part of the body a brass player must protect from the sun but often overlooked. A professional trumpet player developed Chop Saver Gold specifically for musicians, utilizing natural ingredients and adding important SPF protection derived from two FDA-approved sunscreens.
ChopSaver.com | $9.90
Steripod Toothbrush Sanitizer
Stored under warm and moist conditions, your toothbrush can be a haven for germs and bacteria. With no batteries or a wall socket needed, when exposed to air while clipped to the head of your toothbrush, the Steripod surrounds the bristles with bacteria-eliminating vapors. Killing germs for up to three months, the Steripod has the perfect shelf life for the 53-day DCI Summer Tour.
ToothBrushSanitizer.com | $3.99
Weatherproof First Aid Kit
Nicks, cuts and other minor injuries can happen on tour; so it's never a bad idea to be prepared. The Weatherproof First Aid Kit contains antiseptic towelettes, alcohol prep pads and bandages, all packed into a small, convenient carry case that will clip to your duffel or backpack.
ContainerStore.com | $5.99
Aerobed Pakmat Airbed
Long a favorite company among corps members for inflatable air mattresses, Aerobed introduces the Pakmat Airbed. When rolling into a new housing site at 3 a.m., zombie-eyed corps members can barely find their way off the bus, much less locate the highly in-demand power outlets hidden in expansive school gymnasiums. Therefore, having an airbed that pumps up without the need for electricity or batteries is a huge plus. The hand pump doubles as a convenient carrying case.
Aerobed.com | $119
Tearing up the "As Seen On TV" circuit like no product since the ShamWow, MyPillow is touted as the most comfortable pillow you'll ever own. A patented three-piece interlocking fill system provides for adjustable comfort, while the open cell poly-foam has a natural, built-in cooling effect which will ensure corps members will always sleep on the cool side. The pillow, also available in a travel-sized version, is machine washable and dryable.
MyPillow.com | $89.95
SHEEX Performance Bedding
SHEEX bedding is designed with the athlete in mind, utilizing performance apparel fabrics that transfer body heat two times better than traditional sheet sets. A good summertime alternative to traditional hot and bulky sleeping bags, the SHEEX SLEEP•SAX is light and compact, breathes 50 percent better than cotton, and has moisture wicking properties to keep corps members dry and comfortable—even when sleeping without the benefit of air conditioning.
Sheex.com | $99
Being able to catch a few winks whenever possible is standard life on the road for a corps members—Just ask anybody who's been caught dozing off while standing at attention during an after-lunch rehearsal block. Enter Studio Banana Things. The unique design of this company's Ostrich Pillow puts you off in your own comfy and cozy environment, giving you the opportunity to take an easy power nap anytime and anywhere.
OstrichPillow.com | $99
Clothing and Laundry
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Performance Underwear
With men's and women's styles, ExOfficio's Give-N-Go underwear is made for travel. Packable, odor resistant, moisture wicking, durable, lightweight and comfortable, Give-N-Go washes in the sink and dries quickly. The possibility that you may be able to get through tour with just two pairs means you could pack lighter this summer.
ExOfficio.com | $20+
Tide Pods Detergent
Competitively, eight-hour rehearsal days can offer corps big rewards; but they also lead to lots of stinky laundry. Tide Pods are a detergent and stain remover in one convenient pack. Eliminating the fear of a bottle of liquid detergent breaking and spilling all over your suitcase, simply throw one Tide Pod in at the beginning of the wash cycle to cover one load of laundry. Tide Pods work in all laundry machine types and dissolve in hot or cold water.
Tide.com | $4.99
Laundry Soap Sheets
In a pinch, a sink or shower can serve as a makeshift laundry facility when you're running out of clean socks. Add water to one of these biodegradable soap sheets for instant soap suds. Each package contains enough for 25 washes.
SkyMall.com | $10
Whether you're a drum corps alum or a current marching member, what are your must-have or favorite items to take on tour?
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