10 Best: DJ Bags, Boxes and Trolleys 2020
We pick ten of the best ways transport your vinyl and DJ equipment, with solutions from UDG, Magma and more featured.
The humble record bag is no longer humble. Most DJs used to be happy with any
thing that would do a half-decent job of protecting their vinyl, but we’ve come to expect storage for headphones, adapters, memory cards, laptops and even controllers.
These days there’s something for everyone, whether you want a lightweight bag for crate digging or something as sturdy as possible for checking in on a flight. Options range from streamlined and simple all the way through to ultra-high-tech luggage systems with more compartments and hidden pockets than Batman’s utility belt.
Here we run through ten of our favourite options. Every brand on our list makes a range of bags and cases to suit different needs, from lightweight shoulder packs through to full-on rolling trolley systems, so be sure to click through and explore the rest of the range if you like the look of a particular model but need something a little different to the spec we’ve chosen.
Founded in 2000, UDG are widely seen as the market-leading brand for serious DJ luggage. The Dutch brand’s commitment to quality and innovation is reinforced by the fact that they’re used by a who’s who of A-list names, including Sven Väth, Carl Cox and James Zabiela.
If you asked us to recommend one bag that would work best for the vast majority of DJs, the second-gen Slingbag would be our choice. It’s sturdy, it’s versatile, it’s got pockets for headphones and accessories, plus it’s stylish and comfortable to wear. The Slingbag is the definition of an all-rounder, suitable for most vinyl DJs. You might want to look elsewhere in the UDG range if you have specialist requirements for laptop storage or controllers, but as far as simple and trustworthy record luggage goes, it’s very hard to beat. We know DJs who’ve clocked up hundreds of gigs with a Slingbag, which is why we don’t hesitate to recommend it.More info/Buy
As a smaller, lighter alternative to the Slingbag, we like the Magma LP40. With a capacity of up to 40 12-inches it’s about half the size of the Slingbag, which makes it significantly lighter and easier to manage. Magma tend to come in a little cheaper than UDG, but the German brand’s product range is extensive and the quality is very good, offering excellent value for money. Just like UDG, Magma also boast an array of big name users, including Seth Troxler, Goldie and Luciano.
The LP40 is the brand’s smallest 12-inch offering, making it easy on the back. As a rule of thumb, it’s generally better to go for a bag that’s just big enough rather than using one that’s much bigger than you need; not only is it lighter and less bulky, but there’s less chance of damaging your records if they’re tightly packed than there is if they’re loose and free to move around.More info/Buy
At first glance, the Technics Backpack looks like the definition of a classic record bag: understated black design, capacity somewhere around 50 12-inches and that iconic logo embroidered on the front flap. What sets it apart from most of the other options on our list is that it’s also got a pair of straps on the back allowing you to wear it on your back like a conventional rucksack.
In our experience, most DJs tend to prefer a single shoulder strap purely because the size of a 12-inch record bag makes it a bit cumbersome when worn on the back, but there’s no denying that it can get tiring and even painful to carry a full record bag on one shoulder for extended periods of time. Having the option of wearing the Technics bag as a backpack does provide relief when walking longer distances, such as lengthy airport transfers. It’s a nice option to have, and much cheaper than stepping up to a trolley system.More info/Buy
Exclusive to Juno, the Mukatsuku messenger bag is a simple courier-style bag, designed and produced here in London by our very own Nik Weston. Soft but deceptively robust, it carries 25 12-inches in style. At this smaller capacity, you can afford to focus a little more on aesthetics than outright performance and functionality. That’s not to say that it’s not sturdy and reliable, just that the focus is a little different to most offerings on the market.
The modern trend for record bags has gone down a route of slick, high-tech flashiness, which understandably isn’t for everyone. Bundled with a branded leather keyring, badge and sticker, this is clearly a different approach entirely. At a smaller capacity than the models we’ve listed so far, the Mukatsuku 25 isn’t so much intended for gigging DJs but for everyday use or times when you don’t need to carry hundreds of records, such as radio sets or casual mix sessions with friends. A stylish, understated option.More info/Buy
Some vinyl DJs used to take a masochistic pleasure in lugging huge crates of records to gigs, but the days of taking pride in putting yourself through physical turmoil are thankfully over. For longer trips and international travel, a wheeled, trolley-style bag takes all the strain off your back, allowing you to roll your records with ease and then packing the extendable handle away when necessary. Given that a fully packed 80-capacity 12-inch bag can easily weigh 20kg, that’s a very good idea as far as we’re concerned.
You can easily go even bigger and more fully-featured in the UDG range, which extends up to huge multi-bag systems and dedicated bags for controllers and other hardware, but the Trolley To Go is one of our favourites because it’s designed to meet the size criteria for cabin luggage on any airline. There are lots of flight cases and bags designed to protect your records even when checked into the hold, but the advantages of a cabin-sized bag are obvious: you can keep your luggage in sight at all times and there’s almost zero chance of your bag getting lost or damaged by baggage handlers. Even if you only occasionally fly with records, it’s a great trolley for regular use, taking the strain off your back and making life easier when hauling stacks of vinyl. Highly recommended.More info/Buy
DJing with 45s presents its own challenges, not least in the sense that the shorter run time of a 7-inch record dictates that DJs generally need to carry lots of them. We’ve probably all seen soul DJs unloading stacks of impractical cardboard boxes and plastic crates into the DJ booth but there are, thankfully, much better options available these days.
Magma’s smartly designed bags are a neat and versatile solution for 45 DJs, offering enough capacity for up to 150 7-inches each in a simple format with dividable internal space and a few side pockets for good measure. Constructed from durable black ballistic nylon, they’re sturdy and unpretentious, which we like a lot. We also like the fact that the width is almost exactly the same as a 12-inch record bag, which means they stack nicely together if you’re carrying different formats. There’s also a strap on the back designed to slide over the handle of most wheeled luggage, allowing you to roll a larger bag and the 45 bag as one, which is a nice touch.More info/Buy
Hard flight cases used to be the go-to option for any self-respecting DJ. Back in the day, when vinyl was the default choice, there was no real alternative; a hard case was the only reliable way to avoid damage to your precious cargo. Hard cases have fallen out of favour a little bit in recent years simply because premium soft bags such as the UDG and Magma designs have caught up and now offer a good level of protection, but if you’re checking records in as luggage on a flight or just looking for the ultimate level of protection in a club environment, there’s no doubt that a hard case is still the best option.
Sound LAB’s Eurostyle cases are (literally) a solid offering from a brand that consistently offers good value for money. They’re not the flashiest or most contemporary design, but they get the job done at an unbeatable price. For ultimate protection on a budget, it’s hard to quibble.More info/Buy
The next step up from the Sound LAB would be something like this sturdy offering from Reloop. The 50/50 design means that the two halves of the case can be separated once you arrive in the DJ booth, and the 80 records inside can be split between the two, giving you a bit more space to flick through and select tracks. In practice it does make a big difference having that little bit more space to work with your crates, and there’s no sacrifice in terms of durability or security once the two pieces are clipped back together.
Despite the fact that it’s part of Reloop’s Club Series, it’s also worth mentioning that we love the slanted Reloop for home use. Anyone with a decent vinyl collection knows how easy it is to get carried away pulling records off the shelves and stacking them up in a pile next to the hi-fi or decks; the 50/50 case gives you two temporary boxes to tidy things up as you go, keeping your records safe until you have time to file them away properly.More info/Buy
Part of a new breed of fashion-focused luggage manufacturers catering to a range of different needs, Airbag Craftworks offer a selection of bags including a handful ideally suited to DJs and record collectors. The brand’s aesthetic is one of the most stylish we’ve seen in the record bag world, where it has to be said that some brands still struggle to find a balance between function and form.
One of a series of collaborative efforts with the legendary Warp Records, the 19.4 is designed to be the ultimate overnight bag for travelling DJs, capable of holding records, a 17-inch laptop, headphones, accessories and clothes for a weekend away.More info/Buy
At the higher end of the DJ bag market, you can expect a whole lot more style as a bonus on top of the functional storage you take for granted. Tucker & Bloom are relative newcomers to the record bag market, but the family-owned brand has been producing bags in its hometown of Nashville, Tennessee for over three decades. That experience shows in DJ-friendly offerings like the Sidekick, shown here in an understated olive colourway.
Just the materials used to construct the Sidekick make impressive reading: a waterproof ballistic nylon outer is teamed with a vegetable-tanned leather handle, shearling shoulder strap, velveteen-lined interior and nickel-cast brass hardware. It reads like it belongs on a fashion blog, but the Sidekick is thankfully not an example of style over substance; the well-designed layout gives internal storage for 100 45s and there are three pockets for accessories and headphones.
The brand also produces a further range of 12-inch packs, messenger bags and 45 luggage, giving plenty of stylish options to suit most requirements.More info/Buy