A djembe can take you some wonderful places. On your way, you’ll need to take care of your drum. All those knocks and dings can add up, so here are some tips on traveling with your djembe.
Get A Bag
The best way to protect your drum for traveling or shipping is to get a drum bag. You can buy bags of all sizes, and there are plenty of online stores. For more see the Complete Review of the Best Djembe Bags.
Some sturdy designs are made of multiple layers of canvas, padded linings with shoulder straps, zips and pouches and others are made of simple cloth. Double-stitching is important to withstand the weight of the drum on the straps.
Store Lying Down
When packing or storing a drum, lay the drum down rather than leave it standing up. This reduces the chance of falling over and also reduces the stress on the drum itself.
A well-padded cloth bag should be enough to protect against most knocks, although I would advise extra protection for the head.
I travel a fair bit with mine and I have a professional case. Before that I would wrap it in two cloth bags with about 4 layers of bubble wrap over the face just to be sure. You could also put a layer of cardboard or plywood over the drum face and tape on for more security.
Full size djembes are too big to be allowed as cabin luggage and will usually have to go in the cargo hold, where changes in pressure can affect the skin. It is under less risk of damage if slightly detuned.
Send it as ‘FRAGILE’ or else you might find someone has put a hook through it!
Make a cardboard cutout for the face, wrap the entire jembe in bubble wrap or foam and put it in a cardboard box or wrap it up in thick or padded cloth. Label both the drum and the box/cloth and tape it up well. Send it ‘Fragile’ where possible and say a prayer!
Pack in a box as described above. Most shipping companies should be able to help with packing material. Insurance is often expensive, but may be cheaper than buying a new drum!