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What’s In The Bag? Taking A Tour Through The Carry-On Kit Of A Local Freelancer

"No two of us have the same tools, although there will always be the crescent wrench and multitool in common. I suppose it’s because of the difference in how we view our world or how we approach our work." Plus related video from DcSoundOp.

After everyone realized what was happening, I was able to get a rigger to come up in the lift with me as an extra pair of hands, and she brought a rope with her so we could tie the cables to the lift before disturbing them, and thus avoid any more swinging cables. They must have literally gone through boxes of e-tape on the load-in. There wasn’t an inch of tie line anywhere.

The moral of the story: please be aware that e-tape is not designed or intended to carry a load, and it does tend to let go when it’s heated. I’ve had that same roll of blue e-tape in my bag for years, so you know I don’t use a lot of it.

Heart Of the Matter

The items in the main, larger portion of my backpack (Figure 3) are too numerous to list, so I’ll highlight the key items:

• My own truss tools, and my socket wrench is extendable.
• A spud wrench to align the holes in the occasional stubborn truss sections.
• My belt tool bag is on the right, and it fits into the backpack.
• Binoculars. What? Yep. When I’ve needed them in the past, I really needed them. I don’t use them a lot, but they’ve saved my bacon more than once. Sometimes I need to see whether an indicator light is on after the truss is raised to trim.

Figure 3

On one particular gig a few years ago, I was the A1, sitting next to the TD at the tech table in the back of the room. The presenter apparently forgot to advance the PowerPoint slides, and I heard the TD say on the comm system, “He’s not advancing the slides, and I can’t tell if he has the clicker or not.” I wish you could have seen his face when his A1 handed him a pair of binoculars! (Yes, the presenter had the clicker, and yes, it was working. He began to advance the slides soon afterward.) More:

• A USB-powered LED light for plugging into mixing boards (it’s the curved wire in the lower portion of the photo).
• Wire snips.
• Cable snips.
• Tin snips, for when equipment arrives on a pallet that is secured with tin straps. (I typically have the only pair on site.)
• Labeling tape. I don’t label inputs on the digital boards with tape because it can be done during programming, but of course, I do label inputs on analog boards, and every cable is labeled on both ends. If you’re wondering why, you won’t be for much longer.
• A carpet cutter (not visible). I carry it even though I don’t work much with carpet. I haven’t used it in quite a while, but it’s still in my bag.
• A 25-foot measuring tape.
• A hook that clips on to my belt (which can be seen on the left in Figure 3). It holds a roll of e-tape (on rare occasions), a crescent wrench, and gloves (for loading in and out).

More To The Story

The tools I most often find myself using are in a small bag that clips to my belt (Figure 4). It contains a laser distance finder (“disto”), a multitool, a pair of wire snips, a flashlight, a black marker, a red marker, a folding utility knife, and an electrical outlet tester.

Figure 4

Again, my outlet tester often the only one on site. Here’s an example of why I carry it: I was the A3 (if there is such a thing) on a recent gig at which the audio power distro was MIA (missing in action). The A1 needed to do a line check to make sure the front fills and foldbacks (all active loudspeakers) were getting signal. While we were waiting for the power distro to show up, he wanted to plug them into house power to get the line check done. Seemed like a good idea to me, too.

Read More
A Tale Of Two Load-Ins: Lessons In Organization & Efficiency On The Job Site

As is my custom, I inserted my tester into the house receptacle and was surprised to discover that it wasn’t grounded. I checked several other receptacles in the room and got the same result. I was shocked (pun intended) when I discovered that the house receptacles in that ballroom at a major Orlando convention hotel are not grounded.

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