Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a full-time touring drummer, cymbals are sacred to us. They’re costly, assuredly fragile, and should always be protected like a vintage sports car.
“But I can just buy new cymbals if they get damaged,” you say?
On the off chance you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, I still recommend you take care of your plates. Cymbals have excellent resale value.
Table of Contents
Best Cymbal Bags and Cymbal Cases — A Quick Glance
The table above shows my favorite cymbal bag and case picks, but be sure to read on to see more detail about each one.
The last thing you should ever do is carry your cymbals to a gig unprotected. They’re subject to stagehands mishandling them, damage from the ground, and worse, theft.
Fortunately for us drummers, there’s a ton of great options available for protecting our cymbals. They usually fall into one of two categories:
- Cymbal Gig Bags
- Cymbal Hard Cases
Downfalls of Cymbal Gig Bags
While generally cheaper, soft cymbal bags do suffer from some issues. In most cases, these cases are nylon material that easily rips over time.
Some cymbal gig bags have better material, like this one from Tackle, but most are made from cheap nylon in China or Taiwan to save on cost. Nylon-material cymbal bags don’t offer as much protection either.
Downfalls of Hard Cymbal Cases
Hard cases have some pitfalls of their own. Being that they’re plastic and molded, they tend to be a bit more expensive. Hard cymbal cases are also much heavier than bags, so keep that in mind if you have lots of stairs to climb or walk long distances.
As an FYI, some soft cymbal bags have backpack straps for carrying. For touring drummers, there are kick drum/cymbal cases, but those are incredibly pricey and are only useful if you’re traveling with a trailer.
Let’s have a quick look at some of my favorite cymbal bags and cymbal cases.
Best Hard Cymbal Cases
First up, we’ll deal with hard cases for cymbals, as they provide far better protection than their soft counterparts.
24" Rolling Hardshell Cymbal Case with Storage for Up to 7 Cymbals, Molded Carrying Handle, and Sturdy Pull-out Handle.
For any drummer doing fly dates, the SKB is a no-brainer. The case features rolling wheels and a molded carrying handle, similar to what you’d see on a Pelican case.
The case can hold up to seven cymbals.
The outer shell is a rugged linear-low-density polyethylene providing sturdy protection from falls, making it an ideal choice for transporting your cymbals.
SKB’s ATA Cymbal Vault can house cymbals up to 24″ in size. The interior of the case features a large internal storage pocket — perfect for extra clutches and drum keys.
Also included are four cymbal pads to keep your cymbals from bumping into each other while in transit. Metal-on-metal contact is one of the leading causes of damage.
Soft cymbal bags are a decent option, but nothing beats the protection of a hard plastic case for protecting your plates.
I have always loved my SKB Cymbal Vault, though I don’t use it exclusively. I have a kick drum case that houses my cymbals, but on certain gigs and fly dates, the hard case works great.
My cymbals don’t move while in the case, and my mind is at ease knowing they’re fully protected.
Hardshell Case for up to 22" Cymbals with Protective Foam Sleeves, Strap, and Hinged Handle - Black Sparkle.
Next up on the list is the Humes & Berg Enduro Cymbal Case. If you’ve been around the block with drum cases, I’m sure you’ll recognize the name.
Humes & Berg makes excellent hard cases — their cymbal case is no exception.
Like the SKB option, H&B’s hard cymbal case features wheels and a retractable handle. It’s another great option for drummers traveling in airports to gigs around the country.
Expect to fit five to ten cymbals in the case.
One downside — the Enduro cymbal case only holds cymbals up to 22″ in size. That said, H&B does make a larger variant of the case for a bit more money.
Zildjian’s brand is no secret to drummers. It’s no wonder they make cymbals and, well, cases.
The Cymbal Vault holds cymbals up to 24″ in diameter and features wheels and a retractable tow handle for lugging around your plates.
The metal center bolt has a plastic sleeve, preventing keyholing of your cymbals.
Between five to ten cymbals can be stored in the Zildjian Cymbal Vault.
The top piece of the case has a foam liner, reducing rattling and movement of your cymbals inside the case during transport — a big plus.
Molded Cymbal Case with Wheels, Fold Away Handle and Wing Nut System.
On the more affordable end of hard cymbal cases is the Gator GP-PE302. It’s similar to every product listed above, but only supports cymbals up to 22″ in diameter.
One thing I do like about Gator’s case is the strapless design. Those little plastic clips on many drum cases tend to break easily, especially when stagehands carry them from the straps.
If you’re a stagehand reading this, please lift and move our drum cases with the provided handles. -Concerned Drummer
With my rant aside, having no strap eliminates that issue, which is nice.
That said, there is a bit of an engineering flaw with Gator’s case. When wheeling the case, the fit isn’t tight at the bottom. According to some, rain and snow can easily enter the case, damaging your cymbals.
Drum Trap Case with Internal 6-cymbal Vault, Snare Drum Storage, and 4" Locking Wheels.
SKB comes in next with a product that’s a little different. The X2 Trap case features a six cymbal vault, a place to store your snare drum (14×6.5″ or less), and locking wheels.
The biggest downside? The X2 only holds cymbals up to 20″ in diameter.
Having the ability to transport all hardware, snare drum, pedals, and cymbals in one case can be a game-changer. I wish it could house larger cymbals.
The casters reportedly aren’t the greatest, but aside from that, it’s a phenomenal hardware and cymbal case.
Best Cymbal Bags
Next up, we take a look at the best cymbal gig bags available for drummers today.
Upon first glance, the cymbal backpack is stunning. The quality surpasses the competition. Designed for drummers by a drummer, Tackle prides itself on high-quality products.
Drummer Scott McPherson (Bright Eyes, Beck, Elliot Smith) founded Tackle in Portland in 2011. The company makes everything from drumstick bags to drum keys.
The cymbal backpack holds cymbals up to 24″ in diameter and features high-quality 15oz cotton canvas and leather.
The front pocket easily holds your hats, and the main storage area includes three canvas cymbal sleeves for protecting against metal-on-metal contact.
Drummers with a little bigger budget who want a more stylish cymbal bag may find the Tackle Cymbal Backpack a perfect choice.
500D Nylon Cymbal Bag with Backpack-style Straps, Carry Handle, Felt Spacers, and Drumstick Compartment. Holds up to 22" cymbals.
For all the drummers on a budget looking for a cymbal bag, On-Stage has you covered. The CB4000 has five separate slots for cymbals and an additional side pouch for your hi-hats.
The bag gets the job done featuring backpack straps, felt spacers for cymbals, and even a drumstick compartment (up to six pairs). The main pocket holds cymbals up to 22″ in diameter, and the smaller pocket holds cymbals up to 15″ in size — perfect for hi-hats.
The major downside to these types of bags is that they’re made from cheap nylon material. Over time, these bags do tend to rip, typically along the zipper.
The backpack straps can rip with aggressive handling, as well. If you’re careful and take care of the bag, you should have no issues.
I think we can all agree that Meinl makes incredible percussion products. Their cymbal bag is no different.
It holds cymbals up to 22″ in diameter and even has exterior pockets on the front and back for hi-hats, drumsticks, and other accessories.
If you happen to have a 24″ cymbal, Meinl does make a larger variant of the bag, but I can’t find it sold anywhere currently. You may need to search one out from a local store.
The Meinl Cymbal bag does not feature backpack straps, so you’ll need to carry your plates by the hand straps.
Out of all the cymbal bags listed here, I firmly believe the Tackle Cymbal Backpack is by far the best cymbal bag on the market.
The quality is incredible, and the stylish look is perfect for both professional and novice drummers alike.
Which cymbal bag do you use? Leave me a comment down below. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading!