A large duffel is better for the musician who tours by bus. This is because one can open its zipper without moving the duffel out of the luggage compartment. A suitcase, on the other hand, has to be moved out of the bus compartment and onto the parking lot, or the sidewalk, to be opened. This is not a problem when the sun shines or when the bus is parked in a lot, but when it rains, or the bus parked on a busy street with a narrow sidewalk, it represents a sizable problem. Do I carry the suitcase onto the bus, which doesn’t have the space for opening a suitcase either, or do I try to climb into the luggage compartment, which may be quite full of all kinds of other cases and boxes…
A suitcase is better for a van tour, especially one that begins with a flight to the location of the first gig. Even better is a suitcase with very good wheels. Additional luggage items can be strapped to the suitcase and the whole thing can be rolled along easily. Airports are designed for wheeled luggage, as there are escalators and elevators ready to carry one to a different level. Sometimes, however, the musician with the duffel sprints up the stairs faster than the escalator moves with the musician and his suitcase. That’s okay because the musician wheeling the suitcase will catch up when the musician who carries the duffel tires.
For many years I mostly toured by bus and therefore I have a few duffels of different sizes in my garage. As of the beginning of 2018 I switched to van tours and now you might spot me guiding a suitcase, with very good wheels, through hotel hallways and airports.
Thirty years ago this December we drove to Los Angeles for our first little tour, about four months before Nouveau Flamenco was released.