At some point, you’ll end up playing a gig in the wet. Or travelling with your gear somewhere humid. Or getting caught in a shower on the way from taxi to venue. And while a quick wipe-down will get visible water off your gear, what about the pesky stuff that may have sept in?
Here’s an effectively free way to keep your DJ gear protected. Remember those little white packets that you see inside of vitamin bottles, electronics, and even food? They usually get thrown out along with the rest of the packaging, but you may want to think twice about disposing them as they’re called silica gel, and are a great way to add a little bit more protection for your gear.
Introducing silica gel
Inside those packets are small beads called silica gel, also known as silicone oxide. These beads are desiccants, meaning they are efficient adsorbers of moisture, which is a slightly different process from absorbing. Absorbing is when a material takes something into itself, like the way a paper towels soaks up water. Adsorbing, on the other hand, just has molecules stick to its surface, and this process can actually draw out moisture from other things (eg your gear) without being in direct contact with them.
Silica gel is so effective that just having them inside a small box adsorbs water vapour in the box’s interior. This makes it perfect for drying out gear that accidentally got wet (eg your mobile phone beside a toppled pint), but you can also use it in a preventive manner by having them in compartments in your bag.
Having one or two of these small packets stashed in your DJ bag or flight case ups the level of dryness inside your bag or case, which is good news for your stuff and great news for your electronics like your laptop and tablet if you live in a place with high humidity. I live in Manila in The Philippines (a tropical country), so just exiting a room with very cold air-conditioning leaves some condensation on my gear and, in fact, this was how my old mixer rusted. Don’t even get me started on my experiences taking my set-up to the beach!
So the next time you buy a bottle of mult-vitamins or get some new gear, do yourself a favour and save those silica gel packets for your DJ gig bag. You’ll thank yourself later, especially if you get caught in the middle of a downpour!
Have you ever run with your gear under the rain, only to find out later on that it mucked up your kit? Has anyone accidentally spilled a bottle of beer anywhere near your equipment set-up? We’d love to hear your story and how you sorted things out. Let us know in the comments below!