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There are numerous compact and travel guitars that exist, some of which are designed specifically for outdoor pursuits like backpacking. This is one I've been considering.

Being a musician, music is one of the things I miss most while in the wilderness, and I'm hoping to remedy that soon with a guitar that can be taken outdoors, at least on some of my trips. I have zero experience with taking a guitar on backpacking trips and don't know anyone that has. So...

  • What are some good ways to ensure the guitar stays in good shape while out on trips?
  • What is the best way to pack the guitar in a pack?
  • What other functions, if any, could it serve other than being an instrument?
  • How to deal with rain, other moisture?
  • Any considerations for wildlife being repelled/drawn by the sound?
  • Or issues I haven't thought of...?

Note: Just to clarify, I'm not necessarily looking for recommendations on a travel guitar, but rather the issues associated with taking one (of any type) into the wilderness. However, if certain types lend themselves to better transport than others, then I would think it's worthwhile to mention them in your answer.

  • 5
    Also....... learn how to play. :-) I've been in a hut with a keen guitarist who couldn't, and it wasn't pleasant. – Greenstone Walker Nov 19 '14 at 0:09
  • Well, got that part. I've just never backpacked with a guitar before. – manoftheson Nov 19 '14 at 9:13
  • Reading my comment now, I come across as a bit of a dick. Sorry @manoftheson for that - no offence was meant. I did read your post where you said you are a musician. My comment is aimed at those reading this post, thinking of taking instruments backpacking. – Greenstone Walker Nov 19 '14 at 22:26
  • 1
    @GreenstoneWalker - No worries at all. I do appreciate the apologies though. And I see where you're coming from. Listening to someone attempt to play an instrument, especially unsuccessfully, can certainly try one's patience. – manoftheson Nov 20 '14 at 4:24
  • If it helps some answers, this is the travel guitar I'm heavily considering. Didn't think I should include that in the question though. – manoftheson Nov 20 '14 at 4:44
8

While the answers above mainly focus on getting a Easy-To-Carry (new) instrument, I'll stick to an attempt of answering how can one carry a standard guitar like the one I have (a Pluto, acoustic).
EDIT: As the question was having an edit about travelling guitars, I am afraid I have no experience with them, but I'd rather think that same packing technique can be applied to those guitars as well.

I hope it is okay if I assume that you have at least a minimal guitar carrying case. If not, then its a good idea to invest into one.

With a standard guitar like the one I have, made up of wood, its very much possible that it can suffer damage from extreme changes in temperature and humidity, getting wet. And a severe impact during transit and/or walk can crack the wood if hit badly.

  1. Start with first loosing up all the strings. One can tune them once reached a camping place and then plan to play.
  2. Remove the tremolo bar and/or Capo if there is/are any. Preferably I won't bother carrying it. Choice is yours.
  3. Then see that you have aligned all tuning keys parallel with the headstock, so that they don't get a bump.
  4. If you are going to an area (or in the rainy season) where you may encounter rain, Get bubble paper and wrap the whole guitar with it, use duct tape to make sure that it remains wrapped. Consider adding crushed up paper around the headstock and the tuning keys. And then wrap in bubble paper. Newspapers would do just fine as a crushed up paper.
  5. Now, put it in the case in such a way that you make sure that any unsupported areas of the guitar are supported with the crushed up paper. Fill up any air space in the case with crushed up paper.

Just to ensure, I'd recommend carrying other accessories like pick, extra strings (just in case?) the belt, the Capo in a separate pouch that you can accommodate in your backpack.

  • 1
    While this is great advice for transporting a guitar safely, it might be a bit much for backpacking... After all you might want to actually play it once in a while, and at least personally I'd hate to have to go through all the unwrapping/wrapping procedure every time. – fgysin Jun 14 '16 at 9:04
  • @fgysin: I agree. – WedaPashi Jun 15 '16 at 4:18
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    also, newspaper gets moist the first thing you open the case, especially in the evenings when you are most probably going to play the instrument – Akabelle Feb 1 '17 at 10:03
6

My solution to this is a Hohner G3T and a 1 Watt Marshall amp.

enter image description here enter image description here

The Hohner fits easily down the side of my bigger rucksacks, and the amp is tiny. They don't add a huge amount to the weight of my pack

If the weather is wet I'll wrap them both in a plastic bag, but they have entertained me on many Munro tops.

I have never had any wildlife attracted to the sound, but perhaps that says more about my playing than anything else.

  • This is interesting, I was thinking more along the lines of an acoustic, but I could consider this option. How much does this setup weigh? (kg/lbs, either one) – manoftheson Nov 20 '14 at 4:27
  • This acoustic is one I've really been considering. – manoftheson Nov 20 '14 at 4:52
4

You should get a lapstick. I don't imagine that you're going to be able to find anything more convenient or compact than this thing is.

  • The best way to ensure your guitar stays in good shape on outdoor trips is to never expose it to the elements. Play it in your tent and only bring it outside when it's clear and calm out, never put it on the dirty or snowy ground, never leave it outside when you're not playing it.
  • The lapstick is small enough to fit in your pack, and you could pack it with your dry clothes to control moisture.
  • You listen to it with headphones (and a 9 volt battery), so attracting animals that are drawn to unnatural sounds out of curiosity shouldn't be too much of an issue, and singing while playing will repel most critters anyway.
  • If you do happen to have anything wander into camp while you're playing your lapstick, it looks like it would double as a pretty effective war club!
  • Issues:
    • extra weight
    • extra bulk
    • cold fingers (or cracked fingertips in extreme conditions)
    • killjoys (camp-mates that aren't necessarily music fans)
    • sharing? "Dude you have a Guitar!? Hand it over here! ROCK ON PETE TOWNSHEND!"
    • Headphone guitars are only really a one man jam sesh, so unless you brought little compact speakers or a mini amp, you'd probably want something acoustic, which would be larger and kinda awkward.

Whatever you get, I'd recommend finding or making a light, soft, waterproof padded case for it.

Photos from Lapstick website:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • This is also an interesting one. Seems fairly compact. – manoftheson Nov 20 '14 at 4:30
3

My choice was getting a ukulele. Small, light, has a soft padded case which I sometimes wrap in a plastic bag (or put the uke in a bag and then in the case), and I can easily attach it to the main backpack I have (not hanging loose like a guitar & its case would). Might not be as challenging/fun as the guitar, but it is definitely easy to learn/play/carry around.

  • May I get at least an explanation for the downvote? – Akabelle Feb 8 '17 at 12:14
  • I haven't down-voted the answer, but I think I can imagine the reason. Looking at the answers, someone must have got upset with a another suggestion of getting a compact travel-friendly guitar rather than tips for packing the one OP has. But, its not just your answer which does that. I do agree that its one of the easiest way going outdoors with a guitar, but that is not the only/primary question OP has. – WedaPashi Aug 29 '17 at 14:12

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