The Traveling Didge

Traveling with a didge can be a “massive” burden. It’s an age old problem. To didge, or not to didge, on the road? That is not the question. Of course you'll didge on the road. The question is,

“What is the right solution for your situation?” .

Telescoping Didges

If cost is a restriction, PVC and similar plastic tubing can be adapted for a telescoping or slide didge. PVC is lightweight and has many sizes, fittings, and adaptors for plumbing that can be quite useful. It’s actually quite a fun exercise to try different configurations of assembly and listen to the acoustical differences. PVC mouthpieces must have beeswax or similar non-toxic covering. You never want to let your lips make contact with the plastic, since plastics in general tend to have some level of toxicity.

3D printed Teledoo by Ben Gruver (compact)
Teledoo (compact)
3D printed Teledoo by Ben Gruver (extended)
Teledoo (extended)

If you have some high-tech know-how and a 3D printer you can do what Ben Gruver did; He created a 3D printable telescoping didge that collapses small enough to fit in your carry-on bag. The rigidity of the plastic he uses in the printer gives the didge a good sound quality. He continues develop the design and welcomes questions at email address or on Facebook

Compact Didges

Didge boxes are popular, compact, and lightweight. Just like standard didgeridoos, these come in varying quality. If you are going for a box didge, don’t skimp on price. You get what you pay for. You will never have a quality tone out of a cheap box didgeridoo.

Serpentine Didge by Twistedidge Didgeridoos
Serpentine Didge

Another option are the hardwood, serpentine shaped didgeridoos. These are still relatively compact but are just as heavy as a standard hardwood didge. But because of that, you get all the tonal quality of the standard hardwood didge. These instruments are often highly decorative sculptures that are as much an art piece as a didgeridoo.

Lightweight Didges

Didges made of material other than hardwood can be lighter. If the concern is weight instead of space, then agave is a great alternative. It is considerably lighter than wood if the didge is made well. But be careful, agave is quite fragile compared wood.

Another option is bamboo. If you are harvesting green bamboo to make a didge, be sure to tape it up with duct tape to prevent splitting while it seasons. Trying to make a didge out of green bamboo is destined for failure. Sooner or later, it will crack. Just like in hardwood didge making, patience is the greatest virtue.

Zachary Bainter playing a lightweight telescoping didge
Zachary Bainter playing
a lightweight telescoping didge

There are many options of materials from which a lightweight didgeridoo can be made. Carbon fiber didgeridoos are becoming more popular recently. They are strong, durable, and can be molded and shaped to whatever the didge crafter desires.

There are also advantages to combining materials for lightweight didges such as carbon fiber with telescoping sections. This can provide a deeply resonant and lightweight instrument that can become relatively compact for travel.

Breakdown Didges

There is quite a range in cost and quality in this category. A breakdown didge simply means it can be disassembled in some way to make it more compact for travel. This could be as simple and inexpensive as threaded PVC segments that can be stowed in a thin cloth bag, or as fine and expensive as a finished hardwood didge with threaded steel connectors that create a single solid stick. Once broken down, it can fit into a saxophone sized case. One of our favorite versions of the breakdown didge, is the Troubadour Series by Primal Tones (Tyler Spencer). These instruments are of the highest quality and are just plain gorgeous. If you have the surplus cash, this is a must buy.

Troubadour by Primal Tones
Troubadour by
Primal Tones

At the other end of the spectrum is an inexpensive breakdown didge that is not only a good starter instrument, but also doesn’t sound half bad. Didge Project sells these with a handy travel bag.

Didge Carriers

For protection during transport, hardwood didgeridoos should be kept in a cloth bag at the very least. This will help prevent bangs against other objects from becoming a moment of disaster. Some breakdown didges, like the the Troubadour, come in a fine, hard travel case. This is best as airplane carry-on luggage. Don’t trust the baggage handlers with this precious cargo. The Troubadour case is for safe, classy travel and arriving at your performance venue in style.

Troubadour by Primal Tones
Troubadour by
Primal Tones

Didge bags are great for slinging a lightweight didge over your shoulder for a day hike. Check out the WET Didgeridoo didge slings for easy to transport lightweight instruments. However, heavier breakdown didges may be a better fit in a backpack for a camping trip.

Shipping Your Didge

Trusting a parcel carrier/airline with your didge can be a great source of anxiety. If this kind of transport is absolutely necessary, don’t take shortcuts with protecting the instrument. Wrap that rascal and make sure it has rigid protection. Finely crafted didgeridoos that are being shipped need to be not only bubble wrapped, but also packed in a hard case - or at least reinforced so that hard bumps and drops don’t put stress on the stick. No word yet in on whether the word FRAGILE on the box contributes to a positive or negative result when your didge arrives at it’s new home.