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Helpful Items for Traveling Tattoo Artists

Precision Needles at the 2013 Santiago Tattoo ExpoWhether you travel the convention circuit or just make the occasional guest appearance at another shop, you’ll need a portable arsenal of tattoo supplies to practice your craft when you’re on the road. You’ll want all the things you use in your shop on a daily basis with you, but in a more convenient, compact, easy-to-transport form. So how do you cram all the essentials—like liners and shaders, tattoo needles, grips, tips and tubes, a power supply, tattoo ink, cups and holders, stencils, thermal copiers, thermal copier paper, surgical pens, post-tattoo wraps like Tatu-Derm, and tattoo aftercare products—into a single case or two to that you can manage when you’re traveling? Don’t worry! We have some unique solutions geared towards making the traveling tattoo artist’s life on the road as simple and hassle-free as possible.

What are the best tools for traveling tattoo artists? Does every shop staple come in a convenient travel size? Are there better alternatives to traditional tattoo supplies that make more sense for traveling artists? The answer is absolutely yes! Here’s a rundown of the best tools to pack in your toolkit the next time you’re getting ready to hit the road, as well as the best cases for helping you transport the tools you need in an organized way.

Hard Tattoo Travel Case

Getting Started: Choosing the Right Case(s) for Your Tattoo Gear

Deciding what type of tattoo case or bag to buy starts with the answer to a simple question: Where are you going to tattoo during your travels? If you’re planning on doing a couple guest appearances at different shops, you have an advantage that many artists traveling the convention circuit don’t have: You’ll be in a shop for a short time, so you can pack fairly light. Plus, the shop will most likely be well stocked with all the essentials, so if you forget to pack some commonly-used product, your host can most likely help you out with the missing item(s). If you’re going to be at a shop for more than a few days, you can even have tattoo supplies shipped to you there with little to no hassle--or just have everything shipped there ahead, so all you need to take with you is your favorite machine(s), power supply, and other staples. In this case, a simple backpack designed for tattoo artists, like one of Sullen’s Blaq Paq backpacks or the Blaq Paq Traveler would probably be the perfect tattoo bag for you.
 

Sullen’s Blaq Paq Tattoo Travel Bag LineSullen's Blaq Paq Line Includes 4 Bags to Meet Tattoo Artists' Varying Needs

The Blaq Paq comes in 4 options to meet tattoo artists’ varying needs. The benefits of each are outlined in the chart below for easy comparison, but here’s the bottom line:

The Blaq Paq Core has a very apropos name, because it contains the essentials that every good tattoo travel bag should have. It’s definitely the core, or elemental, option in the Sullen line. It comes with 3 padded large inner compartments interspersed with a few small zippered exterior and interior pockets, as well as 3 removable cases that you can use to organize all of your gear.

If you need something a little more robust, try the Blaq Paq Onyx or its hip camo cousin, the Limited Edition Assault Blaq Paq Onyx (shown to the right). These bags have lots of padded pockets and a central compartment that splits in half to reveal two carefully-contained removable storage cases for all the smaller supplies you’ll need, like grommets, tips and back-up machine parts. There are also special pockets for your tattoo machines that have double locks to thoroughly protect your gear. The straps are wide, padded and seriously tough—built to hold up a heavily-loaded bag. There’s even a horizontal strap that clips across your chest for added stability. Check out the chart below for the full list of benefits the Onyx bags have to offer.Sullen Backpack with Skull

The Traveler is the Godfather of the Blaq Paq line--a larger pilot bag style tattoo bag with a retractable handle and wheels that make it easy to cart this rectangular case around behind you rather than strapping it to your back. If you’re headed to a convention or out for an extended series of guest appearances, this is the bag for you. You might even want to get this bag and a Blaq Paq backpack, depending on where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, and how much gear you need to tow along with you.

Don't forget that Sullen makes awesome regular backpacks, too, like the one shown to the left. These bags are perfect for stowing a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and toiletries when you're just headed out for an overnight stay and need something small to hold your personal effects.

Here's a breakdown of each of the Sullen Blaq Paq bags' key features:

 

Sullen Blaq Paq Onyx Tattoo Travel Bag

Sullen Assault Blaq Paq Onyx Tattoo Travel Bag

Sullen Blaq Paq Traveler Tattoo Gear Bag

Sullen Blaq Paq Core Tattoo Travel Bag

Bags & Features

Sullen Blaq Paq Onyx Tattoo Travel Bag

Limited Edition Assault Sullen Blaq Paq Onyx Tattoo Travel Bag

Sullen Blaq Paq Traveler With 3 Cases

Sullen Blaq Paq Core With 3 Cases

Bag Style

Backpack

Backpack

Rolling Pilot Bag

Backpack

Cushioned Laptop Sleeve

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sketchbook Pouch

Yes

Yes

No

No

Padded Tattoo Machine Pouches

4 Lockable Pouches

4 Lockable Pouches

Removable Foam-Padded Cases

Removable Foam-Padded Cases

Double Lock Utility Zippers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Heavy-Duty, Vinyl-Coated Rip Stop Material

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Water-Resistant Fabric

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Paintbrush Pockets

Yes

Yes

Yes, With Protective Covers

Yes, With Protective Covers

Music/Phone Pocket With Headphone Slit

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fully-Enclosed, Front-Padded Inner Compartments

Yes, 4

Yes, 4

Remove Adjustable Interior Compartments to Convert to Regular Luggage

Yes, 3

Power Supply Strap

Yes

Yes

No

No

Customizable Modular Storage Cases for Inks, Tubes, Caps, Etc.

Comes with 2 Removable Cases

Comes with 2 Removable Cases

Comes with 3 Removable Cases

Comes with 3 Removable Cases

Heavy-Duty, Weight-Tested Handles & Straps

Ultra-Padded Adjustable Arm Straps & Securing Chest Clip

Ultra-Padded Adjustable Arm Straps & Securing Chest Clip

Extendable Retractable Top Handle & Side Handles

Ultra-Padded Adjustable Arm Straps

Padded Compartment for Collapsible Travel Arm Rest

No

No

Yes

No

Easy Ride Luggage Wheels

No

No

Yes

No

TSA Travel Compartment Size

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Heavy-Duty, Hard-Shell Tattoo Travel Case OptionsFoam Lined Hard Travel Case for Tattoo Supplies

If you’re about to travel the convention circuit, you likely need to pack more than a machine, some ink and a handful of other accessories—i.e. you’ll need to cram everything you can into your case except the kitchen sink… and maybe throw in some wet wipes to cover that base, too. Sure, conventions are typically chock full of supply companies that have most, if not all, of the resources you could possibly need if you forget something or run out of a popular color of tattoo ink. But when you have a client lying in the prone position, waiting to be tattooed, that’s not the ideal moment to say, “Oh, hey, I completely forgot to bring along black lining ink. Can you hang tight for 15-20 minutes while I find a supplier who has my preferred brand and pick up a bottle?” The point is, it’s better to pack thoroughly, and packing thoroughly requires proper luggage. A Sullen Blaq Paq Traveler and a supplemental Sullen Campus Backpack for your personal effects may be all you need, but a heavy-duty, hard-shell travel case could be an even better option for you. You could get a large case, with pockets and (removable) foam pre-cut with slots for your grips/tubes, ink bottles, and other essential supplies, or you could get a big travel case—either one with a set of drawers inside, or a 4-in-1 unit that contains 4 different cases (some with drawers, some with trays) that stack up and lock in place to form one mega travel case on wheels (shown below).
Tattoo Travel Case With 4 Containers That Lock Together
 

There are a lot of choices, which means there’s a case… or two… or three that will suit your needs perfectly. You might want a deluxe travel case for conventions and a Blaq Paq for shop visits, plus a smaller backpack you can use to stow your personal effects. (Don’t forget, you’ll need to pack socks, underwear, a toothbrush, and all that good stuff before you hit the road, not just tattoo equipment!) Once you decide on your perfect set of luggage, it’s time to…

 

Pack Your Gear!

Now that you have the perfect bag(s) and/or case(s) to transport your tattoo gear, it’s time to start packing them. Get started by going over our list of traditional essentials, and add or remove items as needed. Look for travel-sized options where they’re available and where it makes sense to go for a smaller size. For instance, if you use more black ink than any other color, go for the big bottle. Don’t bog yourself down with a giant case of full-size aftercare salve tubs that you may or may not be able to sell, though. Get a reasonable amount to make a display, and pick up sample packets or small jars to send home with your clients. Make sure you have enough of each item packed for every job you have booked, plus a little extra. You can always have us expedite a package of supplies if you start to run low on anything partway through your tour, so don’t go crazy and overburden yourself before you even hit the road. Unless you have an apprentice at your mercy or a dedicated roadie, you'll be lugging your gear on your own, so keep it as manageable as possible.
 

Many Supplies Are Available in Convenient Travel-Sized Packets

Tattoo Supply Checklist

 

Transporting Your Supplies

We Can Ship Your Tattoo Supplies Straight to a Shop or Convention So You Don't Have to Lug Them All With You!You’ll likely want to keep a few choice items by your side as you travel, like your prized tattoo machine, your set of fine tattoo inks, and essentials like your toothbrush and clean underwear. But when it comes to extra supplies—everything that won’t fit in your awesome new tattoo gear case at least—why not let us ship it for you? We can send a package with all the ink cups, sterile trays, needles, extra ink, equipment covers, and other must-haves from your tattoo supply checklist directly to the convention or shop where you’ll be working and save you the headache of lugging it all with you while you’re traveling. When you place your order, enter the destination where you want us to ship your supplies and add a note to the Customer Notes field letting us know the exact date your package needs to arrive so that all your supplies are in your hands on time.

Limitless Custom Plugs - Have Plugs Created With Your Art

 

Don’t Forget Our Coupons, Sales & Deals!

Painful Pleasures was founded with the goal of supporting the individuals who make the body mod industry awesome by sharing their modification talents with the world. We want you to profit as much as possible from every tattoo you ink and every product you sell. That's why we offer all of our products at wholesale prices, even in our Retail Store. If you shop in our Wholesale store, you can take advantage of further reduced prices offered exclusively to industry professionals who spend $100-$499.99 per order. If you shop in our Distributor store, you’ll benefit from our very lowest prices, available only to industry professionals spending $500 or more per order.

To save even more, buy cases of items you use frequently and take advantage of bulk prices. Even products that aren’t offered in cases are often available with tiered pricing options, meaning the more you buy, the more you save.

Sullen T-Shirt on Sale Now!We also have a special Sales & Deals section where we feature all of our marked-down products. You’ll find a mix of promotionally-priced items, package deals, and discontinued products that are priced to move so we can make room for the new versions of those items. There are some real treasures in the Sales & Deals section, not just a bunch of garbage that we're trying to pawn off on people looking for a deal. There's awesome apparel by Sullen, Ink Addict, ALC, Tribal Gear, and other hot alternative apparel brands--T-shirts like the one shown to the left, shorts, tank tops, and more. Plus there's great jewelry, shop supplies and more.

Finally, don’t forget to check our Events section before purchasing to see our weekly coupons and any other specials we’re running. (Did you know that we're offering 15% off Intenze tattoo ink through the end of 2014? Now that's a sale event worth knowing about!)

To get our weekly coupons delivered right to your email inbox, subscribe to our mailing list by going to the store you prefer to shop in (Retail, Wholesale or Distributor), scrolling to the bottom of any page in the store, and entering your email address in the email sign-up box in the bottom-right corner of the page. Once you’re on our mailing list, you’ll get weekly emails containing our coupon of the week plus details about any new products and special offers we’re promoting.

We've got you covered supplies-wise, so pack smart, travel safely, keep calm, and tattoo on!