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Transporting a 45lb/20kg keyboard in a backpack case?


John Salazar
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My trips are usually quite short, but I need to go up and down flights of stairs whenever I go out, and I've found that using a backpack style case for boards is the easily most painless method of transport in this case.  The heaviest I've gone is around 25-30lbs, but my back was consistently able to handle it with not much stress.

 

So now I'm considering getting a Nord Grand for home and gig use, and a big reason is that fits in a Gator Pro-Go backpack style case almost perfectly:  https://www.gatorcases.com/products/keyboard/pro-go-ultimate-keyboard-gig-bags/pro-go-keyboard/slim-88-note-keyboard-gig-bag-g-pg-88slim/

 

The question now is if transporting a board as heavy as the Nord Grand (which is about 46lbs) in a backpack case for relatively short trips is a good idea or if I'm crazy for even considering it.  I actually think it's more of a concern regarding the shape rather than the weight - I have carried a 50lb backpack before, but a backpack is a much more compact load compared to an 88 key board, which would be a fairly lopsided and loom a bit over your head (or at least my head, since I'm around 5'7).  Maybe awkward balance issues could arise?  I also regularly squat at the gym where the bar alone is 45lbs, but I don't know if that means much since the weight distribution and actual movement are so different from walking with a heavy backpack. 

 

But if anything, Gator is still selling these backpack cases, so that is some indication to me that they somewhat serve their purpose well?

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Interesting insight Dave. Thinking bio-mechanically for a minute, the balance thing really could be an issue. Whenever the keyboard gets tilted sideways or forward / backward, you are having all the weight at the end put a bending moment around your waist which is proportional to the distance away from the centroid. In other words, the weight of the thing gets a multiplier effect the further out from your center of mass it is, exerting a multiple force of the original weight on your poor muscles.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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I was almost exactly in your situation, as I used to carry a Nord Stage (only a couple of kgs lighter) up/down 4 flights of stairs in a Gator Pro-Go case.

As the others have mentioned, the weight is absolutely manageable. What's awkward is the balance, and most of all lifting up the thing on your shoulders, and then putting it down. You have to squat very carefully not be thrown off balance and risk falling down. Ideally, you should have a table or chair to do it, first putting the keyboard on it so it's roughly at shoulder level. Otherwise, it's VERY unconfortable. I ended up just carrying it by the side handle most of the time.

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4 minutes ago, Dave Ferris said:

I was considering the NG for a minute, made a few trips to the GC where each I lifted it off the stand and walked around with it. Like I've posted before, I think ergonomically it's easier to grasp then the 5 lb. lighter CP88 but I would seriously worry about the balance issue you mentioned doing it back pack. If the steps are outside with rain or ice, that sounds really dicey. With that Gator case you're adding roughly another 11 lbs.

 

I'm 5'9" and I tried the backpack thing on my lighter CP4. I have a strong back from years of back raises, lat pulls and seated cable rows. And I would call myself pretty fit for my age, 68. Before I sustained two stress fractures in my L knee, I regularly squatted 45 of the bar + a pair of 35s...so a tad over a 100. Right now I'm just doing the hack squat and 45 degree angle leg press, both light weight, to keep some gym strength till this heals up better.

 

But the backpack thing did not agree with my back at all with an old Yamaha YB88 soft bag that I had the luggage store add some back pack straps. I bagged it after two moves...and that was an easy schlep, no stairs.

 

You can try it and see how it affects your back. You didn't mention your age but I will say I was schlepping the 70+ lb. CP300 fairly regularly till almost age 60. Much changed dramatically in my 60s.

 

Looks like a nice case that would move the NG efficiently, and at a lower price then their dedicated case.

 

 

 

I'm actually the ripe old age of 26 but I'd like to think I still have some life left in my back.  But you make a good point with the rain and ice scenario - maybe in that case I'd just use the backpack straps for indoor stairs and use the handle outside.  I really wish I could try it before I buy but buying and returning if I can't handle it would be a huge hassle, especially when my local music store would have to order both in as neither the Grand nor the Gator case are currently in stock. 

 

Alternatively, I could just get a Nord Piano 5 73 and call it a day, but that wouldn't be as fun.

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33 minutes ago, Spider76 said:

I was almost exactly in your situation, as I used to carry a Nord Stage (only a couple of kgs lighter) up/down 4 flights of stairs in a Gator Pro-Go case.

As the others have mentioned, the weight is absolutely manageable. What's awkward is the balance, and most of all lifting up the thing on your shoulders, and then putting it down. You have to squat very carefully not be thrown off balance and risk falling down. Ideally, you should have a table or chair to do it, first putting the keyboard on it so it's roughly at shoulder level. Otherwise, it's VERY unconfortable. I ended up just carrying it by the side handle most of the time.

But once it's on, is it easy enough to keep balance while walking, or is it still a bit of a struggle?  Also, if you took it out of a car, you wouldn't really have a chair or table to assist you right?  So I'm assuming that would have been a pain to load on your shoulders in that case. 

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yes once it's on it's no problem, although you have to be conscious of the size, and careful not too bump into things, doors etc.

Of course I'm not talking about normal, effortless walking: it will be more like a slow cautios stroll, always minding each step.

 

When I didn't have a raised support to put it on/off, I put i vertically on the floor, squat down, put the shoulder straps on, and then CAREFULLY stood up. Carefully to avoid toppling over, and most of all to avoid injuring my back. Very good exercise for your quadriceps, anyway!

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I regularly carry a Hammond SK2 (35 pounds/16 kg) in a backpack case.  I'm a reasonably fit guy, and for many of the reasons stated above, I think the SK2 is about as heavy as I'd want to go in a backpack case.  Surely, the dimensions of the SK2 complicate things (dual manual) but the Nord Grand form factor is in the same ballpark as the SK2, for purposes of this discussion.  

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On occasion I've used the backpack function of my Gator bag to carry my 47 pound Kronos 73.

 

Yes, it has numerous advantages - easier to navigate stairs, narrow turns, dodgy terrain, or any other situation where loading it horizontally onto my Rock n Roller cart is difficult. It works the leg muscles and shoulders, and the length makes it an odd load as it constrains my normal walking gait (I'm only 5'5"). Going up and down stairs with 50 lbs on your back...well, when I finally get to the stage it may take me a minute until I'm willing to claim I'm in decent shape.

 

All to say, I only use the backpack function these days when absolutely necessary. It's way easier to backpack my 25lb S3000, where the 88 key length is the only inconvenience for a short guy. 

 

50 lbs? I'll use the cart unless there's no other way.

 

 

..
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My problem with my MODX7 backpack is certainly not weight (it's a toy), it's that I'm tall and it's very easy to whack the bag on doors and other things.  

A secondary concern with something heavy would be the integrity of the straps, probably where they connect to the bag.

Thankfully I rarely deal with stairs, not sure what I'd do then (rock and roll cart would be useless).

I always maintain that shlepping gear is "bad" exercise, it typically makes you contort into awkward positions :)   One piece of gear I don't miss from the old days--lighting trusses, the kind that held the big ol hot and heavy lights.  I still have a scar from one of those things whacking my hand.   We were on the frat circuit so you had to take everything--distro box, amp rack, huge 3-way unpowered stacks, lighting...no roadies. :D

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Forgetting the age/health question . . . I am massively skeptical of carrying larger-than-backpack sized objects on my back.  Maybe it all works right in the best of circumstances, but in un-ideal circumstances- a fall, slip, catching the keyboard on an object, etc- things can go south very quickly. Carrying it, you can always let go. Having 50+ pounds extending that far your center of gravity that you can't immediately release just feels like a life-changing injury waiting to happen.

 

I spent a year carrying a 61 key board (PC6le) on my back, and I might consider something that size again, but no bigger.

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  • 2 months later...
On 4/18/2022 at 4:54 AM, Tom Tom said:

Have you purchased the bag yet? I‘m thinking about getting the same bag for my NG since I already have a ProGo Guitar Bag and feel like they are great value. But I am a little concerned about whether the NG will actually fit.

 

 

I actually opted for a Nord Piano 5 73 instead for the portability.  Still wondering what it would be like to have the grand though...

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