Winter tour survival tips from Civil Youth


We have made it something of a holiday tradition to find a band we believe them and ask them to detail their safety tips for life on the road in the dead of winter. Bands of all sizes have contributed to this series in the past, and the latest is none of other than fast-rising rock act Civil Youth. Enjoy!

Hello everybody! Civil Youth here to tell you
everything you need to know when it comes to touring during the winter months!
Weather you’re a band or a fan, here’s a side to touring most people might not
think about when driving to their favorite group’s next show….

Smart Routing

-If you’re still an independent band or have any sort of say with your
booking agent, be smart when you’re routing in the Winter months

– If you can be “out” of the storm states as much as
possible and as financially feasible as possible, DO SO. There’s no reason to
stay only north in the states when you can circle the south and stay warm at
least half of the time…

Look ahead before you travel. Don’t just plug in the next show via GPS
and go. Make sure you’re not taking any highways or roads that are too
dangerous for your vehicle and it’s trailer. Think “how would a trucker

We’ve certainly learned from experience trying to come east through Denver
during January. You run the risk of hitting a storm like we did and getting
trapped on top of a mountain in Vail, CO…


Tour packing is always “as little as possible” but think about unpacking the
trailer in 10 degree weather and the venue hasn’t turned their heating on yet…

Bring gloves, hats, boots and those little warming pads you can essentially put
ANYwhere. They come in handy more than underwear.

If you’re smart with your routing and have some hot southern states, don’t
forget about those. It’s a huge jump having a tour start in Florida and end in
Colorado. Pack 80 cold / 20 warm

– Tons of blankets for your feet, if you’re sleeping in the car still, and for
the window to keep as much cold out as possible. (If you’re not idling all

– socks on socks. Once your feet get cold, theres no turning back. Bring double
socks and extra shoes/boots

Van Essentials

– Make sure your vehicle is in top shape, Oil changes, transmission fluids,
antifreeze, windshield wipers and their fluids, good battery

There’s been times where our antifreeze leaked and we had no heating until we
had an off day and took the car to the shop. Waking up in Flagstaff with snow
and no heat SUCKS. We also wasted SO much money 🙁

We also had a bad battery one tour and every time we stopped I had to jump the
van which made me stay out in the cold even longer at 2 am… not fun, especially
in sketchy areas.

Tire tread is in good condition and you have chains. Never know what crazy
storms you can hit

– Ice scrapers because no one likes to get snow off of the window with old

– Lights you can hang in the trailer so you can see during load in. It gets
darker faster in the winter. The quicker youre out of the trailer, the quicker
youre getting to warmth.


Emergen-C, Tea, water  
These are usually a given, but people tend to get more sick during the winter.
Being on the road when you’re sick is literally the worse thing next to dying.

– Portable grill if you’re hardcore and like to grill in the cold like Evan. He
was a boy scout so get at us.

– Extra car fluids just in case.

– Spare tire and jack

Most importantly: 

Be smart
and careful. Shows are what we live for, but if one needs to get canceled, it’s
not the end of the world. Your safety is first. Drive slow, smart, and allow
extra driving time to your next show due to weather, traffic, etc. Don’t get
trapped on a mountain like we did during a blizzard and had to call emergency
service to get us down.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.