Toting Your Props

Toting Your Props

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I’m putting fans first because the portability grief they put us through can only be rivaled by the dragon staff.  That’s because fans are cumbersome to carry around, but still, we don’t love them any less for it.  Especially not when there’s a few easy hacks to solve the problem.

Here Marian Kahn is using a carabiner on either side of her backpack clipped into the fan handles to tote these guys around.


No backpack? You can use the same trick to clip them to your belt or waist pouch (it will slightly impede your stride though).

Fan Covers

These are easier to make than you think (and important too).  All those little wicks can take a lot of damage after heavy transport, and they can definitely damage your car seats and other property by getting that soot we love so much at the festival (but not so much in the real world) all over.

Get yourself some cool fabric (stretchy so it fits nice and snug) and let the lovely Erika Bansen show you just how simple it can be.  If you see her, give her a big hug and say “thanks for the awesome fan covers tutorial!”  *Video coming soon. 😀

Erika Bansens Fan Hack

Staff & Sword

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video is worth…however many frames per second X 1000.  I may not be great at math, but the Ninja Pyrates can cover for me with their smarts.

Their amazing “flowhacker” page is full of incredible tips, and I’d like to highlight this super-simple one about staff.  If my Handbook diagram was confusing this will definitely clear things up.

Make sure you visit the whole page and take a gander at all the other amazing info they provide.


Bags and Cases for Staff and Sword

For extensive travel and organizational purposes, we’ve collected some awesome suggestions from our readers.

Here are just a few of the softer options (most of these have the added benefit of having pockets and compartments where you can store other props, creating a one-carry-all prop bag).

Oar Bag

Ski Bag

“Bag of Holding”  


Hard case portability bags are awesome for playing Tetris in a packed car, or checking your staff at an airport since both options, and many others, can really compromise the staff’s safety.

Rifle Case – For modular or very short staff.

Fishing Case – Also for modular or short. How perfect is this fishing case with foam strips affixed inside?  The foam is slitted to hold the staff and it’s modular pieces securely.

Rifle Case holding staff and modular pieces

Fishing Case holding staff and modular pieces

PVC pipe – Easy grab from the hardware store, but don’t forget the 3″ end caps to seal it nice and tight.  It’ll even provide a good level of protection from the rain.   In a real pinch it can be used a dip container for your sword BUT we don’t recommend this kind of use unless you have plenty of time to leave the pipe out to dry and ventilate.  

*Pro tip.  Personalize the crap out of your PVC case by making stencils and spray painting your style right on the sucker.  Or, throw some stickers on from all the places it has travelled and from our amazing vendors.  Thanks to Carl Haney and Patrick “Spidey” Webb for these tips.



Oh, let us count the ways to carry your hoop.  You hoopers are always styling so it makes sense that there are a million and one adorable ways to carry your hoops.  Here are three.

Purchase a hoop bag.  Gopher Sport carries these super functional carriers in an impressive variety of colors.  This came recommended by an experienced and professional hooper named Natalie McFancy, so you can trust that it’s good advice.

Create a Hoop Cozy/Huggy/PJ.  Doesn’t matter what you call it, these are just awesome and reflect your personal style with all the different ways you can make them, and the different fabrics you can use.  You’ve already seen the tiny diagram which was based on this video, but the video should do a much better job of breaking it down.

Make a Zip-up Hoop Bag!  Sa-Fire does an amazing job breaking it down one short video.



You know I’d be reaching here. This props portability is pretty self evident – just tie it around your neck and go!

And after Nick Woosley and FlowToys came out with their hipsack which fits podpoi and some smaller contact poi, what more can I really say?

Consider this, a slip knot to keep your poi secure on your person is a great way to free yourself from your own bonds and not waste one spinning second untying a knot that got pulled too tight by the dangling prop.  Here’s a great tutorial:



Pete Gamble, the whip rock star and admin of the awesome Sport, Circus and Performance Whip Crackers Groups, has provided us with these tips and tutorials.

On the matter of whip bags the best so far are tennis racquet bags.  You can get them cheap from charity shops and they work really well with bull, ph, and stock whips. I’ve also used violin cases.. great fun and look good on stage.  For larger quantities of whips I use a Molle combat rucksack with side pockets to keep all the essential bits and bobs separate

Tutorial for Simple Leather Straps: mostly made out of scrap leather or old belts.  Mind that the whip will always slip unless you do one of two things . 1 Add a leather thong and tie it in place or

 2 Go for the longer “Wraparound design” that double wraps the whip and holds it in place.
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Thanks Pete!

Got some Dragon Staff tips?  Oh how we need them!  Please email with your suggestions.

General portability Tips

Carry-on Props   Getting stopped by customs because of the black balls of Kevlar® in your luggage is never fun, but here’s how you can offset air travel hazards if you don’t want to check your prop as suggested by Phoenix Drako Arete.

Don’t fuel props less than 24 hours before flight.  Leave them in well ventilated area 24 hours before flight.  Have a bag to put your props in and leave a note in bag explaining what fire props are and where you are going.

According to another isolated tip I received, that note should have pictures of the prop in use so the TSA agents can have you on your way quicker than it takes to read a detailed explanation.  I’ve also heard of people putting the TSA logo on the paper.  Whether this actually works or not, though, has yet to be tested and verified by me.

Wick Covers   I’ve touched upon this in the Fans section, however there are a million and one ways to cover up single wicks too, and the Ninja Pyrates mention quite a few of them on the before-mentioned flowhacker page.


No one knows more about prop toting that our community and all our info comes from readers like you.  If you know a tip that we haven’t mentioned here, we’d be stoked to see it in our comments or emailed to so we can add it to this article.  If you take the time to make some simple (or complex) tutorials, you will get more kudos from us than you can handle.
Spin safely!
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Mariya K is the creator of Fire Arts Magazine as well as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator at the She is ultimately the Creative Director at Fire Arts Magazine