Most festivals are just one big camping trip with great music and great people. When packing, think of what you’d bring on a camping trip. If you’ve never gone camping, don’t worry, I still included camping equipment in this list. Also: Check out the festival’s website. Most of them have a list of what to bring/what not to bring.
I’ve broken this list up into smaller lists to make it easier to follow. If you have any suggestions for what to bring to a festival, please let me know in the comments box and I’ll add it!
For the campsite:
-Tent: Before departing for the festival, set up the tent in your backyard to make sure you have all the parts and know what you’re doing. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to set up your tent at the festival. Don’t forget stakes!
-Sleeping bag or if you prefer a blowup mattress
-Yoga Mat or mattress pad to put under your sleeping bag
-Blankets: Lay them out around the campsite for a nice lounging area. Bring them into the festival. Use ‘em for warmth.
-Folding chairs/camping chairs/beach chairs: Whatever works as a place to sit. Coolers aren’t bad seats either.
-E-Z UP or some kind of canopy area for shade
-Tapestries/sheets to hang in your shade area. (Bring clothespins or other tools to hang these up.)
-A tarp: For shade or to cover the ground
-Trash bags for food at your campsite (Don’t forget a bag for recycling!)
-Head light: so extremely handy at night.
For your belly:
If you’re going to rely on buying food beforehand instead of buying festival food, there’s definitely a cheap, efficient way to do it. If you don’t have a grill- no fear- there’s a way to eat at a festival grill-less too. Just remember to get your daily servings of protein, carbs, fiber, etc.
-Water, water, and more water. Some festivals provide water fountains inside, but having too much water is never a bad thing.
-Tip about ice: A week before the festival, freeze a case of water. When it’s time for the festival, the water bottles will act as ice and when they thaw out, drink em!
-Try to bring food that’s high in protein/fiber
-Try to bring food that doesn’t need to be kept cold in case you run out of ice
-Bagels: These are great for mornings and don’t need to be kept in the cooler.
-Cream cheese: I’ve kept cream cheese in a cooler without ice for up to three days and it’s been fine to eat.
-Canned food: For lunch at festivals I usually eat tuna fish everyday. You can’t beat the $.75 cans at the supermarket. I also bring canned green beans, corn, carrots, fruit and beans. All of this food is fine to eat right out of the can and it’s under $1. (If you’re going with canned food don’t forget to bring a can opener or another tool to open the cans.)
-Bread: Also doesn’t need to be kept cold.
-Ketchup, Mayo and Mustard Packets: great to bring unless you don’t mind bringing the whole bottle.
-Plastic utensils and paper plates, unless you prefer to bring real ones and wash them. (In that case don’t forget a sponge or soap.)
-Freeze-dried meals. At Ramsey’s Outdoor I bought these and loved them. They have dinner, lunch, breakfast and dessert options for reasonable prices: $3 to $8. You just boil water, add it to the bag, wait 10 minutes and then the food is ready. (Only get these if you have the tools to boil water.)
-Beef jerky: Great snack and great for protein.
-Fruit: oranges, apples, peaches, bananas, etc. Dried fruit is good, too.
-Granola/Trail Mix: Great for energy
-Energy bars/protein bars/fiber bars, whatever you prefer.
For your body:
-Clothes that are loose, comfortable for dancing and moving around (Suggestions for girls: scarves (these are very versatile: can use as shirts and skirts), long skirts, breezy dresses, soffee shorts, sarongs. At festivals I barely wear regular clothes.)
-Clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Always be prepared for the rain and mud.
-Hoodie/jacket for night
-Rain gear, a poncho
– Colored/cool decorated sports bras to wear instead of shirts or to wear under shirts.
-Bathing Suits: Even if there’s not a swimming hole around, sometimes it just gets too darn hot to wear regular clothes.
-Clothes to sleep in
-Bandanas, headbands, hats…anything to keep your head and face cool. Bandanas are great to soak in water and then wrap around your neck or head.
-Sunglasses: Definitely bring more than one pair. The rule of twos. You never know what you’re gonna lose or break.
-Comfy sandals. Regular, thin, flimsy flip-flops usually don’t cut it for days of outdoor activity. You’re probably going to be trekking through dirt, mud, lots of grass, gravel- not to mention walking and dancing all day for days. You don’t want your feet to take a beating. I always bring my Reef hiking flip-flops and ADIAS hiking flip-flops. They both never fail me. Even if it’s not raining, rain boots are a huge plus.
-Extra pair of shoes: Whatever you bring, bring one more pair. Again, rule of twos. Just in case.
-Small backpack, fanny pack, knapsack: You probably won’t want to carry around a purse.
-Extra hair ties
For your protection:
-Sunscreen: You may not think you need it, but remember, you’re most likely going to be outside all day for days. There’s nothing worse than sunburn when you can’t escape the sun.
-Garlic: If eaten it helps keep the bugs at bay. I’ve eaten whole cloves before.
-Baby wipes: When you don’t have a shower, these definitely come in handy.
– Toiletries: tooth brush, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, floss, etc.
– Electrolytes, Vitamins, stuff of this nature. I usually bring the Emergen-C powder to put in my water.
-First Aid kit, band-aids
-Spray bottle/Mister with a fan: Instantly cool you off and guarantee you a ton of friends. Once someone sees that you have one, they head in your direction.
-Oxy Pads: Instantly wipe the dirt off your face.
-Instrument if you have one: tambourine, shaker, guitar, anything to jam with.
-Camera: Don’t forget an extra memory card and battery. If you don’t want to worry about ruining your camera, buy a disposable one.
-Costumes: When else can you wear a costume, feel completely free and get complimented? (Other then Halloween and Costume Parties, of course.) Think boas, capes, masks, fairy wings, headdresses, feathers, wands, leis, mardi gra beads, anything you want. Be creative.
-Flowers for your hair
-Frisbees, soccer balls, etc.
-Stuff to trade
-The most open mind you can possibly have. I can’t stress how important this is. You’re probably going to see things and smell things that you never have before. Especially at smaller festivals you’re probably going to meet people who lead completely different lives than you, and look extremely different than you. Despite all this, you’re going to experience and witness more love than you can imagine. Disregard appearance and look into people’s hearts.
-Remember who you are before and after the festival.
-Friendly positive attitude
-Smiling face and lots of laughter
-Journal: In case you want to record all those magical moments or want to get phone numbers of new friends.
-Towels. As the ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ says, the towel is the most massively useful thing. You should always pack a towel.