If you are already dreaming about next summer and the chance to attend a music festival finally, it isn’t too early to start thinking about your packing list. The better prepared you are for your big adventure, the better your chance of a stress-free, fun experience.

So what should you bring to a music festival? The easy answer is as much as you need to survive the weekend comfortably, but without taking too much. Important items like clothing, toiletries, and a secure place to sleep are high on the list so you can stay comfortable. Other items and gadgets will make your experience easier and more fun. You don’t need to pack as though you are away for a week, but you don’t need to slum it either.

What do you need to pack for a music festival?

Ideally, you need to try and find a middle ground between traveling light and being prepared. It helps to write out a checklist of all the things you think will be necessary and helpful. From there, you can make some adjustments to save space and then take that list with you, so you don’t forget anything when you pack to go home. Important factors to consider in your checklist include the following:

Note: Check festival guidelines for restrictions.

  • Tickets
  • Comfortable close-toed shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandanas
  • Closed Water Bottle
  • Powerbars
  • Solar chargers and cords
  • Chapstick
  • Baby Wipes
  • Clear Backpack
  • Poncho
  • Snacks/water for after the show

Camping additions:

  • Tent
  • Flashlight
  • Flag/Marker for your campsite
  • A secure bag/pouch
  • Toiletries
  • First aid kit
  • Bug spray
  • Reusable water bottle

Here’s a guide specific to camping music festivals:

Below, we will dig into the details behind why some items are helpful for your trip.

1) All Your Tickets and Important Documents

Before we dig into other areas, be sure you have the bare minimums you need to get to the front door. If you can’t gain access to the festival site, there is no festival for you. The first thing to do is to make sure you have all the necessary tickets, passes, and other important documentation.

This means proof that you have a camping ticket or VIP passes. Printed details in a secure wallet might help if your phone dies, and you can’t access your e-tickets or emails. Don’t forget your ID if you want to drink or enter age-restricted areas.

2) A Comfortable Place to Sleep if You are There Overnight

Next, you need a place to sleep if you are there for more than one day. Your tent doesn’t have to be some high-end model with fancy features and rooms. It just needs enough space for everyone to be comfortable. Waterproofing will help in case of bad weather or drunk neighbors.

Also, try and get something you can set up quickly and easily. You don’t want to spend time missing bands because you were arguing over tent poles. T3 has some great advice on finding the right tent.

3) Appropriate Clothing and Footwear

Appropriate may have different meanings here. You may have outfits picked out that are highly fashionable and “appropriate” for the scene, but are they practical and comfortable? Try and pack something warmer to wear at night when the sun goes down. Don’t forget a little rainproof poncho for any showers.

Also, consider your footwear. Can your shoes handle three days of walking between the stage and any mud? Oh, and clean underwear would help too. Be sure to bring a few backup pairs of everything (including underwear), just in case!

4) Toiletries and Sanitary Items

You only need the basics with you for staying clean and fresh during a festival. Deodorant, toothpaste, and cleansing wipes are high on the list. You can probably go a couple of days without any unessential items. If you have a strict regime, you might be able to pack some little travel bottles.

Another consideration here is toilet paper. You have probably read plenty of horror stories about the state of festival toilets. If you manage to find a clean-ish restroom somewhere, there is a good chance it won’t have paper. Take some rolls with you so you won’t spend the rest of your festival time on the toilet.

5) A First Aid Kit With Essential Medical Items

The best festivals will have first-aid tents for accidents and minor issues. Still, it helps to come prepared.

You need to make sure you have any essential medication for the duration of the festival. From there, pain killers, allergy tablets, and a general first aid kit will help. This means dressings and antiseptic creams for any cuts or bites. Also, don’t forget to pack sunscreen. You might find that the weather is on your side all weekend, but you could easily burn while standing in a field watching the bands play.

6) A Reusable Water Bottle and Some Snacks

Hydration and nutrition are important for health and safety. Some festivals may be strict about the food and drink you can bring in so that you buy on-site. But, it won’t hurt to try and bring in some cereal bars or other non-perishable food to refuel you over the weekend.

A reusable water bottle means that you can collect water from refill stations as often as you need to. This will save on unnecessary plastic bottles and save you some money at the same time.

7) All the Right Chargers for Your Electronic Items

It is a lot to ask to go without a smartphone or tablet for three days at a music festival, especially if your smartphone is also your camera. So, you need to make sure that you have all the necessary chargers with you. This also means your charger for your digital camera if you have one. The last thing you want is to be without your phone as you travel back.

Many top musical festivals now have charging points on site where you can take your device and charge it up. But, they might be a long way from the campsite and quite busy. An alternative option is to get a little power bank that you either charge up before your leave or that uses solar power. Below are a few different options:

8) A Torch When it Gets Dark

This is something that many first-time festival-goers don’t consider. When the sun goes down, and the lights from the stage go off, it can get pretty dark out there. At some point, you will have to make your journey back to the campsite in the dark. A torch will help here, as well as on any late-night trips to the toilet. You could try and use the light from your phone, but it isn’t as effective.

The best torch for festival camping will have a bright LED bulb that will illuminate enough of a path ahead of you – without blinding other campers. You might also want to consider a torch you can strap to your head. This keeps your hands free and makes things a lot easier. Below are some suggestions:

9) A Marker for Your Campsite

You picked out a simple, affordable tent for your group and pitched in a great space on the campsite. But, there is a good chance that the majority of other tents look very similar. Yours could get lost in a sea of canvas pretty quickly, especially after hours of music and alcohol. A flag or marker above your tent is a great way to find your way home. You can have fun crafting something significant and noticeable before you go.

10) A Secure Bag to Carry What You Need Around the Festival Site

Finally, it would help if you considered what you are going to carry everything in. You will need a strong rucksack for all your items when traveling to the site. It also helps to have another secure bag or pouch to wear during the day.

This way, you can have easy access to essential items like your phone, money, passes, water bottle, cleansing wipes, and any medication. Choose something with just the right capacity for your own personal items. You don’t want to be the pack mule carrying everything for everyone.

Conclusion

What should you bring to A music festival? This list of items should give you a good starting point for designing your own personalized checklist. The finer details and the number of items will depend on how much you think you need.

If you have space for extra comfort items during this unfamiliar experience, then take them. If you prefer the idea of packing light for a minimalist, off-grid festival experience, then go for it. Just make sure you are safe and comfortable for the event’s duration and that you can have fun.

Finally, make sure that you bring everything back home with you. Too many people leave their tents and other random items behind because they can’t be bothered to pack them up. This results in around 250,000 abandoned tents on UK festival sites alone. Pack wisely and tidy up after yourself. You may need everything again the following summer.

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