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What To Pack For Any Festival
Packing for a camping festival can be difficult. It’s a delicate balance of remembering to pack the necessities and the extra fun stuff – all while not packing too much. As a festivalgoer myself I have compiled the quintessential list of what to pack, blending the essentials (RAIN JACKET) and the “look what I brought!!” items. So here it is folks: my ultimate festival packing list.
Before you start packing, decide if you are going to COOK or eat at the festival. Festivals have fabulous food vendors serving everything you could possibly crave. If you plan on eating at the festival, then just pack some snacks and breakfast items. If you plan on cooking, check out my Camping Kitchen 101 to save money and cook delicious meals.
For the campsite
- Tent: If you plan on camping a few times a year, invest in a quality tent. I love my REI Half Dome 2 person tent. I can get it up in a matter of minutes, it comfortably fits two people, it’s small, and and I know it will last forever!
- Four Person Tent: For a more luxurious, slightly cheaper tent, the Coleman Easy Up tent is kind of amazing. Literally takes seconds to pop up and take down, and it’s roomy and perfect for car camping, too.
- Shade Tent: For the campsite (plus shade wall) or for the venue
- Tapestry: To block the sun or sit on at the show. I love my Tarpestry
- Quick Dry Towel
- Camping Chairs or CrazyCreek
- Table: Bring a small one from home or invest in a camping table
- Coolers: Yeti Coolers are simply the best coolers money can buy
- Ice (typically you can buy more at the festival)
- Head Lamps: The handsfree way to get around at night. Be sure and take it to the show so you can safely guide yourself home, to and from the bathrooms, or in the porta potty! Total life saver!
- Emergency First Aid Kit
- Phone Charger: Lots of options! For the car, juice pack for the phone, portable charger, multicord
- Loaded iPod
- No Service? No problem with walkie-talkies
- Portable speakers like these. I just got these UE booms that last forever and are easy to use! Plus they are waterproof!
- Sleeping bag and pillow: For a three season great down bag this Mountain Hardwear Heratio sleeping bag is a steal*
* If it’s cold, be sure to strip down to your base layer in your sleeping bag undies, socks, shirt (preferably moisture wicking), and hat. The sleeping bag is meant to insulate you. If you have clothing on – it can’t! If you have been sweating, change into a new, clean, DRY layer first, too!
- Sunscreen: If you burn, you will be miserable! Spray, face, powder (hair part!) and over 50+ SPF
- Bug spray
- Face wipes: Simple face wipes are my favorite!
- Hand wipes
- Meds: Pepto and Advil Cold & Sinus are always in my bag
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Dry shampoo: This is my favorite
- Nail clippers
- Lotion + Aloe
- Hair ties & clips
- Rain Jacket with hood
- Heavy Coat
- Cold Weather Hat
- Sun Hat
- Camera that’s fully charged: Go with a GoPro or Point and Shoot
- Chapstick with SPF
- Squeeze Breeze: A MUST!
- Necklace fan: Seriously a must
- Glow Sticks! DO NOT buy the big thick glowsticks. Only thin!
- BANDANA This is the best way to stay cool! Dunk it in cold water and wear around your neck or grab ice from a vendor and wrap the bandana around your neck.
I always love having sleepy pants to relax in. Hard Tail makes my favorite
If you’re in cold weather. be sure and bring some leggings to wear under your skirt/dress
If you’re in the mountains, be sure and pack layers for when the sun sets
- Grill: Electric/gas/your friend’s (big or little)
- Spatula: Eggs, burgers, and quesadillas need to be flipped
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Tin Foil: For 100+ uses
- Pan: For the eggs and quesadillas
- Grandpa’s Fork: Great for an open flame
- Paper plates or plastic bowls
- Plastic silverware
- Trash bags keep your campsite clean!
- Solo cups
- Coffee/coffee pot/mug
- Paper towels
- Plastic bags: When it rains, it pours. Protect your electronics like cell phones and speakers
- Trail Mix: Make your own at home with your favorite nuts and dried fruit
- Snacks: Granola bars, s’more packs, pretzels, giant barrel of cheese balls…
- Fruit: Because it makes you feel healthy
- Hot dogs/Brats
- Buns: You will be sad if you forget these
- Condiments: There are these awesome ketchup packets, or stop off at a fast food joint and stock up! Ketchup, mustard, mayo, peanut butter, and cream cheese
- Water jugs: Freeze before and they’ll keep the cooler cold
- Gatorade: When nothing else can quench your thirst
- Veggies: Onion, avocados for easy guac, peppers are easy to sauté
- Olive oil or Pam
- Salt and Pepper, Garlic Powder, or other seasonings (camp seasonings)
- Helpful Tips
Festival Beauty Essentials
- Dry Shampoo is a must: When you can’t wait in line for the showers or there is no shower. Dry shampoo will keep you looking fresh.
- When you can shower, it probably won’t be long (you might need quarters!) and it will be cold. I suggest just bringing shampoo and then a spray leave in conditioner. Dr. Bronner’s is your shampoo, soap, and toothpaste in one. A little goes a long way here so use just a drop and be sure to dilute it.
- Once you have washed your hair, get ready to air dry! Be sure and pack a curl enhancer or something to defrizz your hair.
- The best festival hairstyle is a braid. It keeps the hair out of your face and can stay put all day. Don’t forget bobby pins.
- Sunscreen: Spray, face, powder for your part
- Waterproof makeup with SPF: I am obsessed with Tarte’s Amazon Clay Foundation
Beauty (L to R) NARS Tinted Moisturizer with SPF // Tarte Waterproof Bronzer // Urban Decay Waterproof Eyeliner // Laura Mercier Tinted Lip Balm with SPF // Lip Balm with SPF // Clinique Waterproof Mascara // Powder Sunscreen
Body (L to R) Dr. Bronner’s Soap // Leavein Conditioner // Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo // Anti Frizz Serum // Neutrogena Sunscreen
Keep all of your toiletries in one bag. I use a hanging bag to hang inside the tent or in the car. I keep inside all my makeup, toiletries, and other essentials like my headlamp, meds, and tissues.
Remember most places do not allow glass! No glass beer, Starbucks ToGo drinks, or makeup in a glass!
Planet Blue 2 slit halter dressYoung Fabulous & Broke Jay RomperRayban Aviator Flash Lenses
Free People Flash Tattoos
VirgoInspiration Cressant Moon and Raw Crystal Earings (only $35.00)
Instanct Mineral Powder with SPF 30
Sole Society ‘Kianna’ Perforated Faux Leather Crossbody Bag (only $59.99!)
Gaucho Hat (only $39.99)
Franco Sarto Women’s Garcia Sandals (only $39.99!)
Festival style is whatever you’re going to be most comfortable in. For me, that is long dresses, comfortable dancing shoes, and a sweater for when the sun goes down. Here are few tips to keep you stylish and comfortable.
Style: Before you pack CHECK THE WEATHER. For the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, the weather can fluctuate from 80 degrees to 30 degrees and possibly snow so it’s best to dress in layers. You are also sitting most of the time so a short dress just won’t cut it. If you’re headed to a festival like Bonnaroo, you want to be comfortable in the heat. For both, I highly suggest a light weight kimono type sweater. Not to keep you warm, but to keep the sun off your shoulders and arms. Trust me, you will be happy you have one. Jeans are too hot so I prefer to wear a long skirt or dress and throw some leggings into my bag in case I get cold. White jeans shorts –forget about it. Oh, and never leave home without your raincoat
Shoes A few years ago I attended Austin City Limits and it poured down rain. Lucky for me, instead of wearing flipflops, I went with my Chacos. When it rained, that beautiful grass turns to mud and flipflops do not last in mud. They will get stuck and you will end up walking away without shoes. Why do you think Crocs are so popular?! Crocs set up shop at Bonnaroo and, every year when it rains, people toss their Rainbows for Crocs. I find Crocs hideous, so I stick with Chacos or any sandal with a back strap. For colder nights I love my Minnetokna Boots and Frys. I also have a great pair of Nike sneakers in bright colors that are always comfortable.
Accessories: I have been known to rock a headband, but other than that I like to keep it simple. This is really just personal preference. I don’t wear long necklaces because when I dance they tend to hit me in the face. For bags, across the shoulder or small backpacks are the only way to go. I love my Patagonia sling bag.
When it comes to packing your purse for a show I have a few essentials that, no matter how small the bag, they are coming with me. If there are no size restrictions on bag sizes I will bring my Patagonia Sling bag and then I’ll throw in a few extras.
The Perfect Festival Bag
UPDATE a lot of festivals no long allow bib bags. The clear bag market has not caught up but I bet it will this spring pre Cochella. I have been using my Patagonia fanny pack.
I prefer a sling bag to basically anything. The bag stays up close against your back while only covering a small part of your back so it doesn’t get too hot. You can swing the bag around and easily access everything, too. I prefer sling bags to the backpacks because packs can get very heavy on your shoulders and cause more sweaty back. Sling bag selection is thin though. One day I would love to design sling bags – I could make a killing!
Crossbody bags are great but only if you keep packing to a minimum. The heavier the bag, the more annoying on your shoulders and hips when you’re dancing. When shopping for the good cross body show bags, pay close attention to the construction. Zipper or foldover closure to prevent sticky fingers, inside zipper pocket, and ideally a structured bottom are a must. A saggy or loose bottom can cause it to feel heavier with everything weighing it down.
- Hair ties, clips, bobby pins: Seriously you will always want one and so will someone else. I connect the hair ties to my bag and I could cry if I don’t have a clip. My hair half up and half down is my happy place.
- Chapstick with SPF: Keep your lips hydrated and protected from the sun, too.
- Wallet: ID, credit card, insurance, card with emergency info
- Phone + phone charger + multicord charger: This multicord will keep you and a friend, or even your camera, charged.
- Tissue: True story – I have a constant runny nose. Also good for the porta potties!
- Sunglasses: Not only for the look but to protect your eyes from the sun and dust. If you have room in your bag, toss in a hat or one with a drawstring to keep with you.
- Sunscreen: If I can fit it in, I bring a big bottle of spray sunscreen that I apply constantly. If not, a stick for your face or a powder sunscreen like this keeps you protected and feeling clean.
- Makeup: If my bag has room for makeup, a little cover up and eyeliner can go a long way to make you feel fresh after eight hours in the sun. Cream blush can do double duty as color for your lips and cheeks. Waterproof mascara that actually lasts all day. This is my favorite. A little bottle of deodorant can be a life saver. Just found these deodorant wipes. Haven’t tried them yet but these are cool.
- Kimono or Sweater: During the day I pack a light kimono to keep the sun off my shoulders.
I use a little green wallet I bought from Express in college. I have scoured the internet and have yet to find another one like it. I love it because of the side zipper. I transfer only the essentials to a little wallet like this. The side zipper holds a Tile that tracks my stuff just in case I lose it or it’s stolen.
Also in the side zipper is Pepto and Advil. If the festival food doesn’t sit right you, you’ll be happy you have Pepto on hand. For headaches or achy feet – Advil. Remember that drinking and Advil do not mix so if you’re taking the Advil, stick to water. Also, if you are having an upset stomach hydrate!