Essential Music Festival Packing List

So you’re headed to your first camping music festival huh? Well helllll yeahhh! I’m stoked for the adventure you’re about to have. However, when you don’t know what to expect, packing for your festival can be a bit daunting.

Let me help you not make the same mistakes that I did as rookie, check out my full essential music festival packing list below!

WHAT TO BRING INSIDE THE MUSIC FESTIVAL GEAR

Typically, festivals will have a central area barricaded off from the campgrounds to house the main stages. Before entering this area, you will be required to pass different checkpoints where you’ll be subjected to a pat down and your bag searched by festival volunteers. Every festival is different in how strict their checkpoints are, so keep that in mind whenever bringing anything inside.

Unless you’re one of the lucky few who snag a great campsite close to the main stage area, I recommend bringing along the below festival gear before heading out to the stages – especially if you have a longgg trek back to camp (looking at you Bonnaroo).

  • Backpack, Fanny pack, or CamelBak– Like we talked about in The Ultimate Music Festival Survival Guide this choice is really up to your discretion and individual preference. Personally I opt for the backpack, especially if I’m covering a music festival and have to bring my camera gear.
  • Bandana –Probably the most versatile piece of festival gear you will bring. Wear is as a headband, tie it around your neck to keep the sun off, use it to keep dirt and dust out for those particularly desert-y fests, or doused your bandana in cold water to cool off.
  • Sunglasses
  • Water Bottle – Make sure to refill constantly throughout the day, especially during those scorching hot summer festivals.
  • Wallet – Bring something that zips so your contents stay secure.
  • Lighter
  • Chapstick
  • Tear off some toilet paper and put into a plastic baggie, you’ll thank yourself later when you’re running to the porta-potty after downing that bean burrito and to your dismay, all the TP is long gone.
  • Wet Wipes – For after said bean burrito consumption.
  • Schedule – Bring a paper schedule outlining all the performances you want to see even if you have the festival app on your phone, the likelihood of your phone dying mid-fest is very high.
  • Totem Pole – If you’re in a large group at venue with terrible cell reception, totem poles come in handy for your group to stay together in a crowd of thousands. But don’t be a dick and make yours so huge it blocks others view of the stage.
  • Eye Drops – Festivals can get super dusty so having eye drops handy can do wonders.
  • Sunscreen
  • Light Button Down or Sweater – Some festivals get chilly at night, so having a light button down shirt or sweater to tie around your waist during the day can be a blessing when temperatures drop with the sun.
  • Flask – Be careful with this one as many main stage areas don’t allow these. However, if you can get one inside it can be extremely rewarding, especially when your rum and coke costs $12 from a vendor.
  • Small Portable Charger – For when your phone or GoPro dies away from the campsite.
  • Your ticket or festival band! – Festivals are continually shifting to chipped wristbands that help to keep tabs on you as you enter and exit the main stage area.

CAMPING GEAR

I’ve been camping numerous times before, but it wasn’t until after attending several music festivals did I really now how to prepare campsite packing. Conditions vary greatly from venue to venue so do some research before you head out. Having the below items in tow will prepare you for almost any camping conditions.

 

  • Tent – The majority of festivals are during summer. To help with the heat inside of the tent my rule of thumb is to always house 1 less than the max amount the tent says it can hold.
  • Hammer or Mallet – To secure the tent stakes into the ground
  • Canopy Tent/Shade Awning – There is nothing worse than coming back to your campsite mid-day to absolutely no shade. While they’re not the cheapest purchase you will thank yourself profusely later, trust me.
  • Tapestries, Twine + Clothespins – Hanging tapestries from your shade awning not only gives your campsite a bit of privacy and fun flair, it also helps shade the sides when the sun is rising and setting.
  • Big Cooler – If possible bring two – one for food and another for drinks and ice.
  • Foldable Table – Not completely necessary but comes in handy when you’re making sandwich’s or want to play some flip cup with your camping neighbors.

 

  • Air Mattress – If you want any chance of a decent couple hours of sleep.
  • Pillow
  • Sheet + Blanket + Sleeping Bag
  • Foldable Chairs
  • Lanterns and/or Flashlights – Ones that can hang from hooks are primo. Solar powered lights to light up the ground around your campsite are a gem.
  • Ice – Fill the cooler to the brim with ice before heading into the festival grounds. It’s going to melt quickly so be prepared to buy a bag or two at the festival.
  • One Gallon of Water Per Person – Not only is staying hydrated essentialthroughout the festival, many times the showers will cost money to use them. One way around this is the ole ‘hippie shower’ trick.  Use a gallon jug of water and pour it over to your body like the head of a shower to wash up.
  • Lock for your tent – While it’s not completely necessary (to be honest I’ve only used them if I have my camera equipment) it can give you the added benefit that your stuff is safe and sound. Lock important or expensive things in your car while you’re away from camp.
  • Earplugs – For sleeping at night. If you have extra sensitive ears you may want to consider bringing them into the main stages.
  • Flag and Pole to mark your campsite – While this is a great way to aerially signal your campsite, chances are someone around you will have their own flag or helium balloon marking their campsite that you can use to locate yours too.
  • Duct Tape – You never know when duct tape will save the day.
  • Paper Towels
  • Battery Powered Speakers – To jam out at camp.
  • Car Charger with two or more USB openings – So you can charge more than one device at a time and get the most out of your car being on.
  • Trash Bags – Clean up after yourselves!
  • Jumper Cables (+ knowledge on how to jump a car) – Been there, done that.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE

Every festival deals with food and beverage differently; same goes for every festival goer. Below lists just the basic food and beverages everyone should bring regardless if you plan on eating at the vendors everyday.

  • Solo Cups – Perfect to mix drinks or use for some beer pong action.
  • Water Bottles – Refill them at the water stations instead of popping open a a new one every time you’re thirsty.
  • Beer and/or Wine Boxes – Choose your poison. Note, I found out recently at Melt Festival wine boxes are in fact, not a common occurrence at European music festivals.
  • Assortment of Snacks – Chips, crackers, breakfast bars, dry cereal, and Chex Mix all make great snacking options.
  • Liquor and Mixers

***Make sure you stay away from things in glass containers! Most festivals do not allow glass. 

WHAT TO WEAR

Stay tuned for a post all about festival fashion and attire! But for now, here are just a few basics.

 

  • Bathing Suit
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Tennis Shoes – That you don’t mind getting completely ruined.
  • Rubber Flip Flops – Perfect for bathing and for those late night porta-potty trips.
  • Sweater
  • Rain Jacket + Rubber Boots – If you’re expecting rain.
  • Light Button Down
  • Bralets and Sports Bras – Because no one has time for a real bra at a music festival.
  • Shorts or Skirts – Disclaimer: If you choose to wear skirts or dresses, WEAR SPANDEX OR A BATHING SUIT UNDER THEM.
  • Tank Tops + Crop Tops
  • PJ’s – It’ll feel good changing into semi-clean clothes at the end of the night.

TOILETRIES

  • Towel
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Soap
  • Razor
  • Toilet Paper
  • Wet Wipes/Baby Wipes
  • Deodorant
  • Travel Size Shampoo
  • Travel Size Conditioner
  • Ponytails
  • Brush
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Q-tips

FIRST AID

  • Emergen-C – Take a packet a for a few days before the festival begins to give your immune system a little boost. The sleepless nights during the festival can wreck havoc on your body.
  • Advil
  • Band-Aids
  • Claritin – If you’re like me and trees hate you.
  • Tums
  • Melatonin

MISC

  • Deck of Cards – Never know when you’ll have some down time and want to invite the camp next door for some drinking games.
  • Koozie
  • Plastic Grocery Bags –Perfect to hold your dirty clothes and shoes before heading home.
  • Ping Bong Balls – Beer pong provides a great forum to get to know your fellow campers.

Get ready, because you’re about to embark on a camping festival adventure of a lifetime!

Did we miss anything? What are your must-have’s on your music festival packing list? Leave it in the comments below!

About The Walrus

Hi, I’m Alex. My travel tales are a little quirky, a little awkward and a little bit wayward. Welcome to the Wayward Walrus. Read more about me here.

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