Nobody likes arriving at a festival and having to spend hours setting up before you can hit the main stages. Packing for a music festival is about obtaining a balance between having the perfect supplies and packing light enough that lugging your gear doesn’t become a burden.
If you struggle to find that balance, we’ve created the ultimate festival packing guide to help you make your next festival stress-free so you can spend less time setting up and more time enjoying the party.
Step #1: Consider the kind of festival you are attending.
If it’s a city fest that only lasts one day, chances are you can get away with some sun protection, water bottle, cash, and not much else. Consider a small backpack to hide your goodies in, or if you’re traveling really light, a fun purse to bring some extra style to your festival outfit. After all, you didn’t spend hours searching for the perfect steeze for nothing, right?
If you’re headed away for the weekend your packing list is about to get significantly longer. Before you make any decisions on exactly what kind of set-up you’re going to need, it’s best to check the weather forecast for where you’re heading. If it’s nothing but blue skies ahead then you can get away with packing a little bit lighter than you could if the forecast predicts downpours and rainy days.
Be sure to check the festival website for rules on what you can and can’t bring on the day so you’re not inadvertently caught out by the security measures. Items like open water bottles, aerosols, massive tents, and sharp objects can all make the do-not-bring lists depending on the type of festival you’re attending.
Step #2: Back To Basics
If you’re headed to a weekender but not a big fan of pitching up, consider looking into cheap accommodation close to the venue, or glamping. Glamping is like camping, but without leaving the luxuries of home behind. Some festivals offer the full glamping experience as an additional extra on top of the ticket price, but for much less than a hotel for the weekend. It also saves you the time (and money) associated with finding a tent that isn’t going to collapse at the slightest hint of rain.
If you’re willing to put in the extra work to save a few $$, there are loads of fast and easy options on the market to help make camping effortless. Consider the size of the campsite, how many people you’re planning on crashing with, and how much set-up time you’re willing to put in before buying a tent. Festival-goers have been notoriously slammed in the past for abandoning entire set-ups once the festivities have finished, so if you’re not up for packing down consider alternatives such as renting a tent or alternative accommodation.
The Bare Necessities
Now that you’ve got the question of where you’re going to crash covered, let’s look at some of the other essentials that will help do you right this festival season. Festival tickets, cash, ID, Medicare Card (in case of emergency), and portable chargers will have your back on the one-dayers and well through the weekend.
Double-wear items such as bandanas and bikinis are always popular at festivals because of their versatility, so if you’re feeling light on space swap out some jeans for hot pants and you’re a go.
Not keen on spending all your money on festival nosh? Plan ahead and pack some super light cooking equipment to whip up a meal at your campsite to end the day right. Items like bananas, coconut water, potatoes, nuts, bread, snack bars, and fruits will help keep you feeling full without the need for a portable fridge.
Comfortable shoes are a necessity and if you’re headed for boggy terrain, consider a pair of boots that won’t get thrashed in the mud while you’re cutting up the dancefloor. Warm weather also brings the unfortunate smell of sweaty shoes, so if you’re looking to keep your friends also consider bringing along an odor-removing powder to dust your feet with at the end of the day. The good news is that this product can double as an odor-remover for your clothes if used right.
Cleansing wipes and toiletries are also a necessity for any festival goer. If the shower line is too long to bother after a wild day in the sun, use cleansing wipes to clean those needy areas and wipe off the days' glitter and dust. Get caught up on your hygiene when the shower is free and if using product minis, make sure to hit up the recycling station to save the plastic from landfill. A good alternative to plastic-laded product mini’s are naked ranges of soaps, shampoos, and toothpaste that will have you feeling fresh without the environmental compromise.
Lastly, consider the items you’ll need on a day-to-day basis to ensure that you’re caring for yourself better than an overbearing grandma on your first day of summer camp. Earplugs to help you get some much-needed rest are always a good idea as festivals are one giant party that rarely ever stops. Torches will help you guide your way through a maze of trip-ropes and dusty campgrounds and double as a dancefloor accessory if you choose an LED version with some colour change features.
A makeshift med kit will help soothe any nicks or cuts until you can take care of them properly; hand sanitizer doubles as an antiseptic in a pinch and once saved this writer’s foot from a particularly nasty infection until I could get back to home soil and free healthcare.
Sun lotion, insect repellant, a book, a lighter, and an umbrella will cover your just-in-case needs and help you make some friends if you’re going it solo.
Finally, and possibly most importantly - don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure. Festival weekends are no fun for anyone if you’re constantly complaining about how long the bar lines are. Check off your list, get pumped for the festival, and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience.