When I was packing for my first festival I got very excited and looked up YouTube videos to see what the best things to take were. Now that I’ve camped at a few festivals, I have worked out for myself what I need and what I don’t, and using this checklist below, it helps me not forget anything. You will want to take essential items to get through the weekend, while not weighing yourself down with unnecessary items.
TIPS FOR PACKING
1. Take a realistic amount of alcohol – It can get be very heavy and awkward to transport, especially if it’s over a long distance, and from experience we always take more alcohol than needed. Arrange with your friends who’s taking and drinking what, and share if you can. I normally only drink on the two days before the music and at the end of the night so there’s no point taking 5 whole days worth, because you probably will not be bothered in taking it back home with you.
2. Pack good food and snacks – Take food that will give you a boost and lots of energy. A lot of festivals don’t allow you to take food into the arena, so maybe take some snacks you can hide to save some money and keep you going. You’ll also get rather peckish when sat around the campsite. Again, take things that are easy to carry and compact.
3. Pop up tents aren’t as good as they look – Yes they can be super convenient, but I once took a 2 man tent, that I could barely sit up in, with just enough room for myself and belongings. It only had one layer and when flat it was a big, round circle so it wasn’t even that easy to carry. I’d rather take the time putting the poles in. Remember to get one that’s light, and put it up before you go to check it’s a good size for you.
4. Don’t forget your essentials – You don’t want to get caught up on tents and sleeping bags and forget important things like medication, toilet paper and sanitary products that you may take for granted.
5. Taking a camera? – Big DSLR cameras are most likely not permitted at the festival you are going to, so that leaves you with either taking a film or compact camera. I personally like using disposable cameras as they give the images an atmospheric ‘memory’ feel, and are cheaper than polaroids. They don’t need batteries like compact ones and give nice results. However, last year the rain got into the camera and ruined some of my film, so bare this in mind.
6. Suitable footwear – When it comes to footwear you want to be practical over fashionable. You’ll have to wear these shoes all day for 5 days straight, likely having to tackle mud and rain. Check the weather beforehand and what the festival is usually like, and maybe leave back up wellies in the car if its dry enough for you to wear converse. I personally wear Dr Martens, and my feet have only got a little wet once, when I didn’t have them done up properly. If wearing boots/wellies don’t forget thick comfy socks.
7. To shower or not to shower – A lot of festivals now have showers on site and whether you use them or not is totally up to you. I personally haven’t ever used one and I think maybe 1/20 people I camped with last year did. If you’d like to, pack travel shower gel and a micro fibre towel to save space. If you don’t, pack wipes, spray, hand sanitiser, dry shampoo, and anything else that will help you to feel fresh and as clean as possible.
8. Use an old mobile – I usually take a Nokia 3310 with a spare, charged battery. It has a cheap Asda mobile SIM inside it so I don’t have to worry about losing or breaking the phone at all, and I don’t waste my time on social media. The batteries usually last me for the 5 days, although I only tend to use it for a text or two and checking the time, but it’s good to take one with you just in case. If you are taking a more current phone you may want to take a portable charger too as the charging on site can be costly.
9. Don’t forget the little things – You’ll be surprised how much the little things like torches, batteries, plasters, bin bags and lighters come in handy, and most usually for a different purpose than intended. If you don’t use them, someone in your camp will probably need them for something.
10. Have fun! – Remember not to get caught up and stressed over the little things, like what you’re taking. If you have enough to get by you’ll be fine and there are normally shops onsite where you can buy a lot of the things you’ve forgotten.