Summer is finally upon us and that only means one thing – it’s festival season! What better way to spend a summer weekend than being drunk in a soggy field dancing to great tunes with your best pals. But festival packing and preparation can come with its own challenges.
Being in the UK, summer doesn’t always mean sun, which can make festivals pretty unpredictable. But these festival packing tips and snippets of advice are here as a little festival guide – to help you get prepared and hopefully have the best time!
A guide to festival packing
There are so many things you need to pack for a festival. From the obvious things like tents to some little extras that can help along the way. Do remember though, unless you buy a trolley, you will have to carry all of this stuff to your campsite and back, so try to keep it light. Here is my ultimate festival packing list!
- Tent – Try to get a tent that is 1 person bigger than your group. So if you’re a group of 2, try and get a 3 man tent so you have some extra room for all your bags.
- Sleeping bag and roll mat
- Pillowcase – you might be thinking “but what about the pillow?”. Pillows are hard to carry and take up a lot of room. Instead, pack a few jumpers and stuff these in the pillowcase as a temporary pillow. You’d be surprised how comfy it is!
- Mallet – there’s nothing worse than trying to force a tent peg into stubborn English soil with your bare hands
- Tickets – Check, double check and triple check that you have your ticket before you leave!
- ID / Proof of age – A lot of festivals will be really strict on ID for buying alcohol and some will even ID you on entry to make sure your name matches the ticket.
- Cash – I personally always avoid taking my cards to festivals as I don’t want them to get lost or stolen, so instead, I take cash. Some festivals offer lockups so you can keep your valuables locked away and split your cash across days.
Clothes and accessories:
- Two outfits per day – I try to pack a wet weather and dry weather outfit for each day, plus an extra top or so just in case
- Basically your entire underwear drawer – because water and mud gets EVERYWHERE
- Wellies – a festival essential
- Thick, warm socks – for the wellies
- Waterproof raincoat / mac – again, an essential, cause it’s England
- So. Much. Glitter.
- Warm hoodies and jumpers – some for the pillows mentioned earlier, some for the evenings as it gets chilly
- Sunglasses – either as an accessory on your head or in case the sun makes an appearance
- Bumbag – yet another essential. Top points if you can get a waterproof one
- Clean clothes for the journey home – if you drive, keep these in the boot of the car so they are safe from the elements
- Hat – if you’re a hipster or for sun protection
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash
- Wet wipes – because showers don’t naturally exist in the middle of a field (sadly)
- Fanny wipes – as above but especially for your lady area. An absolute must to keep you feeling fresh as a daisy
- Tissues – aka toilet roll for the weekend
- Suncream – in case a miracle occurs
- Roll on deodorant – because all that spray in a tent makes it really difficult to breathe
- Make-up removers
- Dry shower gel – what a revelation! If you feel a bit more upmarket than a wet wipe, try this foaming dry shower gel that works without water
- Dry shampoo
- Hairbrush, hairbands etc
- Handheld mirror – unless you can do your make-up like a pro
- Microfibre towel – Super handy for travel in general. Lightweight, packs really small and drys quickly
- Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer – because you don’t even want to think about all the germs you’ll be coming into contact with…
- Basic first aid kit – Plasters, paracetamol, Sudocrem. You get the idea…
Other useful bits and bobs:
- Dry snacks – festival food is expensive so it’s handy to take some cereal bars, crisps etc for snacks
- Disposable camera – it saves taking your phone out all the time for photos and is a nice keepsake
- Alcohol – if the festival allows you to take in your own. Most will allow it in certain quantities and in plastic bottles
- Berocca – for the inevitable hangover
- Big bottles of water / a bucket – for brushing your teeth and washing your face in the morning
- Portable phone charger – it goes without saying that most people will risk their phones at a festival, so you might as well try and keep it alive
- Cups or mugs – for the alcohol mainly, unless you want to swig it out of the bottle
- Bin bags – to separate your dirty and clean clothes and take your rubbish home
Festival tips & advice
Once your festival packing is done, you might think you are fully prepared and ready to run off into a field with glitter and bumbag in tow. Whilst it might not seem like there can be much to prepare for for a weekend of glitter-strewn madness, I’ve learnt a few things from festivals over the years that you might not instinctively think about.
- Try and get there as early as you can to secure a good camping spot
- Don’t camp at the bottom of a hill or slope. Gravity will not be on your side if it decides to rain
- Find a landmark near to where you pitch your tent or will you lose it, I promise. Or buy a really big flag
- Pack earplugs if you actually care about going to sleep at all whilst the rest of the campsite yells “Steve, Alan” all night
- Despite the advice, don’t padlock your tent. Take valuables with you or don’t bring them. Padlocks just show there is something inside worth stealing
- Get the festival app and plans any act clashes in advance. It’s also good for sussing out the campsite on the map
- Leave early or late – either pack up early before everyone wakes up, or take your time on the Monday and wait for the crowds to thin out. No-one wants to be in the 7am-9am crush to get out the exit gates
- Don’t be a dickhead – this has many points but a few main things come to mind. Don’t throw practically full pints into the crowd – we smell enough as it is. Don’t push and shove your way to the front. Don’t pour / throw anything at anyone’s tents. We’re all there to have fun so don’t ruin someone’s weekend by being a dick.
And I think that’s it! Let me know what festivals you are heading to this year in the comments – maybe I’ll see you there! Do you have any tips and tricks that I’ve missed out?