There are many essentials which are quite obvious when it comes to festivals, such as your tent to sleep in and wellies to prevent muddy feet. It’s the little essentials which most people forget, when going to camp on a field. Some may not be so self-evident but can be some key pieces to remember to make sure your weekend of partying goes smoothly.
When camping at a festival I think it’s quite obvious that the tent is going to be the most important piece for your trip. If there are only one or two people sleeping in a tent together, probably the easiest tent to buy is a pop-up tent*. They are usually very cheap, you can literally have them up in seconds and they’re light to carry (although can sometimes be a bit of a fiddle getting them put away).
Having a tent assures you have somewhere to pass out at the end of the long day of dancing. Unless it floods. Then you’re in a pickle. If camping on a field just isn’t your scene then there are other options. Personally, whenever attending a festival I try and find accommodation close to the venue. One app I have been using recently is Air BnB. This app is fantastic if you are looking for somewhere cheap to stay or if you need a place that sleeps a group of people. I noticed there are even options for renting flats which, when you split the cost, work out a lot cheaper than getting a couple of hotel rooms.
If you do decide you’re going to sleep in a tent then you are going to need a few bits to get you through the nights. I have been camping many times so I now understand there’s a lot of items you do not want to miss off your list.
First of all in your tent, you are most definitely going to need something to sleep in – it can get pretty cold camping out. Your best bet is going to be a sleeping bag* and a blow-up pillow* as they are the most space efficient and easy to carry around in your camping gear bag. You can take a blow up bed* if you wish, but the easier option would be just to get a thick mat to put on the tent floor. It may not be the most comfortable option but blow up beds require a pump to blow up, which is just another inconvenient item to carry. Taking a mat to sleep on is much better than sleeping on the hard ground – that is not good for your back!
Now getting a good nights sleep is now the next challenging task of sleeping in a field full of hundreds of other people. I’m not really making festivals sound like too much fun. I promise they are! But there are some items which can make the hard parts go a lot smoother. Unless you’re so drunk that you can just pass out as soon as you hit the floor of your tent, you might want to bring some earplugs with you. You can’t assume the people next to you in their tent aren’t going to be up playing music or shouting. Earplugs are going to be essential for a good night’s sleep (Howard Leight Laser ear plugs* are the best!). Also If you have somehow managed to get a hole in your tent you would want to hope it wasn’t raining, because that isn’t going to be a fun night. One thing that can help is to bring some duct tape*, so you can quickly fix your tent for the weekend, ensuring a perfect night’s sleep. Hopefully.
Another helpful item is going to be a torch (I have this one – it’s small but very bright*). This is going to be so helpful to direct yourself in the night back to your tent or to the portaloos, without tripping over any tents and falling onto some random sleeping person. Many people don’t put this on their list of essentials because they either forget or they think they can rely on their phone for a torch, which brings me to the next item…
Phone batteries do NOT last forever. If you want to take your phone with you for an alarm or to take photos of the gig then you are going to need to bring a portable charger or two – depending on how long the festival is on for. Sure, they have charging stations, but they are always rammed. It is also very likely in the field of hundreds of tents, you may find yourself lost and need to contact a friend, so a mobile phone is going to be essential (if you can get a signal)! You may not want to take your brand spanking new iPhone in case you lose it or drop it in a muddy puddle whilst dancing around to your favourite artist. So another option is to pick up a cheap £15 Nokia online* and a pay as you go sim, to ensure you can contact your friends in an emergency.
Of course, you do not want to forget your toiletries! My toiletry kit contains my toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, tampons, dry shampoo, small bin bags and an extra packet of wet wipes. Some of these are quite obvious but things like dry shampoo are great if it’s quite a long trip and there isn’t any showers you can use to wash your hair. Now if you’re one of those crazy people who go swimming in mud then this obviously isn’t going to help you at all. But maybe you can give yourself a quick wipe down with a few wet wipes. Bin bags are perfect to stick all your muddy clothes and shoes in so they don’t mess up the rest of your stuff, or if you’re feeling like a respectable citizen, tidying up a few beer cans around your tent.
You are going to need somewhere to keep things such as your ID, money, and phone. I personally always take a backpack with me because I like to take a camera with me to take pics for the Gram. But if you don’t want to take a massive backpack but also are scared of your items falling out of your pocket, then maybe consider a mini backpack* – they are so cute and really in fashion at the moment. Or even a bum bag*. I know. Not so in fashion. But to be fair, I have seen a couple of quite cute ones in TopShop and online. I think companies are actually trying to make them a little more fashionable for us festival people, without them tragically ruining our outfits.
At a festival, as you can imagine, the toilets there are pretty disgusting after the first few hours, and never have any toilet paper in them. Taking some toilet paper and wet wipes are going to be your saviour to using the toilets (as is a jar of Vix Vapourub – dab a little under your nose before you go to the loos to help block the smell). If you’re not planning on taking a bag with you to the stage then maybe consider buying a pack of pocket tissues that you can keep in your pocket for whenever you need to use the toilets from hell. I’m not sure if I’m being over dramatic or if everyone thinks this, but those portaloos gross me out! Wet wipes are going to be helpful in so many other situations too – I never leave the house without them nowadays, you never know when you might spill a bit of food or get some mud on your outfit.
Taking something to sit on throughout the day is going to be gratifying for your feet – dancing and walking around all day can be really tiring. No matter how much you have had to drink. I would suggest bringing either a fold up chair* or a water resistant blanket* to sit on when you need to take a rest. Trust me, you will appreciate it.
One thing that is probably at the top of the list and one of the most important things is suntan lotion. I know most of the time, especially if you live in the UK, there is a 98% chance it might rain at a festival. But if you’re lucky enough to catch a nice hot, shorts weather day then the last thing you want is to come home looking like a lobster from the North Atlantic Ocean. Don’t forget your factor 50 and your sun hat so you don’t get burned!
Food and drink are also really important, and no, I do not mean alcohol when I say drink (although that’s a pretty important essential). Keeping hydrated properly with water is really important, especially when you’re drinking lots of alcoholic drinks. Waking up in the morning hungover and having some nice cold water next to you is a lifesaver! I recommend taking a refillable plastic water bottle*. It means you don’t have to carry a heavy 6 pack of bottles of water and there will be loads of taps all around the venue to refill your bottle when you need it. For food, there is going to be fast food vans all around the festival, but eating burgers for every meal of the day might not be ideal. Take some dry food such as crisps and cereal bars for the morning and evenings when you fancy inexpensive and less stodgy munchies.
The last and most important essential I would take to a festival is most definitely my makeup and glitter; although with this, I would try to take minimal makeup and focus on the glitter. With all the makeup I wear most days it would be a nightmare taking everything for a full face of makeup. But if you really want to go all out with your makeup then go for it! I’m in love with Festival glitters and The Gypsy Shrine* face gemstones, they are perfect for the festival season and look so stunning when they catch the light.
Hopefully, you have Hermione Grangers magic coin bag to carry all of that in – if not, then hopefully a car to at least take it all to the festival venue. Have a good festival guys and girls! I will be attending Lovebox in London this year, and maybe others… hope to see you there!
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