Music Festival Camping – Tips For the Best Fest
Music festival camping is a fun way to spend the weekend, but if you don’t bring the right gear, it can be a less than stellar experience. We’ve been camping and attending music festivals for over 30 years. This article shares our advice for gear and basic tips for setting up camp. Customize these lists to fit your needs, and coordinate with friends so you aren’t responsible for every item.
Pack what you need, add some nice extras, and skip the rest!
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Music Festival Camping Gear
There’s a lot of stuff that will make your music festival camping experience more comfortable and less expensive. Don’t buy all of your food there or you won’t have any cash left for the awesome concert tee you want!
You’ll want protection, food, drinks, and some basic camping gear:
- Tent, RV, or minivan camper
- Sleeping bag, blankets, sheets, pillow
- Air mattress & battery powered pump, foam pad, or hammock
- Flashlight, camping lantern, solar powered light
- Solar charger for laptop and phone
- Shade shelter & extra tarp
- Camp stove, propane, utility lighter
- Cooler and ice, or cooler that plugs into your car adapter
- Skillet, saucepan, plates, cups, silverware, can opener, cooking utensils
- Food, water, other beverages
- Foil, sandwich baggies, paper towels
- Reusable water bottle, CamelBak, travel mugs
- Cutting board and/or camp table
- Camp chairs
- Dolly or wagon for transporting your camp items
- Rope, clothesline, or paracord
- Bungee cords
- Duct tape
- A multi-tool, mallet or hammer (for pounding in tent stakes)
- An extra set of glasses or contacts, especially if you need them to drive
It’s always a good idea to bring a variety of clothes in case the weather changes or someone spills beer on you.
- Shorts, jeans, skirts, sleep pants
- T-shirts, tank tops, long sleeved shirts
- Sweatshirt or hoodie
- Rain gear, jacket
- Hat, bandana, hair ties
- Sandals, sneakers, hiking shoes – make sure they are comfortable and broken in!
- Underwear & extra socks
- Swimsuit, beach towel
We recommend cargo shorts, so you’ll have roomy pockets for your wallet, keys, phone, a small flashlight, the festival program, and other stuff.
As a man who suffers from premature male-pattern baldness (and by “premature” he means any time before death), Tom highly recommends a good hat. Genuine straw Panama hats are the ultimate summertime headgear – they protect your head from the sun, keep the glare out of your eyes, and let air flow through so you stay cool. And they look damn fine! (Tom gets compliments on his all the time.) Bandanas are good too, but they don’t shade the eyes or allow for airflow.
You’ll want to customize this list according to your needs, but here are the basics to consider bringing for your comfort and safety…
- Cell phone & charger
- A real camera (with extra batteries) if you want higher quality pics
- Fanny pack, purse, or backpack
- Prescription meds, over the counter meds (ibuprofen, allergy meds, antacids, etc)
- First aid kit – bandages, antiseptic cream, hydrocortizone (anti-itch) cream
- Sunscreen, after sun lotion, lip balm, bug spray
- Deodorant, comb or brush, toothbrush and toothpaste, personal hygiene wipes
- Hand sanitizer and hand wipes
- TP, paper towels, tissues
- Towel, wash cloth, shampoo, soap, extra water for cleanup (or wipes and dry shampoo)
- Makeup (if you must)
- Feminine products
If you have oily hair and there’s no place to shower, you might consider a “dry shampoo.” You can buy it or make your own out of corn starch. (If you have dark hair, mix some cocoa powder in with the corn starch – about 50/50.) Place a couple of tablespoons in a bandana or towel and rub it into your hair. The “shampoo” absorbs the excess oil. No rinsing required.
Another option is to fill a jug with water, wet your hair, use real shampoo, and rinse. It helps if you have a friend who’s willing to dump water on your head. (That shouldn’t be hard to find!)
Bring these items along so you can clean up, and keep your campsite clean too…
- Large garbage bags for trash
- Recycling bags
- Personal hygiene (see above)
- Extra water for washing up, dishwashing, etc.
- Dish soap, dish cloth & towel, dish pan
- Solar shower
- Clothesline for hanging wet gear
Some of these items may come in handy, but you probably don’t need them…
- Tent fan, personal fan
- Tapestries, flags, solar powered string lights – Decorate your tent site so you can find it in the sea of other tents!
- Portable camping toilet and pop up privacy tent – port-a-potties can get pretty gross, so you might want your own facilities in case the public ones start to overflow
- Extra food, water, and supplies to share with your neighbors
- Hacky Sack, Frisbee, beach ball, bubbles, crafts, musical instruments, radio/tunes, body paint, hula hoop
It’s not a good idea to bring expensive musical instruments to a music fest … unless your band is performing, of course! We recently met a guy who “misplaced” his high-end Taylor acoustic guitar at a festival we were at. Bring your “beater” instrument and keep it locked in your car when you’re not playing it.
Pack It Out!
After the music festival, be sure to clean up all of your garbage and recycling. Don’t leave broken tents and camp chairs behind. You brought it all with you, and you can take it all home. As you can see in the photo above, not all festival goers are cool!
Remember that the festival organizers have to pay people to clean up, which raises the cost of next year’s jams. Do your part to help keep ticket prices as low as possible.
Take only memories; leave only footprints!
Pulling Up Stakes…
… and going home again can be a bit of a bummer, but you’ll have a ton of great memories from your music festival camping experience! Just remember to pack the essentials and add style to your campsite for the weekend.
Need to reserve a campground? Check out Reserve America
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