It’s finally summer, which means it’s festival season, especially in the UK and Europe. With many festivals scheduled over the coming months, maybe this year is the year you take your first steps in to living in a tent, drinking warm beer and having the best time of your life in a field surrounded by thousands of other likeminded strangers. It also may be slightly daunting – what to pack? It is tough, you only have limited space, so you must really think about what you NEED to take over what you WANT to take. Here’s our list of the top 20 things you’ll need – we hope it helps.
1. Bin bags
It’s important that everyone takes responsibility for tidying up after themselves. Bins become full very quickly, therefore a roll of bin bags will come in extremely useful for putting your rubbish in. Also, if it rains, which it seems to do at most UK festivals, then you can possibly make a bit of beer money by selling bins bags to the folks who forgot to pack a waterproof jacket?
2. A blanket
Even though most top festivals are held during the summer months, there is always the possibility that it can get very chilly at night. Therefore, pack a blanket as you may need that extra layer to keep you protected against the elements. Blankets are also great for spreading out and sitting on outside your tent, maybe when you are cooking or even just chilling out.
3. Bottle opener
Most big festivals don’t allow you to take your own booze; Glastonbury is the last to let you take as much as you can personally consume however no glass allowed. Some smaller festivals don’t have such rules. Therefore, if you’re attending a smaller one and intend on taking bottled booze, don’t forget a bottle opener, otherwise you may end up very thirsty or with chipped teeth.
4. Charging phone case
If you are at a weekend festival the likelihood is that you won’t be able to charge your phone. Therefore, if you want to keep in touch with the outside world – whether if it’s to update your Twitter status, post a photo on IG or ring your mum to remind her to feed your cat, it’s probably a good idea to invest in phone case that charges your phone* when it is running low.
This might seem obvious but remember you may need a range of clothes depending on the weather forecast. It could be chilly, it could be raining. Therefore, layers are probably the way to go. Also, ensure you keep at least one set of clothes (including underwear) in a bin bag/carrier bag to keep them protected if it chucks it down, at least then you’ll have something dry to wear.
6. Cooking and campfire equipment
If you are looking at keeping costs low then you may want to consider taking a camping stove and your own food, if you do don’t forget a tin opener. Also, if open fires are allowed on site check out Gardeco Swedish Alder Torches* which are logs with firelighters in the middle, they burn from the inside out until the fire goes out meaning the log itself doesn’t break up – perfect for chilling out and chatting around or even cooking on. Burn time for the small log is 1 hr and the large around 2.5 hrs.
7. Eye mask and ear plugs
People get drunk and loud, people snore and the sun comes up pretty early and if you have had a skin full the night before you will not appreciate these disruptions. Therefore, invest in a cheap eye mask to block those pesky early morning rays and a pair of little foam ear plugs to block out the noise of what sounds like a warthog in their drunken slumber in the tent next door.
Hats have a range of uses, they can keep your head warm if it’s cold especially at night, it can keep it dry if it’s raining and if you are follically challenged it can stop it getting burnt if the sun is out in full force (we can all hope, right?). With lots of different options available you can go full on fashionista with the latest trend or full on fool – think sombrero!
9. Pillow case
When packing for a festival you want to pack light. Sometimes you have to lug your stuff for miles from the car park or bus stop, therefore when you get the opportunity to leave something at home – do it. A hack we have for you is to take an empty pillowcase rather than one with a pillow in it. You can then use your clothes to fill it – comfortable enough for a night or two.
10. Portable bluetooth speaker
Did someone say after party? They sure did! When the love music has finished and you head back to the camping area the person with the portable bluetooth speaker will always be everyone’s friend. Check out the Lava BrightSounds speaker* – it’s perfect! At only £39.99 it’s very affordable and the sound it kicks out is fantastic, it comes in a range of colours, it’s got a built-in light which is great in the middle of a dark campsite, it’s showerproof if the weather takes a turn and the battery life is amazing, approximately 9 hours, which is a great feature as the likelihood is you won’t have the opportunity to charge it up.
11. Sleeping bag
The likelihood is you won’t actually sleep that much during a festival, however when you do manage to get some shut-eye and believe me you need it to recharge for the next day, you want to be comfortable and more than anything warm. Therefore, it’s important to get a good quality sleeping bag but that doesn’t cost too much in case it gets damaged or even stolen – seriously!
Maybe I’m being optimistic when it comes to British festivals, but we can all hope, right? Sun glasses look cool and they protect your eyes, why wouldn’t you take a pair or two? I’m a bit of a designer sunglasses snob (sorry) but I personally leave the named ones at home for fear of losing or breaking them and grab a couple of pairs from Primark or a supermarket for a couple of quid.
If you’re camping, of course you need a tent and here’s our top tip for you – buy one bigger than you need. This is because of the amount of stuff you’ll have with you. You’ll need space to sleep and space to keep your bag(s). Again, look for one which is of reasonable quality but doesn’t cost a fortune in case it gets damaged or even set on fire like many did at Leeds Festival in 2014!
14. Tickets/ ID/ Cash
These are the first thing you should pack! Imagine getting all the way there and realising you didn’t have your ticket! Also, photo ID is often required to prove that you are the person who bought the ticket. Cash is vital, although most major festivals have ATMs the queues can often be very long. At least take enough cash/ beer money with you to see you through the first evening.
Campsites at night can be dark and if you need to pay a visit to the loo there are so many tripping hazards – from guide ropes, to rubbish and not forgetting the folks who are just too drunk to make it back to their tent. Therefore, a torch is vital. Again, as space is limited we’d recommend a small, yet powerful torch or even better, one you can clip on your bag or your keyring.
Most big festivals have showers, whether or not you get the opportunity to use them is a different story. The queues can be long and they can get dirty quickly but if you do manage to get one, you’ll need a towel to dry off or if it rains, you’ll need a towel to dry off. We’re massive fans of the Lifeventure travel towels*, they fold down to almost nothing and we take them on all our adventures.
17. Travel toiletries (inc. baby wipes)
Just because you are camping doesn’t mean you have to smell! Don’t forget to pack baby wipes, they will become your best friend because they can be used for loads of things, I don’t think I need to spell them out. Also, check out Travel Toiletries 2 Go* and pick up your favourite toiletries in miniature, space-saving size. Also, by using the code ESLT10, you can get 10% off your order.
Festivals can be boozy affairs, therefore it’s important that you take water with you to dehydrate before you hit the beer tents again. Also, if the sun’s shining and you are singing and dancing away it’s easy to forget that water is essential, you don’t want to become ill and have to go back to your tent or worse, home. Also, always keep a bottle to one side for brushing your teeth too.
19. Waterproof jacket
Obviously, if it rains then a waterproof jacket* will keep you and your clothes under it dry however I would recommend a waterproof jacket with a hood even if the sun is shining. This is because it may not be rain landing on you. Some (gross) people who can’t be bothered leaving the crowd to find the loo have a habit of relieving themselves in plastic bottles and throwing them!
A necessity if the weather forecast doesn’t look great. They will protect your feet from becoming mud caked messes. I personally would leave the Hunters at home. I wore mine to a gig a couple of years ago and panicked constantly about getting them dirty (eye roll – I know!). Therefore, cheap and cheerful wellies are the way to go and if they get trashed you can stick them in the bin on the way home.
Are you yourself a seasoned festival pro? Is there anything else you think needs to be on the list?