For many, festival season is the best time of year. After a long year of hard work and indoor hibernation, you’ll be craving to get out into the fields and let loose with some great music and friends.
We want to saturate your festival experience with more fun and less stress, so we’ve put together a checklist of festival essentials to make your packing easy, giving you more time to enjoy yourself.
Our list outlines what you need to take with you to have a perfect music festival experience but this list is pretty comprehensive. Only take what you can carry, and leave extra luxuries if you can. We’ve also accommodated for both genders so there may be items mentioned which don’t apply to you.
Table of Contents
Festival Essentials List
Money – You’ll need money for the wide variety of food, drinks, apparel and other items on offer. There’s no guarantee that there will be cash machines on site (and if there are they may charge you) so make sure you bring enough cash to get you through the festival.
Mobile – These days most people’s phones double up as a watch, alarm clock, navigation system, camera and more so are a much needed festival necessity. Make sure you save everyone’s numbers you’ll be travelling and staying with over the weekend and keep your phone in a safe place! Perhaps consider attaching a lanyard or downloading a phone locator app just in case your phone goes missing during your stay.
Portable charger/Batteries – Your phone, camera, etc all need juice. Make sure you bring along some spare batteries, portable charging packs or perhaps invest in a handy solar charger.
Bum bag – Bum bags are the perfect way to securely carry essentials with you all day. Keep your hands-free and your back unencumbered while still being able to safely carry your valuables around with you. Store your cash, cards, phone and valuables in a bum bag, and enjoy a stress free day.
Be Prepared – Documents
Tickets – Before leaving the house, double and triple check you have your tickets with you so you don’t end up red faced and teary eyed while being turned away at the gate.
ID – To ensure you have a great time, bring some form of ID into the festival venue with you in case there’s any issues with your ticket or you need to prove your age at the bar. Be careful though! If you’re bringing a passport or driver’s license with you there is a high risk you could lose them in the festival fun. Think twice about bringing your passport if you have a foreign holiday planned in the near future.
Map – Festival venues can be large and intimidating, and so can your journeys to and from. Being prepared and packing maps or directions will eliminate unnecessary stress, allowing you to relax and start enjoying the festivities.
Useful numbers/Emergency contacts – We hate to say it, but quite often festival goers can lose their valuables and phones after partying too hard the night before. Make sure you prepare for any eventuality by jotting down any useful contacts or telephone numbers you may need to get in touch with family and friends.
Health details and medication – If you require any medication, make sure you pack enough to last the duration of the festival. Also, if you have any conditions that may require urgent medical treatment a Universal Medical ID bracelet is a great way to easily carry health information on your body in case you need assistance at any point during the weekend.
Polly pocket – If you’re bringing important documents with you, a polly pocket is an easy way to keep them stored together, safety and protected from moisture.
Backpack – If you’re wondering what bag to take with you to a music festival you should bear in mind that you’ll need more than one. You’ll need a large rucksack to carry all of your festival essentials, camping equipment and clothing to and from the site as well as a daysack to fill with food, drink and essentials to enjoy inside the music festival venue each day.
Tent – What style of tent you choose is up to you but make sure you choose a tent with enough room for everyone to sleep in, with some space left over for your luggage and extra comfort. Pop-up tents have been designed with festival goers in mind as they are lightweight, quick and easy to use. They also allow for a stress free camp set up!
Sleeping bag – Music festival season falls around the warmest time of the year so aim for a ‘2 season’ sleeping bag as they are designed to be cooler and better for warmer weather.
Camping mat or airbed – Sleeping on hard ground is no fun, so make sure you bring a camping mat or air bed with you for extra comfort. If you decide to bring an air mattress, don’t forget to also pack a pump!
Travel pillow – Perfect for resting your head on after a long day.
Torch or lantern – When the sun goes down, a simple lantern will help brighten up your campsite while a torch is handy for late night toilet breaks.
Duct tape – Accidents happen and duct tape offers a great temporary fix. Whether your tent tears or your bag strap breaks, duct tape can save the day.
Tent pegs – It’s always best to being a few extra tent pegs with you just in case you experience windier conditions than you first expected. Some pop up tents don’t come with tent pegs so make sure you check what equipment your tent includes before you set off.
Plastic bags – Essential for rubbish, dirty clothes and anything else you want to keep separate.
Ear plugs – Music festivals can be pretty noisy so it’s advisable to bring ear plugs if you want a decent night’s sleep or just some respite from the rabble.
Folding trolley – Ideal if you’d rather not carry all of your heavy bags through the fields.
Camping stool or chair – Once your camp is all set up, you’ll want somewhere to sit and relax with friends. A simple folding chair is a perfect festival item for relaxed evenings or for bringing with you to the venue so you can enjoy the music in comfort.
Fun in the Sun
Sunscreen and after-sun – Over a weekend festival, you can experience a year’s worth of weather, so it pays to prepare for lots of sun as well as the infamous festival rain. Sun protection is a festival essential! Our sun safety tips give more information on how to stay safe in the sun.
Sunhat – A cap or hat to keep the sun off your face and neck will work with sunscreen to make sure you aren’t left red in the face.
Hoodie/Fleece – It gets colder in the evenings and you never know when the clouds may appear, so pack a warm layer to keep you cosy when the temperature drops.
But What If It Rains?
Waterproof jacket – Let’s face it, if you’re at a festival in the UK it’s likely to rain at some point so a waterproof jacket is a much needed festival essential. With any luck it will be sparse and short lived so a poncho or packaway jacket is a great, lightweight option that is easy and light to carry with you. If the weather forecast indicates that heavier rain is likely you may wish to choose a more advanced waterproof jacket. Our waterproof jacket guide will help you choose what time of jacket is best suited to your needs.
Waterproof trousers – It won’t hurt to stuff a pair of waterproof trousers in your backpack. They don’t take up a lot of room, and if you do happen to need them you’ll be pleased you planned ahead.
More than one pair of shoes – If one pair gets wet, ruined or lost (festivals can get a bit wild!) you’ll need to have a spare pair on hand or you’ll be left with uncomfortable soggy feet for the rest of the day.
Spare clothes and underwear (particularly socks!) – Downpours at festivals are not rare, so bring some spare clothes, socks and underwear with you so you can dry off and get changed easily before heading out to enjoy the rest of the day.
Wellies – Once the rain finally stops, the grass beneath your feet will likely have turned to mud. A good pair of wellies are a festival essential and will quickly become your go to footwear.
Umbrella – Can be handy to have on hand for sudden, short rain showers.
Stay Clean and Fresh with Toiletries
Baby wipes – Regular festival goers swear by these and after a couple of days in the mud, you will too. Perfect for keeping you feeling fresh as well as cleaning yourself, your shoes, clothes and anything else affected by the mud.
Dry shampoo – It’s unlikely you’ll find a shower on a festival campsite. Dry shampoo will keep your hair feeling fresh until you get home to a shower.
Deodorant – See lack of showers above. Do your friends a favour!
Hand sanitiser – Festival toilets can become a bit grim and the hand sanitiser is not always stocked up. Save yourself discomfort and bring your own.
Toilet roll – Similar to the hand sanitiser, if there’s no loo roll it’s essential you have some of your own.
Toothbrush/Toothpaste – Just because you’re having a wild weekend at your favourite festival, doesn’t mean you should compromise your oral hygiene.
Travel towel – If you’re lucky enough to get a shower or simply want to dry off after rain or a mud bath, a lightweight travel towel comes in handy.
Insect repellent – Keep biting insects at bay!
Painkillers/Indigestion tablets – If you party hard, make sure you’re prepared to soothe yourself the morning after. Anyone who’s ever woken up with a hangover in a stuffy tent will attest to these being an essential festival item.
Hair brush – Living in a tent, tangles are going to happen so don’t forget your hairbrush.
Hair bobbles and accessories – After a few days of living in a campsite you may want to tie your hair up and out of the way. Whether you’re the messy or man bun type, make sure you’ve packed what you need.
Make up/Face wash/Hair products – Festivals are a great place to take photos with your friends. Make sure you have all you need with you to make you feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera.
Moisturiser – Spending all day in the sun, drinking and not having access to wash facilities can leave your skin feeling neglected. Moisturiser is a great way to rejuvenate your tired skin and prepare you for a fun day ahead.
Eating at a Festival
Water bottle – It’s important to keep hydrated, especially when out in the sun all day so a reusable water bottle is an absolute necessity. You can refill your water bottle throughout the day to help combat dry mouth in the mornings and quench your thirst while enjoying the festival. You’ll also need water in the mornings and evenings for washing your face and brushing your teeth.
Snacks – Bring plenty of nonperishable snacks with you to fuel you throughout the day. These will also save you in the mornings when you wake up ravenous. Cereal bars and crisps are ideal as they are easy to pack and light to carry with you throughout the day.
Main meals – Food at festivals can be expensive so you may wish to bring some more substantial food with you. Again, make sure it is nonperishable so you don’t end up with mouldy food stinking up your tent. Pot noodles, soups, beans and other tinned food is perfect for this. We’ve created some camping food ideas and recipes that may come in useful.
Camping stove/BBQ – While there’s always plenty of food to be bought, you may want to save some pennies and cook for yourself. Don’t forget to be careful when using your stove to prevent accidents or injury and it’s essential you check that these are permitted at the camping grounds.
Bottle/Tin opener – We’ve all forgotten this at one point or another and can attest that it’s no fun being locked out of your grub and drinks.
Mess tins/Bowls/Plates – A simple way to eat with less mess, mess tins are tough and can be used for both cooking and eating. Plastic plates and bowls are also useful if you’re cooking for many.
Cutlery – Knives, forks, spoons and hybrids like sporks are essential or else you’ll be left with a whole lot of food, and no way to enjoy it.
Cups – If you’re looking to enjoy hot beverages or share your beer, wine or spirits around the campsite, some reusable metal or plastic cups will come in handy.
Coolbox – Ideal for keeping perishable food fresh and drinks cool.
We hope you’ve found our festival essentials checklist useful. Remember to download our free A4 checklist by clicking here.