The Ultimate Camping Music Festival Packing Guide [Updated for 2021]
By / October 15, 2021

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the festival packing process? We know your pain. Work your way through our music festival packing list to find some inspiration (and a half-decent starting point). For a simplified checklist that you can download and edit yourself, click here and if you want to see my specific load-out from 100+ festivals across Europe, click here.

Breakdown of this list: 

  1. Stuff Festival Goers Need For Every Festival
  2. Camping Supplies
    1. The Essentials
    2. Upgrading the Site
    3. Car Camping
  3. Clothing Recommendations
  4. Cooking Supplies (Optional)

    

Good To Have

Check your day pack and make sure you have these items safely tucked inside. 

  • Money – Cash is still the king of commerce. Keep a stash hidden for emergencies.
  • Credit Cards – Your lowest limit one is the best in case it gets lost. For international festivals, you will want one that doesn’t have a foreign exchange fee.  
  • ID/Passport – You will need it more than you think. 
  • Tickets – Print out a physical copy in case your phone goes down. 
  • Cell phone/charger – Do you ever leave without it? 
  • Lighter – If you don’t need it, someone will.
  • Fest schedule – A printed copy is both fun and infinitely quicker than the app.
  • Vaccine/Negative COVID test – Welcome to the new normal (screams into pillow).  
  • KN95 facemask – For public transportation, inside shows, and screamers. 
  • Collapsible water bottle – Lightweight, reusable, and perfect for water stations or smuggling in half a liter of vodka into the fest.

Camping Supplies

Your campsite is your home. Might as well be comfortable. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but will hopefully give you an inspirational starting point.

Level 1 – The Essentials: If you need to travel light, bring the bare minimum in your bag.  

  • Tent – Buy high quality and it will last you decades. Another massive perk to spending money on a tent is that you will not come home to a tent full of water. 
  • Reflective tent stakes – Swap out your regular stakes for something brightly colored and/or reflective. It won’t stop a tripping festie from tripping over your tent, but it will help. 
  • Sleeping bag – Three season bags are nice. Summer sleeping bags are even better. 
  • Air mattress – Don’t forget a pump. Or just buy one that takes less than 10 breaths.  
  • Travel Towel – To paraphrase The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a towel is the most massively useful thing an interstellar festie can have. 
  • Headlamp – Use in the tent, walking home, and pitch black toilet scenarios. Bring extra batteries if you don’t know how fresh they are. 
  • Gear-Aid tape – For holes in the tent, sleeping pad, coats, etc..
  • Trash bags – Pick up after yourself!
  • Tent-pole repair kit – Pole snapped? We can fix that.
  • Compression sack – Keeps everything packed up tight. Can double as a pillow.  

Level 2 – Campsite Upgrade: If you have room, consider dropping some of these into your bag 

  • Bluetooth speaker – Need a recommendation? We have one.  
  • Hammock – Best way to spend a morning. 
  • Pillow – Nice to have if you have room, otherwise a bag of dirty laundry works. 
  • Tarp – Can be used as a shade screen or to sit on. Or both.
  • Dry bags – If you didn’t buy a high quality tent and want to keep things dry. 
  • Solar lights – Illuminate stakes/lines for fellow festies from falling into your tent.
  • Solar charger – Good for keeping phones and speakers full of juice.
  • Clothesline – Dry off towels, swimsuits, and all your clothes that got wet.
  • Tent footprint – Keep your tent off the muddy ground. Or don’t. I never have never used one and been fine.   

Level 3 – Car Camper: Bring it all! 

  • Camp table – Food prep. Card games. Beer pong. 
  • Decorations – If your camp has a theme, this is going to be a whole other list.
  • Lantern – Light up the night.
  • Collapsible water containers – Saves you numerous trips throughout the weekend.
  • Duct tape – Don’t go anywhere without it. 
  • Mallet/hammer – For banging in tent stakes on hard ground. 
  • Camp chairs – Determined by the size of your car/bag. 
  • Large/small cooler – For beverages and food. 
  • Flag – So you can find your way home at night. 
  • Shade awnings – Sitting directly in the hot sun is miserable.
  • Windshield shade – Keeps your car just a little cooler sitting in a field all weekend.  
  • Jumper cables – For when you finally return to your car and realize the lights have been on the entire weekend. 

Hygiene & Harm Reduction

You don’t have to live like an animal for the weekend. It’s possible to both party hard and stay clean at a fest. There are a ton of small items and toiletries you can bring along to make the weekend a bit more enjoyable. 

  • Earplugs – Good for extra loud shows and sleeping in the campground. 
  • Water bottle – Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. 
  • Travel shampoo – Shampoo can double as body wash. Biodegradable is ideal for washing off in rivers and lakes.  
  • Toothpaste/toothbrush – Everyone will thank you for this.
  • Dental floss – I forgot this once and spent a miserable 24 hours with a berry seed stuck in my tooth.   
  • First aid kit – Band-aids, tweezers, tick removal.
  • OTC medications – Bring along Ibuprofen, anti-diarrheal, and allergy medicine is a good idea.  
  • Lip balm – One of those things you don’t think you will need until you need it. 
  • Sunscreen – You will be miserable if you burn.
  • Wet wipes – There will not be toilet paper inside the porta potty.  
  • Hand sanitizer – There will not be water outside the porta potty. 
  • Condoms – Bring home a t-shirt, not an STD.
  • Bug repellant – The mosquitos can be bad in some places.  
  • Extra earplugs – For when you lose the first pair of earplugs.
  • Sunglasses – Protect your eyes from that harsh glare of early morning sun.
  • Backup glasses/contact lenses – You got to see! 
  • Eyeshade – Sunrise comes on strong inside a tent. 
  • Travel mirror – Prepare for the day.
  • Hair ties – It will be hot.
  • Deodorant – People do not enjoy your musk as much as you might think. 
  • Gold Bond powder – Keeps your feet nice and dry. Also, will save a man’s life on a humid 4-day fest with limited showers.    

Clothing

Music festivals are an amazing place to express yourself with fashion. It’s impossible to create a generic packing list for clothing as it varies from individual, but here are most of the basics that you should consider working into your wardrobe.  

  • Daypack – Depends on the type and duration of the festival along with your personal preferences. Bum bags, hydration packs, and small backpacks are all candidates. If it comes with a rain fly, bring it.   
  • Shoes – You will be walking. A lot. And dancing. Make sure your feet are comfortable. Your body will thank you on Monday. 
  • Rain shoes – Rain boots, Tevas, and Crocs all work well in the rain. 
  • Sandals – Flip-flops work great for trips to the shower or kicking it around the campfire. 
  • Swimsuit – You never know when there is going to be a hot tub.  
  • Bandanas/buffs – Protection from wind, dust, sun, and sneezing. 
  • Hats – Great for keeping sun off your face.
  • Sunglasses – The coolest way to protect your eyes. Bring a pair you are prepared to lose or won’t mind if they are shattered.   
  • Raincoat – It will rain. Be prepared. Also can be used to keep you or someone else warm around the campsite. 
  • Comfortable sleepwear – There is nothing better than wearing clean clothes to bed. 
  • Insulating layer – A hoodie, puffy coat, anything with long sleeves. It can get chilly, even in the middle of summer and especially at night.
  • Beanie – If you are festivaling in the shoulder season or anytime in Scotland, a warm hat can change your life.
  • Tent socks – These are your warmest, coziest pair of socks that never leave the tent because nothing is more amazing than slipping into dry socks during a rainy festival.
  • Underwear – We prefer packable and quick-drying so they don’t take up too much space and dry out quickly if you need to use them again (we hope you don’t). My top pick is Uniqlo, which are super high quality and super affordable
  • T-Shirts – Or you can just buy some there from the merch tent.
       

Cooking Supplies (Optional)

You will not starve at a music festival, but you may go broke. Bring along your own food and turn your campsite into a kitchen of wonders. 

  • Camping stove – Bam!
  • Cookware – Pots, pans, spatulas. Your menu will determine this item.  
  • Extra gas canisters – You do not want to run out of gas. 
  • Biodegradable dish soap – The folks that didn’t cook get to clean. 
  • Pot scrubber/sponges 
  • Reusable bowls – Just about everything can fit in a bowl. Use it for all meals. 
  • Reusable cups – Enough with the plastic cups already.
  • Reusable silverware – Are you sensing a theme yet?    
  • Ice – Festival ice is expensive. Buy before you arrive and store in a kickass cooler. 
  • Flasks – We would never recommend smuggling in booze.
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew

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Born during a backstage Bonnaroo downpour, Vito's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to all the great festivals that this wide world has to offer.