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Festival Essentials With Printable Equipment List
If you are going to a festival this year you will be crossing every appendage about your person in the hope that it will stave off the rain. Regular festival goers will know that the experience of music, booze and a whole load of likeminded dancing comrades can be amazing, but fellow fun lovers are also acutely aware that you are at the mercy of the weather and the whole business can be a bit of a fiasco when you are squelching about in the mud afraid that you might end up skidding over in a slippery cocktail of other peoples urine when en route to the latrines!
Some folk love the outdoorsy experience and others put up with it for the joy of the music and laughs. Personally I fall into the latter category. Scummy living is put up with for the length of the festival and personal hygiene momentarily allowed to slip. It has been known on occasion for my armpits not to see freshwater for the duration and if they do the water is usually stone cold and sloshed over with an involuntary brief scream after each flick of the shower head.
Keep your clothes in plastic bags or bin liners within your main bag so they remain dry and unscathed in the face of flooding, spillage or worse!
These days there are many options other than the humble tent to set up your temporary residents. Tipi's, yurts, caravans, hobbit houses (yes they do exist!), the list goes on. Walking past the rock star sized Winnebago’s with a pang of envy you have to wonder if this is cheating slightly. They come fitted with hot water, electricity and toilet facilities. No walk to the loos in the dark clutching your toilet roll protectively fearful that, at any moment, you may lose grip and drop it irretrievably in a puddle or down the hole that passes for a toilet; fully charged mobile throughout versus resorting to semaphore to track down lost mates; and squeaky clean every day rather than progressively looking greasier and muddier and sweating dirt and booze through clogged pores. Err? Anyone want to go in on a camper?
So for those of us slumming it in a tent what are the essential festival items that no festival goer should be without? Here are ten useful items plus a full list of essentials with PDF checklist to download for those who are need of one!
Has to be done I’m afraid. Wishful thinking on the weather front and leaving them at home will pretty much guarantee torrential downpours. And some good advice to heed: make sure they are the right size. Buy one size too small because they look better and you may spend the entire year to come re-growing your big toenail as a result! Yes this is from personal experience. Pointless and also quite painful vanity since not a soul will notice the fractionally smaller wellies yet the excruciation will be acute. You will also need a good pair of cosy, socks as an ad on to this one. Thick enough to stop any potential blisters but not so much so that your boots are too tight!
Look cool and hide a multitude of sins day or night! About the only time it is acceptable to wear sunglasses at night! Watch out for the comedy sunburn mask though and be prepared for them to be stamped on, sat on or lost altogether.
3. Baby Wipes
If the thought of peeling off crusty clothes and stepping into what will probably be a cold, tepid at best, trickle of water only to struggle back into grotty garments is too much then baby wipes are most certainly the way forward! You will definitely not be the only one sitting in your tent of a morning/afternoon with baby wipe shoved under armpit, vigorously spreading smelliness very slightly further down your pit than it was before. Handy little things for a whole host of icky spills and sticky spots to boot!
For when the baby wipes don’t quite do the job. Mask the smell with half a can of deodorant. Perhaps a roll on is a lot more eco-friendly but it just won’t cut the mustard for the industrial needs here!
5. Toilet Roll Plus Pack of Tissues.
The loo roll for the tent to take on trips that need an unknown quantity of toilet paper and the tissues for about your person. Always come in handy in my experience. Useful for men, crucial for women.
Kind of obvious but you really want to take enough with you so that you don’t run out and end up having to use one of the daylight robbery machines, oh I mean cash machines, on site that will take their cut of your wonga!
7. Portable Phone Charger.
These are invaluable. But be prepared for all your friends to bug you no end to use it too. Your options (if any) at a festival will be, a stall that charges you a pretty penny for a limited time charge that won’t get you very far, a free charge tent sponsored by some phone company or other that sounds great in theory but you will have to queue for an age, will be missing out on fun and be limited to how long you can spend in there charging, so may end up with 20% life, i.e. pointless. You may be able to hire a portable charger from the festival depending on the scale of it. Glastonbury is offering this from 2014. You can exchange the charger every time it runs out of life. Sounds great but it will set you back £20.
Keep your tent messy. Thieves prefer neat tents to rummage around for things to pocket for some reason!
8. Phone/Spare Phone/Camera.
You need to decide whether you are a danger to yourself and your phone when drunk and whether all 3,478 photos that you haven’t manage to upload yet are at risk of being lost if you take your main mobile with you. It might be a good idea to buy a dirt cheap pay as you go and leave the money can’t replace the memories phone at home. Also remember that these new-fangled devices have a battery life of a butterfly stuck in a conservatory with only a bored cat as company, i.e. not very long. So plans to take photos of you and your mates stage diving may be scuppered by 0% battery life. It’s a trade-off between crap phone and no camera, plus separate camera that takes up valuable bag space or good phone with high mega pixel camera and rubbish battery life. Here’s a tip: Putting your phone in flight mode saves battery. So does turning it off it’s true but it’s easier to flick it in and out of flight mode.
One way or another you will end up getting stung on drinks. In some cases the soft drinks are about as expensive as the beer. Sometimes you can bring in alcohol and sometimes you can’t. Shame on those festivals that force you to solely buy their booze and bankrupt you in the process! If you can bring in alcohol bear in mind that you won’t be able to keep your drinks cool much past the first night if it’s vaguely hot out and you aren’t in possession of a generator.
10. Cross body festival bag.
This applies to girls and guys that don’t mind donning a man bag. Great for dancing, keeps hands free for using the loo and hard to lose, although still possible! Sure there has been many a man that has lost his belongings out of their trouser pockets, unless they have zip pockets perhaps. Images of change clattering around a portaloo and unfortunate man scrabbling to retrieve it spring to mind.
So there you have it! If you heed the advice above you should be well on your way to a bit of prudent packing and a savvy festival experience.
See the links section at the end of the article if you would like a PDF checklist to assist you in your packing! Now for the full list of essentials!
- Tent - Pop-up tents are the way forward!
- Airbed - Preferably one that takes a battery powered pump so you can sit and have a drink whilst enjoying the view of exhausted foot pumpers around you.
- Pump - Foot pump or battery powered depending on mattress type.
- Sleeping bag/blankets - As compact and lightweight as possible.
- Pillow - Ordinary, inflatable or bean pillow
- Fold up picnic blanket - Choose one that folds down to a bag so can be carried around festival easily.
- Camping chairs - These are quite bulky to carry but if you don't take them you will be staring enviously at those who have bothered to bring them along as you try in vain to get comfortable on the grass.
Drinks and Snacks
- Alcohol - Copious amounts of. Glass is usually not permitted.
- Water container(s) - One large for keeping by the tent and one to carry about with you.
- Soft drinks - Both to use as a mixer and when you need something other than water to quench your thirst and take the nasty taste out of your mouth of a morning!
- Berocca - Great for when you are beginning to lag and haven't quite made your quota of 5 portions of fruit/veg!!
- Crisps (or chips!) - Pringles are a good idea as they will stay fresh and are less likely to end up crushed and strewn around the tent.
- Cereal bars - Perhaps as a precursor to the bacon, sausage and egg sandwich.
- Olives - These go down nicely with an alcoholic beverage of your choice!
- Dried fruit - Raisin, dried apricots and the like will keep fairly well.
- Nuts - Peanuts, cashews, almonds.
- Clean underwear - Take plenty of fresh underwear for as many days as you are there plus extras for incidents thus unplanned for.
- Towel - Even if you aren't planning on showering a towel is a handy item (Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy anyone?)
- Waterproof jacket - Take either a waterproof jacket or a warm hoody with a lightweight waterproof mac to fling over the top.
- Socks - Good, robust socks are a must. Flimsy trainer socks will leave your feet in shreds.
- Wellies - Hateful things (in my opinion) but they have their uses (see above!).
- Flip Flops - Very handy for quick trips to the loo on safe, dry terrain.
- Alternative pair of shoes - Take some comfy shoes for roaming around if the weather is fine and the ground is dry.
- Warm leg wear - Depending on where your festival is at temperatures can plummet at night.
- Hat - Sun hat or beanie hat or both.
- Hooded top - Possibly two
- Tops - T-shirts, polo shirts, vests etc.
- Fancy dress - I'm a bit of a bar humbug myself on the fancy dress front but admittedly it looks great when other people get involved!
- Toothbrush & toothpaste plus mini mouth wash - And remember to use them! Most alcoholic beverages contain a heap of sugar. Sounds a bit of a nag but sensitive teeth are not fun.
- Soap/body wash, shampoo & conditioner - The less you can get away with taking the better.
- Buff puff/sponge/face cloth - If you need that sort of thing.
- Face and body cream - The elements and the booze will dry out your skin so slap on a bit of cream!
- Lip balm -It's useful to have a lip balm with sun screen in with SPF, maybe a Vaseline too.
- Sun cream - Tans look good, lobster skin with strap marks to boot do not.
- Face wash - To keep the spots at bay.
- Make up - For those that can be bothered.
- Milk thistle - I don't know how much good this will do over a weekend but milk thistle has liver healing properties. It might make you feel a bit better about consuming vast quantities of alcohol anyway.
- Pain killers and alka seltzer (or equivalent) - There is nothing worse than a headache with nothing within grabbing distance to take. The fizz of the Alka Seltzer really helps to settle the stomach and relieves mild nausea.
- Deodorant - See above.
- Baby wipes - See above.
- Toilet roll and packet(s) of tissues - An abundance of toilet roll and tissue is an absolute must. Loo rolls can be used as pillows for forgetful friends.
- Hair brush, hair ties, hair products - Any hair care items you think you may need if any!
- Plasters - For when the evil wellies make your ankles bleed.
- Antibacterial sanitiser - Using plenty of this will at least give you peace of mind that if you get sick after eating a greasy burger you know it wasn't from the pee left on your hands but poor hygiene from the nice man who cooked your food.
- Condoms - You never know.
- Razor - For the females that don't wax. Legs and armpit stubble will be growing through a couple of hours into the first day.
- Perfume - Not essential but nice to have. Put some into a tiny diffuser and it takes up no room at all.
- Other medicines - Such as antihistamines, bite cream, tea tree oil, antacids and so on.
- Ear plugs - Because some people don't know when to stop!
- Eye mask - The morning sun beaming into your tent will tell your body it's time to wake up whether you're ready to or not. Put an eye mask on and pretend it's still night.
- Torch - Save yourself tripping over a peg and landing on an unsuspecting sleeper whilst trying to navigate the sea of tents.
- Music dock - Great for around the campsite whether getting ready, having a bite to eat or a chill.
- Batteries - For all your battery operated devices!
- Generator - Most people don't go in for dragging a cumbersome generator to a festival but they are handy for recharging and keeping things cool.
- Bin liners/plastic bags - Seemingly out of nowhere you will accumulate masses of rubbish. Plastic bags also come in handy for separating smelly clothes and avoid you having to do the sniff test!
- TravelJohn - Unisex, disposable loo that soaks wee into crystals. Brilliant invention. Neater and more hygienic than peeing in a bottle.
Festival Dance Moves
Feel free to add items you think I have missed and I will update accordingly!
This guide is intended for festival goers that aren't cooking their own grub (a lot of festivals don't allow barbeques and cooking) so doesn't include pots, pans, stoves etc.
Would you take wellies to a festival if the forecast said it wasn't going to rain?
Festival Checklist and Amazon Links
- Festival Checklist
A list of all the items outlined above plus space for additional items.
- Travel John on Amazon.com
- Travel John on Amazon.co.uk
- Portable charger on Amazon.com
- Portable Lipstick-Sized Charger Power Bank Charger on Amazon.com