So you’ve got your ticket, the headliners are confirmed and you’re ready to go! Packing for your favourite festival, however, can be much less exciting. Luckily, we have a full list of anything you might need.
Before deciding what your essentials are, there are a few things to think about first:
- Only bring what you need
- You’ll have to carry your stuff in and out of the festival
- Remember to ‘Leave no trace’ – don’t plan to abandon your equipment at the festival
- Trolleys can help carry more weight but can be awkward to use (especially if the ground is too wet or too dry)
- If you’re going as a group, plan together, you can minimise what you bring by making sure you don’t double up
Now, here is a checklist of all your festival packing essentials. If you’re only camping for one or two nights, you will only need a few of these items. If you’re off to a longer festival like Glastonbury, for example, you could be camping for up to 5 or 6 nights so might need some extras!
Do not forget these. These are the absolute essentials to get you into the festival and enjoying yourself.
- Your ticket
No ticket, no entry. If you attempt to buy a ticket from a tout either online or outside the event, beware, the tickets could be fake or stolen. Some festivals use photo-tickets so these tickets aren’t transferable either.
Festivals will require your ID to serve alcohol. Many festivals allow you to show your ID once to gain an ‘over 18’ wristband to prevent you from having to take it out over and over again.
- Money and cards
Queues for cash machines can be lengthy unless you plan to go at quiet times. Some festivals provide free ‘lock ups’ where you can lock up your valuables. This service can be used to store your wallet, car keys and cash so you don’t lose them. You can even avoid cash machine queues by going back to the lock up to get your money for the day.
One of the main parts of a festival is the camping! Whether you love or loathe it, you will need to bring some essentials with you to make your stay a comfortable one.
Make sure you have enough room for you and your things! One person would usually need at least a 2-man tent. A porch can be ideal for keeping wellies out of the rain and mud out of your sleeping area.
- Sleeping bag
To save space in your bag try attaching it to the outside.
- Roll mat/inflatable mattress
Festival fields are rarely flat, so you’ll want something to lie on. An inflatable mattress is a luxury but can be heavy so a roll mat can be a light-weight compromise.
- Toilet roll
Bring more than you think you’ll need. But if you’re tight on space, you can usually buy it on site.
- Reusable water bottle
Bring along a bottle you can fill up with water when you arrive. Bring a large container for cooking and around camp, and a smaller bottle for you to carry around in the day.
- Camping pillows
A couple of tiny blow-up pillows will take up barely any space but add an extra touch of comfort.
- Torch and lamp
A torch is an essential for finding your tent on your way back in the evening (and for avoiding tripping over guy lines). A lamp to hang inside your tent can be great for getting into bed at night too.
- Camping chair
If you’re away for a few days, a lightweight camping chair can feel amazing at the end of a long day. Be careful taking them around the site with you, though, chairs in crowds can get dangerous.
- Waterproof picnic blanket
This can be perfect for picnics, especially if you’re expecting some light showers.
Bringing appropriate clothing can be a challenge as weather can be unpredictable. Try to bring layers so you can dress for hot days, wet days and cold nights.
An essential. If you’re caught in the mud you’ll need these without doubt.
- Sturdy shoes
If it’s not welly weather, sturdy shoes can offer the necessary support needed for being on your feet all day.
- A warm jumper
Even if the forecast is warm, nights will always be a little chilly. One jumper should be enough if you try to keep it clean.
- Waterproof jacket
Not only useful for rain, a waterproof jacket can be great for keeping out any cold winds too.
- Changes of clothes for every day plus a couple of extras
Don’t forget extras in case you get wet, muddy or spill your dinner down your top.
- Clean clothes for the trip home
Whether you’re driving or getting the coach, make sure you have some clean clothes stashed in a separate bag or in your boot. It will make the journey home much more pleasant!
Keep the sun off your head in the day or keep your head warm on those cold nights.
- Laundry bag
You’ll thank us for this one. You don’t want to be searching through all your t-shirts for a clean one a few days in.
- Warm socks
For those cold nights.
- A day bag
A smaller bag for you to carry around with you in the day. You’ll need enough room for money, your phone, a bottle of water and any other drinks.
Staying clean at a festival can be challenging so make sure you bring along some toiletries to help.
- Sun cream
Being exposed to the elements all day could leave you with nasty sunburn or even sunstroke, so be sure to use sun cream.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
Bring a small bag for these so they don’t inadvertently get covered in mud!
Don’t forget to bring any medication you might need while you’re away.
Whether it’s hot or not, if you’re going into crowds you’re going to need it.
- Dry shampoo
It can work wonders for your hair when it’s been a few days without a wash.
- Hair brush
Perfect for brushing through your dry shampoo and getting rid of any nasty knots.
- Hair bands and clips
Festivals are full of elaborate braids so try your hand at a new festival style.
- Lightweight towel
A lightweight gym or swimming towel will be perfect for drying off after rain or if you manage to find a coveted festival shower.
- Baby wipes
Perfect for cleaning up anything and everything.
- Face wipes
Essential for removing festival make up and face paint.
Some festivals have showers so bring along some soap if you’ve got your eye on one. Be careful, some only allow biodegradable soaps so do your research first.
Again, if there are showers this is a must. If not, bring along anyway, in case it’s warm and you’re brave enough to wash your hair under the tap.
- Handheld mirror
Some festivals have recently banned mirrors so check before you pack!
- Anti-bacterial hand gel
This will usually be provided by festival toilets but it’s always worth bringing your own.
- First aid essentials
Bring along some essentials like plasters, disinfectant wipes, insect repellent and bite cream. You might also want to bring along some pain killers or anti-inflammatories to treat any headaches or minor injuries. Don’t forget to bring along details of how to contact the festival’s medical team too, just in case of an emergency.
Some of us use festivals as an excuse to abandon technology for a weekend, but if you’re looking to meet up with friends you’ll need some method of communication.
If you don’t trust yourself to keep hold of your phone, invest in a cheap pay as you go handset with your friends’ numbers saved. You won’t have to worry too much if you lose it and the battery should last longer too!
- Charger pack
Even if you switch your phone off at night and use power-saver mode, a charger pack can be a lifesaver to avoid long phone charging queues.
- Festival apps
If your festival has an app, download it! It can give you an easy way to plan what you want to see and usually give you a map of the site too.
Even if you have spending money for buying food from the stalls on site, you’ll still want to bring some snacks.
- Camping stove with gas or portable barbecue with coals
If you’re going in a group, try sharing what’s needed between you.
Try bringing a few as you might lose some throughout the weekend.
- Camping kettle
Perfect for a morning cup of tea or cooking some dried foods for lunch.
- Cups or mugs
If you’re planning to make tea or some food, you’ll need something to eat it out of.
Again, if you’re making food you’ll need at least a fork.
- Breakfast bars
These are great for popping in your bag to get some energy throughout the day. Try to avoid too much chocolate as they can get messy on hot days.
- Sweets and treats
A couple of days in and you’ll be craving sugar for energy. Pack some sweets for an energy boost when you need it.
- Fruit – apples, pears and oranges
Hard fruit will last a while so bring along a couple of oranges or apples. They might sound boring but they’ll make you feel much better when you’re not feeling tip-top.
- Dried noodles, cous cous and rice meals
They are cheap, light, full of energy and easy to cook on a camping stove so stock up. If you have some left over, many festivals have food donation points too so don’t throw away any unopened foods!
- Tea, coffee (maybe some biscuits too!)
This could save you a small fortune over the weekend and means you can even get your hands on a cup of tea when the stalls are closed.
- Drinks decanted into plastic bottles
Most festivals don’t allow glass on site, so make sure anything you bring is decanted into plastic bottles.
Now you have your festival checklist, make sure you do a trial run. You’ll need to be able to carry your bag for quite a distance and you’ll want to be able to put up your tent with ease. Try going camping a few weeks before hand for a night or two to get a bit of practice in.
Whether you’re a festival newbie or a seasoned pro, you can always find new festivities right on your doorstep. Check out our Festival Map of the UK to find some hidden gems.