Festival season is almost upon us – the May Bank Holidays mark the kick-off of some of the UK’s finest music festivals. Whether you’re heading to a small local event like Truck Festival, or the mother of all festivals, Glastonbury Festival, you need to make sure you pack smart. A week away from home is hard to pack for at the best of times, let alone camping amongst hundreds, if not thousands of others, miles away from any of your standard shops and without any creature comforts like running water, your own toilet and heating.
“Pack light, pack right” is the name of the game, and this list should go some way to helping you win. At the bottom of the page you’ll find a list of standard essentials, but first, here’s some festival products you may not have thought about that will make your time in a field that little bit more enjoyable.
Pocket Party Light
Most festivals have cut off times for performances, but everyone knows the party carries on when you get back to the campsite, often all night, and often it’s the best bit! Be the life and soul of the festival tent party with a Pocket Party Light and portable speaker – you’ll probably get paid with beer and free hugs.
This is an obvious one, but so easily forgotten! A decent torch is a must for any music festival where you’re camping over night. Plug sockets are hard to come by so don’t rely on your phone for a torch, plus you want to save your battery for videos with terrible sound and the aforementioned selfies. Both finding your tent and finding stuff IN your tent are difficult in pitch black, particularly at the end of a day where you kicked things off brushing your teeth with JD, so a torch is vital. As you need it to find your tent at night it’s going to be with you all day, so this brilliant Torch by Scott & Lawson also comes with a ‘stash’ – use it to keep money/perishables safe and dry.
Gone are the days where you could take a selfie-stick into a music festival, in fact they’re banned from most music and sporting events these days. This pocket-sized Selfie Clip does exactly the same job, is much more portable and can’t be confiscated by over-enthusiastic security guards. A music festival will create some of the most memorable experiences of your life, make sure you’re able to grab a decent photo to remember it by!
Getting dirty at festivals is a total myth! You don’t get dirty, you get absolutely FILTHY. Mud, sweat, drinks chucked about (“I really hope that was a warm beer he just threw in the air”) all become part of your ‘look’, but that’s no excuse for not trying to reset to passably clean each morning. This smart wash bag by Scott & Lawson rolls up to fit in the smallest of rucksacks, and then rolls out again to hang in in your tent – you’ll feel like your back home in your bathroom!
It rains at music festivals. Fact. It’s not a ‘maybe’, it’s fact. If you’re going to spend 5 days in a field, in the UK, then it’s going to rain at least once. Umbrellas are a no-go I’m afraid. Firstly, a lot of festivals ban them as they can be used as weapons! Secondly, everyone standing behind you will shout and boo at you because you’re totally blocking their view. Third and finally, they don’t really fit in your pocket, and that’s a basic requirement for anything that needs to be carried about at a music festival – no-one likes dragging a bag around all day.
Obviously there are plenty of other festival ponchos out there to choose from, we just particularly like this one because… well, Superman. This Superman Poncho is pocket sized, reusable and cool looking. They also keep you nice and warm! If you’re skinny you can squeeze two people inside – trust us, we’ve tried.
An Empty Pillow Case
This is a really simple festival hack that I invented myself many years ago at Reading Festival. I used to get the train each year – it was affordable, not too long a journey, and enviro-friendly. The only problem is that you’re limited with what you can carry on public transport and pillows are bulky to carry and not as important as another crate of booze, so a low priority and usually reserved for those who choose to drive. If you break it down thought, a pillow is simply a pillow case with something soft stuffed in it. All you need to take is the pillow case itself then stuff it with clothes. I generally opt for stuffing a nice big hoody, something I’ll always have on hand for cold evenings, but I’m unlikely to want to wear it once in bed.
A Pocket Tool
These days you’re not really supposed to carry a penknife about, and particularly in festivals they’re frowned upon – your hardly needing to gut fish or whittle a spear now are you? However, if you need something with a blade, then check out this 11-in-1 Mult-itool from Scott & Lawson. It’s affordable, sleek, and hard-wearing and will cater for most your needs, without splashing out on a Swiss Army Knife that’ll be painful to have confiscated.
Our personal preference is this ingenious Karabiner Multitool, also by Scott & Lawson. It’s not got any blades so no need to be confiscated, and it’s got a handy karabiner-style clip to ensure you don’t lose it mid-mosh pit. It’s most important feature is a bottle opener, of course, as most festival meals consist of a beer or a cider, probably both.
A Hip Flask
Different festivals have different rules about how much/whereabouts alcohol from home can be brought/consumed, and one of the most fun games at a music festival is trying to break those rules. We’ve seen people hide bottles of beer in the back of their wellies, bags of wine under hats, even a bottle of vodka under each armpit, but the simplest way is to grab a hip flask, fill it with your favourite tipple each time your back of the tent, and slip it somewhere they’re unlikely to search. We’re not going to tell you where, just use your imagination.
Any hip flask will do, but this Batman Hip Flask is just SO AWESOME, worthy of the caped crusader himself. People will LOVE you when you share it.
Some Plastic Bags
Another one of my finest festival hack discoveries. Hangovers are a very standard occurrence at music festivals, as are very long queues for toilets, and these two things combined can make for a very unpleasant experience if your hurrying for a chunder before you start drinking again. A plastic bag wrapped over the top of an empty beer box makes a great substitute for a bucket. Keep it by your bed for emergency situations, and empty it easily into a nearby bin. That’s how to beat the queues in style!
- Waterproof plastic bags (for sealing your phone/wallet in if it gets crazy-rainy. Condoms are also useful for this, amongst other things…)
- Emergency Energy (sports drink/energy tablets, pro plus – you don’t want to nap through your favourite band!)
- Baby wipes (possibly the only kind of body cleaning you’ll be able to do)
- Tent (obvs)
- Toilet paper (sounds crazy, but the portaloos WILL run out, probably on day one. Don’t get caught short!)
- Air bed/meal mat (unlike normal camping, you can’t really choose a nice flat spot at a festival)
- Folding chair/stool (you’ll want a break from standing up/sleeping on the floor, trust me)
- Bum bag (old-skool but pretty useful)
- Sleeping Bag
- Socks. Lots of socks.
- General toiletries
Do you have any festival hacks? Or any useful or downright awesome festival products that you’s suggest? Let us know in the comments below 🙂