As a regular festival-goer, I’m used to telling myself what a great thing hindsight is while hobbling from stage to stage with blisters on both feet and painfully sunburned shoulders. In all the excited planning for four night’s camping in a far-flung field, it’s easy to forget the simple things that can make festival living that bit more comfortable.
Roughing it is part of the fun, sure, but you can avoid unnecessary hardship by making a festival packing list. Try breaking it down into “clothes and accessories”, “toiletries”, “valuables” and “camping”, and make sure to include these oft-forgotten items that could help you out of a tight spot.
Even if you’re not a manic mosher, you’ll be exerting more effort than you realise simply by being on your feet day and night. Packing nuts or cereal bars – something slow-burning with a good mix of fat and protein – will ensure you avoid energy dips.
You’ll cover huge distances journeying back and forth across a festival site over the course of a weekend. Throw in a pair of wellies you’ve worn once before, and a couple of hundred people treading on your toes, and blisters are pretty much inevitable. A gel-based plaster to protect against further rubbing is an easily-overlooked necessity.
Think broken tent-poles, tears in your tent canvas, even holes in your wellies. A bit of heavy-duty tape in the bottom of your rucksack could get you out of a crisis, and it takes up very little space.
We’ve all been there: scrambling around in a pitch-black tent at 3am after too many warm ciders, searching for the zip on your sleeping bag, trying to use the screen of your dying phone as a light. You need a little, lightweight torch. If your tent has an inside hook, you can even set up a makeshift light by hanging your torch from it – and if it doesn’t, get your duct tape out. Duct tape is useful, see?
Portable phone charger
Calls to locate friends and irresistibly Instagrammable sunsets over the main stage are going to run that battery down in no time. Most festivals now offer a charging facility, but there are queues, they may cost money, and phones can disappear. Portable chargers are affordable and reliable, and even the cheapest models can provide you with one or two pre-loaded charges that will sort you out for the weekend.
Earplugs and eyemask
Chances are you’re going to want at least one decent night’s sleep to see you through four days and nights of exertion. Even if you’re camping some distance from the main arena, you’ll be with lots of loud and happy people – and tents are not exactly soundproof. So if you’re a light sleeper, earplugs are a must. Also, it’s summer, and the sun rises insanely early. If that’s going to wake you up, pack an eyemask and get an extra couple of hours of rest.
Grab a couple of clothes pegs before you leave home and pop them in a rucksack pocket. There’s bound to be a deluge at some point. When the sun finally comes out, squeeze out your sodden garments and peg them to your tent, or a nearby tree. Socks especially – nothing nicer than a dry pair on day three.
The rest of my festival kit list:
- Tent (with enough pegs)
- Sleeping bag
- Inflatable pillow. Or just a pillow case – you can stuff a jumper into it
- Plastic bags and bin bags
- Water container
- Clothing for all weathers
- Wellies – and long socks
- Toilet roll
- Wet wipes
- Any medication
- Dry shampoo
- Anti-bacterial hand-wash
- Sun cream