Festival Survival Guide and Essential Packing List

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Tent – I would love to say buy a quality tent and expertly erect it then dismantle it and reuse. What I am going to say is buy a tent you can easily carry and put up, especially if it’s your first festival or you are on public transport or you are just rather hopeless. Self inflating camping mattresses are a genius invention! Always pitch your tent on higher ground incase it rains heavily and near to the facilities but er, not too near!

Where are we? The first time I went to a festival we took neon lights and turned them into a huge arrow to show us where our tent was. The second time we pitched the tent next to someone who’d brought a flag on a long bendy wire for the same reason. No matter how good you are at orienteering, when you are worse for wear at 3.00am you will be so grateful for that land(tent?)mark. In the festival ground agree with your mates on a meeting point near a tall obvious landmark incase you get accidentally separated. Somewhere with a bench is nice as you will have other lost souls to chat to.

Snacks – Festivals can be expensive and you might just want to chill out in your tent sometimes so bringing snacks is a good idea. Nothing squishable or melty though. Sharing them is a nice way to meet people also!

Waterproofing – If you end up freezing, soaking and misserable you aren’t going to give a crap how pretty your gypsy top with the tassels looks. Harsh but true. Take a lightweight waterproof mac that you can roll up. I’ve even taken waterproof trousers in the past which were a lifesaver after the entire festival turned into one giant swamp, due to their being no matting to walk on and poor drainage. If your tent is old and is a little worn in places a roll of duct tape can go along way to keeping you dry. You will warm up quicker if you take off wet clothes (even if you only have a tee and shorts to change into) and exercise to warm up, much more than sitting shivering with a soaking wet hoodie and jeans on.

Specialist Food/Diets – If you have a specialist diet it really is worth checking up before hand if the fezi already caters to this. Either email or Tweet the organisers or speak to people in person or in forums who’ve been before. “Can I just have this but without that and a soy milk shake and do you have any gluten free bread?” will not go down well at a Brian’s Burger Van.

Sun – Us Brits have a huge propensity to underestimate the effect heat has on us (probably because we’ve forgotten since last year). Always take sun cream spf 15 or over. A sun hat or cap can keep you surprisingly cool for longer even in full sun. You know the one about staying in the shade between the hours of 11.00am – 1.00pm, well I’ll just leave that thought with you. Our bodies need the right balance of salt, sugar and water to function (like those electrolytes people mention when referring to coconut water) and to sweat and therefore cool down. It’s a great idea to carry around a little bag of salted nuts and dried fruit to go with your water. Sugary drinks like Coke and juices don’t count as water by the way! If you feel dizzy, suddenly exhausted or slightly drunk and foggy even though your sober then get into the shade and tell someone how you are feeling.

Skincare mini’s and/or travel gadgets – You won’t use a third of the paraphernalia you take with you. Unless you are a makeup junkie and should be in Makeup Wearers Anonymous or some kind of performer I’d keep it simple. Forget your normal skincare routine and only buy the mini versions of essentials like hand sanitiser and face cleanser. There are lots of shiny expensive travel gadgets you take but let’s be honest, no one really wants something that lets you make tepid tea and also acts as a radio which only picks up one station.

Phone – Those phone chargers that operate by solar power are great in emergencies but don’t ever rely on them as they take ages for very little charge. Anyway you are there to communicate with the crazy people you are with not the boring outside world!

Clothes – Take clothes for every season. What the weather is doing when you pack your rucksack can be utterly irrelevant over the coarse of 4 days. Layering is practical and fashionable and means you have enough clothes if some get wet. I recommend taking wellies (leather boots are useless in deep mud) and a pair of much lighter shoes or sandals as wellies will turn into a swimming pool on a hot day – ergh!

Beer with something extra – If you are going to be taking extra things to have fun on it’s best just to stick with water and not mix it with alcohol. Never accept those kind of ‘gifts’ of strangers or people who are your new bestie who you met a whole 6 hours ago.

That thing called humour – So what if you que for an hour to get a butterfly henna tattoo and it looks like a wonky Angel of death, so what if someone puts two big muddy handprints on your cheeks for a laugh (not mentioning which cheeks), so what if you loose your fave lippy, just roll your eyes and shrug it off. You’re too busy having fun to worry how much fun right?

And relax – On the other hand, don’t put pressure on yourself to have fun 24/7. Sometimes going back to the tent for a nap so you can stay up to the eraly hours is a sensible idea. As is calling it quits for night because you just aren’t feeling it and/or you want to get up tomorrow morning to shop some stalls or do yoga is a great idea!

Packing list

Underwear

Spare socks

Vest

Shorts/light maxi skirt or dress

Trousers/jeans

Denim Jacket/light bomber

Water proof mac

Wellies and light shoes

Hat

Cross body bag

Purse (fastened to bag with elastic which goes inside bag. Geeky but fool proof.)

Suncream

Snacks (salty & sweet)

Water bottle

Tent!

Firmarest camping mattress

Torch

Camera (Never leave this in your tent obv.)

Plasters

Aloe Vera gel (great for sunburn, heat rash, skin allergies and antiseptic!)

Hand sanitiser travel size

Baby wipes

Moisturiser travel size

Face paint, temporary hair dye, beanie with animal ears, tail, flower headdress, devil horns, anything a bit barmy.

Warning: Before entering the camping site security will confiscate things like penknives, glass bottles etc. Possibly camping stoves/gas bottles so it’s best to check with organisers about cooking on site.

Chrissie

 

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Festival Survival Guide and Essential Packing List

  1. This is so helpful – bookmarking for any future festival adventures 🙂

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