Last Updated on 10/08/2023
A Complete Checklist for Music Festival Packing
The Ultimate Music Festival Checklist is your go-to list of what to pack for Festival Camping this summer and covers all the essential items you should remember to take with you. Even if you have been to a dozen festivals in the past it is still a good idea to use a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything important. This list of things to take to a festival is based on your average 3 – 4 day Weekend Festival, however, can be adjusted in the clothes and food / drink department for shorter or longer festival checklists.
This Ultimate Music Festival Checklist of essentials is only a guide but if you have never been to a music festival before and are unsure of what to take then you won’t be able to fully anticipate what you are in for. You are going to get dirty, smelly, tired and probably hung over but the good news is… So is everybody else! You don’t need 3 changes of clothes per day, just take items that you really need and if possible, reuse things wherever possible. Carrying all your gear miles through a packed campsite is not fun or even necessary, pack wisely and make do with what you take.
Ultimate Music Festival Checklist Essentials
- Cash – Cash is king at a festival but be sure to take plenty as festival cashpoints are expensive and unreliable.
- Tickets / ID/ Credit Cards – Obviously your tickets are the most important thing to take to a music festival but your id and credit cards should all be kept together in a safe and secure place on your person.
- Mobile Phone – I don’t recommend taking an expensive smartphone but if you must then make sure it is fully charged and the apps are disabled to save power. Instead of risk losing or damaging your smartphone take a cheap cell phone which doesn’t matter if you lose it.
- Power Bank – How to recharge your phone at a festival? A modern day essential for festival goers with technology. Phones, Cameras, Speakers and MP3’s will all need charging at some point and a basic power bank will easily keep your gadgets charged at a festival.
- Head Torch and spare Batteries – Forget the handheld torch, head torches keep your hands free and can be easily attached to the roof of your tent. No Ultimate Music Festival Checklist would be complete without some spare batteries.
Camping Gear for Weekend Festivals
- Tent – You might want your own tent and privacy and that’s fine, just make sure you don’t go bigger than a 2 man tent or people will want to bunk with which kind of defeats the point. If you prefer to share with friends then always get a tent large enough for everybody’s gear and a large porch area is a massive bonus for nighttime chilling.
- Sleeping Bag – Don’t get the cheapest sleeping bag you can find, instead get something that will actually keep you warm on a night. At the same time, you don’t want a winter sleeping bag for a summer music festival as a rising sun will boil you in the bag.
- Sleeping Mat – Always, always, always take a sleeping mat. One of the most overlooked items to take to a festival is a sleeping mat. Even the cheapest sleeping mat will raise you off the ground and stop you losing all your body heat but also give you at least some comfort on often uneven ground.
- Pillow Case – A good way to separate your clothes from your other outdoor gear, you can also use it as a pillow with your softer clothes on a night.
Clothing Guide for Music Festivals
Most music festivals are held from late spring through until late summer so you should be expecting (hoping for) some nice weather, things don’t always turn out that way. As the saying goes, “hope for the best but plan for the worst”, which is why this Ultimate Music Festival Checklist should be looked at before every big event. Even if you don’t think it will rain, a disposable rain poncho costs about a dollar and takes up next to no space in your pack so just take one for the hell of it.
- Waterproof Jacket / Rain Poncho – A lightweight raincoat or rain poncho cost and weigh very little and is definitely worth taking (especially in the UK).
- Waterproof Pants – Not essential unless you expect a good chance of rain.
- Waterproof Hiking Boots or Gum Boots – Speaking from many years experience, a good pair of walking boots is the best choice of footwear for any music festival. You are on your feet and dancing for most of the day for 3 days solid and you need something comfortable to wear. Hiking boots provide lots of ankle and heel support and will keep your feet dry if you end up dancing in the mud. Wellies are a good alternative for wet weather if you plan to wear casual footwear for the majority of the festival.
- 2 x Hoodies / Warm Tops – Hoodies are great for providing extra warmth on a night time and can be tied around your waste when not in use.
- 3 – 4 x T-shirts or Tops – 1 for every day and an extra to go home clean in.
- Pajamas – If you’re into that kind of thing
- 4 x Underwear – Goes without saying
- 4 x Socks – Take 2 thick pairs and 2 regular pairs, while thick pairs are warmer they are also comfier
- 2 x Shorts – Get your legs out, nobody cares what they look like
- 2 x Pants – Lightweight hiking trousers are a good choice and often zip off into shorts and a thicker pair like jeans to wear on an evening.
- Sun Hat – A good way for girls to keep their hair out of the way and a good way for lads to squash bedhead.
- Warm Hat – It is nice to take a break from dancing and a hat is an easy way to stay warm.
- Sunglasses – These are a must for any festival not only to block the sun and look cool but to hide the rings around your eyes after a heavy night.
- Sandals or flip flops – After a long day of dancing and walking around you want something comfortable to put on back at the tent. Flip flops are great as you can easily slip them on and off before getting in and out of your tent.
Food and Drink Ideas for Music Festivals
In this Ultimate Music Festival Checklist, I personally recommend taking minimal food and trying out as many of the food vendors as possible for 3 solid meals a day plus some fruit and snacks back at the tent. I used to take lots of food but found myself buying the festival food anyway and wasting a lot of the stuff I took. Now I just take a few bits that I know I will eat.
- Fruit – Melons, Oranges, Apples, Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Grapes and Limes (for drinks).
- Cereal Bars – The kind with peanuts and yogurt are my favorite.
- Chocolate – For midnight cravings or group treats.
- Nuts – Perfect for snacking and a great energy source.
- Peanut Butter – Because it’s nice on everything.
- Orange Juice Boxes – For morning refreshment and for mixing drinks.
- Ginger Beer – The perfect mixer for any spirit (along with orange juice)
- Cordial – Sometimes the water at festivals can taste chemically and cordial is the easiest way to hide it.
- Spirits – Rum is my choice but Vodka, Gin, Whiskey or other liquor should be decanted into a plastic container so it doesn’t get confiscated at the gate. Mix your spirit of choice with 1 part alcohol to 3 parts ginger beer and 1 art orange juice for a festive cocktail. Try it if you haven’t already.
- Beer – A mix lager and ale works best for me.
- Cider – Cider can be a refreshing change from warm lager.
- Wine – A box of wine is a wise investment and tends to stay quite cool in those foil bags.
*This Ultimate Music Festival Checklist recommends that you always drink responsibly.
- Suncream – If the sun is out there are often very little places to hide. Tents tend to get very hot and stuffy in the sun and unless you cover yourself in sun cream you run the risk of getting very burnt.
- Hand Sanitizer – Don’t rely on the event to provide consistent facilities to clean your hands after using festival toilets.
- Ear Plugs – These will be a lifesaver to anyone who values their sleep and block out those annoying snorers, party animals, and early risers.
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste – Cleaning your teeth on a morning can help you feel human again.
- Baby Wipes – Or as they are known on this Ultimate Music Festival Checklist, “a festival shower”.
- Deodorant – Again another alternative to showers when you have no other options.
- Micro Towel – Just in case there are showers or you clumsy friend spills a beer inside your tent.
- Prescription Medicine – You know what’s going on but tell a good friend in case of an emergency.
- Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Rennie etc…
- Toilet Paper – Don’t rely on there always being toilet roll.
- Contraception – Fingers crossed.
Festival Checklist for Girls
- Dry Shampoo – Taking a shower is not always possible and dry shampoo is a great alternative.
- Tampons / Pads / Diva Cup – Along with all your regular feminine products.
- 2 x Bras – 1 regular bra and 1 sports bra is a good combination.
- Swimsuit – Can be used as extra underwear or bra if not for swimming or getting wet.
- Bandanna – Can be worn as a fashion accessory or to keep your hair up.
- Leggings – Can be used under most clothing.
- 2 x Skirts – Take instead of pants if you like your skirts and summer dresses.
- Camping Chair – If the ground gets wet or you spend a lot of time at camp then a chair is just what you need.
- Duct Tape – It is a well-known fact, duct tape fixes everything from clothes and shoes to tents and sleeping bags.
- Lighter – A good thing to have even if you don’t smoke.
- Pocket Knife or Multitool – Cut fruit and complete other odd tasks you get asked to complete at a festival.
- Bin Liners – For camp litter and emergency waterproofing.
- Umbrella – While umbrellas can be annoying for the people behind you in an audience, they have their place at a music festival
- Flag – Find your tent in a field full of tents or find your friends in a crowd of people when you need to find a toilet.
- Music and Speakers – Unless the music goes on all night you will be glad you took these.
- Cooking Stove, Fuel, and Cutlery – While a great way to save money, you add a lot of hassle and extra weight when you add a stove and the rest of the gear to your pack load.
Thanks for reading the Ultimate Music Festival Checklist of Essentials and be sure to share it with all your friends before you go.