Ultimate festival guide & Packing List

I’m in festival mode. This time next week I’ll be chilling out with my rum n coke in hand on my trusty camping chair at donington race circuit, bracing myself for my annual 5 days of amazing music and people. Hopefully my tent will be up (which by the way – I’ve not so much as opened to check yet) So I thought to myself, why not do a festival guide? Festivals are fun. Everyone should try and experience at least one. Download festival’s my all time favourite though.
First things first..
Packing list
Items marked – (*) are often available to purchase at festivals, so if carrying a lot is a worry buying them there might be a better option – usually more expensive but if you’re willing to pay to save you trying to carry, then great! – always check availability first.
– Your tickets (Festival, travel + parking!)
– Travel information Ideally you know how you’re getting there, post codes for sat navs etc
– Medical info (allergies / medication lists in case of emergencies, emergency contacts, make sure your whole party do this too)
– Identification
– Money / bankcard.
 Take cash as withdrawing money can be expensive using the machines there. Make sure you keep it safe and secure though.
– Your stage plan – 
Most festivals announce stage times beforehand – you dont want to realise you’ve missed your favourite band because you were watching your pals one now do you? Plan which stages you definitely want to be at and when.
 
Camping
– Camping bag you’ll have a LOT to carry – try to get a supportive one.
– Tent with pegs, guy ropes + mallet * ideally double skinned (inner and outer tent) helps reduce condensation. Also spare tent pegs Drunk people, plus guy ropes = missing tent pegs.
– Sleeping bag* or duvet* and pillow*– Roll mat* or Blow up bed* You can buy battery powered inflators – compact – you can actually purchase airbeds inflated at download festival.. how Snazzy?!
– Cheap gazebo* for shade 
– Camping chair*
– Camping light windup. If not, make sure you bring batteries.
– Flag pole* + Flag* – these are obviously not needed but it’s great fun to make up a camp name and make your own flag beforehand, helps with finding your tent amongst the sea of tents too, check for height restrictions.
Eating

– Cooler (You can sometimes buy ice at festivals)
– Hexi Stove* or disposable bbqs* – (small metal cookers that use solid fuel! – You’ll also need lighting material – a lighter or matches should do) – Many festivals don’t allow gas canisters.
– Cutlery– Mess Tins – Cook your food in the mess tin, then use it as your plate, snazzy! These are ideal for hexi stoves as it’s thin metal – so it won’t take too long to heat up.
– Plastic plates / bowls if needed – I’ve always just used mess tins.
– Spatula type device / tongs – aha! We left ourselves short last year and ended up melting plastic cutlery trying to turn our hotdogs.. sad face
– Food – Tinned / canned food is great, anything can be het up on a hexi stove using a mess tin. Tinned fruit is good also. Coffee / Latte / hot chocolate sachets are just simply amazing at festivals, these take little to no effort if you have water and a hexi stove, make sure your cup can withstand the heat though. Smoked sausages. Anything non perishable, that stores well in varying heat will ultimately be okay. But be realistic about how hot your hexi stove / disposable bbq is going to be. If you’re happy spending your money on food, festivals tend to have countless stalls with great variety it WILL be costly though.

Entertainment (not that you’ll need any)
– Portable Speakers  + Mp3 player
– Cards loads of drinking games in a tiny pack
– Cards against humanity (I love it! and so portable)
– Portable power pack (for charging phone/camera)
Toiletries
– Babywipes Use for EVERYTHING. These are tradable currency at festivals. Take plenty.
– Toilet roll. Portaloo’s run out sometimes (or use wipes)
– Dry shampoo / Talcom powder both work great!
– Hairbrush + styling products
– Toothbrush + toothpaste
– Chapstick – dry lips are no fun!
– Personal items – contraceptives, lady wipes, towels/tampons. 
– Hand Sanitiser – Self explanatory!
First Aid-
– Plasters (blisters, yuck!)
– Some antiseptic wipes
– Gauze dressings / bandage + Medi Tape
– Paracetamol / Ibuprofen
– Suncream!! + Aftersun, sunglasses too.
– insect repellant– Upset stomach pills – Festival food can be amazing, and utterly vile. Being prepared for an upset stomach can prevent many a horror story..
Other useful items
– Key chain or bumbag – Great for attaching wallet / keys. You don’t want to have travelled MILES to then realise you’ve lost your car keys in the field of thousands of people now, Do you? Alternatively, put them in a locker if they are available.
– Headlight – great for getting back and finding your tent when its dark and you’re tipsy.
– picnic blanket – waterproof on one side – great for sitting on anywhere your chair isnt.
– Trolley – If you’re buying alcohol, a trolley is great – you can often hire them there but if you’re a frequent festival goer this can be pricey. I’d recommend a trolley with pneumatic wheels as we usually pass by a few festival goes with their broken granny trolleys on the way to the camp site. I’d recommend something like this it’s strong – and should hold up against the elements and different types of terrain plus it’ll hold a lot of weight.
– Duct tape + Cling film –Tent repairs, and wrapping all your stuff up securely on your trolley. Also super for making empty beer can creatures / camp mascots.
– Bin Bags – I am such a clean freak personally, but the mess that some people leave after a festival is disgusting. How difficult is it to bin your rubbish!? Take some bin bags, and at least bag your rubbish before you leave. Nice to be nice!
– Walkie Talkies –With decent walkie talkies, you and your pal will never be separated or lost without a phone signal.
– Ear plugs – If you need it to be quiet to fall asleep, these are essential, however be aware that wearing these reduced your ability to hear any thieves should they wish to try stealing from your tent at night whilst you’re sleeping.
– Clothing – Aren’t you glad I reminded you?! Seriously though – take festival appropriate clothing and take clothing for all weather. High heels are just lovely, especially if you’re aiming for spending half your festival in hospital with a broken ankle. Comfy WATERPROOF footwear is an absolute must. Taking a winter beanie is ideal for at night too, really keeps you warm. Have a waterproof raincoat or poncho too.
– Foldable water bottles– ideal for ahem smuggling transporting fluids into music venues where perhaps the policy is that you buy it there rather than take your own. Also for plain old rehydration. Remember to drink water throughout – helps with hangovers!

Things to NOT take.

– Too much!!!! You’ll need 2 journeys to and from the car, and you’ll probably not use half of what you’ve taken.
– New bootsAnd.. ah-I will walk 500 miles just to.. see my favourite bands, but with new boots you’ll be crawling with blisters. Try breaking them in before you leave.
– Drugs – Don’t be daft, no.
– Flip Flops And heels – No, just no. Sensible, hardy, walking boots.
– Any type of Plastic wheeled sack barrow / granny trolley– You’ll be mad when they break and you’re left trying to haul a great ruddy pile of stuff.

My festival Tips


– 
Keeping your tent clean – A good idea is to have bin bags open near the opening of your tent, that way if your boots are covered in dirt you can open a bag and step in them to keep your tent as clean as possible and stop dirt getting everywhere.
– Glass is RARELY permitted in festivals (No mirrors / glass perfume bottles – these are often confiscated if found) – Be prepared and keep empty bottles to decant your alcohol into.
– Bandana – Consider spraying a bandana with LOTS of insect repellent, attaching it to your bag or in your hair or wherever will help keep the bugs at bay.
– Buying at the festival Remember, festivals stock most things. There’s always a first aid tent in emergencies. I’d strongly recommend taking any essentials with you, as you will pay tenfold the normal cost of some items at a festival – it really adds up.
– Your phone & Lockers– Unfortunately there are thieves at festivals, buying a cheap as chips 10 quid festival phone deters them from stealing – the battery also lasts much longer than smart phones. If lockers are available for storing cash / phone, take one! This is the type of thing that you don’t realise you need until it’s too late.
– Packing – put anything you don’t want wet inside a black bin bag, this ensures it stays dry in your bag, even if the rain soaks through (Especially in the UK) – alternatively you can “waterproof” your bag more by buying the waterproofing spray thats sold in most outdoor shops.
– Toiletry Storage – You can buy those hanging travel toiletry bags, they are fabulous for festivals primark has cracking ones for a few pounds. They keep all your toiletries / meds together.
– Tent security – You need to be aware that as friendly as people are, theres always a few who will spoil it by trying to thieve. Putting a padlock on your tent screams “I have something worth securing in here” and they’ll cut into your tent anyway. Take anything you’re not willing to lose with you in your backpack when you’re away from the campsite.
 Parazone toilet wipes– 2 for £1 in poundland I believe – portaloos feel much cleaner with a wipe down using these.
– Be nice. This goes without saying, but honestly. You’re at a festival, have fun. The people who work there are only doing their job, make it easier for them. If you see someone passed out sitting themselves and they look peakish, ask if they’re okay. If you think someone looks like they need a bit of help or something is up with them, don’t be afraid to notify one of the staff. It’s someone else’s little brother or daughter or niece. If it was someone you knew, and you’d be worried then just be a good samaritan and check everythings ok. If someone looks dodgy, or you see someone on their own absolutely leathered, or in another world and they’re being carted off to some creepers tent, then let security know.

LASTLY – Don’t be a dick

 In general, this is the number one festival rule. If you rile someone up the wrong way, or do something accidentally or you don’t realise it’s 4am and you’re singing the national anthem – and someone complains, apologise politely and settle or move along. A festival is for everyone, I like to have fun as much as the next person, but if I’m spoiling it for other people then that’s just not very neighbourly of me now, is it?
Ultimately, you’re there to have a good time. You don’t need to take anything from this list. Hell, if you want to survive the festival with the clothes on your back then, good luck to you. You also don’t need to take everything unless of course you have a team of trained monkeys willing to carry it all for you. Figure out what YOU need to take, what you’re likely to use, and what you’d rather buy there.
What are your top festival tips? Anything I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments.
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