Ultimate Packing Guide: What to Bring (and Not!) to Music Festivals

What to bring to music festival

Prepare yourself: festival season is upon us.

Don’t be THAT guy or girl who arrives at the pre-party and realizes he forgot his tent poles. Luckily, many of our team members have experienced a camping snafu, before which is why we compiled The Ultimate Festival Packing List.

Naturally, what you should bring will vary a little from festival to festival — for example, Camp Bisco and Burning Man are two totally different ballparks — but we believe this list is a great starting point to making sure you bring the essentials.


Tent – Check to make sure you have every piece you need before you set out for the festival, and set it up in your backyard once if you never have before. Trust us.

Tarp – All experienced festival goers know that a little tarp goes a long way to fight the rain and sun.

Propane Grill – This will level-up your camping experience by 10,000 points (if allowed). Don’t forget the propane tank and grilling tools.

Sleeping Bag, pillow and extra sheet – No matter where you are, many festivals get unexpectedly cold at night. Make sure you have no chance of getting cold. You’ll also somehow wake up in sweat and dirt, hence the extra sheet.

Garbage & recycling bags – Love this place, leave no trace.

Hydration pack – This is a total game changer.

Thermarest – Your back will thank you.

Flashlights – For safety and ground score purposes.

Lawnchair – No one likes eating their lunch standing up.

Cooler – Obviously. Even when ice is $10, it’s totally worth it.

Paper towels – This is a must for so many purposes.

Paper plates and silverware – Your campsite will appreciate this.

Lighter – Multipurpose.



Nonperishable food – Fruit cups, fruit snacks, granola bars and beef jerky are all great choices.

Water – Bring more than you think you need. This is the number one thing you don’t want to run out of.

Gatorade – You’re going to need the electrolytes.  

Grilled cheese and peanut butter & jelly fixin’s – Easy, delicious and can be traded with other campers in case you forget something.

Munchies – Chips, oranges, candy, cookies — you’ll thank us at 3 a.m.



Sunblock – SP5 25 or higher.

Bug spray – It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Baby wipes – You’re going to want to bring more than one pack. Baby wipe bathes can feel like heaven on day three.

Backpack – For adventuring and being the mom of your group. We love this solar panel backpack that can charge your phone.

Ear plugs – Protect your hearing and experience festivals in a new way with professional ear plugs.

Chapstick – We learned this one the hard way.

Toilet paper – Be prepared for the worst when it comes to port-o-potties.

First aid kid – Be very prepared.

Duct tape and zip ties – This always comes in handy.

Flask – $10 drinks are only fun for so long.

Tapestries – Great for shade, campsites and cuddle puddles.

Folding table – For cooking, eating and a friendly drinking game or two.

Camera – Save your cellphone battery and bring a camera to capture the moments. Disposable cameras are especially fun for reliving the festival a few weeks later.

Portable Phone Charger – For those who like to stay connected and well-charged.

Scissors – It’s shocking how often these come in handy.

Hand sanitizer – Saves you trips to the bathroom and your friends will thank you.

Air mattress – Don’t forget the pump AND batteries!



Rainboots – Tevas will not always suffice.

Poncho – It’s always a good idea just in case. You can also use trash bags in a pinch.

Sweater – It is ALWAYS chillier at night!

Socks & underwear – You’re going to want to bring extra.

Bathing Suit – This will make taking a hippie shower a lot easier.

Sunglasses – Don’t leave home without these! You may even want to bring a back-up pair.

Sandals – Not Old Navy sandals — nice, durable sandals (ie. Keens, Tevas, Sanucks).

Costumes – That’s right. The weird stuff.



Towel – It’s always good to have a towel on hand. It can also be part of your shade cover during the day.

Ziplock bags – For food and miscellaneous things.

Bandana – Great for sweat, shade and shielding you from the Wook Flu.

Shampoo and conditioner – It will help make day four a little more bearable for everyone.

Toothbrush and toothpaste – Please.

Aloe vera – In case you forget your sunblock.

Vitamin C – Always a good idea at a festival.

Bubbles – Because you’re never too old to enjoy bubbles.

Allergy medicine – That grass and dirt builds up in your nostrils quickly.


Festivals often bring with them a lot of waste, due to overpacking and not being prepared with enough trashbags. A weekend of fun is not worth causing harm to the environment. Plan ahead with your group so that you don’t bring more than you need. Leave the items below at home and always pick up everything you bring on your way out.


Glow sticks – These are disastrous for the environment (and LED toys are way cooler).

Glass anything – Save yourself some time (and booze) and stick to plastic, except for…

Plastic bottles of water – Bring a refillable bottle instead, as these create a lot of waste quickly and there are usually water stations you can fill up at instead.

Portable shower – Great in theory but a real pain. Instead, bring two one-gallon jugs of water and you’ve got yourself a hippie shower.  

Fireworks – Please don’t be that guy.

Power generator – It depends on the festival, but these are typically banned. Don’t gas out someone else’s campsite just so you can curl your hair.

Fire pit – Most festivals ban open flames.

Bad attitude – Ain’t nobody got time for that at a festival.

White clothing – Self-explanatory.


By Ashlee Czapla

You may also like ...

Inside Out Presents
Inside Out Perspective