Knowing which bag to take to festivals is a skill you pick up over time. Choosing the best festival backpack, deciding which festival daybag to take, and selecting a festival fanny pack, or bum bag (as we like to call them in the UK), is an art.
An art that will make your festival experience a much better one when it’s done right.
Good job I’m here to help.
I’ve been to over 50 festivals in 20 countries, and know exactly what you should be looking for in a festival bag. Let me take you through everything, so you can make the right festival luggage selection for you
How to choose the right festival backpack for you – things to consider:
– The first thing you need to think about when choosing a backpack for festivals is what kind of festival you’re going to. If it’s a field festival, in the rain, you’re going to want a festival backpack that actually goes on your back so you’re not dragging it through the mud. Can also double up as a backpack for travelling, of course.
If it’s a city festival then you can be a bit more flexible about the kind you choose. You could bring a rolly to make things easier.
– Consider the size. Do you want a small festival backpack, a medium festival backpack or a large festival backpack? How much stuff are you planning on taking? How much are you prepared to carry?
– What’s the weather like? If you’re buying a backpack for a British festival then you’re going to want it to be water resistant too.
My festival backpack
My festival backpack of choice is the same one I take travelling – the Osprey 75L wheeled backpack.
Reasons I love the Osprey backpack for festivals.
1. It can be a backpack or a rolly. Means that if it’s sunny and hard ground I can roll it along and not worry about my back in the queue. And if the weather is bad, I can activate the backpack function and lift it up.
2. It’s side loading. This means that the whole frantically looking for things in the tent isn’t as bad as with a top loader. TBH top loader backpacks do my head in.
3. There are different sections meaning it’s easier to separate stuff in the bag.
The best backpack for festivals is one that opens at the side, and zips all the way round. Trust me.
Your Glastonbury packing list (works for all festivals)
Check out this video I made for what I was packing for Glastonbury a few years ago to see what I mean.
What capacity backpack is best for festivals?
Backpacks are pricey so you obviously want your backpack to last longer than just a festival. Choose the right one and you two could be together for a long time to come.
You don’t want your festival backpack to be too small or you won’t fit everything in. If it’s too big then you’ll be tempted to bring too much. I think the capacity of my Osprey is perfect, at 75l. It means I can fit all my clothes in, as well as some of my camping equipment.
If you’re carrying too much in a festival queue for hours on end you’ll regret it, and your back will hurt before you’ve even got into the festival. Trust me – I’ve been there many a time.
Remember that it won’t just be clothes in your festival backpack, like when you’re travelling. You’ll also have torches, Travel Johns, bags of wine and your fancy dress too. You need space… but just not too much.
75l is the absolute maximum, and that’s if you’ve gone for a rolly one.
Get a backpack that fits well
Memories of just borrowing backpacks off of friends that weren’t fitted for me have left an imprint on my posture, seriously.
You need to make sure you have a festival backpack that’s comfortable for you.
It can be difficult to find the perfect festival backpack, but you need to choose one with a frame no wider than your back, and that’s adjustable to you and your body.
– Here’s a great guide to working out the best backpack size for you. –
Your back is going to go through a lot at a festival so make sure it’s looked after before you arrive, by having a properly fitted backpack with a limited about of things in.
Sitting on the floor, sleeping on a blow up mattress and standing for much of the day are not good for your posture. Look after your back when you can.
Spend a little more to last longer
Your festival backpack is going to last longer if you spend just a little extra to get better quality. Go for a tried and tested name and your rucksack will be durable for years to come.
I’ve had my first Osprey for at least five years, taken it pretty much around they world, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I was sent a new Osprey to review and I love that one too. I’m sure both will last for a long time.
Check any zip comments
Zips are one of the first things to go on a backpack. All that trying to cram everything in for the return journey is not good for it – and there’s no way you want that to happen at a festival!
Pay special attention to the zip reviews before you buy your festival backpack.
Investigate your bag straps
Look at the straps. Festival backpacks for men and women have been specifically designed with typical shapes in mind. Check for padded straps and hip belts will be cushioned in all the right places to suit the shape.
What else to look for in a festival backpack
– Go for darker colours to hide the filth.
– Side pockets to grab your essentials easily in the tent (like the torch).
– A rain cover for those drizzly queues.
– Personally I wouldn’t bother with a bag lock as they make it look like you have something good to steal.
One of the best things about ordering a festival backpack online is that you can try it out in the comfort of your home, and, carefully fill it with stuff to see how comfy it is. If it’s not right, you can just send it back again.
My top 5 festival backpacks (and why)
Here are the 3 festival backpacks I’d put at the top of my list (behind the Osprey, but a little more accessibly priced).
1. Mountain Warehouse Voyager 50L Wheelie Backpack
This is a great backpack for festivals. 50L is a great size in case of bad weather and you need to carry it on your back, and it has the rolly wheels I was talking about too. Mountain Warehouse promise they’re robust too. It’s durable, there are organiser pockets and it’s made of durable polyester.
The Voyager 50L opens from the side, has wheels, is red inside so you can easily see your stuff, and seems to be the perfect antidote to the £200+ price tag of my preferred Osprey.
The Voyager 50L Rucksack is full of handy pockets and compartments. Designed in durable polyester, the wheels are strong and smooth making it a stylish, versatile piece for an airport dash.
Capacity – The Voyager can hold up to 50 litres
Composition – Designed in hardy PU coated polyester
Shoulder Straps – Padded and easily adjusted for comfort
Compression Straps – Used to reduce the bulk of the rucksack. Also supports balance
Robust Wheels – Durable and smooth, the wheels allow you to move your luggage quickly and easily
Pockets – A large internal compartment with various organiser pockets for passports and tickets
Dimensions – 75cm (l) x 35cm (w) x 23cm (d)
Price at time of publishing: £56.99.
Review score: 4/5 from 48 reviews.
2. Mountain Warehouse Cargo Wheelie Bag 60L
As I said, number one rule: opens on the side.
Number two rule: you can drag it.
And this Mountain Warehouse wheelie solves both of those. If it rains, you can carry it by the straps. Although, you need to be pretty strong for that. Or, you can take a strap each and carry between you.
Price at time of publishing: £44.99.
Review score: 4/5 from 1 review.
3. Osprey Women’s Fairview 55L Travel Pack
This is such a good size backpack for a festival, totally backed up by the reviews. The Osprey Women’s Fairview 55L is compact, light, and would be a great size to ensure you don’t bring too much or too little to the festival.
Price at time of publishing: £113.88.
Review score: 5/5 from 14 reviews.
YOU NEED TO READ
What to pack for festivals
I’ve got loads more advice on kit lists for festivals, and how you can be as comfortable as possible. Before you pack, take a look at these posts so you know what to bring.
Take a look at these posts for some inspiration…
How to Be Comfortable at Festivals – everything you need to bring with you to make sure your festival experience is as cushty as possible.
My Top Tips for Sleeping at Festivals – at some point you’re going to want to sleep, right? Here’s how to get some valuable shut eye at your festival of choice.
How to Avoid the Toilets at Festivals – it’s not just shewees and never drinking anything again. Here’s my top advice on how to cope with what most people think is the worst thing about festivals: the toilets.
90 Things to Consider Taking to Festivals – this is the ultimate list of everything you could possibly need to take to a festival.
Packing cubes are always a good shout. Whether you’re packing for festivals, or for travel, I totally recommend having some packing cubes to keep things organised.
There are loads of packing cubes to choose from on Amazon, but I like these ones. They start from around £15.
When it comes to choosing a festival rucksack for the daytime, you need to have the same criteria as the above in mind. Think ‘only the necessities’, ‘comfort’ and ‘ease’.
My top tips for buying a festival rucksack
– Go for a dark one to keep as clean looking as possible.
– Choose a soft one so it squashes down in a crowd.
– Never choose a shell one for that reason, people will hate you.
– Tight drawstring ones are annoying
– Think about how much stuff you’ll want to take into the festival in the day, and then choose one accordingly.
TOP TIP: Never store anything valuable in the front pocket if it’s a traditional style. I was at BBK Festival in Bilbao, Spain, and got my phone stolen out the front after using it to take a selfie. Very sad and I definitely don’t want that to happen to you.
My top 3 festival rucksacks (and why)
Here are the best of the festival rucksacks to give you a bit of inspiration for your own festival bag purchase, whichever world festival you’re going to.
1. Embroidery vintage rucksack
You want a bit of colour in your festival outfit, right?
Well this embroidered rucksack is the perfect antidote to any grey festival day. Bright, colourful and happy – you could just wear this with a black outfit to stay chic. I like it because it’s the right size for whatever you put in it. As in, it’ll expand as much as you need and stay flush to your body if you don’t have much stuff.
This is also a great bag when it comes to security as no one can get in the top without making a big deal of it.
- The stitching comprises the embroidered detail, with rich flowery and vibrant colors, very eye-catching.
- The canvas shoulder straps are wider (for comfort), thick and sturdy
- Canvas + polyester
- Big enough to hold your wallet, makeup bag, small hair brush, cell phone, and notepad etc
- Size: 11.7*9.05*5.11inch/30*23*13cm(H*L*W)
Price at time of publishing: £14.99.
Review score: 4/5 from 60 reviews.
2. G4Free 40L Ultra Lightweight Tear & Water Resistant Foldable Travel Hiking Backpack
This bag is fantastic for festivals. It folds down into a small bag so you can carry it around with you easily. This means that if you start of the day with loads of stuff, you can gradually reduce, and vice versa.
It’s lightweight, rain proof and costs less than £20.
Price at time of publishing: £18.59.
Review score: 4/5 from 284 reviews.
3. Soft leather festival rucksack
Fashion can still be practical. The soft leather on this rucksack means it’ll still be flush to your back when you’re in crowds, but you’ll be able to fit all your stuff in too.
There are plenty of zips so it’s great for security, and there are a few straps so you can totally wear it to suit the situation at the festival. This bag comes in blue, pink and classic black.
Price at time of publishing: £17.89.
Click to check current prices and reviews
Fanny packs for festivals / festival bum bags
I love a festival bum bag. I’ve got a sequinned one from Accessorize that I got in the sale. They’re so handy and it’s so good to have everything you need to hand. Also, it encourages you to bring less stuff.
I mean, all you really need for the day is your phone, cash, phone charger and bank card. Oh, and a packet of tissues and hand sanitiser.
If you’re the type of person who likes to bring a change of clothes, something to sit on and a camping chair, then maybe the festival bumbag isn’t for you. Light packers love it though!
Go for one with a bit of space. And remember, the cool way to wear it these days is across your chest.
1. Disco galactic bum bag
This bum bag comes in all kinds of different colours and is crazy cheap. For £3 you can make the bum bag to suit your festival type. I like the way it’s designed at the side to give it extra support and to make sure it’s super flush to you.
Price at time of publishing: £3.
Review score: 4/5 from 1 review.
2. SoJourner rave bum bag waist pack
This festival bum bag has just that little bit extra space which will help you carry your daily essentials. I’ve featured the gold one, but there are tens to choose from.
Again, this bag has a good bit of support where the strap meets the bag, meaning it won’t flap about on your front.
- 3 POCKETS – A Spacious 2 pocket zippered compartments and 1 back pocket all with reinforced double stitching and nylon lining. Pockets can comfortably hold water bottles, cell phone (including iPhone 6+), keys, wallet, and more.
- SIZING – A Bumbag includes an adjustable nylon waistband that fits a 15″ to 48″ waist. High quality, 100% premium durable nylon construction which allows the fanny pack to remain comfortable while holding all your stuff.A Fits all sizes – small, medium and large. All waist packs are unisex and great for men, women and kids.
- WATER RESISTANT & DURABLE -A Keeps your belongings dry in the rain. Nylon lining inside each of the 3 pockets with reinforced stitching along the seams to support the weight of all your items. Won’t rip or tear even in the toughest terrain.
- COLORS – A Check out all our listings. We offer a variety of styles including solids, galaxy rave, woven pattern, aztec, tribal, stripes, florals, gold / silver, metallic lizard, crocodile, rainbow, USA / American flag, chevron zig zag, polka dots, leopard / animal print, and more.
Price at time of publishing: £11.24.
Review score: 5/5 from 1 review.
3. Aztec bum bag for festivals
Oooo look at this little Aztec number – nice hey?
I feel like this one would be fab with a black outfit, green parka and wellies. Oh yes, I can see it now.
Absolute bargain too at just £4.25.
So many festival ‘fanny packs’ on Amazon!
Choosing the right bag for festivals
I hope this guide to choosing the right festival backpack, rucksack and bumbag has helped you in your decision. Choosing the right festival bag for all occasions can be quite difficult, but get it right and you’ll be so much comfier in those queues.