Absolute Festival Essentials You Can’t Leave Home Without

Comprehensive festival packing lists are all well and good, but what if you want to take as little as possible?

Dragging everything but the kitchen sink (could be useful) to a festival is crazy. Minimise your backpack with my 5 absolute festival necessities and you’ll be free to enjoy the festival while all your mates are busy deciding what clothes to wear and where to fit all their stuff in the pop up tent.

Your Festival Essentials 

Essentials for festivals

1. A torch

My first festival experience, Reading Festival, was traumatic. In fact I’m surprised I ever went to a festival again. One of the most disturbing events for my 16-year-old, fresh-from-A-Level-Results eyes was the first night I tried to go to the toilet in the dark.

Thankfully, I’d decided to take a torch with me. Forever, I will thank the festival gods that I did. After queueing diligently I spotted a portaloo on the end unused. I went in joyfully, congratulating myself that I dared to check where no woman had checked in the last 5 minutes, and did a quick scout around with my torch. What met my innocent eyes looked like an explosion in a chocolate factory, and that’s putting it nicely. It was everywhere.

It still disturbs me, nearly 14 years later, that I could’ve sat down on that. Put my hand on the wall, touched someone else’s… eugh.

So anyway, to cut a toilet story short, there is no way I’d even consider going to a festival without a torch. This waterproof torch is currently less than £7 from Amazon. Bargain!

2. Travel Johns

Now these Travel John Disposable Urinals are a relatively new experience for me. My good friend Jen recommended them after her Glastonbury experience so I bought some for Latitude. Again, I thank the festival gods I did.

Latitude 2014 was brilliant, but the weather was horrendous. Every night at around 9pm it started chucking it down with insatiable rain that lasted until morning. Add to that thunder and lightening, and the fact I went by myself and you can see why I didn’t want to have to leave the tent at night, or in the morning, to find a toilet.

Peeing at festivals

What I’m about to tell you can only be truly understood by someone who’s been to a festival, and had to queue in the rain hoping their bladder manages to hold out.

The Travel Johns have a scooped funnel on top – suitable for boy parts and lady parts – which you place on your nethers. Let it all out and the bag will fill. Put to one side. Your wee will crystalise thanks to the bag magic and you can even use the bag again later. And, they give you a little handywipe too. No, I’m not off my face on too much festival fun here. It’s a true story. Changed my life.

READ MORE: How to Avoid the Toilets at Festivals

3. A hoody

Aren’t hoodies great? I mean they can be pillows, duvets, jackets, dark rooms, sun shelters, seats, and just plain old hoodies. There is no way I’d go to a festival without one.

You don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent one. Mine is actually from Primark, but it looks pretty similar to these casual ones ones from Amazon, starting from £3.99.


Packing list for festivals


4. A sleeping bag

Oh Dour Festival, by day you were so bright, so sunny, what happened at night hey? You would’ve thought I’d learn from that time I cycled 300 miles through France and froze my ass off every night because I’d failed to bring any warmth to save on weight on my bike. Oh no, not me. I decided I didn’t want a sleeping bag at Dour in Belgium so I didn’t have to carry it all that way.

BIG MISTAKE.

My friend did the same, I was sure one of us would fall victim to hyperthermia by the end of the night. Never again will I go to a festival without one. This Milestone Mummy sleeping bag looks warm and cosy, and is less than £20. Worth every penny.

5. Flip flops

Can you believe I went to Glastonbury without a pair? The weather forecast was horrendous, the wellies were in, as well as the trainers, but no flip flops were to be seen. Cue day 3 and glorious sunshine. Seems like most of the festival forgot their flip flops that year as all the stalls had sold out. Should’ve got these Havianas from Amazon – they start from £3.99.

It was an unnecessary day in wellies that day, and that, is a waste of a flip flopportunity.

More on packing essentials for festivals

What Do I Need to Take to Glastonbury?

Packing List for Latitude Festival

Packing List for Coachella

Festival Fashion Packing List

75 Reasons to Love Festivals

First Timer's Guide to Lake of Stars Festival, Malawi
My Review of Sziget Festival in Budapest
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3 Comments

  1. by Lisa on October 17, 2014  4:30 am Reply

    Those Travel John things are brilliant. I had some at Glasto last year and it definitely saved me from peeing myself on more than a few occasions.

    • by Vicky on October 17, 2014  4:34 am Reply

      Brilliant aren't they. Can't believe they don't sell them at the festival and just hike the price. I definitely would.

  2. by Emily on October 26, 2014  4:09 pm Reply

    What the hell? Those Travel John things are weird – so you basically wee into a bag? Is that what's happening there?

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