Get your festival packing list right, and trust me, your whole festival experience will be vastly improved.
Whether you’ve been going to festivals for years, or you’re about to pop that festival cherry, you can definitely pick up some festival packing tips here.
I’ve been to 49 festivals in 20 different countries, so I know what I’m talking about when it comes to packing for festivals. Some of the tips below you can ignore, based on the festival you’re going to (UK vs US for example), but this is intended to be the best festival packing list on the internet so I wanted to introduce you to anything you could ever want.
Genuinely, I’ll be amazed if anyone gives me a good festival essential I haven’t already said.
How to pack for a festival
When I’m packing for a festival I like to take a wheelie backpack suitcase, like this Osprey one that has been by my side for festivals and travel for years. It’s great because it has little inside pockets so I can stay organised, yet is big enough to hold my bulky stuff – my inflatable bed, my pump, my sleeping bag and pillow.
And then I can carry my clothes and other things on my back. I use this Cabin Zero rucksack as it’s slightly oversized yet still comfy and easy to carry. It’s the perfect rucksack for staying strong in any queues to get in.
This is my field festival set up, and it works well for me!
Absolute festival essentials
What to take to a festival? These are your absolute MUSTs…
1. Your ticket – obviously, the number one thing on your festival must haves list is your ticket. You’re not going to get very far without one. Double and triple check you have it before you leave the house, and check a few times on the way too.
This one time, I lost my festival ticket for Reading Festival between the first check gate and the second.
There were tears.
2. Money and bank card – if you feel happy enough bringing all the money you need for the festival in one, go ahead. I prefer to work in a hundred at a time and then just bring my bank card too. There are usually ATMs all over the festival sites so you won’t be without cash. If you’re packing for a festival abroad then just double check your bank card works there too.
3. Medication – any meds you need, bring them along in a waterproof / weatherproof bag. They need to be able to survive the elements in tough conditions. Staying healthy at festivals is really important to see it through.
4. Driving license – don’t your baby face get in the way of you and your cider! But you don’t want to lose your passport, so driving license every time.
5. Parking ticket – if you’ve had to buy a separate festival packing ticket then don’t forget to bring that along too.
6. Your phone – there’s no way to meet up with your mates without it! Just make sure it’s well protected with a LifeProof case, or similar, and keep it safe. I had mine robbed at BBK Festival, out of the front of my bag and I don’t want that to happen to you. I’ve actually written a whole post on how NOT to lose your phone at festivals, based on experience. Let me help.
Festival packing video
Watch me go through what to take to Glastonbury on YouTube to help you decide what to bring to a festival.
You can use this festival packing video for any festival, give or take…
Festival camping checklist
7. Light and nifty tent – first up on your festival kit list is a tent. Make sure to choose one that’s going to suit the weather – if you’re looking for the best tent, check out these tent buying guidelines. For example, going to Coachella we just picked up a simple $20 job from Walmart. It was more for privacy than anything else.
If you know you’re not going to be in your tent much, this simple 2-person pop up tent will be great.
Some of us need a bit more comfort though.
For Glastonbury – a week of camping in the varied weather – I wanted a decent one. I actually ended up getting a Coleman 4-man, with temperature control technology in the tarpaulin, and light technology too. I used it at Neverworld in England last year and it was brilliant.
It is expensive, yes, but the heat at that festival was insane and it allowed us to escape it and get some sleep too. The reviews aren’t the best but I think it’s the best tent I’ve ever stayed in!
If you want a festival tent at a price point in between, then try this tent from Amazon at £86. I haven’t actually personally used it but it’s got great reviews and just having that bit at the front as some extra space out of the wind and rain is really useful.
8. Sleeping bag to suit the elements – this cosy Mummy sleeping bag is great value at only £29.99 and has 4/5 stars from 75 people on Amazon. Make sure to check the TOG so you know it’s the right one for your festival.
If it’s going to rain on your way into your festival then make sure to cover it with a plastic bag. No one wants a soggy sleeping bag!
9. Lilo or blow up bed – definitely needed if you’re packing for a British field festival this year. This single blow up mattress for less than a tenner from Amazon. I can guarantee it will be worth every penny, especially if it rains and the ground is cold and wet. Doubles are available too.
If you don’t want the hassle of carrying a blow up bed in, you could try a self inflating mattress, or a camping roll mat.
10. Groundsheet – this 6 x 4ft one from Amazon is just £2.49 and will totally do the job. Groundsheets are actually a great thing to pack in your day pack for festivals as you can sit on them around the main arena and they’re not too heavy to carry.
11. Cooking stove – this one time, at Glastonbury, my friend bought a cooking stove and it was amazing to have fresh coffee in the morning without having to deal with queueing up. Absolute dream. And also good for Pot Noodles and Cup a Soups too.
This neat little cooking stove number will be easy to carry from the car – don’t forget the gas.
12. Pillow – I used to be able to sleep on a rolled up hoody but as a more discerning festivalgoer these days I like to have a proper pillow to lay my head on. You could try camping pillows – there are many on the market – but if you can bear to carry it, I’d totally recommend a proper pillow for your festival camping checklist.
13. Bed sheet – getting fancy now but I like to put a bedsheet on my blow up mattress, and if it’s cold weather I like to add a blanket under that too. Just makes the bed feel that bit cosier y’know? Your festival checklist can be whatever you want it to be, so take that little bit of luxury where you can!
14. Camping chairs – if you can be bothered to carry camping chairs around, you’ll definitely be that bit comfier. And if you can’t, you can always just use them at the campsite. Cheap and useful!
15. Gazebo – depending on the festival you’re packing for, a gazebo can be fun. Some festivals, like Glasto, ban gazebos and if you put it up it’ll be taken down for you. But others, with a bit more space, welcome them in and they can be a great shield from the sun.
Smaller things for your festival camping kitlist
16. Mallet – it is heavy but make sure you bring a mallet along to hammer in all the tent pegs firmly, You don’t want to be tripping on them every time you leave the tent, or worse, your tent fly off in the wind.
This is one of those things to talk to your festival group about as you only really need one.
17. Duct tape – if you’re taking a trolley (recommended) then duct tape will help you keep everything together when it comes to leaving. Also, it can patch up the tent, fix things, and a whole host of other uses I can’t think of right now. It’s a great thing to bring to festivals.
18. Bunting – bunting is a great idea for identifying your camp from all the rest that look exactly the same. Or you could get a flag, or something to stick in the ground. At Glastonbury in 2017 I was about three seconds away from going in the wrong tent at 5am, until my friend just happened to walk past and see my struggle with the zip.
19. Foot pump – add this to your festival packing list as you’re not gonna get that inflatable bed up without a foot pump!
20. Carabiner – carabiners are very useful for hanging torches for easy access, and you never know what else. Take one or two along with you.
21. Enamel mug – enamel mugs are great for festivals. At least one of these should definitely be in your festival camping essentials. You can use them to help clean your teeth, to drink out of, and to eat cereal and soup of too. Definitely stick one of them on your festival packing list.
22. Retractable clothes line – can be useful for hanging wet clothes between tents.
23. Clothes pegs – for all kinds of things around the camp, but mainly clipping on open packets, the wet clothes and your friends’ nipples. Juuuuust checking if you’re still reading.
24. Inflatable sofa – at Coachella Festival they loved the inflatable sofas. Some people had whole rooms set up back at their campsites, it was pretty impressive. Depending on which festival you’re going to, these can be a great idea though – especially if you’re travelling with children. Add it to your festival checklist!
25. Collapsible water container – take one of these for when you need to walk to the tap and bring the water back to camp. Obviously you want to bring as much as possible. Also helps if you want to wash your hair, and body. Great idea for what to bring to a festival to keep fresh.
Festival alcohol and food
If you’re wondering what alcohol to take to a festival I’ve written a whole blog post on the Best Alcohol for Festivals.
26. Bags of wine – they’re the cheapest and lightest way to get your fix in. Saves hundreds.
27. Reusable plastic cups – can help for alcohol consumption at the tent. These pop up beer cups are also a good idea, so you’re ready at a moment’s notice, and don’t damage the environment.
28. Reusable bottle – make sure to add this to your festival necessities list. Use a Chillys water bottle for festivals and even if you can’t be bothered to carry your bottle into the main area, at least it’ll keep it cool back at camp. The technology means you can keep drinks cool for 24 hours, and hot for 12. Awesome!
29. Snacks – check out my post on the best food for festivals. I’d recommend at least taking along some crisps and/or nuts, just to have something to eat back at camp. If you have the money though – make the most of all the food on site.
30. Cooler – I feel like coolers are more of an American festivals idea. We had one for Coachella and it was amazing to keep in the car to keep all of our food and drink cool. I wouldn’t bother bringing one to a British festival though – they’re too bulky and annoying.
31. Taste for water drinks – you can get these little drops to help flavour your water at festivals. If you’re not a water fan (like my boyfriend) then they’re the perfect antidote to help you stay hydrated. Add this to your festival packing list.
What to wear to festivals
When you’re planning what to take to a festival, your clothes are going to take up quite a bit of space – of course. Which clothes to pack for festivals varies massively depending on where the festival is you’re going to.
Let me give you some general pointers for your festival fashion must haves though.
32. Summer clothes – check out my cheap festival fashion tips for help, and how to deal with the heat at Coachella. You need to be prepared for the heat, even if you’re at a festival in England. Make sure to pack some shorts and dresses. Not too short that you can’t sit on the ground comfortably, but also not too long or restrictive that you’re hot.
Take some vest tops and t-shirts and think in layers.
33. And winter clothes – you need to have nice, cosy jumpers for the evening and night. Most festivals are 24 hours and you don’t want to be the party pooper who goes home cold, do you?
Tights and leggings are a great day to night warm up – so add that to your festival checklist ladies!
34. And rain clothes – one of the main things that puts people off festivals is the rain. Let me let you in to a little secret – skin is waterproof! As long as you’re prepared you’ll be fine. Make sure your festival packing list is done with the rain in mind.
Bring one more pair of trousers than you think you’ll need and a good rain jacket – a long one with a hood. Don’t bother with an umbrella, it’ll just be in the way and everyone will hate you.
35. Fancy dress costumes – it’s quite a big thing now for festivals to have a theme, either for the whole festival or each day. And that means, fancy dress. In fact, sometimes even when festivals don’t have a theme, the attendees just take it on themselves to create one and dress up anyway.
36. Cool leggings – oh, absolute festival must have right here. I bought some unicorn leggings for Glastonbury and haven’t looked back. I love a pair of funky leggings – I wear them to yoga all the time actually. They don’t take up much space in your festival kit list, and they give you full coverage meaning you can dance however you like.
37. Lots of socks – it’s so nice to be able to come back to the tent and put on a new and fresh pair of socks. Makes me feel like a new woman.
38. Comfy wellies – if you’re going to a rainy British festival, you need some wellies! Get a cool design like these Joules Molly Welly Mid-Calf Boots to really stand out – there are a few designs to choose from.
Or, if you’ve got some money to spend, try some Hunter wellies to properly fit in.
If wellies aren’t really your thing, or it’s too hot. Try hiking boots. There are loads of great priced hiking boots on Amazon to choose from. More on the Best Footwear for Festivals here.
39. Rain mac that fits in your bag – these ones start at just £1.99 each from Amazon. Stick em in your bag! Or, take a better quality one that will also keep you warm.
40. Hat – add this to your festival packing list to cover your festival-worn hair, for warmth, and to protect your head from the sun.
41. Flip flops – flip flops, or sliders, are a great shout to pack in your festival bag. Perfect for any late night trips to the toilet, as well as walking round the festival on a sunny day.
42. Swimsuit – some festivals have hot tubs now, or there are festivals like Wilderness where you can even go in the water. Make sure you’re well prepared to join in the fun!
43. A specially bagged clean set of clothes to go home in – they will feel amazing, so fresh and so clean.
Toiletries for festivals
44. Toothbrush and paste – keeping your mouth minty is one of the very few ways to stay fresh, and the easiest. Take some mouthwash as well for when you’re in a rush.
45. Sun cream – standing out in the sun every day can give you a red face, literally. Pack some sun cream and make sure to use it.
46. Toilet roll – always carry toilet roll around at a festival. It’s so annoying to get your business done and then reach for the bog roll only to realise there’s none there. Little packets of tissues are a bit more bag and weather resilient.
47. Baby wipes – you definitely need some baby wipes. Great for the toilet, for cleaning your tent, yourself, your face, and just to have in your festival packing list.
49. Make up – you’ll probably sack it off after a while, but check out my Glastonbury beauty tips anyway. They’re good for any festival kit list!
50. Shampoo and conditioner – you never know when you might have time for a shower, pack it just in case. You will feel amazing, after washing your hair at a festival.
51. Face cleaning stuff – get that Micellar water packed to get the dust and grime off.
52. Compact mirror – great for checking for boogers or spots without having to spend a second longer in the skanky Portaloo than you have to. Here’s a a pretty one for £2.59 or here’s the most basic little mirror for just £2.40. Also, essential festival packing for all the glitter you’re going to apply.
53. Glitter – an absolute festival must have in my eyes. There are glitter fairies doing all sorts of creations around festivals but you will pay quite a bit for it. Best to just take your own glitter and enjoy using it as much as possible.
Make sure to stick to the biodegradable types of glitter though as glitter off of thousands of people in the grounds and streams of a green space is not good for the environment.
54. Moisturiser – make sure you have a way to lubricate that dry skin. It’ll go through heat, dry, moisture and every weather possible, so take care of it. If you’re wondering what to take to a festival for your skin, this is up there as number one.
55. Lip balm – you’ll be weak and broken by the end of the festival, no matter which festival you’re at, and my lips always go dry when this happens. Pack a good lip balm to keep your lips moist.
56. Vitamins – I like those effervescent ones that make water taste like orange juice. I’d definitely recommend packing vitamins for Glastonbury. It’s a long week and your immune system will be attacked. Stay strong!
Take one of these perfectly pocket-sized pots of Sudocrem. Great for blisters, for sunburn, bites, dry skin, breakouts, cuts, scrapes and grazes – some would say it’s the Swiss Army-Knife of skincare. And at just 22g it will easily fit in your bumbag.
It’s just £2.99 for a 22g pot and available nationwide at Boots, Tesco, Asda, & independent pharmacies.
57. Paracetamol – obviously.
58. Electrolytes – some people swear by these to keep their energy up for festivals. Personally I’ve never actually tried them, but didn’t want to miss them off in case you find electrolytes help you to feel in someway normal at festivals.
59. Bug spray – if your festival is near some water, or in a field (like most are) make sure to pack some insect repellant to keep the little critters away.
60. Deodorant – put this on, for the sake of your fellow festivalgoers.
61. Camp soap – or at least something to wash yourself with if you choose to have a shower at the festival.
62. Dry shampoo – a festival checklist staple for so many people, but to be honest, I’ve never tried it. Batiste is the most popular brand to use.
63. Perfume – good way to smell nice in a stinky environment. Try and get a sampler from Boots so you’re not stuck with a big perfume bottle.
64. Hairbrush and grips and bobbles – take spares so you don’t go crazy trying to find each item when you inevitably lose it.
65. Contraceptives – stay safe kids. Add these to your festival packing list if you think there’s any chance of a bit of nookie.
66. Sanitary products – take enough to see you through. There are usually shops selling sanitary products on site, but it’s just a matter of finding them.
67. Diva cup – some people find Diva cups better to use, although remember there might not be an efficient place to wash it through properly after.
68. Cotton buds – great for your make up, ears and glitter.
More essentials for festivals
69. Trolley – a trolley could be the best money you ever spend for a festival. You can strap everything in and then just drag into the festival. Honestly, last time I went to Glasto nearly killed me and we hadn’t even got in yet. Carrying all my things in the queue was so uncomfortable.
I’ll definitely be taking a trolley to Glasto this year. It’s just too big a site to walk with your stuff.
70. Spare carrier bags – it’s a great idea to take a spare carrier bag to festivals. You can keep all your rubbish in order, and separate your filthy clothes from not so filthy during the fest. Also, good for sitting on if the ground is a bit wet.
71. Torch – believe me, you need to check out those toilet seats before you get your skin anywhere near them. Try and get a head torch for your festival, perfect for in the tent when you’re rooting around, or just rooting. It’s less than £3 too!
I’ve decided to spend a little bit more for my festival torch this year and have picked up this number from Amazon.
72. A variety of sunglasses – sunglasses cover all kinds of sins so make sure you pack a few different looks to shield your eyes and face from the sun.
73. Solar powered shower – it’s easy to group together with your friend and get this solar powered shower for £6.53.
74. String – can help if the weather is unpredictable and you need to wash your wet things from the day before in the sun. Also good just to have around for repairs etc.
75. Ear plugs (20 Pairs for £3.26!) and an eye mask – Glastonbury can get the better of even the wildest of party animals.
Check out 11 Top Tips for Sleeping at Festivals
76. Waterproof dry bags – if you’re packing for a particularly rainy festival, and you have some tech on you, then you need to get a waterproof dry bag to protect your stuff. Whether you leave it in your tent, or take it with you, is up to you.
77. Microfiber towel – great space saving trick for if you want a towel for the shower, or at least keeping in some way clean at the festival. Buy a microfiber towel to take up as little space as possible.
78. Sarong – and to take up even less space, take a sarong. I bought a sarong in the Philippines a few years ago now and have used it for pretty much anything. It’s great for washing your hair and then wrapping in to dry it off.
79. Bandana – you definitely needed one of these at Coachella festival. The dust from the desert was just horrific. If you’re going to a dusty, desert environment then make sure you pack a bandana to go over you mouth. Of course you can also use it over your head and round your neck too.
80. Jewellery – festival jewellery is a great way to liven up any outfit. I’ve written a whole blog post about festival accessories, so check it out for some tips and advice on looking sparkly at festivals.
81. Car jumper cables – apparently a lot of people leave their lights on at festivals. If you have them, pack some car jumper cables in your festival packing list so you can start it up if you make the same mistake.
Festival tech packing list
82. Walkie talkies – excellent for communication when you have no reception or battery.
83. Portable phone charger – way better to buy this now than have to queue at the big chargers at a festival and waste time waiting to pick it up again. I will actually be taking a few of these, because I love them. And I love my phone. This is an absolute festival must have.
84. Phone charger cord – don’t forget the charger cord from your phone to your battery pack.
85. Shitty phone – when I went in 2011 I bought a little £10 phone as I was so worried about losing my phone. I didn’t, which was great. So the next year I chanced it and now I’m all grown up and think I’ll be ok. Do look after your phone though, there are so many opportunities to lose your phone and not too many to find it again.
86. Charging phone case – charge at festivals is always fun. Kill two birds with one stone and get a charging phone case for your phone to give it that extra bit of protection too.
87. Speaker – some people like to take speakers to festivals. Personally, I don’t think you should, but they like to have it on the campsite. As long as you’re not playing your speakers over the live music you might be able to hear from the campsite, I guess it’s ok.
88. Tent finder – buy this tent finder so that when it’s late at night and you might’ve had one too many, you can find your tent again.
89. Watch – it’s a great idea to take a watch to a festival so that you don’t have to keep looking at your phone to get the time, and wasting the battery. Just a cheapo jobby will do!
90. Go Pro camera and selfie stick – if you want pictures of the crowd at a festival, the best thing to pack would be a Go Pro and selfie stick. That way you can take some great fish eye pics, without the camera taking up too much space in your bag.
Shopping at festivals
Most big festivals will have some sort of camping equipment shopping, so you don’t need to take everything you could possibly ever need. However, of course this will come at a price.
I’d suggest bringing all your own stuff, as then you know it works, and just relying on the shops for essentials you might’ve forgotten. Don’t panic if you get there and realise you’ve forgotten things. As long as you have the festival essentials I list above, you’ll be fine.
FAQ about how to pack for a festival
What kind of bag should I take?
As I said at the start, many words ago now, I like to take a wheelie backpack suitcase, like this Osprey one to festivals. It’s great because it has little inside pockets so I can stay organised, yet is big enough to hold my bulky stuff – my inflatable bed, my pump, my sleeping bag and pillow.
It’s also sturdy and I know will last the festival, unlike other backpacks and suitcases I’ve seen strewn and rejected thanks to being over packed and over weighted.
Then I use this Cabin Zero rucksack as it’s slightly oversized yet still comfy and easy to carry. It’s the perfect rucksack for being able to carry stuff in the hours of queues I’ve been in in the past. The size also stops me from overpacking, which makes me very happy.
How far will I have to walk at the festival?
Depends on the festival!
My worst festival experience when it comes to getting in was Glastonbury 2017. It was the hottest day of the year and we arrived at absolute peak time, about 8am on the Wednesday morning. We had to queue for about 4 hours to get in, shuffling forward in the queue a few cm at a time. There was three of us and between us we’d bought so much stuff it was ridiculous.
My fingers hurt, I was hot and sweaty, my back hurt and by the time I got in I was ready to go home.
Remember this when you’re packing. It’s the main reason I’ve invested £30 in a trolley this year.
This was a one off though, well, apart from the other time I went to Glastonbury when we had to queue in the rain for hours.
At Glasto the camping site was about an hour’s walk from the cars. Neverworld, 5 minutes. At Coachella you could drive in with your car and camp next to it (amazing). And at Latitude the walk was about 10 minutes.
It all depends on the festival, but be prepared!
Can I go back to the car at the festival?
Yes, but make sure you have your ticket with you. And I really wouldn’t advise it.
How do I pack light for a festival?
Essentially, you just need a tent, your ticket and some money. This is a huge list of things to bring to a music festival, but you don’t need all of it. Just take what you can carry and remember what you did and didn’t use for next time.
Festival checklist, in short
Absolute festival essentials
Money and bank card
Festival camping checklist
What to wear to festivals
Fancy dress costumes
Lots of socks
Bagged clean clothes
Toiletries for festivals
Toothbrush and paste
Shampoo and conditioner
Face cleaning stuff
Hairbrush, grips and bobbles
More essentials for festivals
Spare carrier bags
Car jumper cables
Festival tech packing list
Phone charger cord
You can buy pretty much all of this on Amazon. Click here to go through!
Remember: Leave no trace!
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