Music and nature were made for each other, and outdoor festivals embrace the amped vibes of a party and the simplicity of camping in the great outdoors in equal measure. From creating the perfect festival campsite to staying clean in between shows, get ready to party-camp outside with these helpful tips and tricks.
Setting Up Camp
Once you arrive, the fun can begin. But first, set yourself up for festival success with a low-stress camping experience.
The earlier you are, the better selection of sites you’ll have to choose from and the better parking opportunities you’ll find.
Pick a Spot
Consider proximity to shade, bathrooms, show stages, and afterparty tents. Shade is always an asset, and you’ll want to be close to amenities but not so close that crowds and noise keep you awake at all hours. In addition, look for flat and soft (but not wet) ground to pitch your tent, and avoid placing your tent at the bottom of a slope. Pro tip: Put a tarp underneath your tent to block moisture.
Create Your Site
If you’re camping with multiple tents or vehicles, arrange them in a circle to create an outdoor living room for your group while still maintaining easy access to personal spaces.
Beat the sun with a pop-up awning or two. Look for lightweight options that are easy to set up and break down.
Build a Camp Kitchen
Keep things organized so everyone in the group knows where to find supplies and utensils at mealtimes.
Tables and Chairs
Bring portable tables and chairs to make food prep, cooking, and eating easier and more comfortable. Assign a location for the camp kitchen and unload all your food and cooking equipment there. Pro tip: Use large, transparent tubs to store your goods. You can stack them so they’re out of the way but still accessible.
Keep your drinks and perishables in a cooler. Look for one with wheels if you have to walk with it, and consider high-performance coolers that’ll keep their contents cold for multiple days.
Don’t forget to hang up a trash bag for everyone to use. Keep your campsite clean and ensure you pack out all your trash once you leave.
Keep your items organized with packing cubes or stuff sacks. Use different cubes for different categories (food, utensils, and also items like clothes and toiletries) so you can always find what you need.
Get Some Sleep
Your festival experience will quickly turn sour if you can’t catch some sleep while you’re there. To get your rest, don’t forget these essentials.
Depending on how many people you’re camping with (and your willingness to sleep with other people), consider a large group tent that you can stand in and use to store clothes and personal items. Another option is to have a specific tent designated as the “gear tent” where clothes and other items are stored. Pro tip: Bring a small lock and loop it through your tent zippers if you’re worried about interlopers.
Blankets and Sleeping Bags
You probably can’t have too many blankets or sleeping bags. Look for synthetic sleeping bags that’ll dry quickly if anything spills and bring some insulated blankets for extra warmth if temps drop.
Whether it’s a blow-up air mattress, a cot, or a backpacking pad, these items will make your sleeping area much more comfortable. Also, don’t forget a pillow.
Need to nap during the day? An eye mask will make it much easier to fall asleep while the sun’s shining.
A headlamp is ideal for navigating after dark because it keeps your hands free. Store it in a convenient place in your tent so you won’t fumble around in the dark to find it when you need it.
Whether you’re heading from your car to camp, or camp to the show, here’s what you need to know about hauling your belongings.
These small, affordable bags are great for securely carrying your essentials: phone, hand sanitizer, ear plugs, sunglasses, sunscreen, or whatever else you want to fit inside.
If a fanny pack isn’t big enough, try a small daypack.
If you’re not able to park your car near your campsite, use duffel bags with backpack straps to transport essentials. With their large cavities, duffels are great for packing personal items like clothing and camping equipment like sleeping bags, pillows, and tents.
For extra-heavy or unwieldy items like coolers, speakers, and water jugs, bring a wagon to wheel the gear from your vehicle to your site.