If you’ve attended music festivals before, chances are you know what it feels like to arrive ill-prepared in some fashion. You’ve barely unloaded your car, set up your tent and sat down in your single lawn chair before your camp neighbor to the left walks over and offers you a homemade lavender popsicle. After some conversation and gear-comparing, they wander back to their camp that somehow looks more like a castle—three canopies, shimmery wall coverings, and solar powered lights. They even have blow-up mattresses and a generator.
If you want your camp to be the obvious after-party choice, this list of tips will help you prepare. Perfect your festival camp routine, just in time for one last fest of the season.
1. Have plenty of seats.
Always bring extra chairs, twice as many as you think you’ll need. I like to set up rugs around my campsite so I can walk around barefoot, and to add some color. Bring an old blanket that you don’t care about for sitting on inside the festival. And a hammock too, of course.
2. Lots of solar powered lights.
Bring some cheap, solar powered lights to keep your camp bright at night. Garden stake lights work great, but there are tons of options to choose from.
3. Bring a lock for your tent.
Most people you meet are probably trustworthy, but don’t take any chances. It doesn’t need to be big, after all, your tent could be broken into very easily regardless of how strong your lock is. No matter how small, I promise it will be enough security to scare thieves away.
4. Canopies are crucial.
During the day they block the sun, during the night they block the wind. Either time, you’ll be happy to have them. Most people tie up tapestries to create additional shade, which is a great idea. But if you’re looking for more protection, try a canopy shade cover. They are thicker, and actually designed to block heat. I put my coolers under the canopy, under a table, up against the shade cover and my ice lasts twice as long.
5. Use dry ice.
Another ice tip, use dry ice. Festival ice is overpriced and it melts quick. I recommend hauling in your own combination of frozen water bottles and dry ice.
6. Bring double of the basics.
Calculate how many baby wipes it will take to cleanse your pits and other bits for X amount of days, and multiply that by seven. Chances are, someone else will forget to bring some and you don’t want them stinkin’ up your sweet campsite. Bring double TP, paper towels, regular towels, Pedialyte (guaranteed hangover cure), sunblock, batteries, water, bread or buns, beer, and most importantly socks.
7. Prepare for rain.
Put your camping supplies in plastic bins so you can easily lid everything and keep it dry. If possible, try to set up camp on higher ground. Too keep your festival space mud-free, I recommend building a porch area next to the canopy for dirty shoes (I bring a few wood planks from home). If you’re expecting serious rain, dig a small moat around your tent.
8. A candle or two will keep the bugs away.
They make candles with bug repellent in them, which work great, but normal candles do the trick too. Do not put them inside your tent or light them when it is windy, obviously, but a few under the canopy won’t hurt.
9. Make it distinguishable.
Getting lost on your way back to camp is a nightmare. Use a flag, totem, or something tall to make your site easily distinguishable. For your own crew or for new friends you make along the way.
10. Bring extra amenities to make your camp a cozy and comfortable oasis.
Make your campground as cozy as possible! Extra pillows, decorations, lights, etc. make for an ideal central meeting place. You want a relaxing getaway from the stage areas, and a spot to unwind after several tiring sets.
If you do forget something, never underestimate the generosity of your neighbors. Plus, it’s an easy way to introduce yourself. Otherwise, plan on paying double the average cost for anything you buy inside. So don’t leave home without double checking your well-planned travel checklist.