If you’re going to a festival this summer and you’re going to be camping, it’s important to know what to bring. Most festivals have a list of things that you can’t bring (check the prohibited items list, it can be found on the festival’s website) but they don’t tell you what’s good to bring. As someone who has worked and attended numerous festivals over the last 6 years, I wish someone had told me what to bring when I started.

Whether you’re going to Download, Leeds/Reading, Boardmasters or any other camping festival, the list of items to bring are pretty much the same. This is not a complete list, it is a guide for things that are usually forgotten about.

Items to Bring With You

  • Tent –  It might seem obvious but some people forget this. If you’ll be sharing a tent with a friend, make sure you organise who’s going to bring it.
  • Sleeping bag & Pillow – The days are going to be long so you’ll want to sleep well at night, I personally use a blow up pillow to save space while travelling to and from the festival and it’s just as comfortable as a normal pillow.
  • Something to sleep on – I prefer a blow up bed as it’s comfier to me but a roll mat does the job too, the ground can be uncomfortable and it can make you colder. If you decide to bring a blow up bed, don’t forget a battery operated pump or a foot pump.
  • Reusable Water bottle – There are lots of water refill sites around the campsites and arena. A bottle of water at a festival usually costs around £3 so you’ll want to save your money and bring one from home. When you’re going from the campsites to the arena, this water bottle needs to be empty but there’s usually a refill point just after you get through.
  • Food – There are plenty of food vendors at festivals but I like to bring my own snacks to help save money. I usually bring breakfast bars and nuts. Others bring pot noodles, or food that can be cooked on a disposable BBQ or camping stove. (Always check with the festival which stoves are permitted.) 
  • Duct tape – Trust me, you think you won’t need it, you will. Duct tape fixes everything.
  • Sun cream – The last thing you want is to get a sunburn on day 1 and have to be out in the sun for the rest of the weekend. Wear your sun cream, protect your skin.
  • Waterproof poncho/raincoat – There’s always a chance it’s going to rain at a British festival. You don’t want to get rained on and have to spend all day in soggy clothes. With most camping festivals, umbrellas aren’t allowed into the arena so ponchos/raincoats are the better option. There are plenty that can fold up very small and fit into your pocket or bag.
  • Spare socks – There’s a lot of walking around with festivals and if it’s a wet weekend, you’ll need spare socks so you’re not walking around with wet socks/feet.
  • Layers  –  The weather is constantly changing, one minute it can be really nice and warm and the next, freezing. As you’re outside all weekend, I suggest bringing lots of layers to keep you warm, especially at night as it gets a lot colder than you think it’s going to.
  • ID – The bars have a challenge 25 policy and if you’re lucky enough to look under 25 and want an alcoholic drink, you need your ID. Some festivals offer over 18 wristbands but a lot of the bars don’t trust this as they can be swapped and will still ask to see your ID so always have it with you to avoid getting refused service. The staff need to be able to hold your ID while they check it, photos of ID are not allowed.
  • A little bag for in the arena – Most festivals have a bag policy for in the arena where you can’t bring a bag bigger than A4 into the arena.
  • Portable charger – There usually are places where you can hire a portable charger but I think it’s always best to bring one with you, it will save you money. My personal favourite are ones with a solar panel on the back, you charge it before you go to the festival and as you’re using it, the solar panel will keep the charging the charger so it lasts longer than a normal one.
  • Toilet roll – The portaloos are usually stocked up and the staff keep up with them throughout the festival but there may be a time that you got to go and there isn’t any.
  • Ear Protectors – The whole weekend is a lot of loud music and sometimes it can get too much, I suggest having a pair of ear protectors on you in case you need to lower the volume a bit. I use them for when I’m trying to sleep at night and people want to carry on partying around you. I recommend Loops, they work perfectly for me, I can’t hear anything that’s going on in the campsite so I sleep well but I can hear when my alarm goes off in the morning.
Download 2022/David Dillon

Something that I’ve noticed over the years is the way that people take their camping gear from the car or bus to where they’re setting up. I’ve seen people struggle carrying everything and I’ve seen wheelie bins, shopping carts and various types of trollies. When it comes to the different types of trollies, I see the same problems over and over, the ground is not even and usually a bit muddy and everything gets stuck or falls over. To make trollies work properly, they need to have decent sized wheels. Small wheels gets stuck in grass and mud and it ends up being more hassle than help. The bigger the wheels, the better it will roll through the various terrains.

Have a great festival season. Wear sun cream, drink plenty of water and have fun.

Kayleigh Nickson

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