When you're heading to Coachella, Burning Man, or any other festival, you want to be prepared with the essentials without feeling weighed down. That way, you can rock out to your favorite musical acts and explore the grounds freely!
So, what do you bring?
Check out our list of festival essentials to make your experience much more enjoyable:
Click here for our free printable festival checklist PDF
Here are some tips for must-have items to include in your festival packing list before you go:
Stick to the Festival Essentials
Although you may be tempted to bring along every possible item just in case, try to limit your festival checklist to the essentials: phone, wallet, sunscreen, hat, jacket, and reusable bottle included (more on these below). The less you bring, the more comfortable and mobile you'll be as you explore all the festival attractions.
Bring the Right Bag
Depending on the type of festival you're attending, having the right bag in tow can make all the difference. If you're attending a campground event, be sure to pack your things in either a waterproof bag or a durable and easily-washable backpack as the conditions can quickly turn messy with rain or spilled drinks. If you're carrying valuables, a cross-body bag can be a great option to keep them safe and secure while party hopping.
Wear the Right Shoes
Comfort is key when festival-going, so make sure to wear shoes that can withstand long days of standing and walking. While you may be tempted to rock your favorite sandals or flip-flops, invest in a pair of lightweight sneakers or boots that can handle the festival terrain. Also, consider bringing a waterproofing spray to help your shoes stay in tip-top condition throughout the event.
Keep Sunscreen and Bug Spray Handy
Sunburns can quickly ruin any festival-going experience, making sunscreen one of the most vital items on your festival packing list. Make sure to apply a generous amount of SPF 30 or higher to any exposed skin at least 15 minutes before heading out in the sun. Reapply every two hours, especially if you’re staying active. Similarly, bug spray can be necessary for outdoor festivals, so make sure to grab it as well.
Plan for the Weather
Festival weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to check the forecast before you head out. If it looks like rain or cold temperatures are in the forecast, bring a light jacket or poncho and an umbrella. If it's likely to be hot, consider a sun hat, sunglasses, and even one of those nifty battery-operated fans you can wear around your neck. These festival essentials can help you stay cool and comfortable no matter what the weather throws your way!
Pack Some Layers
Outdoor venues tend to get chilly at night, so don't forget to include layers in your festival packing list like a hoodie, sweater, or windbreaker. These are especially handy if you're planning to camp out or stay late into the night. Also, consider bringing a packable blanket to keep you warm and cozy while you enjoy live performances and other attractions.
Bring a Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated throughout the festival is key, so make sure you bring along a reusable water bottle. Many festivals have free refilling stations that you can use to replenish. Another idea is to freeze your water bottle the night before so it stays cold throughout the next day, sipping as the ice melts. Whatever you do, don't forget to bring your own water bottle as plastic waste can quickly become an issue at large festivals.
Bring Snacks and Non-Perishables
No festival packing list is complete without some snacks and non-perishables. These festival essentials come in handy if you're planning to camp out or stay for multiple days. Pack items like energy bars, dried fruits and nuts, crackers, and pre-packaged snacks that won't spoil. Keep in mind that you may not be able to bring glass containers or alcohol into the festival, so opt for sealed plastic containers or resealable bags instead.
Stash Some Cash
Although many vendors accept credit and debit cards, festival grounds often have limited or no access to ATMs, so make sure to bring enough cash for your purchases. Plus, having cash on hand helps with flexibility if you decide to buy something not offered by the festival vendors. This includes any for-sale items from other festival-goers who may be leaving early, like tents, sleeping bags, or extra tickets.
Bring a Portable Power Bank
A portable power bank is another one of the festival essentials you don't want to forget. You'll definitely be using your phone to capture photos and videos, so make sure you have a power bank with enough juice to keep up with your snapping spree. Just don't forget to bring a USB charging cable too!
Don't Forget the Wipes
Wet wipes or face cloths are great festival essentials, especially for those multi-day events. Bring a small pack of standard, unscented wipes to help you cool off and freshen up if there aren't shower facilities available. Wipes are also great for cleaning up spills, sticky hands, utensils, and more.
25 Essentials for Your Festival Packing List
We've gone over the festival essentials you should include in your packing list and why. Aside from the basics like your phone and wallet, here's a quick recap of the must-haves for any music or art festival:
1) Breathable lightweight shoes or boots
2) Waterproofing spray for shoes
4) Sun hat
6) Lip balm
8) Insect repellent
9) Light jacket or poncho
10) An extra layer or two (hoodie, sweater)
13) Sling belt or crossbody bag
14) Reusable water bottle
16) A few non-perishables
17) Portable power bank
18) Battery-operated fan
19) Packable blanket
20) Cleansing wipes
21) Hand towel
22) First aid kit
23 - 25) Sleeping bag, eye mask, and ear plugs (if camping overnight)
With this festival packing list in mind, you'll have everything you need to make the most of your music and art festival experience. So go ahead and get ready for a fun-filled weekend of art, music, and culture.
P.S. Need more packing lists in your life? Gravel's got your back! From road trips and camping adventures to short- and long-term travel, our lists make for a painless packing experience so you can start your trip on the right foot.
For more travel tips and tricks, check out the rest of our blog!