The Festival Camping essentials from Seasoned Festival Veterans

It’s your first festival and you’re not sure what to pack? We have your back. Done a couple of festivals but still looking to learn a thing or two? We’ve got you covered. Think you know what you’re doing? We have a few secrets that are sure to wow you.

Camping at a festival is something I personally look forward to.  The challenge of crafting meals with minimal ingredients while subbing in for a celeb shot in beer pong and cranking some tunes from my speaker laid on a table covered in cups, plates, bread, and beer cans to be seriously fun.

Camping with friends gives you the opportunity to create some great memories, but they won’t be fun memories unless you come prepared. As a group, you all need to come together pitch in a little bit of effort to turn your campsite into the happening spot that will attract all the good vibes.

General Camping Items

The Must-Haves

A Camping Alpha – It does not matter who it is, but there must be one person who is the camp mom/dad/alpha. Nobody wants to walk around and pick up the beer cans, cook all the food, or clean up after people’s meals, but it has to be done. Camp alpha is not a chosen person, rather, they rise to the occasion like a true leader! People will be thankful for the camp alpha; people will come to you for help and solutions to their problems and they will in return receive good Karma for the weekend.

Canopy (or 2) – How else will you shield yourself from the sun? Canopies are also great for hanging things from. We will talk about that later

Cooler with Dry Ice – STOP BUYING ICE! We have a solution that will last all weekend no matter how hot it is. Take your cooler (make it a big one) go to the grocery store and buy 3-4 blocks of dry ice. It may be a little expensive, but it will be much cheaper and efficient than running around trying to buy ice. Put the blocks of ice at the bottom of your cooler and cover it with cardboard. Congrats, you just made your cooler into a refrigerator! This may seem a little “extra” but I guarantee you that people will be amazed by your skills.

Tent – Bring enough tents so people can sleep comfortably. Tents tend to get hot enough

Air Mattress – Make sure it is a quality one that isn’t going to deflate while you sleep on it.

Very thin blanket – Most of the time I don’t even use a blanket because it gets so insanely hot, but if you do need one, make sure it is breathable

Tarps, Tarps, more Tarps – You cannot have enough tarps. Put one under each tent to stop water from getting in if it rains

Multiple Tables – These can be picked up last minute, we would advise getting two 6-foot tables as there should be a cooking table and a miscellaneous (spread all of our stuff out) table. Actually, scratch that, you’ll need three, how else could you play beer pong?

Camping chairs – You can never have enough chairs as everyone will want to be sitting around and relaxing

Portable Speaker – What kind of campsite doesn’t have music! We recommend investing in a water/weatherproof speaker. This way if you leave it out, you won’t have to worry about the rain destroying it

Some sort of light source – Regardless if it is a headlamp, lantern, or candle, you will need to have something to guide you around your campsite at night.

Pong Balls – So you can finally make your best friend do the naked mile, in front of thousands of people!

Duct Tape- ….you never know….

The Nice-To-Haves

Camp Flag & Flagpole. Being able to find your campsite when coming back from the festival is essential to having a low-stress weekend.

Camping Bench – Yes, they exist. This is a great way to add people a place to sit down without taking up much room in the car

Drawers for items – Keep everything organized with 1-2 plastic drawers from Walmart. This will stop the problem of having utensils and stuff sprawled everywhere

Solar Chargers – Spread a couple of these out for them to charge all day so you can come home and not have a dead phone.

Knife/Hammer/Scissors – You’ll be surprised how many times you will need all of these items.

Battery Operated Fan – Unless you end up getting a nice cool weekend, everyone will be thankful you brought one of these along

Frisbee – This is a great way to make some friends! Or, enemies if you can’t throw it right…

Pro Level Gear

Camp Chain – This is probably the one item on the list that not many people think of. Get a REALLY long chain (30-40 ft), before you go into the festival thread the chain around every possible thing you have at your campsite and lock it with a combination lock. Doing this will make it near impossible for people to steal anything at your campsite and you won’t have to worry about people stealing your cooler with all your beer!

Baggo – Awesome game that only requires 1 hand giving you a free hand to hold a beer.

Party Hats – Tell everyone it’s your campsites birthday and you’re celebrating all weekend

Cards – This is one item that I almost forget every time, and I am always mad at myself.

Dice – Lookup the game “Beer Dye”, it is probably the best drinking game ever.

Kiddie Pool – People will walk by with extreme jealousy that they didn’t think to bring a kiddie pool

Camp Rug – There will never be enough seats for everyone, don’t let your squad sit on the dirty ground! Walk around your neighborhood during bulk trash season. One man’s trash is another man’s festival essential

Cooking/Eating items

The Must-Haves

Propane stove, pan, spatula, tongs – Unless you’re okay with surviving off snacks for 3 days (ill-advised), these are something every campsite needs to have. You can pick up one of these right before you hit festival grounds at the local Walmart or hardware store. Even if you have one pan, you can make it work

Enough propane tanks to last the weekend AND THEN SOME MORE – If you don’t run out of propane, other people will. Exchange that extra propane you brought for some good Karma.

Strong Paper Plates + Utensils – Don’t buy those flimsy paper plates. I cannot tell you how many burgers I have dropped because of them. Get the reliable Dixie plates.

Red Solo’s – This one should be self-explanatory

Cooking Spray – Some people may not consider this a must-have, but it will save you so much time cleaning.

The Nice-to-haves

Grill – This will save some time and space from cooking everything in a pan. Make sure to bring along a cleaning brush. Those vegan friends will be mad if their veggie burger tastes like sausage egg, & cheese…

Seasonings – Eggs are boring without salt or hot sauce. You want people to be excited that you are cooking, not walking a mile to buy a premade burger for $8!

Aluminum Foil – Someone may be in the middle of slaying the neighbors in baggo or beer pong. Don’t be rude and leave their burger out to the flys! Wrap it up and toss it back in the grill that you just turned off so you can sit back, crack a cold one, and enjoy yourself.

Pro-Level Gear

Scotch Bright Metal Screen – This little screen is made to scrub all excess food off of your pans. My Dad introduced this to me, and it makes life so much easier. With this tool, you’ll be done cleaning before your friend can sink his teeth into the amazing burger you just made.

Peanut/Sesame Oil – Yeah, olive oil is great, but have you ever had hibachi chicken? They use sesame oil, and it is INSANELY good. People when begin asking when you can come to cook at home for them.

Apron with funny Quote – You can’t deny the fact that when you look at someone wearing an apron, you automatically generalize that you should go eat their food.

Toothpicks – If you’re given a burger with a toothpick through it, don’t you feel that much more special?

French Press – Unless you want to run 6 miles to-and-from a Dunkin and have to carry 96-ounces of coffee for your crew (which I have done), invest in a nice French press.

Cleaning Items

The Must-Haves

Trash Bags – This is an easy one to forget and will result in an untidy camping area. Tie a trash bag in 2 corners of your canopy like pictured below, this makes it easy for everyone to spot. If people can’t see a trash bag in sight, they are more than likely too lazy to seek it out, which results in it being thrown on the ground

Paper Towels – Don’t bother with napkins. Put a wooden stick through the roll and hang it from the canopy. This allows people to grab and rip paper towels while they have dirty fingers without fumbling the roll. This also keeps the roll out of the dirt.

Cleaning spray (non-bleach) – The table is going to get nasty, and you’ll want to take care of that…

The Nice-To-Haves

Grease Lightning – Sometimes Windex won’t be able to take care of that burger grease. This will get the job done

Hand Sanitizer – Getting sick on day two would not be ideal

Pro Level Gear

Water Jug Faucet – In every grocery story you will be able to find a 2-liter water jug with a nozzle at the bottom. Place this on the side of a table with some soap next to it. BANG! You just gave your squad a sink to clean up with before they eat. People will tell you how smart you are.


The Must-Haves

Baby Wipes – This is a quick and easy way to get very clean very fast.

Toilet Paper – This goes without saying…

Sunscreen – There will always be that one person who falls asleep in their chair and doesn’t wake up until they have an awful sunburn.

First Aid Kit – You never know what will happen when you’re getting rowdy at the campsite!

Vitamins/Cold Medicine – Your immune system will be at a low, make sure you help it go to battle

Travel size toothpaste, deodorant, etc. – Whatever you use at home on the daily, be sure to bring in travel size

The Nice-to-Haves

Extra contacts – Last year I got sunscreen in my eye and was so thankful to have an extra pair

Disposable Razors – Don’t look like a bum by day 3!

Pain Medicine – You WILL have a headache at some point

Bath Towel – I put this on the “goo-to-have” because I used to always forget a towel and end up airdrying. Now I simply prefer to airdry and it saves space in my luggage

Earplugs & Eye covers – So you can get some sleep

Pro Level Gear

Solar Shower – We cannot stress how good it feels to show at your own will. Feeling refreshed is very important in having a good festival experience. The solar shower is very cheap too.

GLITTER – Glitter is acceptable for anyone and every at festivals

Anti-Chafe Cream & Hydrocortisone cream – If you didn’t prevent the chafe with Squirrels Nut Butter, make sure you cure it with Hydrocortisone cream!

Final Thoughts

Festivals are supposed to be a time for serious fun and relaxation. Don’t get frustrated when setting up. Make sure you allot plenty of time, so you don’t end up rushing to get into the festival.

Have everyone contribute to bringing things and setting up. My squad usually brings funny gifts/games for each other as surprises

Keep it as clean as possible! This will make the cleanup in the end much easier and will give you a more enjoyable relaxing experience.

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