Festival essentials: What to bring to an outdoor music festival

Planning on going to an outdoor music festival this summer? Whether you’re as green as the grass you’re dancing on, or have been giggin’ out since you were in diapers, you’ve got to go prepared.

And certainly, you’re going to need some different gear for different gigs. If you’re going to Burning Man, then you’re in for a very different trip than at the Electric Daisy Carnival. Your outfits, essentials, and experience will need to fit the festival.


music festival

However, there are some things you’re likely to want at any festival. There’s nothing worse than showing up, setting up camp, and realizing you’re missing something critical. Sure, you might find chapstick or tampons at the venue store. However, no one wants to pay inflated prices for something they had at home. Especially chapstick.



music festival water


This one’s obvious. And although you may have been planning on beer being your main source of hydration, we both know that it doesn’t work that way.

These days most music festivals have water onsite and you can fill your bottles up for free all around the venue. However, some, like Burning Man, have no water onsite. That means you bring every drop you’re going to need. Just check the festival website to make sure.


music festival sunglasses


You’ll want them in the heat of the day and you’ll want them in the dark of night. Sunglasses are handy for more than one reason. You might leave the expensive pair at home though and bring a couple of cheap ones instead. Don’t count on them surviving the festival.


music festival sunglasses


music festival chapstick


Between summer heat, dust, and all the things you might put into your mouth at a music festival, chapstick is critical. It’s also easy to forget. After all, your lips probably aren’t chapped when you’re packing. However, when day 5 rolls around, it might be a very different story.



music festival gum


If you’re the kind of person who takes gum, you know what it’s for. Even if you aren’t particularly attached to gum, I’ll guarantee one of your friends is. Take one pack, or take ten. Either way, I’ll bet it’s all gone by the end of the festival.


Scarf or bandana

music festival scarf


Aside from being a fun costume piece, a scarf doubles, or possibly quintuples, as many other things. It can keep dust out of your lungs. Yes, there will be copious amounts of dust. It can also keep the sun off your head and shoulders. A wet scarf can cool you down and a dry scarf can warm you up. Pick the right one, it’ll even make you look cool. Heck, why not take a couple?


Warm, comfortable clothes

music festival warm clothes


Too many times, I’ve seen people forget that the night can get cold, even in summer. Depending on where you are this might mean long pants and sleeves, or it might mean jackets, hats, and blankets. But hey, at 1:00 am you might want that fuzzy coat even if it’s not particularly cold out… Might as well bring it.


Feminine hygiene products

music festival tampons


Now, I may be a guy, but I know that a music festival on your period would kind of suck. Actually, it would really suck. But ladies, you don’t need me to tell you that. Come prepared, even if you don’t expect to have your period. You might save another girl’s life who wasn’t as wise.

Heck, boys, why don’t you bring a pack and keep them at camp too? Maybe you could be the hero this year!



music festival earplugs


Personally, I don’t do earplugs, but I know a lot of people that do. After all, you might be exhausted by two in the morning and want some shut eye.

However, chances are that you’ll have neighbors partying until the sun comes up. If you find it hard to sleep while your neighbors are shouting, slapping wine bags, and laughing at the top of their lungs, bring some earplugs.



music festival headlamp


In my opinion, this is the most easily forgotten and most important item on this list. I’ve never forgotten my water or warm layers, but I have forgotten my light. And believe me, it sucks.

Try using a porta potty, finding your friends, or rolling a cigarette without a light. It’s not easy.


Baby wipes

music festival baby wipes


And I saved the greatest luxury for last. There are few things more satisfying than cleaning your face and blowing your nose at a music festival. Shower’s, if they have them, are sure to cost money and have long lines.

However, baby wipes can help you stay clean and fresh day in and out. You don’t even have to leave your tent. And if you’ve never blown your nose after a dusty day at an outdoor music festival, just wait. It feels incredible.


Your ticket, of course!

music festival


If you checked everything off this list and then got to the gate without your ticket I would never forgive myself. So I had to throw this in at the end, just in case.


music festival edm

There’s an outdoor music festival out there for just about anyone’s tastes these days. Whether you like hard pumping electro all night, or fast plucking string bands, there’s a place for you.


music festival


As long as you’ve got all the essentials in your bag, you’re ready to party. Have fun first and foremost– because you only live once. Be nice– to yourself and everyone else that you meet along the way. And if you’ve got those two covered– then always remember, safety third!

Have a wild summer.


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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.

Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors.


ian-carroll is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival