How to Keep Your Fun at a Festival

Avoid common pain points in festival camping with these five quick tips.
1) Figure out your communication plan and establish your own personal “lost-and-found” with Friends.

People separate and wander at festivals, it happens. Just make sure you create opportunities to find each other easily. Before the day starts designate a clear “lost-and-found” area for your crew to sweep past from time to time in case someone strays from the group.

Looking for something a bit higher tech? We’ve got that, too: festivals are notorious for bad cell service but the folks over at goTenna can transform your phone into an instant texting walkie-talkie without relying on cell towers. Bypass the crowds and be in communication quickly and easily.

2) For the love of everything, drink water.

This is a perfect example of having lots of fun and then losing it in an instant: dehydration. At festivals you’re going to be running around, dancing, standing in the sun, and your body is going to need a lot water to keep going. And no, beer does not count as a substitute. Make time to chug some water here and there and you’ll keep yourself out of the medical tent and on the dance floor.

3) Whatever the weather, be prepared.

“When you’re going to be outside all day long, come prepared for any type of weather. This year at Bonnaroo, my hat and sunscreen became my best friend. Seriously, you don’t want to be the one who gets sunburnt on the first day.” says Tabitha, Coney Island Brewery Representative at Bonnaroo.

And be prepared for the flipside, too: if rain is in the forecast, avoid cotton clothing and wear performance fabrics that can wick and evaporate moisture quickly. Getting caught in a downpour can be a lot of fun if you’re not soggy for hours afterward.

4) Pick a good day bag…

You want something that is light with breathable fabric but steer clear of the free drawstring swag bags that some promotional tents give out: the shoestring straps will wear on your shoulders and don’t distribute weight evenly. A lot of outdoor brands have great ultralight daypacks that have solid straps to keep you comfy when it’s your turn to carry the crew bag. (sidenote: make a crew bag. Have the gang take turns being mule for the day).

5) ...and pack it wisely.

Here are items we think should make their way into every festival daypack.

THE BAG: We’re fans of Cotpaxi’s Luzon 18L Daypack. It’s lightweight, can hold a ton of stuff, and the bold color makes you easy to spot from far away.

BOTTLE: Remember, hydration is key. Miir’s Vacuum Insulated Bottle keeps your drinks cold for hours. Take it to water refill stations and visit them often.

SUN GEAR: Sunscreen and sunglasses – we like Sunski’s Polarized Seacliffs. Bonus weather-related recs include a hat, layers for varying temperatures, and some form of rain gear depending on if you plan to reject the rain or embrace it.

FIRST AID: Stumbles might happen but a tiny cut can lead to a big infection if you don’t take care of it (No more “oh I’ll stop by the Med Tent later”). Bring a basic first aid kit (seriously you can find really compact ones) and nip it in the bud.

SNACKS: You’re bound to get hungry, throw a few snacks into your pack for yourself or the friend who gets hangry. Clif bars are a great option: they pack easily and can hold you over between meals.

SEATING: It’s always surprising how much downtime you have a festival. Having a dry place to rest after standing through an entire set is key. That’s why we love Alite’s all-purpose, waterproof Meadow Mat. Getting off your feet for twenty minutes can give you the second-wind to power through the rest of the day.

TECH: Grab the goTennas we mentioned above for communication without the crowds; pack a small light like the PowerLight Mini and find your way back to your campsite easily after the show; hang a SolarPanel 5+ off your pack and keep your phones and other gear charged so you can snap pics and stay in touch.

Like what you see on this list? You can buy our top picks in our Festival Daypack Bundle, and save $88!

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