Camping is an essential part of the dance music festival experience. It’s where the magic starts each day and where it ends. If you’ve decided to take the plunge and camp at a music festival, this ultimate guide is for you. We’re also including a handy checklist of do’s and don’t to help you as much as we can.
Getting your camp set-up right will make the difference between avoiding any disappointments and taking home the best memories ever. You don’t need to be a seasoned pro or ultimate survivalist to make a great camp, far from it, camping at festivals is really easy. All you need is a little preparation and a few camp rules to get it right.
Camping at festivals is so practical because you get the easy access to the festival, an opportunity to meet cool people and on top of that, you’ll be able to enjoy some fun amenities in the camp grounds. Once you figure out what works for your camping experience, it’ll be a breeze.
In this guide, we’ll be talking about the must have camping equipment, the proper way to set up camp, tips for sleeping, more about food, campfires & much more!
Let’s start with the preparations.
The first thing you need to do is to secure your tickets and passes. Coachella requires a purchase of a separate camping pass alongside your ticket for example. So make sure you’ve got every detail covered. You can split this with a group you’re attending with. Some festivals give an early arrival pass to help campers and attendees set-up their camp and personal belongings. This is great cos you’ll be ready to go when the festival starts.
Make sure you research the festival website and different platforms for all the information you’ll need on camping at that specific festival. You’ll have a better idea of the times when you can enter and exit the campgrounds, what items are and aren’t allowed, security and how big your camping space will be.
These details vary from festival to another so be sure to get all the necessary information. We also recommend your look into the details of your day-to-day, for example the showers, are they free, where are they located, how busy are they…etc.
When it comes to the camping, you’ll need most of your normal camping equipment. If you’re an experienced camper, you probably don’t need absolutely everything you normally take with you, but all the basics are important. On the other hand, the first time campers might make use of the below checklist:
- A tent – This 6 person Coleman rocks
- Tent Pegs – Consider these Coleman pegs
- Sleeping Bag – Here’s the one we have
- Roll Mat – Consider this one
- Basic Repair Kit – Here’s a best seller for starters
- Tent Footprint – Check this one out (for extra warmth, waterproofing, packing up is easier, makes pitching easier and simpler)
We recommend NOT to spend a fortune on your tent. Festivals are busy places with people stumbling all over the place. There’s a reasonable chance your tent could take a bit of a battering and will come back in a worse condition than when you left. You’ll also need to consider you won’t have plenty of room at the festival grounds.
Another tip to keep in mind: Customize your tent! Why? Imagine walking around at night trying to find your tent after so many hours of dancing around the festival. Not a cool sight right? There are so many ways you can make your tent so personal and cool. Glowing ropes, self-illuminating tent pegs, or a flag that flies from the top of your tent are all brilliant ideas to consider for this. Make sure your tent looks unique and can be easily spotted at the early morning hours or late at night.
A good tip to keep in mind: Once you set-up camp, take a walk around the campgrounds to familiarize yourself with where bathrooms, showers and amenities and also to keep an idea of where you are if you’re coming back from different areas.
Forgot something? No worries, most festivals have a general store with items the worst case scenario will have you asking people from around camp for some help or items. This would be a nice way to spark some conversations and get to know potential future friends.
⛺︎ Tent Tips To Keep In Mind
You’re prepped and ready, so let’s talk about some setup guides to keep in mind.
Don’t pitch near paths
Through the campsite, there will be designated paths, try and avoid pitching too close to them. This way, it’s much less likely others will accidentally stumble into your tent.
Don’t pitch near toilets
Apart from the horrible smell, the area will almost always be constantly busy, so it’ll be noisier and people will be more likely to trip or fall into your tent as well. Avoid the pain, the noise and the smells.
Fine Somewhere Flat
The basics of camping apply here, so make sure you find a suitable pitch. Try and find somewhere that’s flat, not at the bottom of a hill (if possible) and is clear of lumps and bumps that could damage your tent or make sleeping uncomfortable. Pretty straightforward advice but a lot of people miss these basics.
If you’re able to get to the festival early you’ll have several location options to choose from, consider the proximity to the bathrooms and music stages. Also, you might find a spot with shade, and possibly even a little privacy. Consider bringing a shade shelter to set up in your camp, you’ll be the envy of others when the sun is high in the sky.
Secure Your Tent
Stake down your tent well. This will help you avoid weather surprises and any movement issues. For security, most tents have a double zip that can be locked with a small padlock to thwart opportunistic thieves, but you’ll be cursing yourself when you get back to your tent in the early hours only to discover you can’t find the key.
Theft-proof rucksacks are the ideal solution. if your are only bringing smaller valuables, consider a bum bag. They’re an easy way to keep tabs on the small stuff. The further away you keep your valuables from the entrance, the more difficult it is for someone to pinch them in the night.
Putting a padlock on your tent’s zip is another little security tip to keep in mind. However, it’s also incredibly useful in stopping those who are drunk or lost and have accidentally mistaken your tent for theirs. You don’t want the shock of someone climbing suddenly inside.
Notes worth mentioning:
Now that everything is set, keep in mind that not all festivals allow cooking in the camping areas, but if they do and you fancy doing some outdoors cooking, opt for food that’s quick and easy to make and eat. Check the campsite’s regulations regarding BBQs, grills and making food on site. It’s all for the safety of everyone. Having a campfire at a festival is fantastic (if permitted), but you need to be careful. Festival campsites are crowded so don’t start a fire if you only have limited space as you risk burning yourselves and your equipment.
Things might get dirty and muddy outside. This is where a good supply of bin bags comes in handy, and standard kitchen ziplock bags. These will help you keep things clean and secure inside your tent, and takes care of the wet things. You’ll want to keep your unused clothes and other personal belongings dry.
A more pro and eco-friendly way to keep wet clothes away from dry clothing is a drybag, such as those made by Aquapac.
🎒 How To Pack
Consider filling one suitcase with your clothes and toiletries and the another suitcase with the tent, sleeping bag and a blanket. Keep in mind that some tents come in a special bag-like package which makes carrying it super easy.
At other times, you might be able to fit everything you need in duffel bag for the weekend. Bring with you a sleeping bag and pillow and you’re all set. So what you bring and how you pack will depend on the festival itself. Sometimes you’ll camp with a huge group with several cars, which makes transporting everything very easy. At other times, you’ll have a tent waiting for you at the festival grounds, so you’ll only need your other clothes and stuff in a bag.
💰 Cost Estimates
Prices may vary per festival and will also depend on the camping passes, how much stuff you buy for your camp site and how much you can split with others. You may spend under $340 USD for pitching in with others. This includes food for the campsite and your portion of the pass. Start by figuring out the base prices, of the things you can’t add or control like the passes and transportation, and add on top of that your variable expenses for the festival like food, water, snacks, accessories…etc.
On another hand, look for quality camping items, but also compact so you can use them again but also transport them with ease.
🧴Personal Items & Clothing Tips
Consider bringing items from the below list with you. These will come in handy and you might find that they’re essentials to keep at hand:
- First aid kit
- Face wipes
- Baby wipes
- Travel shampoo
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Over-the-counter pain medicine
- Any medications you are taking (birth control, anti-anxiety pills, motion sickness meds, etc.)
- Hairbrush, clips, ties, bobby pins, headbands
Baby wipes are your best friend. And so is toilet roll. Make sure you pack a lot of those. It’s also worth packing bottled water for brushing your teeth.
When it comes to clothes, it depends on the season of course, the location of the event, your taste and look. We recommend packing items that provide comfort and that you’re okay if they get dirty, like really dirty. Which is why in a previous post we recommended not buying new expensive clothes just for a festival. Also, pack for whatever weather situations. Especially if there is a chance of rain pack extras of everything. Sometimes night time can get cold so bring clothes for that.
Here’s a list of clothing items to consider:
- Shoes (a pair of walking shoes, flip flops, sandals for showers)
- Bathing Suit if needed
- Your outfits for the festivals
- Clothes to hang out at the campgrounds in
- Sleeping clothes
- Raincoat (if going to an outdoor location with potential rain)
- Hydration Pack or Backpack
Bring fun stuff with you to the campsite: consider balls, hula hoops, glow sticks, Frisbee, playing cards and anything else you like to do that’ll pass time at the campsite.
Research the camp location
As we mentioned above, every festival is unique and offers opportunities and locations for camping with certain requirements. Research to learn about all your options before going on the day.
The best spaces get taken pretty quickly. If you’re going in a group and need a fair amount of space, we recommend that one person gets there early to reserve a decent spot.
Pitch in a circle
If you’re in a group of multiple tents, it’s best if you pitch your tents in a circle with the doors facing each other towards the inside. This way you can chat, and it helps prevent other campers wading through and kicking over your stuff. You’ll show others you’re in one entity and makes it clear for them not to pass through you.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll met various people and sometimes make new friends at festivals, so introduce yourself to your neighbors. It’s a festival – everyone’s there for a good time. Plus they might be able to lend you something you have forgotten.
x Camping Dont’s
Making a bonfire without checking the rules
While some festivals allow bonfires, most don’t. You don’t want to get taken off the site and your experience cut short in such a negative way. Check the rules before going and maybe with a steward before you light up.
Pitch near the toilets or hedges
As we mentioned earlier in the article, the toilets will smell awful and the hedges, at some point, will be used as toilets. You’re best avoiding camping near these two.
Pitch on a hill
Flat ground is the best. A hill is never a good idea. You will be uncomfortable, the tent might not be correctly pitched, and to top it all off, all the blood will rush to one end of your body.
Ready For Your Next Music Festival?
If you’re still preparing for your next music festival, visit our shop to buy some unique items. You’ll be able to wear them outside the festival as well.