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Essential Packing Tips For Stress-Free Summer Festivals

Matt Crisp June 27, 2024

The summer festival season has kicked off in style with Glastonbury, but there are plenty more still to come this year. If you are looking forward to Latitude, Wireless, Wilderness, Green Man, or the many other fabulous open air events that the UK does so well (with or without rain), you are probably starting to wonder what you will need to bring with you.

If you are a seasoned festival goer, no doubt you already appreciate the importance of careful packing and have got it down to a fine art. However, if it’s your first time it can be difficult to know exactly what you will need. Underpreparedness can lessen your enjoyment of the occasion and cause you to waste money buying expensive gear when you get there.

On the other hand, you don’t want to burden yourself with the kitchen sink, particularly if you are travelling by coach hire or public transport. Here are some essential tips for happy campers this summer. 

A sturdy backpack

First and foremost, you need to have a study backpack to take everything you need. Opt for a waterproof model that can accommodate all your gear without being too cumbersome. It should fit comfortably and have easily accessible compartments. A smaller backpack, tote or bum bag will be handy for walking around the festival site. 

Admin essentials

Get all the essential documents in place first of all, because this is one aspect of kit where you can’t wing it or cadge off mates or kind strangers. Gather your ticket, ID, programme, and any other admin such as travel tickets, car passes, accommodations details, and put them in a place that will make it impossible for you to leave them behind. 

Camping gear

If you are camping, you will obviously need a tent. You can buy cheap pop up models if this is just a one-off occasion for you, but they may not hold up too well if the weather is wet and windy. You will also need a sleeping bag and a mat or inflatable mattress (this is not just for comfort; sleeping directly on the ground is very cold even in summer).

Use a coat or jumper if you don’t want to bring a pillow, or bring a smaller travel version. If you are a light sleeper, an eye mask and earplugs might come in handy. 


Maintaining reasonable standards of hygiene will take a little more effort than usual, and be prepared to forgo your usual shower for a day or two, unless you are forking out for a luxury camping experience. However, you might want to improvise by taking swimwear and a bucket…

Essentials include hand sanitiser and reusable wipes for removing makeup, a toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet roll and tissues, deodorant and dry shampoo. Other useful items include moisturiser and lip balm, hair grooming tools and makeup if you wear it. 

Also put together medical and skincare items, including high factor sunscreen and sunglasses; painkillers; plasters; antiseptic cream; rehydration tablets; and any medications that you take. 


You will need clean underwear, tops and T shirts, plus shorts and trousers or skirts and dresses. Pack for all variations of weather, with warmer hoodies and jacket, and waterproof gear and wellies, as well as sandals and flip flops. 

If you are a flamboyant dresser, festivals are the perfect time to showcase your sense of style, so knock yourself out with sequins, feather boas, catsuits, body glitter and tiaras if that’s your thing! This can really get you into the whole spirit of the occasion. 

Food and drink

A refillable water bottle is essential to manage hydration and will avoid you having to lug a heavy pack of water bottles to the site. If you are bringing alcohol, bear in mind that most festivals don’t allow glass, so decant it into flasks or opt for cans. 

There will be plenty of food stalls for meals and snacks, but if you want to avoid the queues and expense of this option, you will need a camping stove, a cooking pot, a cool bag for ingredients, and portable mugs, plates, cutlery, and so on. 

Take portable snacks that will provide you with sustainable energy, such as dried fruit, nuts, cereal bars, and dark chocolate. 

In the end, it’s probably better to travel light and buy/beg/borrow any forgotten kit when you get there. Any oversights will be quickly forgotten in the fun of the festival.