23 of the Best (and Silliest) Festival Gadgets Out ThereArticle by: Marcus Barnes|@mgoldenbarnes
Fri June 08, 2018 | 14:13 PM
As festival culture becomes more ingrained into mainstream society, businesses will of course direct their marketing and ideas towards festival lovers. That means lots of gadgets and products designed for those who’ll be camping, or spending a day at one of the many events that occur all over the world.
Some people like to have a back-to-basics experience when they’re at a festival: no-frills, no gadgets, just a tent, a sleeping bag and the bare essentials. Others go to the opposite extreme, bringing everything including the kitchen sink with them, or showing off with an array of useless gear. Most of us float somewhere in the middle of those two ends of the spectrum, wanting some comfort and convenience but also happy to engage in a challenging, enriching experience.
Whatever your position is, we hope you’ll find the following list useful – even those who like to "rough it" will surely find something they fancy on our 2018 list of the best (and some of the silliest) gadgets on the market.
WindPouch, $70 - 80
Anywhere you can find a small patch of land and any time you can snag to relax, looks like those ubiquitous inflatable WindPouch hammocks are your most convenient, sturdy pal. People at festivals, in parks, on beaches, in backyards have caught on to the ultra durable, lightweight, portable and comfy hammocks. Literally all you do is unroll the black carrying pouch, unfurl the contents, grab the edges, twirl around in a circle to fill the long pouch with air, then clip it closed. Trust us, it will remain fully inflated and super comfortable for hours. When you're ready to go, just unclip the buckle, let it deflate, fold and stuff back into the pouch. Seriously, it's that simple!
Everfest Premium member? For you, when you buy one WindPouch here, you get another one, entirely free.
SlugHaus Bullet, $10+
This miniscule torch lives up to its name, as it really is about the size of some bullets. It’s ultra light, waterproof, fireproof and tough as nails. It’s the world’s smallest LED flashlight, measuring 30mm in length and weighing just six grams. The SlugHaus Bullet is surprisingly powerful and will come in handy when you’re trying to wade your way through a sea of tents, or fumbling around in a pitch black festival toilet.
Festival food can be quite expensive so it’s always a good idea to bring your own, if permitted. You may bring a camping stove, or you could go for this excellent portable notebook barbeque grill. It packs so conveniently flat you could be forgiven for wondering if it will actually work properly, but it does! Once opened you’ll be able to throw some of your food on the grill and serve yourself up some tasty cooked meat or vegetables. You’ll end up being the most popular person in your camp!
Beer Belt, $8
Out on the frontline you might not want to schlep around with a big bag full of cans, so this beer belt is the perfect remedy. Not only will you have SIX beers at your disposal when you need them, but you’ll also look pretty cool in those camouflage colors. In fact, you could always accessorize an army-inspired costume with the belt. Fun, fashionable and functional, this is one of those festival essentials that will be a lifesaver on so many occasions.
WonderBag, $39 - 65
This is one of those gadgets that makes you go, "Wow, somebody actually thought this up and made it!" WonderBag is a rather apt name for a product that does something pretty amazing; if you’re in a hurry and you’ve just brought your food to the boil but are minutes away from missing your favourite act start their performance, you can put the food in the bag and it will finish cooking in there. Yes, really. It’s filled with recycled foam which insulates the bag and keeps the food at optimum temperature. It’s pretty light at 1 kilogram, and reversible, too. Brilliant.
Solar Shower, $9
There’s a lot to be said for having just one pivotal shower at a festival. No matter how hardcore you think you are, it can make such a big difference to the festival experience. This is an absolute essential for anyone at Burning Man or similar events, where you might not want to rely solely on wet wipes for every nook and cranny of your filthy body. In fact, any festival where you don't have access to showers will be made more enjoyable by this cheap and cheerful device. Fill the bag up with water, hang it somewhere, allow the sun to warm the water up, and then stand under it and open the valve. So simple, super cheap and it works really well.
Lines are an unavoidable part of the festival experience and often forgotten, too. How many times have you waited for what seems like days on end to be served at a busy bar? Or at the gate to get in? Or to get into a busy tent? Waited for your turn on the "Spank-O-Matic" at Burning Man, or any other situation that requires the patience of a saint and the posture of a ballerina? For anyone who struggles to stay upright (presumably most of us these days) SitPack’s lightweight polycarbonate, foldable, pocket-sized seat is an absolute Godsend. Simply open it up, stick it in the ground and plonk your weary bottom down on it. It's great for those moments when you really, really need to just have a seat.
Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs (as seen on "Shark Tank") are reusable earplugs designed for live music. Instead of blocking and muffling high frequency sounds like regular foam earplugs, Vibes lowers the volume of all sounds equally, from bass to treble. This way, you still hear all the sounds clearly, just at a quieter, more comfortable volume. Vibes' clear design allows you to be discreet about wearing earplugs, and each pair includes three sizes of interchangeable ear tips, a carrying case, and a donation to Hear the World Foundation. Protect your hearing while helping charity? We're all ears.
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Luminoodle Color, $29.99
A bit of LED never goes amiss at a festival and this handy length of lighting has multiple uses, which makes it indispensable. It’s 5 feet long and remote controlled so you can turn it on from a distance, meaning you don’t have to leave it on while you pop off for an adventure in the wilderness. The Luminoodle Color can be moulded into many different shapes, so you can decorate the entrance to your tent with it, for example, or wrap it between two trees, or even incorporate it into your outfit.
Cinch! Pop-Up Tents, pre-order via website
The Cinch! pop-up tent is probably the only pop-up you will ever use once you’ve given it a try. The brainchild of 34-year-old camping entrepreneur Jake Jackson, it’s a superb product that makes camping a whole lot more enjoyable. The tent comes in three sizes – accommodating two, three and four people – and each is the biggest in its class. The four-man Cinch! is claimed to be the biggest pop-up tent of its kind in the world. The instant-pitch functionality using high-quality superflex fiberglass poles means it goes up in seconds – and can be packed away into a disc-shaped rucksack (weighing just nine kilograms for the four-man version) in under a minute. It also comes with an optional solar power pack, which can be attached to the roof and provides electricity for mobile phones and USB appliances. The tent comes with LED lanterns, LED tent pegs and light-reflective guylines as standard to make navigation easier in the dark. Amazing.
This is a little exuberant we must admit, but there’s something very appealing about having the ability to bake your own pizza at a festival. Excessive? Perhaps, but you’ll have a massive smile on your face, not to mention a belly full of yummy pizza, should you decide to invest in the Roccbox. Obviously you won’t have time to make your own pizza base and sprinkle it with toppings, but you might find time to prepare a little something pre-festival. Or you can just bring some frozen ones with you and stick them in this aesthetically pleasing gadget with a distinctly Italian flavour. It runs on gas or wood, and can also cook lots of other food types, so it’s perfect for a forest-based adventure.
SMITH & STARR hydration packs, $68 - 76
First there was Camelbak , now there's SMITH & STARR . Trying to stay hydrated yet still stylish? The company's most popular pack, "The Conway" is the world's first-ever hydration handbag. Designed to look like your everyday black bag, a reusable and refillable 17 oz water bottle is hidden in the front pocket. The drinking tube funnels up the strap, so all you have to do is unzip and sip. There's a separate pocket for all your other belongings.
Ravean Heated Jacket, $169.99
With all the talk of BBQs and beers, we can’t forget that a lot of festivals can get pretty cold, especially at night. Wrapping yourself in layer upon layer of clothing is one option but then, once you find yourself in a hot sweaty tent, you will undoubtedly have to strip them all off and leave them somewhere, which is a tad inconvenient. Ravean’s heated jacket will solve both of those problems with this technologically advanced, uber-cool padded jacket that leads the market when it comes to heated outdoor apparel. It’s relatively lightweight, looks great and the technology works, which is a huge bonus. They also produce sleeping bags with the same heating system. Heavenly.
"No more headlight tunnel vision," claims the One80 website, and quick as a flash (see what we did there?!), all the problems associated with headlamps are banished into the darkness. Anyone who’s fallen afoul of headlamps and the fact that they're so one-directional will appreciate this brilliant invention. Now, instead of the light always following the movement of your head, you have total coverage all around the front of your head so that even your peripheral vision is illuminated. How has no one thought of this before? Who knows, but here it is and you won’t regret buying it. No more tripping over tent stakes… hopefully! (Also available in belt form).
Festival Feet, $4
Wellington boots are the industry standard for wet, muddy festivals and we definitely wouldn’t ever tell you not to have a pair handy, especially anyone who going to a festival in an unpredictable climate. Festival Feet are a good alternative if you don’t want to be stuck in Wellies all day. They are throwaway shoe covers, so maybe not suitable for deep, thick mud, but certainly anything less than three inches. They have that "so bad they’re good" look, so they’ll make people point at you and laugh but also keep your feet, and shoes, dry.
Pocket Pint, $8
This is another "how did they think of that?" product. Most people would be happy enough to carry around their own cups, maybe a batch of paper ones in their festival bag, or even recycle one of the festival’s own. The Pocket Pint offers you the opportunity to always have a good old British pint glass in your pocket because it’s collapsible. Pretty cool, huh? The only potential downsides are some joker collapsing your "glass" when it’s still got booze in it and having to dry it off when you pack it down and put it back in your pocket. Still, it’ll definitely have all your festival buddies feeling a little green with envy as you sip on an ice-cold pint whenever you want. Make lots of friends by taking a bag of spares with you and handing them out…
This is such an important thing to have at a festival. When you run out of batteries and lose your friends it’s like the end of the world (or maybe the beginning of a exciting new adventure, depending on your perspective). Whether you want to stay in touch with people or not, it’s important to have a fully charged phone with you – you never when you might need it. This teeny, portable charger is light enough to be clipped onto your rucksack or belt, which makes it super convenient. The power supply is enough to charge you back up to 100% and perhaps even spare a bit more depending on how much juice you need.
BioLite Camping Stove, $193
This is a great gadget that runs on renewable energy. The BioLite Camping Stove looks pretty impressive and it works from a highly efficient internal fan, meaning there’s very little wasted energy. The furnace not only creates enough energy to cook food but also charges electronic devices, all through the power of wood and other natural flammable materials. There’s not really much more we need to say about this. Inspired!
Waterproof Fold-Up Blanket, $19.99
This may not be the most technologically advanced product on our list but it is probably one of the best items purely because of its simplicity. At Glastonbury 2015 we found one of these discarded next to a bunch of garbage. After deciding it was clean enough to be put back into use, we carried it with us and it came in very useful for an almighty cuddle puddle at Maceo’s, the private worker’s party joint. It measures 35" x 20" and is available in three colors. Trust us, cuddle puddle or not, this will come in handy in a variety of situations.
Now, Let’s Get Silly
Just over 18 months ago this wonderfully silly invention came into being, created by a pediatrician, allergist/immunologist and physician named Dr. Dat Tran. It allows people of all ages to create lickable bubbles that are safe to ingest. Anyone who’s seen bubbles being blown will almost always have a weird urge to catch them with their mouth, but is put off by the threat of swallowing soapy liquid. With BubbleLick you can turn any drink into edible bubbles, from your favorite fruit juice to alcoholic beverages. It’s a little bit weird, but it’s also super cute and probably a lot of fun, too.
Underpants Dispenser, $30
Running out of underwear can be traumatic. The old "turn them inside out" trick may work for some, but others would probably rather go commando than recycle a worn pair of undies. If you have a friend who’s likely to end up knickerless because they haven’t packed enough changes of underwear, you may want to bring this joke box of underpants which they can dip into like a box of tissues, should an emergency arise.
The mythical creature is an icon for so many cosmically inclined people around the world. It represents fantasy, escapism, good vibes, and the power of imagination. It’s a silly creature, too, which makes this powerbank just as silly. Keep it about your person for times when you want to surprise a friend or a stranger with the kind offer of a unicorn power-up. We’re pretty sure that actual unicorns can charge phones too, though, and car batteries, and power entire homes, and apartment blocks…
Remote Controlled Moving Tails, $99 - 225
This is another choice item from our list; it's not just a tail that you connect to your rear, but a remote-controlled, moving one! Imagine the reactions you’ll get when you skip around the festival wearing one of these, letting people come close enough to touch it (which they almost certainly will) and then flicking it away with your remote control, giving them a complete surprise. You can get everything from a fox tail to dinosaurs, the Cheshire Cat and alien tails. Brilliance.
This article was originally published December 2017.