Festival Camping Survival Guide

Article by: Alexa Smith

Wed June 18, 2014 | 00:00 AM

With festival season upon us, many people will get the opportunity to rough it in the wild for a few days. Camping at festivals is great fun, allowing you to share unique encounters with thousands of other festivalgoers. It brings the community together, forming bonds that elevate the festival experience. Here are some festival-camping tips to help you prepare.

Bring a Canopy Tent

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Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

You won’t want to spend your entire camping experience cooped up in a tent. With a canopy tent, you can relax in the fresh air and let the party come to you. Bring extra chairs so guests can come visit. Friends will use this hangout as their meet-up spot in the morning and at night to cool down. This adds an extra element to festival camping that not many others think of.

Roll in a Basket or Wagon

Most festivals only allow one trip from your car into the festival. A rolling basket or wagon is an essential for hauling your items. The trip in will be much less grueling and you’ll be able to bring more items. Be the envy of less-prepared festivalgoers, especially on the last day, when people just want to pack up and get out!

Take a Totem

Symbiosis 2013 Art Gimbel Jellyfish Totem

Photo by Art Gimbel

The sea of tents at a campground will all look the same, and it will be hard to differentiate which one is yours, especially at night. Place a flagpole or totem near your campsite as a landmark to help you and your friends easily locate your tent. Trust me, you don’t want to get lost!

Bring a Cooler

Getting food at festivals is not as easy as it sounds. Lines are long. Bring a cooler with a variety of foods, and stock up on grab-and-go options like sandwiches, salads, and fruits. Other ideas: frozen grapes, yogurt, milk for cereal, pasta, and potato salads.

Hang a Conversation Piece

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Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

Hang flags and banners for decoration and to act as conversation starters. Flags from your home state/country or college may attract new friends. This is a great way to get into the festival spirit and meet some of your neighbors.

Put a Lid on It

Insects have a knack for finding food. Make sure to keep all food in jars or other tightly sealed containers. Any faint scent of food will send a signal to all surrounding insects, directing them straight into your tent. Save yourself from an ant infestation!

Keep It Clean


Photo by Richard Child via Flickr Creative Commons

It’s inevitable. You WILL get dirty. Lines for the shower will be longer than you think, sometimes taking over two hours. Stock up on baby wipes—possibly the most essential camping item—for a makeshift shower. If you think you have enough, you still need more. You’ll be the star of the show to less-prepared festivalgoers, begging you to spare a wipe or two.

Bug Out

Since your tent will probably be sitting in an open field, bug spray is an absolute essential. Spiders and ants will try to find any way in. It is best to spray the perimeter of your tent at least once a day to keep the insects away. Some say bug-repellent bracelets work well too.

Prepare for Rain…and Mud

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Photo by sebFlyte via Flickr Creative Commons

If it rains, expect mud to be an issue. Prepare by bringing a tarp to lay under your tent. Pick up a doormat at a dollar store to wipe shoes on before you enter the tent. Rain boots will allow you to travel quickly throughout a muddy campground without needing to find the least muddy route. Lastly, don’t forget a poncho or other rain gear. You’ll be quite a happy camper!