Music festival packing list

For festival goers, packing the right stuff can make the difference between festival heaven and becoming a soggy, sunburned, stolen-from mess. Wondering what things to take to a festival? The Mix’s festival packing list has all the answers.

How much stuff should I take to a festival?

Only pack what you can carry. Car parks and campsites are usually about two million miles apart. You don’t want to spend half a day lugging things around. And anyway, you can always pick up a lot of the stuff you need from the site shops – although be warned it will cost you more.

Should I take valuables to a festival?

Try to leave anything valuable off your festival packing list – that means leaving all your favourite jewellery and your new tablet at home. Many festivals have property lock-ups – useful if you buy something you don’t want nicked or you fear your unsteady hands may accidentally drop your camera into the loos after too much beer.

Things to take to a festival: Day trippers

If you’re just down for the day you still need to be prepared. Look to bring:

  • Money – Most sites have cash machines (with huge queues) but take enough cash to at least cover the essentials. Keep it in separate pockets or places in your bag to minimise the damage if anything’s nicked.
  • Water bottle – Refill it at the water points as and when the need arises.
  • Sun block – See The Mix’s sun safety info.
  • Raincoat – Or a wearable bin liner, whatever takes your fancy.
  • Sensible shoes – Flip flops or high heels may be your style, but it won’t be much use in six inches of mud. Solid trainers or boots are a must and wellies are usually a very good idea.
  • Warm jacket or sweatshirt – It may be summer, but don’t forget you’re still in Britain.
  • Phone – Reception willing, you’ll be able to find your friends.
  • Camera – Just don’t lose it, or use your phone instead.

Things to take to a festival: Overnight campers

Overnighters need to be doubly prepared. As well as the above stuff remember to take some camping equipment, including:

  • Tent – Festival camping just isn’t the same without a tent. In fact, it’s not camping. More advice on camping in the UK here.
  • Torch – Makes navigating the festival site for those night-time toilet trips much easier. 
  • Sleeping bag – Not a posh one, you’ll weep if it’s nicked.
  • Air Mattress/Sleeping mats – If you’re not tough enough to sleep on God’s bumpy earth.
  • Eye mask – If you’re partying all night, you’ll want to sleep in. An eye mask should help you to avoid waking up at seven in the morning. 
  • Can opener – If you plan to cook your own food.
  • Bog Roll – One roll should do it.
  • Matches/Lighter/sticks to rub together – Fire = warmth, although many festivals many not allow fires in the campsite.
  • Enough clothes for three days – Wet clothes aren’t nice. In a word: chafing.
  • Soap, deodorant, hand sanitiser, etc – Just because it’s a festival doesn’t mean you should stink.
  • Baby wipes – A festival essential – the best way to stay clean-ish without leaving your tent.
  • Condoms – See The Mix’s safe sex info and our guide to safe festival sex.
  • Booze, fags etc. – Remember there might be police, probably with their trusty sniffer dogs (UK drug laws still exist within the perimeter fence) and you usually aren’t allowed glass bottles.
  • Socks – lots of them, to keep your feet warm toasty and not gangrene-y.
  • Bin liners – they have so many uses, you can sit on them, wear them, put dirty clothes in them – just don’t confuse your dirty festival gear with a bag of rubbish.
  • Portable charger – Finding your friends is a lot easier if you’ve still got some phone battery left. 

Festival first aid

Take some basic first aid with you, just in case:

  • Plasters – they keep festival grime out of those tender nicks and cuts and are priceless when blisters set in. Haemostatic plasters contain seaweed to help blood clot quickly.
  • Diarrhoea treatment – For this you have several options. Tablets help clear up diarrhoea when your insides seem to be running away from you. If you’ve got severe food poisoning, visit the festival medical centre or welfare tent. Oral rehydration sachets replace fluid lost by sickness, diarrhoea or a hangover.
  • Eye drops – to soothe tired, morning-after peepers, but make sure you’ve bought a safe brand if you wear contact lenses.
  • Contraception – If you’re on any medication, including the contraceptive pill, take enough with you to last through your time away. And chuck in a few condoms, just in case, even if you end up ‘lending’ them to your mates.

Festival luxury!

We know of a couple who took a futon mattress, posh linen, a fruit bowl and an espresso pot with them to Glastonbury one year. All very nice, but hardly essential. Those with extravagant camping tastes may go for:

  • Mattress – Remember what we said about carrying stuff?
  • Camp stove – If the festival’s regulations allow it and you can carry it, the camp stove can cut your food costs right down.
  • Pillow – Some might call this an essential for a smooth festival experience, but bunched up clothes work just as well.
  • Portable hair dryer and straighteners – Oh dear. Why are you at a festival? Go home.

Next Steps

By Ally Thomas

Updated on 15-Mar-2023

Photo of suitcase by Shutterstock