Festival Camping Checklist

Music festivals are a massive business in the UK and around the world. Millions of people head to music festivals every year with more than 200,000 going to the world famous Glastonbury festival. 

Sure, you could stay in a nearby hotel and just attend the festival every day but where’s the fun in that? Camping is part of festival culture and something that ties the whole experience together. 

But when you’re camping, you must make sure you’ve got everything you need because once you’re there, you’re going to want to spend as much time as possible immersing yourself in the music and activities. Not worrying about whether you remembered to pack everything. 

So, before you set off, be sure to double check this festival camping checklist. We’ve got everything covered so you won’t need to worry about a thing. 

What To Take When Camping At A Festival

Festival camping is not, and should not be as intense as a week away with family or friends. You want to travel as light as possible without forgetting any of the essentials and it can be surprisingly difficult to find the perfect balance. 

Essential Items

  • Your tent – we’ve got some helpful tips on buying the right tent for festival camping later on so keep reading!
  • Sleeping bag and roll mat. You could take an airbed but this will be bulkier and will also mean taking a pump to inflate it which will go against the notion of travelling light. 
  • Pillow – because you still need to be comfortable in your tent.
  • Rucksack to carry all of your essential items.
  • Camping chair – preferably foldable to make it easier to carry.
  • 10 litre expandable water container – this is ideal for showering and for refilling water bottles.
  • Cash – while there will be cash points at the festival, the queue is often massive!
  • A form of ID – a lot of festivals will ask for this and you’ll need it to prove your age if you’re planning on buying alcohol. 
  • Your festival ticket – because without this, you won’t be going anywhere!
  • Camping trolley – this will save your back! (this is optional but ideal if you’ve got a bit of a walk from the car to your pitch.)


What clothing you pack will depend on the time of year. Despite the fact that most festivals take place in the summer, the UK weather can chop and change in an instant so it pays to be prepared. Anything you take with you should be something that you don’t mind getting wet, muddy or otherwise dirty as festivals are not known for being places that you’ll remain pristine. 

  • Clean socks and underwear for each day of the festival 
  • Trainers
  • Wellies for those muddy days
  • Sliders or flip flops for inside the tent
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm jacket, hoody or coat
  • Festival outfits
  • Swimwear for hot days
  • One warm hat and one hat for sun protection
  • Warm pyjamas or layers for nighttime

Toiletries And Cosmetics

  • Toilet roll
  • Suncream
  • Deodorant
  • Wet wipes
  • Festival toiletries such as towel-off shower gel and no rinse shampoo. Dry shampoo is also a great choice
  • Lip balm
  • If you use makeup try to find travel versions of your favourite products
  • Aftersun
  • Insect repellent
  • Allergy tablets if you suffer with hayfever
  • Basic first aid kit containing things like pain killer, plasters and antiseptic cream
  • Contraception  – because let’s face it, you’re there to have fun but there’s nothing more important than being safe!

Other Essential Items

  • Torch or headlamp for visiting the toilet in the night
  • Bin bags or plastic bags for dirty clothing
  • Duct tape for fixing any accidental rips on the tent
  • Power bank for your mobile phone, tablet and any other tech you take
  • Towel
  • A camping trolley (this is optional but ideal if you’ve got a bit of a walk from the car to your pitch.)
  • Walkie Talkies

What About Food?

The great thing about festival camping is there really isn’t a dire need to take any food with you at all. These festivals are bursting at the seams with food vans offering everything you could ever want. So, if you want to travel light and not have to worry about cooking, then you can. 

However, there’s no denying that the price of food from festival food vans isn’t cheap. If you’re looking to save a bit of money then the best thing to do is take non-perishable items like tinned foods, dried foods and snacky items.

Regardless of what you decide to do about food, one thing you have to remember is to take plenty of water. Even if it’s just a refillable bottle, you’ll need to stay hydrated as it’ll likely be hot, you’ll be using a lot of energy and the drinks will be flowing. Drinking a lot of alcohol will dehydrate you so sipping water throughout the day will prevent your trip from being ruined by dehydration. 

Helpful Tips When Buying A Tent

Oftentimes, festival goers are not avid campers and so will usually be buying their first tent. There’s no shame in that but if you want to make sure that your stay is as comfortable as possible then there are a few things you’ll want to consider. 

For a few nights at a festival, you aren’t going to want to spend a fortune on a tent but don’t be tempted to go for the cheapest option as you’ll probably end up with something that isn’t going to give you what you need. So consider the following points:

  • HH rating: this is the hydrostatic head rating and it tells you how water resistant the tent is. It is related to the amount of water pressure the tent can take before it’ll start to leak so if the weather is set to be rainy then you’ll need a higher rating. Nobody wants to wake up in the middle of the night to find water dripping onto them and everything else in the tent. 
  • Berth: the berth tells you how many people the tent can comfortably sleep. However, keep in mind that this relates only to the number of people that can fit in the tent side by side and doesn’t take into account their luggage. This means that it’s typically best to size up. For example, if there are three of you, a four man tent is going to be the best option.
Gibraltar Farm claims to be the prettiest campsite on Morecambe Bay

When It’s All Over

Imagine the state of a field after a festival has taken place. The sad truth is that so many people are not mindful of how they leave their pitch when the fun is over. There’s a rule for camping and that is leave no trace

Often these festivals take place on private land and the last thing we want is to leave a mess behind for the owners to clean up. Not to mention the ecological effect all that rubbish causes. 

Would you believe that the aftermath of some festivals involves tents and other camping gear being left behind? Or even shoved in a bush since people go with the notion out of sight, out of mind. But this really isn’t the approach you want to take. Even if your festival trip is the only time you’ll ever use your tent, pack it up and take it home. You can always sell it afterwards.

There may even be a drop off point for unwanted tents so it’s worth speaking to the festival organisers to see if that’s the case. However, most of the time, it is expected that the tent is not damaged and can be reused so, even if the festivities involve a lot of heavy drinking, try to be careful not to accidentally damage your shelter.

A lot of people don’t want the hassle of packing their tents away at the end of a festival which is why so many are left behind. But in reality, the modern camping market is filled with easy to pack tents so you don’t need to be a wilderness expert to do it. 

Tips For Packing For Festival Camping

We know you’re probably super excited to get packed, get on the road and enjoy the festival. But before you throw yourself into the fun, take a few moments to put on your responsible head and consider the following points. You will thank yourself!

  • It is highly recommended that you label all of your items and include your phone number so that that can be returned to you should you lose them. 
  • There is a good chance that you will have your bag searched before you’re allowed into the festival. A bag rammed with random items is a lot more time consuming to search so it may be worth separating things to smaller sections by using clear bags and packing cubes. 
  • The UK weather is incredibly unpredictable so it’s worth packing for every eventuality. Even in summer, the temperature can drop significantly in the evening and there’s always a chance of rain. 
  • Don’t go over the top with packing. You should only pack what you can carry in your rucksack. Of course, don’t cull it down so much that you won’t have everything you need.


Going to a festival is like a rite of passage and one of the best parts of it is camping. For many younger people, this will be one of the first experiences of camping so it pays to get it right otherwise you might be put off for life!

One of the best ways to make a camping trip enjoyable is to make sure you pack everything you need. At a festival, you’re going to need to pack light but include all your essentials. This checklist covers everything you’ll need so you don’t have to sit racking your brains.