Beginner’s guide to camping at a music festival: Everything you need

Gear

Your first time camping at a music festival can seem daunting, but it should go smoothly if you pack everything that you need.

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What you need for music festival camping

Camping at a music festival is part of the fun of a festival experience, but it can be uncomfortable if you don’t come well-prepared. It might feel like you’re packing everything but the kitchen sink, but it’s important to bring everything you need in order to have a good experience camping at a music festival.

If you’re an old hand at camping but have never camped at a music festival, there may be a few surprises, such as how noisy and densely packed festival campsites are, while anyone with zero camping experience will need to learn from scratch. 

Why camp at a music festival?

Why should you camp at a music festival when you could just head home? Some music festivals span several days, so you’ll need to stay overnight if you want to attend the whole festival. Others offer camping the night before or the night after so people can get to the festival site early and won’t have to drive home late at night. Of course, you could get a hotel or drive home if you happen to live nearby, but camping adds an extra dimension to the festival experience. There’s a great sense of camaraderie at music festival campgrounds, so it’s a great place to meet other music-lovers and extend the festivities into the night. 

What to to be aware of when camping at a music festival

Music festival campgrounds aren’t the quietest of places, so you may want to wear earplugs at night to get better sleep. Some festivals have a quiet campground for people with families or who just want to get more shut-eye. Tents are generally packed closely together, so it’s a good idea to bring a flag or something else to make your tent stand out from the crowd so you don’t forget where it is. Remember that it will get cold at night, no matter how warm it is during the day, so pack layers to keep warm while sitting up chatting with your friends into the early hours.

What you need to camp at a music festival

Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup

Coleman Cabin Tent with Instant Setup

If there’s one thing you don’t want to forget when camping at a music festival, it’s your tent. This one has all its poles already in place and is extremely easy to set up, which is great for inexperienced campers or anyone who simply wants to get their tent up as fast as possible to get to the fun part of the day. For more information, see the guide to instant tents at BestReviews. Sold by Amazon

Intex Dura-Beam Standard Single-High Airbed

Intex Dura-Beam Standard Single-High Airbed

After a long day of mosh pits and screaming along to your favorite songs, you’ll thank yourself for bringing an airbed to sleep on. This one comes without a built-in battery pump, whereas air mattresses with built-in electric pumps need access to a power outlet to inflate them, so they aren’t ideal for camping. Sold by Amazon

Coleman Handheld Pump for Air Mattress

Coleman Handheld Pump for Air Mattress

An air pump is a must-have for inflating your air mattress. While foot pumps are more affordable, it’s worth splashing out on an electric pump, as they let you easily inflate your air mattress in just a minute or two. This one runs off four D batteries, so as long as you remember to pop the batteries in before you go, you’ll have no issues. Sold by Amazon

Wakeman Outdoors XL 3-Season Envelope Style Sleeping Bag

Wakeman Outdoors XL 3-Season Envelope Style Sleeping Bag

A sleeping bag is the last of your core camping kit. While you don’t need a sleeping bag for arctic conditions when camping in the summer months, it should still be warm enough that you don’t wake up cold in the night. Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Harmon Face Values Soft Silicone Ear Plugs

Harmon Face Values Soft Silicone Ear Plugs

Music festival camp grounds can be loud. Understandably, people are having fun and partying into the night, but this can be frustrating if you want to get a solid eight hours of sleep to prepare for the day of music ahead. It’s always a good idea to pack earplugs so you can get some rest when you need it. These earplugs are comfortable to sleep in and do a decent job of blocking out sound. Sold by Bed Bath and Beyond

Gildan Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt

Gildan Fleece Hooded Sweatshirt

Even on a warm day, you’ll start to feel the chill as the sun goes down. Some beginner campers fail to take this into account and end up getting cold as the night wears on. It’s likely that you’ll want to stay up chatting with friends, and this is when you’ll thank yourself for packing a cozy hoodie to help keep you warm. Sold by Amazon

Odoland Compact Camping Stove

Odoland Compact Camping Stove

You’re probably not going to cook yourself elaborate meals at a music festival, but it’s nice to have what you need to boil water for tea or coffee before the food trucks open. This stove is extremely compact and comes with a couple of pots to cook or boil water in. Sold by Amazon

UCO Camping Mess Kit

UCO Camping Mess Kit

If you do want to do some campground cooking — even if it’s as basic as making instant ramen — you’ll need something to eat from and with. This compact mess kit includes a bowl, plate, cup and combination knife, fork and spoon utensil. Sold by Amazon

Dorcy LED Camping Flashlight Lantern

Dorcy LED Camping Flashlight Lantern

You’ll need a reliable light source to take with you on nighttime bathroom excursions and provide illumination when hanging with friends at the campground, whether inside or outside a tent. This one has a hook that you can use to hang it on a tent’s central lantern hook. Sold by Home Depot

Anley Fly Breeze Yellow Smiley Face Flag

Anley Fly Breeze Yellow Smiley Face Flag

Festival campgrounds are crowded, and tents are pitched close together, so it can be challenging to find your tent, especially when it’s late and you’ve partaken in a few beers. With this smiley face flag, you’ll be able to easily spot your tent among the bustle. Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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