Reepacheep's Ramblings V.10

Blatherings from someone who is not big nor clever

The Ultimate Festival List

Posted by Kim under

The Ultimate Festival List (in my opinion)

My love of live music in the outdoors began in 2001 when I first stepped foot into the Carling Weekend Reading Festival. What started as a annual visit soon snowballed into at least 3 festivals a year, so I believe I have pretty much got my packing list down to a T. Sometimes it does vary from time to time depending on certain obvious factors like which festival I’m going to, or who I’m going with but most of the time, the core list sticks true. Also, being quite the geek, this list has evolved from being on a scrappy bit of notepaper, to an Open Office Calc (read: Excel) spreadsheet that I use time and time again. I have even shared The List with clueless friends and workmates whom are first time festival goers, much to their relief. It’s with such positive feedback I decided I’d put it up here, for reference sake, for anyone who may need first-time suggestions, or equally to help those who may need reminding.

This is not the minimalist approach to festival camping – I do like some comforts when having to brave a field for a weekend as I am really not into the camping aspect if I don’t have to be. However, I am a small girl-like person which means that I can’t carry huge amounts either. Therefore one can vary quantities of certain things depending on desires and upper body strength (i.e. I am not going to be carrying a palette of cider cans anytime soon, much as I’d like to, but you are certainly more than welcome to try!). Also, I am a female, therefore I take female things. Alter accordingly for men.

Okay, here we go. In no particular order (yet):

Sleeping Mat – Be it one of those cheap foam ground mats or a inflatable mattress. Your back will thank you after 3 days of sleeping on a hard ground. It also helps to keep you warm as you’re not directly on the ground. I personally use a self inflating ground mat, made by Therm-a-Rest which is a little more expensive, but has lasted me years so far, and being short has the added advantage I have the smallest size which fits easily into my bag.

Blow up Pillow – Not absolutely necessary – a rolled up bundle of clothes suffices (tip: stuff a hoodie with clothes so that you don’t end up with lines on your face in the morning – but I was given a travel pillow as a birthday present a few years ago, and haven’t looked back since.

Waterproof Coat – ABSOLUTELY essential. Be it a full blown jacket or a plastic raincoat, it doesn’t matter what. Personally I have a mac that folds into it’s own pocket for size sake, but you must take waterproofs. It’s pretty much certain that you’ll get rained on at an English festival, and being soggy for the duration isn’t much fun. Plus it’s an extra warmth layer if you’re desperate.

Shoes – Take a decent pair of shoes you don’t mind getting screwed up. I have a trusty pair of Vans skate shoes that are comfortable enough to walk around in all day, every day for however long it takes. I know a lot of people buy cheap plimsolls in somewhere like Primark so they don’t mind if they get destroyed. Or wear walking/hiking boots (as long as they’re broken in! You don’t want your feet murdered by new shoes!) I’m not a fan of flip flops at these sorts of events either – you’re likely to get your feet trampled in crowds, or it just takes a slither of glass to ruin your whole weekend…

Wellies – These go hand in hand with waterproofs. If you want a comfortable weekend, take these. For the first few years I didn’t really take boots, until one Reading it absolutely pissed it down. All I had were a pair of Converse Hi-Tops which understandably got decimated in the mud within 5 minutes of stepping out my tent. I then had to spend the morning looking around stalls for second-hand wellies which then gave me a rash on my leg, and were promptly chucked away after the weekend. Ew. Ever since, I have never ever forgotten to take a pair of wellies.

Tent – If you’re camping, ESSENTIAL. It will keep you warm and dry at night and give you a place to dump your stuff. At my first year of Reading I didn’t take a tent as I assumed I was sharing with 3 guys. I ended up sleeping in the porch of the tent, which wasn’t a huge amount of fun, and so ever since I have brought my own. DON’T buy a pop up tent – they are a stupid size to carry and aren’t waterproof. Me and a mate found out the hard way :(

Sleeping Bag – Get a decent one that will keep you warm (2 seasons should suffice in UK weather). Nuff said.

Duct tape – Bloody useful. I have used it for a variety of reasons, from patching up my tent when it was hit by a firework, to sticking up flagpoles or tarpaulins to create shade, to waxing a friend’s leg.

Ticket If you don’t take anything else, buy and take this. Don’t be a dick and sneak in through a hole in the fence. I hate people like you.

Big Jumper – No matter how scorchingly hot the daytime was, it will be cold at night. Very cold. Even the drunkest of party-goers get cold. Plus, you’re more likely to sleep if you’re not freezing your butt off.

Trousers – Obvious, unless you plan to go naked. Cargo trousers are handy for the pocket space.

Crop Trousers/Shorts – If you’re lucky, it may get hot. Check on the weather before going to decide if these make it into your bag.

Pants – Take enough to wear over however many days you’re camping, plus one more for any emergencies (I mean if you get totally soaked in the rain – or if you piss yourself, if you’re so inclined). If you can’t shower, the least you can do is wear clean underwear!!

Socks – Much like pants. Clean warm socks is happiness.

T Shirts – Self explanatory.

Shirt – This is personal preference. It’s handy to use as cover on really hot sunny days, or as an extra layer over a t shirt when it gets cold.

Hat – Works as either a sun shield or as rain proofing. Or to cover your hair when you haven’t washed it for 3 days.

Long Sleeve Top – For cold evenings. Wear under t shirts, as another layer for warmth (trust me, it gets cold!!)

Vest Top – See shorts.

Thinner Hoodie – For during the day.

Gloves – Just believe me, it gets cold! I take a pair of fingerless gloves, just in case.

Head Bands – The ones that you only seem to be able to buy at festivals… erm I’ll see if I can find an example (HERE). They are ideal cover for your unwashed hair.

Pyjama bottoms – A comfort thing. It’s nice not having to sleep in your jeans. Plus, you get extra wear out of your daytime clothes!

Belt – Again, personal preference. I can’t wear trousers without a belt, force of habit.

Bra – It holds things in the right place.

Watch – Its good to know what time it is. You wouldn’t know otherwise.

Looroll – If you think there’s going to be paper in the loos, you’re bloody optimistic. Guard with your life.

Rucksack – You need it to carry stuff. Buy one that can accommodate a lot off stuff, BUT you can also manage – I have this 50 litre bag, and probably couldn’t comfortably carry any bigger (but only being 5 foot tall may have something to do with this). Don’t be one of those dicks who tries to use a wheelie suitcase – you’ll look like a twat when it immediately gets stuck in the mud.

Torch/head torch – Very useful late at night when you want to go to the loo, and want to avoid face planting the ground as you’ve tripped over a guy rope. Head torches have the added advantage of making you look silly, and keeping your hands free to untie guy ropes that selfish people have tied between tents because they don’t understand the concept of sharing a field with 1000s of other people.

Neurofen/Paracetamol/Aspirin – Help stave off any unwanted pains to keep partying.

Imodium – You’re not in the most hygienic of conditions, and your stomach may object to the squalor/booze/undercooked burger. You really don’t want to have to sit in a portaloo all day.

Plasters – No one likes bleeding everywhere.

Safety Pins – Another handy thing to have, like duct tape. Fixes stuff.

Febreeze – Helps to get one more wear out of those 3 day old pair of trousers (NOT YOUR PANTS. THAT’S GROSS – take spares. Ew.).

Foods – Another personal preference. You can’t avoid buying food at a festival, but stuff to snack on will help to stop you buying that 3rd £10 burger of the day. You wan to take things that won’t perish as soon as your tent gets warm – so ideally not most meats or anything likely to melt/make you sick. I personally take crisps, chocolate brioche (these are amazing and keep well in a warm tent), a couple of apples (for when I feel like I need something vaguely healthy) and some sort of biscuity things. DO NOT TAKE CEREAL BARS, seriously, everyone makes that mistake at least once. You don’t eat them normally, why would you now? A lot of my friends swear by taking pepperami and bread to make rather vile but “tasty” sandwiches.

Water – I don’t mean a 10 litre drum or anything, but a 1-2 litre bottle of water is handy to have around, if you know the water facilites are bad/overpopulated at a particular festival. Useful to brush teeth/drink. Refill the bottle at the water points during the day when people aren’t queing for hours (either go very early morning – pre 6am, during the early afternoon, or late at night – past 8pm). I tend to take a small number of 500ml bottles which I can stash in my bag, rather than lug a bigger bottle around.

Alcamahol – As much as you’ll want to drink. Most festivals (apart from Glastonbury in my experience) won’t let you take your own drinks into their arena, so you’re only going to need drinks for when you’re in your campsite. A bottle of spirit (Jagermeister) and a few cans/big bottle of cider usually suffices for me, but I’m not a particularly heavy drinker. Note: drinks will get warm in your tent during the day, dso things that hold up well are tastier in the long run – in my opinion, cider tastes better warm then lager, as would red wine over white. Note, most festivals won’t let you take in glass, so decant all booze into plastic bottles. I’ve also known people to take boxes of wine, take out the bags and tie a handle on using string to carry around.

Coke/mixer – If you have spirit, you’ll most likely want mixer. A good sugar boost when you’re not feeling particularly perky. Can also be purchased on site, but beware of festival inflation.

Money – As little or as much as you think you’ll need. I usually take in the region of £150-250 but I know people can take £50 and still enjoy themselves. If you want to not have to worry about what you’re spending on eating, drinking or that stupid hat you’re bound to buy, then take more. But obviously be sensible. Remember you’re a captive audience too, so things cost more. Much more. It’s not unheard of to spend a tenner on a bowl of nachos.

Bin Bags – keep your campsite tidy, use as waterproofing or carry stuff in them. I like to keep a roll to sit on if the weather has been horribly wet. If your tent leaks, use them to put all your stuff in to avoid unwanted wet stuff.

Hairbrush & hair ties – Brush your hair. Tie up your hair. Simple.

Wetwipes/Facewipes – This is your bath. You’ll need them.

Sun Cream – Ever hopeful.

Deodorant – Goes hand in hand with wet wipes. At least keep some personal hygiene going.

Body Spray/perfume – Smell a bit better than shite. Plus covers the small of Febreeze on your clothes.

Chewing Gum – For those times when brushing your teeth seems like too much effort.

Toothbrush/paste/mouthwash – For when you want to make the effort.

Spray shampoo – Dry shampoo for your hair. Use sparingly as its rather talc-like, but makes your hair look less greasy.

Hand Gel – You won’t be able to wash your hands all the time.

Phone & spare battery – If you want some form of contact to the outside world. Or to try and contact all your mates who have disappeared within 30 seconds of entering the crowd.

Oyster Card/travel tickets – You may need this to get home.

Keys – You’ll need these to get into your house.

Book – For when you wake up at the crack of dawn and everyone else around you seems to be asleep (apart from that one dude who took speed in the camp next door who won’t shut the fuck up) and you’re bored and have read the festival programme 3 times over already.

Camera – Ahhh, memories. You may need photo evidence to jog your memory after a particularly heavy one.

Lip balm -Chapped lips are really annoying when you KNOW you don’t have any lip balm.

Sanitary towels/tampons – If you’re unlucky.

Pills/some form of contraception – Be safe, kids.

Phone charger – Smartphones aren’t particularly smart in terms of battery usage these days. The past year I have used this phone charger at festivals and it is worth every penny I spent on it. You just have to make sure that your friends also have available phone battery…

Wallet – Carry moneys. Take out any cars you won’t need. Far too often I’ve overheard people in their tents trying to cancel their credit cards because it’s been lost somwhere onsite.

Waterproof trousers – Like waterproof jackets/wellies. Makes life more comfortable.

Mirror – So not only will you feel like shite, you can see that you also look like shite! Woo!

Razor – Depends on how daring you are in terms of stubbliness.

Ear plugs – Useful for two reasons. Reduces tinnitus during the bands. Also helps you to sleep through a lot better as that guy on speed still hasn’t shut the fuck up. Or that group of people who think it’s funny to sing at 5am.

Moisturiser – Like lip balm.

Towel – If you’re the sort that will queue for hours to use a tap to wash yourself, then you’ll need to dry yourself. I have a tinytiny microfibre towel I take just in case I get soaked in the rain, or the rare occasions at longer festivals I saunter up to a tap and dunk my head underneath.

So, that’s my list. If theres anything you feel needs to be added that I have glaringly forgotten (but I obviously don’t take whatever it is you’re suggesting as it’d be up there!), then feel free to contact me. Comment below.

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