Festival Camping Checklist

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Camping at a festival in the summertime can be one of the best parts of the whole experience. The music, the atmosphere, hanging out with friends. Great memories to be made! But, if you're not prepared, it can also be a disaster. Who doesn't remember Glastonbury in the rain? Shudder. Well, we can't do much about the weather but we can help you be prepared for all the festival fun. Here is our guide to what festival camping essentials you should be packing this summer.

Festival Camping Checklist

No matter how much you try to pack light, there's always a surprising amount of stuff to take! Some of them might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how often the most obvious things are the ones you don't have. You don't want to be the one who forgets their tent. It's easier done than you'd think. We've come up with a comprehensive list of all your must-haves to save you any embarrassment and last minute panic.

Festival camping essentials

We've done the hard work for you and by our reckoning there are 25 of them! It might seem like a lot but we think these items are pretty essential if you want to have the best festival experience ever. There's the basics of food and shelter and then the camping essentials that will turn your trip from average to epic. If you're going to go, go big! Hang on to your cowboy hats. You're about to get festival ready!

We've also given you a checklist to tick off all of your items so you don't miss anything. So, here we go, your festival journey starts here...

1. A tent

You're definitely going to need one of these! Normally it's best to get something light (so it's easy to carry) and easy to pitch so you can get on with having fun. We have a great range of tents to suit your group size. Use our tent selector to help you choose the perfect tent for you and your mates.

2. Sleeping bag

Sleep might not be high in your agenda but you will still appreciate being warm and dry at the end of an evening rocking out at the main stage. Aim for something simple, comfy, and affordable. You can look at our range online or pop in store and one of our colleagues will be able to advise you.

3. Sleeping mat or airbed

'Luxury!', we hear you cry but a little comfort at night can go a long way. You can make the most of the hours you spend sleeping, and enjoy your weekend without any aches, whilst your mates look on in envy. If you're more of a glamping it kind of a person then an airbed will be a necessity. Just remember that you'll need to pump it up yourself or have access to electricity if you don't want to do the legwork.

4. Coolbag or coolbox

A coolbox can mean a big upgrade in what you're eating (and drinking) over the weekend. You can keep your drinks cold as well as bring some food that wouldn't otherwise survive. It can be really nice to arrive and have food with you to enjoy a lovely first meal together before the real festivities start the next day. Tents up and BBQ on. And, don't forget to pack some fruit or chocolate to keep your energy up and your dancing legs going!

5. Folding chairs or stools

We all know it can get a bit muddy at festivals, and plonking yourself down in a chair at the end of a day (or night) is a wonderful relief! Folding camping furniture is nice and light, so it's not too much of a burden for a bit of luxury. Definitely worth adding to your festival camping essentials list. And if you want to get really comfy, check out our inflatable sofa. Perfect for festival lounging.

6. Gazebo

These are great for creating a communal area if you're heading down as part of a large group. It helps keep all your stuff together and gives you some cover if the weather turns. Always best to be prepared for the UK festival camping experience!

7. A picnic rug or groundsheet

If the ground is a bit muddy or uneven, you'll want to have something you can lie down and relax in the summer sunshine. A must have for your festival checklist especially if you're not taking chairs or stools? Why aren't you taking chairs or stools?!

8. A torch or camping light

There's nothing worse than stumbling around after a big night, not able to find your tent! And you really don't want to be falling in to someone else's by accident. Pack a good torch or camping light to help guide you home. We've got a great selection of head lamps and compact torches. We've also got a collapsible lantern that you can leave at your tent and is handy for space saving when you're camping.

9. Camping stove or something to cook with

Packing a stove will mean you can be super self-sufficient. While everyone is queuing at the food trucks you can be cooking up a storm! We've got a great selection of camping accessories for you to choose from.

10. Camping kettle

There's nothing better than being able to brew up your morning cuppa tent-side. Whether you're a coffee addict or a tea lover, get your day off to a great start and take a kettle with you. Don't forget mugs! And, you can keep milk in your coolbox.

11. Lighter/matches

You'll need something to light your stove with so don't forget these. And of course you'll need a lighter to wave in the air for any anthems and big ballads. Unless you fancy starting a fire the old-school way but we're assuming you've got better things to be doing.

12. Re-usable plates and cutlery

Do your bit for the environment and take some reusable plates and cutlery. You'll be contributing to less litter and you can keep re-using them. And you'll look really posh and like you know what you're doing. Afternoon tea anyone?

13. Cups/ water carrier

Festival work is thirsty work! It's important to keep hydrated particularly if the weather is good. Always carry a water bottle with you so you can fill up at water stations as you make your way around the site. And, you can always take a few cups to enjoy a celebratory glass of fizz on arrival! So fancy.

14. Toilet paper

Anyone who has been to a festival has a toilet horror story. Yikes. Take a stock of toilet paper with you to avoid getting caught out. Less organised friends will be very grateful! And, have you thought about setting up your own private toilet area with our pop up utility tent? VIP or what?!

15. Plastic bags for rubbish

You want to be leaving a festival with no trace so these are a festival camping essential for sure. Take bags with you so you can clear up as you go and leave the campsite as you found it. #Leavenotrace

16. Waterproof jacket or emergency poncho

Glitter, check. Feather boa, check. Poncho, check. Take something to stay dry in case it chucks it down. Remember, you're outside a lot at a festival. You can carry on dancing regardless of the weather and hopefully the face paint doesn't run.

17. Mobile phone and a power bank

Most festivals are pretty big now and with so much going on it's helpful to be able to stay in touch with your group and arrange various rendezvous points. Set your phone to low battery use and bring a power bank so that you have enough charge to last your trip.

18. Sunglasses

Handy when you've partied hard the night before and more importantly, you need to look cool, right? Let's not pretend, that's why you're really wearing them.

19. Wellies

You'll be so grateful for these when you're trekking across the site trying to get from one stage to the next and it's pouring down. Let's hope not but get them packed! Otherwise, you may end up ruining your favourite trainers. Can't have that.

20. Sun cream

That British sunshine can be really misleading! Just because it's not 30 degrees doesn't mean you're not getting burnt. And it's easy to forget when you're having such a good time. Keep a travel size factor 30 on you and avoid a burnt nose the next day.

21. Toiletries

Toothpaste, shower gel, dry shampoo and wet wipes are all festival essentials. Just because you're camping doesn't mean you can't stay fresh!

22. A towel

Toilet paper isn't going to cut it after a quick wash. You could be there a while. Pack a travel towel and you'll enjoy your cold shower much more. And, of course, if it rains, it could be handy. Sorry, it might rain. We'll stop mentioning it.

23. Ear plugs/ An eye mask

Festivals can get pretty rowdy so packing some ear plugs and an eye mask to really block out the outside world will help to make sure you get your beauty sleep. You'll wake up the next day feeling much more refreshed and ready for the jam packed schedule ahead!

24. Money

Make sure you've got your pocket money with you. It's a good idea not to flash it around too much and to also keep it in a couple of different places, a pocket and a bag perhaps. Also, don't leave any valuables in your tent. Best to be a little cautious.

25. Tickets!

Don't forget these for goodness sake! Otherwise you're festival essentials will have to wait another year to be used and that would be a bit of a shame to say the least.

Festival Etiquette

You've got the full list of what to pack for now. You're on your way. But there's one more thing that needs to go on the list and that's your festival attitude. If you go with the right approach and mindset you'll have a better time and so will everyone else around you. After all, going to a festival is a group experience and everyone is contributing to everyone else's experience.


There have been lots of reports in recent years of the amount of rubbish and litter being left after a big event where large numbers of people have gathered. Waste, food, even tents have been discarded and left behind. We all know how the environment suffers as a result of the lack of our care. So, it's really important we all do our bit. Leave your campsite as you found it. Have respect for the space that you've had all that fun in and take responsibility for your rubbish. Take everything away that you brought with you and leave no trace.

Be Respectful

As well as having respect for your environment, respect for others is also important. There's a lot of people gathering in one area at a festival. It can be challenging at times but if we all approach each other with respect it results in a mouth more harmonious experience for everyone. Everyone ultimately wants the same thing and that's to have a good time and enjoy themselves.

Be Safe

Take care of yourself. When you're at a festival, it's easy to feel a little less inhibited than you would normally. It's also easy to be more distracted and not be as aware as you might otherwise be. You're there to enjoy yourself and relax of course but take care of yourself and don't put your self situations where you risk your personal safety.

Be Kind

Look out for each other and be kind. Whether it's giving someone more space near the stage or helping someone when they're not feeling well. A simple act of kindness can go a long way and you'll feel a better human for it!

Your Festival Camping Checklist

Tick off these items as you're packing:

Everything ticked off the list? Then you're all sorted! We hope our festival essential checklist has been helpful and made the planning part of your trip a little easier. You can stock up on everything you need for festival camping right here at Halfords, and collect it in store. So, it's over to you now to have the best summer ever! Enjoy yourself, look after the environment and be safe.