Thursday, 20 August 2015

Festie Focus - Rucksack Essentials

This year's festival season has so far been a good'un, where Glastonbury saw the return of The Libertines, The Prodigy smashed T in the Park out of the park, and Swify charmed the whole of Hyde Park at British Summertime Festival. But of course, the best of festival season is yet to come, with August Bank Holiday just around the corner, meaning many of you will be fleeing to the likes of Reading and Leeds Festival, Creamfields, and South West Four Festival. Whether you're camping, glamping, or just straight up don't have a clue what you're doing, there is a minimal packing criteria that everyone tends to follow. After all, no one wants to be the nonce that forgets to pack their tent. Believe me, it happens..

Now I may not be a festie-guru, but being a notorious over-packer and having spent multiple weekends in a field surrounded by boozed up teens and sodden camping chairs, I like to think I know a thing or two about what to bring, or not to bring, to a festival. I'm aware that for many of my readers, their first festival will be Reading Festival next week. Ahh, to be young again. The journey that normally proceeds GCSE results, the fear of getting your four cider cans and 250ml bottle of Glenn's that your mate's sister bought for you confiscated at the gate, frantically Googling "what to bring to a festival" just a matter of hours before the journey there.. Well, to that I say, fear no more. My years experience of stuffing rucksacks makes me a bit of a veteran in the field. Well, at least for the purpose of this post, anyway. Here's a list of what to bring, or what NOT to bring, to your chosen festival:


Believe it not, there's always that one friend who forgets their ticket. That one friend happened to be me, actually. Something so small happens to be the most crucial thing to pack- without it, there's no getting in. Be sure to pack your ticket somewhere safe and easily accessible, for example, an inside pocket in your rucksack, or safe inside a smaller bumbag or gym bag.


Again, what may seem fairly obvious, can be easily forgotten. Even a £10 pathetic excuse for a tent from Halfords is better than nothing. I'd also recommend bringing a mat of some sort to sleep on, as often the ground can be uneven and highly uncomfortable. 


Although it's nice to be optimistic about the weather, it is still important to be realistic, especially if you live in and are going to a festival in the UK. Although wellies may not be the most fashionable of boots, they are like a warm, dry hug on your feet and shins when it's raining, and let's face it, it'll probably rain. Even if it doesn't rain, it's better to bring them than to not bring them, as you honestly can't predict what will be chucked at your feet at any given moment at a festival. Let's just hope it won't be piss.


Although this may come across as an obvious one, you definitely want to bring enough socks and underwear. Considering the chance of a shower is highly unlikely, at least treat yourself with a change of pants everyday. Also, following up from No. 2, bring Wellie socks if you have, just to make them that bit more comfortable!


This shouldn't even have to be explained. Just do it.


Trust me, when you're waking up in a foreign tent with a cracking hangover, two hours sleep, and glitter and UV paint all over your face, you'll thank me. Huggies, Johnson's, or even unbranded makeup wipes from Poundland usually do the trick. 


Yeah, for the most part, festival toilets don't have toilet roll. Unless you're prepared to shake n' dry, I would suggest bringing loo roll. And a gas mask for that matter, considering the state of festival toilets by the last day.


Most festivals have an arena where the stages are, meaning that you may be away from your tent for a few hours. Bringing a small bag, like a bumbag or gym bag, ensures that you have everything you will need on you for a few hours, without having to go back to the tent.


Although it's nice to dream of sunny summer days, in England that is near enough impossible, now go pack that anorak. And your wellies.


On the topic of rain, bring some plastic carrier bags to put your wet clothes in just incase it does rain to avoid getting everything else wet. 


A towel will also help to dry anything if it needs drying, or if you wish to shower at your chosen festival, a towel might help. Just maybe. 

12. CASH

Most food stalls, clothes shops, and bars do not accept cards at festivals. So, to avoid the awkward moment where you've already started eating your slice pizza before you've paid, be prepared to get cash out before entering. Although there are cashpoints at most festivals, it's easier and more reliable to already have it on you. For a 4 day festival I'd recommend bringing about £150 if you already have a bit of drink with you.


Okay, well maybe not a full blown first aid kit, but you know what I mean. Plasters, especially blister plasters, are pretty much essential. Pain killer also comes in handy to aid a hangover in the morning. 


There's no harm in re-wearing a pair of shorts or vest top, but it's preferable to have 4 different tops and bottoms for a four day festival, just incase anything gets wet or dirty. Also, prepare to bring clothes for all seasons. You may have a pair of hot pants next to a wooly jumper in your rucksack, but trust me, it's needed. No one likes being too hot or too cold. 


Most festival goers would agree that a phone is pretty much essential for communication with friends. It's not exactly unwise to bring a SmartPhone, however, it's unadvised. If you could dig up your Nokia from 2003, that would probably be ideal, their battery life is something else. But if you, like myself, are lacking a Nokia, there is no harm done in bringing your iPhone as long as you are responsible with it. It's also useful to bring a phone charger with you, as most festivals have phone charging facilities. 


No one likes morning breath. 

Right, that's all I can pretty much think of to label as an essential. But of course, being a chronic over-packer, I always pack more than needed. Here's a list of everything else you may want to bring:

- Hairbrush 
- Dry Shampoo
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Razor 
- Hand Sanitiser 
- Moisturiser 
- Sun Cream
- Flip Flops 
- Hats
- Sunglasses
- Accessories 
- Camera
- Make-up
- More than one lighter 
- Flashlight 
- Berocca 
- Copious amounts of alcohol 
- Speakers 
- Camping Chair 
- Travel Pillow 
- Portable Charger
- Condoms (sorry, but you can't pretend it doesn't happen)
- Hairspray
- Chewing Gum

Some say 'glamping', I say prepared.

As for what not to bring, that's up to you. Of course there's the obvious, narcotics and laughing gas, and the even more obvious, knifes etc., are pretty highly frowned upon.  Electronics are also up to you, some people would say phones are not essential, and if that person is you, then don't bother bringing it. If you feel like you may lose something, don't bring it. Obviously I've just listed everything that others may want to bring, but all of the above list you can pretty much go without. Well, pretty much everything you could go without, as there are always facilities that sells things that you may need there, e.g. a sleeping bag or toothpaste.

Hope this helps, happy festivals!



  1. Wow! Love the list and great items- don't forget your cool leggings for late night dancing!

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