After my disastrous attempts at packing for a festival last month I thought I’d help out other festival and camping novices like myself and prepare a Glastonbury Packing List for festival first-timers. This list is written with Glastonbury in mind as this is one of the longer festivals but can be adapted to any other festival, too. This is basically a list for girls but guys can just exchange the dresses for a pair of jeans.
The most important thing (which I ignored) is to pack light! I repeat: pack light! You should aim to fit everything into one big backpack and try to avoid having to carry any extra heavy bags or drag a whole trolley full of “essentials” with you like I did. Despite almost breaking my back dragging that trolley across Worthy Farm I was still lucky as it wasn’t muddy. If it had rained on the day it would’ve been impossible for me to navigate the trolley through the mud. So again: do not take a trolley! And don’t strap your fairy wings to said trolley, they will get crushed!
So lets start with the essentials, you will definitely need:
- Your festival ticket: obvious but important none the less.
- A good quality tent. Definitely get one that has two layers as otherwise you will get wet from condensation and/or rain. And make sure that your tent is big enough to accommodate you and all your belongings, so if it’s only you then get a two man tent, or a three man tent for two people etc.
- A good backpack to carry everything in, I used my 45L Vaude and would have fit everything if I hadn’t gone totally crazy and overpacked everything.
- A warm sleeping bag is essential as it gets really cold at night! I also brought my silk sleeping bag liner to add an extra layer which kept me warmer than my friends with just the sleeping bag.
- A roll mat to sleep on. I borrowed a self-inflating one from a friend which was great but many people just use the foam version which is much lighter to carry.
- A camping chair is nice to have especially if it’s muddy as you will get tired standing all day. But bring one of those really small tripod ones as they are much lighter and easier to pack
- Wet wipes will be your best friend! Pack lots! And then pack some more. You will need them all the time, for a quick “festival shower” in the morning, to wipe excess mud off your wellies, to clean your hands after using those unspeakable long drop toilets…
The trickiest part of packing for a festival is clothing as it can be lovely and sunny during the day but it gets bitterly cold as soon as the sun goes down. So it’s best to pack for all eventualities and use layers!
- Underwear for every day plus one or two extra as you might get wet and have to change
- Same for socks! Plus pack a pair or two of fleece wellie socks, they are awesome for keeping your feet warm
- 2 pairs of shorts. I wore shorts all the time and wish I had brought a third pair but two will do.
- One or two dresses. Dresses are actually great for festivals as you can easily put on/take off leggings or tights without having to get undressed first and they are a complete outfit so save space in your pack
- A t-shirt or tank for every day. This might seem excessive but you can easily layer them under your dress and under a sweater and they are small.
- Long sleeved (thermal) tops. I brought 3 and wished I had packed more. I wore them every day in the evenings. I had read that it will get really cold but didn’t take it quite serious enough, so bring plenty of these!
- A fleece hoody. This was my life saver, I wore it every evening over my t-shirts, tanks and thermals to keep warm.
- A few woolly jumpers. I didn’t bring any and regretted it. Bring the kitschiest you have or buy one at the many second hand and charity shops for around £10, they have an awesome selection!
- Leggings, bring lots! I brought 3 and wore them every evening when it got cold, sometimes two at a time. Again, pack the funkiest ones you have, it’s Glastonbury after all!
- A rain jacket or poncho. An absolute must have, especially if it’s also a wind breaker as it can get quite windy
- A woolly hat and a scarf
- Wellies, obviously! Even if sunshine is forecast, you don’t want to be without them!
- Sandals or flip flops for hot weather
- Trainers or boots for walking around and seeing bands. You don’t want to be in a crowd of 100.000 people in flip flops. I brought my Doc Martens and they were perfect
Toiletries are another annoying thing to pack as they can get heavy. Pack the bare minimum, especially if you want to use the free (!) Greenpeace showers as they only allow Ecover products which are supplied.
- Baby wipes will be your essential toiletry item, good for cleaning yourself, taking off your make up and freshening up.
- Don’t pack too much make-up but DO PACK GLITTER and FACEPAINT! I think some face powder and mascara will be enough if you also pack glitter pens etc
- Deodorant is essential
- Bring your razor even if you’re not planning on having a shower, you can always just have a quick wash and shave your underarms and even your legs quickly if you like.
- Paint your nails before you go so you won’t need any nail polish
- Dry shampoo is a must! I don’t like the spray on type but use the powder form which I buy from Lush
- Tooth brush and tooth paste are also essential but if you forget them you can buy them on site. It will cost you around £5 as my friend had to find out
- Lip balm with SPF is important too if it’s sunny as there isn’t much shelter and it can get quite dusty and your lips will dry out
Other essentials are:
- Sun screen! If it’s a sunny year you will burn as there is hardly any shelter from the sun, don’t risk it!
- Sun glasses, bring the funkiest you have! But you can also buy them everywhere at the festival
- Camera and a charged battery
- A head torch! So important to find your tent, the stuff in your tent, use the loo in the dark etc. You might look like a tool but you’ll be laughing when all your friends are falling over their tents or have to use a long drop in the middle of the night. Trust me, you want to see what you have to deal with.
- Phone with a long lasting battery. If you have a smart phone it will probably die within a day or two. To save battery switch off location services, wifi and 3G and turn down the screen brightness. You can also get a solar charger to top it up but they take quite long to charge
- Flower headbands and other cool headwear. I wished I had packed more fancy dress as people go all out and wear the craziest outfits. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love some fancy dress? I suggest headbands, flowers, hats, onesies (cozy if it’s a cold year) and animal ears.
- Booze. Unlike other festivals, you can actually bring alcohol with you and even to see the bands. No glass bottles are allowed so refill it into plastic bottles
- A hip flask can be handy so you can carry small amounts of booze with you and will only have to buy a cold mixer, saves money plus they’re badass!
- A refillable water bottle is also great so you don’t have to buy nasty plastic bottles and can stay hydrated for free
- Zip-lock bags are great for keeping everything organised and dry. But don’t overdo it. I packed literally everything into those bags and it was a nightmare going through them to find the right one. At least they’re see through…
- Pain killers for the morning after the big night. Don’t forget them!
- Strepsils in case you lose your voice after a few days singing and partying
- Blister plasters for those nasty wellie blisters
- Hayfever tablets if you are allergic. Remember you are in a field
- Immodium in case you catch a tummy bug, you don’t want to run back and forth to those long drops
Ok, so I think this is it! If you pack according to this list you should be just fine. And remember you can virtually buy anything at the festival, so don’t worry too much, pack light and bring plenty of cash!
Now I want to hear from you! Have you ever been to Glastonbury or another festival? What are your essentials?