Ultimate Festival Essentials Checklist: The Fun, The Smart and The Necessary

Ultimate Festival Essentials Checklist: The Fun, The Smart and The Necessary

You'll forget something. You'll get really jealous of something someone else didn't forget. And you'll swear to yourself that you'll come better prepared next time.

Glitter, baby wipes and duct tape don't normally have much in common, but at a music festival they all become your best friends – especially if you're camping.

Here's your ultimate festival essentials checklist, from camping necessities to those extra flourishes that'll make your momma proud.

The Fun


Fancy dress

Solo or in a group, fun levels skyrocket with a full-body costume. Meeting new people has also never been easier.


Shimmer and shine like a true festival spirit. But make sure it's eco-friendly.

Other face/body makeup

Bright colours also rule, as does the ability to cover over each morning's tiredness, if that's your thing.

A water gun

If it's going to be hot.


Make it a light-up one if you'll want to play at night.

Inflatable flamingo / pineapple

Just something filled with air to wave around in the crowd. You might even get noticed by your favourite artist.

The Smart 


Old, light-coloured clothes

If there's going to be a paint party.

Baby wipes

It's a classic. You might not immediately think of them, but any seasoned festival fan will tell you baby wipes are indispensable.

Dry shampoo

No need for a shower, and your hair will look (almost) as good as new.

Duct tape

You really never know what might fall apart at any moment. 

Toilet roll

You'll 100% need it, and the festival toilets will 100% run out way before the festival is over.


A necessary if you're going to a UK festival. Because the rain will always hit.

Guinness, or red wine

Because they're fine (or even at their best) at lukewarm temperatures.


For headaches and more. Or Ibuprofen, which the NHS website informs me you can take alongside beer.

Plastic bags / bin bags

One of those handy things that comes in handy more often than you'd think. And if you forget your poncho or rain coat, a bin bag with holes in it comes a close second.

Clothes pegs

Rain = wet clothes = the ability to hang them up if the sun comes out again = a happy you.

Inflatable pillow

Packs up small, doesn't take much breath to blow up, and will improve your sleep immeasurably. Sure, go for its big brother the Blowup Mattress if you really want, but you'll need a pump for that.

Earplugs + eyemask

Unless you can sleep through any amount of noise and bright sun coming in through your tent walls.

Folding chair

If you're going to a camping festival, you'll end up buying a folding chair anyway. Much cheaper to get beforehand, and it'll last longer before eventually collapsing too.

Torch / headtorch / flashlight / headlamp

It's hard to see in the dark.

Portable phone charger. Fully charged before you leave

Avoid the solar-powered variety, which to be honest will probably let you down.

Blister plasters

Saving your feet is a noble goal. Being on hand to save someone else's feet (and therefore weekend) will make you the best friend ever.


Little fizzy orange doses of magic, bringing more than your daily dose of Vitamin C direct to all of your major organs.


A big hiking bag beats roller suitcase any day. And check if you can take a little one into the arena/venues.

The Necessary


Festival ticket



Don't be a douche. Take it back home with you.

Sleeping bag

Synthetic is lightest, so probably most convenient.

Roll mat / sleeping mat

Hard ground is not fun.


The most powerful of all festival outfit weapons.

Knee socks if you're taking wellies but it might be hot

The ideal companion to the most powerful of all festival outfit weapons.

Sun cream / sunscreen / sun block

Whatever you call it, only a fair-skinned fool thinks they'll survive without it.


Stay safe and respectful at all times, people.

Extra toiletries

Toothbrush, mini toothpaste, deodorant, contact lens + solution (and glasses with case).


Aviators, round or thick-rimmed. Make sure they're real shiny.


Cap or beanie, or both.

Clothing for all weather

Layer up and make sure you're not caught short.

Cash and card

The more caaaaaaash you take, the less queuing you'll eventually do. But take one card too, because you'll almost certainly need it. Leave the rest behind.

Unless the festival you're going to is fully cashless, in which case scratch the above, and just be armed with your wristband and a card to top up with.


A lot of festivals will want this on entry; all of them should want it when you're buying drinks if you don't definitely look over 25.


If there's anything you need to take daily or in particular circumstances, please Lord don't forget it.

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