You’re going to pack water, a sleeping bag, snacks and other ‘basic needs’ items. Hopefully, this list adds insight into goods that will provide comfort, convenience and help prevent getting lost, getting sick or god forbid, your cell phone dying.

Quality Earplugs

After a long weekend of standing forty feet away from deafening speakers, you’ll most likely be left with killer stories to get you through the workweek and a dulled sense of hearing. Compile this over summers of going to festivals, and you’re bound to do permanent damage.

Those orange drug store earplugs offer sound eardrum protection, but if you’re in the festival circuit for the long haul, spend the extra money and buy quality earplugs. They don’t just muffle sound but retain the quality and clarity of the music, just at a lower volume. Depending on the brand, these plugs range from $20.00 – $200.00, so there’s something for every level of commitment. Now you can enjoy the music and hear yourself talk after the show.

ear plugs, concert, music

Image courtesy of The Gadget Flow.

Allergy Medicine

If traveling to a music festival or if attending one in the desert, your body may react differently to a new climate or extremely dry environment. Allergy medicine is great even if you swear you never have allergies. It’s non-drowsy and treats a variety of symptoms that could crop up when running on little sleep and breathing in dust clouds.

Try out a few different brands in the weeks before the fest and make sure they don’t make you tired, then stock up on whichever works best for you. Just one before bed can help with congestion, headaches, itchy eyes and body aches. Side note: Claritin or Benadryl in no way endorses this blurb.

Comfortable Shoes

It seems like a no brainer, but I’ve been with countless fashion-focused men and women at festivals who wore the wrong shoes. Gladiator sandals and converse provide the support of an index card and the breathability of a plastic bag, thus don’t yield to comfortable walking or inclement weather. Though you will definitely look good in Instagram photos, but you already knew that.

To avoid blisters, squashed toes, soggy feet and gangrene, check out some all weather tennis shoes or close-toed, waterproof sandals that provide protection and allow for breathability. They probably won’t be as stylish or even coordinate with your crochet top and bohemian pants, but chances are you’re standing next to a guy wearing a multi-colored Jesus costume, so you’ll be just fine.

Image courtesy of Keen

Image courtesy of Keen

A Bandana

Equivalent to the towel in A Hitchhiker’s Guide, the bandana is an essential item to bettering almost any situation one may find themselves in during a music festival. No matter the climate or weather, a bandana is your back pocket/fanny pack/cross body bag is a must. It can be used to fight dust, clean up spills, dry hands and face, cover up potential sunburned areas, tie hair up and even as emergency toilet paper if you’re really in a bind.

It’s a napkin, fashion accessory, sun shade all in one, pocket-sized cloth. It will become your festival memento, your go-to guy and even a parting gift you can write your number on and give to that attractive silver smith you met while in line for port-o-potty (hopefully at this point you haven’t used it for TP).

Image courtesy of RavesWear

Image courtesy of RavesWear

Solar Charger

Waiting in line at charging stations is for n00bz. Do people still use this word? Do yourself a favor, skip the line, spend a little extra dough and get a solar charger. The nicer, more durable ones can be pricier but are worth it. Most are light weight, carry a pretty lengthy charge and come with warranties so you’re not out $120 if something happens to it.

It’s really the gift that keeps on giving. You can charge up your own devices and also make friends by offering this modern day lifeline. You’ll be the hit of the campsite and never lose your friends. Plus, it’s good for backpacking, camping, hiking and (insert any outdoor endeavor lasting longer than an iPhone battery). A music festival is just a good excuse to get one.

Drug Testing Kit

It’s not a secret that copious drug use happens at music festivals. While we don’t condone illegal drug use, it’s important to be safe rather than getting stretchered off the excision dance floor amongst rolling, rubber-neckers and you’re now very freaked out friends.

Drug testing kits are easily ordered offline and aren’t very expensive for what you’re getting. They are also discreet, packable and include multiple uses. A great dealer will have their own kit but a good one will happily let you test their product. The ‘vendor’ will want positive reviews that attract other potential customers who maybe didn’t bring a drug testing kit. If they do put up any argument it’s bye forever.

 

Canopy

This item is constantly overlooked by first time fest-goers because so many rely on shade from their tents or assume they won’t be sitting around too much, shooting the shit under the blazing desert sun. However, tents get hot, stuffy and are hard to fit multiple people in and getting sunburn on the first day is a terrible alternative.

Canopies provide a shady home base for larger groups. It’s nice to kick back and recharge during the hottest parts of the day. They are cheap if you go in as a group and fold nicely to fit into any vehicle. It’s not life threatening if forgotten, but it will make your festival experience much more comfortable.

Image courtesy of Fvck Real Life

Image courtesy of Fvck Real Life

Eye Mask

While we’d all hope that our nights will be spent partying into the wee hours of the morning after the final band says goodnight, many of us will opt to seek out our inflatable mattresses and bed rolls immediately after the encore in hopes of catching five solid hours before the next round of shows.

An eye mask (and those fancy new earplugs) are great sensory deprivation tools to help you catch some shuteye, even if close-by camps select to pull all-nighters. It’s also essential for daytime naps, catching z’s in transit to and from the fest and if you need a little break from eye popping stimuli – we’re looking at you, laser-glove enthusiast. You may feel like a prima donna as you slip that silken mask over your lids but trust me, one good night’s sleep and you’ll be buying one in every color.

Mini Flashlight

When your phone is on low power mode and you’re digging in your fanny pack for a lighter, you’ll want one of these. It saves you from that annoying, “want to pull my hair out because I literally just saw my I.D. in here” feeling. This powerful, keychain flashlight, is clutch in many situations that don’t have regular lighting. Clip it to your backpack, necklace or belt loop and you’re good to go. It seems like such a dad item to bring but it’s worth it, even if you only use it once but we bet you’ll use it more then once.

They cost about five dollars and save you the hassle of excavating your entire backpack to look for your other sock. They’re also cheap enough you can buy extra to trade or give as gifts. Festival patrons will love you for it.

Flag

It sounds so clichéd but we aren’t talking about the “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” flag you’ve used to mark your rudely acquired front row position, so twenty four of your tardy colleagues can shove past everyone else and join you. Don’t do this. Flags weren’t meant for this purpose. Nor were they meant as clothing.

We’re talking about the ordinary flag with a discreet emblem, mounted on a tall pole, used as it was originally intended – to represent an area and signal to others. Even if you think you know where your camp is, give it twelve hours of dancing, drinking beers under the hot sun and sleep deprivation, and see if you can still Lewis and Clarke your way to it. A flag comes in handy to help spot the location of your group, your provisions and your bed.

Image courtesy of GigWise

Image courtesy of GigWise

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