What To Pack… And What Not To Pack For A Summer Festival

It’s the summer festival season and if you are lucky enough to be heading off for a hedonistic weekend of music and much more, you might be wondering what you need to pack. This can feel rather overwhelming, particularly if it is your first festival and you are not quite sure what to expect. 

Being well prepared will help you get the most out of your festival experience and keep you from wasting time and money buying expensive gear when you get there, or constantly pestering your mates to borrow items. Here are some essential items to bring… and a few that you should definitely leave at home.

What to bring if you are camping


Bring a sturdy tent (you never know what the weather will be like) and for a decent size if possible so you can store your kit and dress comfortably. Nice-to-haves include blackout lining and a porch area for boots or eating if the weather is wet. Pack a rubber mallet to hammer the tent pegs in firmly.

Sleeping bag & mat

Take a breathable sleeping bag and a ground mat or a lightweight inflatable mattress to provide a comfortable sleeping surface. 


If you don’t want to carry a bulky pillow, just bring a pillowcase and stuff it with clothes. Alternatively, you could bring an inflatable pillow or a small travel pillow. 

Optional camping gear

You may also want to pack camping chairs, a portable stove for boiling water, a mess pot, tea bags, a cool bag, travel mugs or flasks, bin bags, and a picnic rug. 

Reusable water bottle

Managing your hydration levels is really important to ensure you don’t end up spoiling your fun with a horrible headache or a feeling of nausea and dizziness. You will be losing more fluids than usual through being on your feet all day and (hopefully) in the sun, and probably eating more salty food and less fruit and vegetables (not to mention booze consumption…).

This means that you will need to take in more fluids than you normally would. Rather than carry a heavy pack of plastic water bottles, take one reusable bottle and top it up at the refilling points around the festival site. You may want to add an electrolyte tablet to your water to replenish lost vitamins and minerals and keep your energy levels up.


Your hygiene standards will inevitably fall a little over the weekend, but pack basics such as soap, hand sanitisers, toothbrush and toothpaste, toilet roll, deodorant, tissues and medications. A microfibre towel is a useful alternative to a regular towel, because they are thin, lightweight and dry quickly. 

High factor sunscreen, sunglasses and a peaked hat are essential for protecting your skin and avoiding heat stroke. 


Sturdy boots or wellies are a must-have, especially if the weather is wet. Take some decent welly socks to prevent them from rubbing. Sandals or flip flops are essential for hot days to avoid sweaty stinky feet. 

You will obviously also need clean underwear and T shirt or vest tops, shorts, trousers or dresses and skirts, PJs…and a warm jumper and jacket for cool nights. You might also want to take swimwear to shower in, if there is an opportunity to. You will probably need fewer clothes than you think, so if in doubt, leave it out. 

Other essentials

Pack an emergency first aid kit for minor issues such as blisters and insect bites. A torch and spare batteries are useful for finding your tent after dark. Finally, don’t forget your ticket, ID, phone and purse or wallet. Carry them in an easily accessible backpack or bumbag. 

What not to pack

Check up on banned items on the festival website to avoid having any possessions confiscated at the security gate. Larger festivals such as Glastonbury ban disposable vapes, and discourage disposable wipes and excess packaging. They also have a strict no-glass policy. Most also ban animals except guide dogs, so don’t rock up with your pooch in tow. 

Remember that you can probably always buy anything you have forgotten at the festival site, so don’t overpack and burden yourself with unnecessary gear. Above all, stay safe, hydrated, and comfortable, and you will have an unforgettable time.