My boyfriend and I are no strangers to camping out in the boonies. He likes to go to Yosemite with his backpacker/ climbing friends and I starting camping all around California starting from the age of 11. Previous experience and all the research in the world won't completely prepare you for an event like Lightning In A Bottle or other big music festivals. Here are some of the things we learned (and found super valuable) while we were at Lightning In A Bottle as festival first timers!
So you know you need to have a tent of some sorts, preferably E-Z up for some shade from the hot sun, your cooler for food and of course all your festie goodies. These are the things that we wished we had while we were there! Lightning In A Bottle had some great lists for essentials to bring, but these are the few things we wished we had just to make the week-long camping experience that much more comfortable.
1. Elevated camping also means you get off the ground.
If you are festival first timers, definitely make sure you have a pop-up table and some camp chairs. While it was kind of fun to cook on the ground for the first few days, it definitely made clean up a little less efficient and more cumbersome. If you want to run back to camp to have a bite and then run back to your next show, this definitely makes a difference! (And more comfortable.)
2. Two wash bins for your dish washing!
Our festival had ample free water available, but having to walk back and forth to fill up our water reserves was a bit of a task from our campsite. When washing your dishes, keep one bin full of water that you allow to get sudsy and a bit dirty, and the other bin for clean, rinse off water! Cleaning will be a breeze and you won't have to pour more water out than you have to. The rinse water will be reusable for the better part of the day.
3. An emergency blanket for your tent.
It gets HOT during the festival. My boyfriend and I noticed that some campsites had those blankets over their tents. They are perfect for reflecting the hot rays away from your tent, effectively keeping it cooler during the day for you! This was definitely a festival first timer tip I wish I knew about before I got there!
4. Hang your tapestries around your shade structure with shower curtain rings.
First time around I tried using zip ties and clothes pins to hang up the tapestries, but if a sudden gust of wind came by, the clothes pins would snap right off. I found these shower curtain rings on amazon and I was able to hang up everything out with having to poke holes or worry about them coming undone! Best part, I can keep the hooks on for future use too, or easily take them off if I want to use them for a different project.
5. BRING. EXTRA. BLANKETS.
As hot as it gets during the day, it will be CHILLY at night, especially in the California desert. We had a couple super warm sleeping bags, but if you are with your significant other, it definitely cuddle time is important. Extra duvets and fleece blankets not only made our tent super cozy and cuddly but plenty warm when we finally went to sleep after all our dancing.
6. Cover the ground!
We used kiddie foam mats like these with some Mexican blankets thrown over for color, but something to cover the ground in your main hanging out area will make everything feel so much cleaner and organized! The ground was softer and we weren't as worried about barbs and other stickers from the grass. Extra kudos for you if you manage to find some affordable outdoor rugs to bring with you!
7. Invest in a zip up port-a-potty and WAG BAGS.
Lightning in a Bottle kept those port-a-potties C.L.E.A.N. for all the guests this year, but if you are camping far away from the nearest group of toilets and you are completely surrounded by others tents... You'll wish there was one was a lot closer. Having one a step or two away from your campsite will save you from so much discomfort. Wag Bags basically have highly concentrated kitty litter and some with their own totally sealable bags to dispose of the waste. We threw all of ours into one of our garbage bags for our campsite and took it out to the trash at the end of the week! They are totally biodegradable, and you can't smell a thing. Worth every penny.
8. Bring a Sun Shower!
If you are buying lunch, dinner, and ice every day while at your music festival, prices seem to jump real quick to take a shower if you are lucky enough for your music festival to offer showers. Dry shampoo only goes so far after you've been walking nearly 10 miles a day and dancing all night long. Fill up your shower, hang it from your tent or put it on top of your car if you have a car camping pass, and TADA! Shower time. My boyfriend and I would put the shower on top of the car in the sun first thing when we woke up. By the time we slowly awoke, made breakfast and cleaned up, the shower became warm enough where it didn't feel ice-cold! We used the one pictured above (image takes you to link), but there are plenty of other great options out there too. If you have one of these bad boys you won't be taken for festival first timers. And you'll probably make some new friends.
9. Ladies, bring a hands-free mirror.
Especially if you have a female heavy festie squad, having a larger mirror to get ready in front of makes things a little easier. Trying to balance my large makeup pallet on my lap while trying to swipe on eye liner and adhere gems was a bit difficult. Target and Ikea have tall skinny ones that are light and can slide in the side of your car after you've packed all your gear. It won't take up too much space.
10. Solar Powered lights!
Get twinkle ones for the inside of your campsite or a big lantern in case you mean serious business. My boyfriend and I had a couple of cute battery ones that were white and multi-colored for fun, but the solar-powered path way lights like these ones were awesome! We knew when we reached home in the sea of tents late at night, and when one of us had to use the restroom at night we could instantly see where we needed to go.
11. Hippy's use incense for a reason.
Sage isn't just for cleansing your home and getting rid of bad energy, it's literally gets rid of bugs and pests too. They hate the smell, your campsite smells good and is mostly bug-free (there are some thing you can't entirely avoid while camping) Having some to burn while you are there will make things a lot more comfortable in a few different ways.
If you are on the fence about why you should go to a festival, here are a few snaps of my first experience.
I hope you guys enjoyed my tips for you festival first timers out there! Going to one of these festivals is a serious bucket list item. You have to go at least once. But if you are like me, you'll see why people travel to these events all year-long. The community was amazing. The experiences and the classes were life changing. The music was AWESOME and I'm already counting down the days until I get to go again. If you want to know what other fun things to bring, check out my blog post about Festival Fairy Fashion!