There’s nothing quite like making the trek to a camping festival and creating a community with other humans who were brought together for a shared love of music. Staying on-site for a festival allows you to create a home away from home - but can (and should) take a little conscious planning. It’s always a good idea to make packing lists for trips, but what you should put on your festival packing list depends on several things, especially where you are camping.
Not all festivals are created equal, and if you’re headed to a festival in the mountains, you should make a few extra considerations due to the terrain, altitude, and climate. Take into account where the festival is, what the weather will be and what the campgrounds are like. Depending on what season you’re camping in, you could realistically be up against the snow, sun, hail, and rain all in one day. When it comes to mountain festivals, you want to make sure that you pack the right gear to withstand the elements.
In addition to the right camping gear, you also want to make sure you’re making smart decisions about the food and drinks you plan to bring. Leaving food out and about in the woods is a great way to attract bears, and it’s usually a bummer when one of those crash your party. It’s also important to remember that your body works harder in higher elevations and respirates at a higher rate than at sea level. Make a plan to drink lots of water to help increase your blood oxygen levels. When it comes to mountain festivals, the move is to drink more water and less alcohol.
Check out the Packing Checklist for Mountain Festivals below for a full rundown of recommendations and a few tips to help you make the most of your camping experience.
Tent - Set up your tent before you head to the festival to clean it, test it, and ensure everything is there.
Tent Poles/Rain Fly
Tarps - Don’t put a tarp underneath your tent as it will just collect water underneath you. Instead, lay a tarp down inside of your tent.
Heavy-duty stakes - It gets windy in the mountains, and you want to ensure that your tent and campsite are secured.
Shade (Flags, Tapestries, Tarps)
Air mattress + Pump
Pillow, Blanket, Sheets
Camping Chairs - It’s always good to bring an extra.
Reusable Water Bottle
Wagon - This is a game-changer if you can’t park next to your tent.
Garbage & Recycling Bags
Pool noodles - Use these to support your canopy to help prevent it from caving in under rain.
Boot tray - Keep this inside your tent to protect your shoes from the elements and keep your tent clean.
Sydnee Wilson Photography
TOILETRIES & FIRST AID
Shampoo + Conditioner
Earplugs - These are super important for shows and are also helpful for sleep. Eargasm makes a
for less than $25.
Tootbrush & Toothpaste
Goldbond or Chaffing Creme
OTC medication (Tylenol, Claritin)
Vitamins / Vitamin C
First Aid Kit
APPAREL & ACCESSORIES
Layers (Jacket, Hoodie)
Socks - You won’t regret bringing extras.
Sunglasses - Bringing a backup pair never hurt
FOOD & KITCHEN
Cooler(s) - Bring one for food and one for drinks. If you use one for both, bring something like a grill grate to separate the ice from your food to prevent it from getting soggy.
Camping Stove + Butane
Food Storage Containers/Zip Lock Bags
Plastic Bin for Food
GIZMOS & GADGETS
Hammock - Great for hanging.
Solar charger/Portable Charger - There’s plenty of sunshine at festivals at higher elevations - make use of it!
While it’s always better to be prepared, you also want to be able to carry everything in and out with ease and should avoid overpacking. It’s also wise to check the rules of the festival you’re attending to cross-reference their list of banned items which can usually be found in their FAQ online. Check out the list below for a few recommendations on what not to bring.
LEAVE AT HOME
Glass - Glass is typically banned from most festivals.
Confetti - Unless it’s biodegradable, leave the litter at home.
Glowsticks - These single-use plastics contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans and the environment. Upgrading your glowsticks to LED lights is better for the environment and will last longer.
Fireworks - Fireworks can be dangerous for several reasons, especially at festivals, without the proper safety procedures and precautions.
Fire pit - Most festivals ban open flames for safety purposes.
Power generator – Some festivals ban generators, but a power inverter is a safer and more compact solution if you need power at your campsite.
Sentimental Items/Valuables - It’s never a great idea to bring something that’s irreplaceable.
Your worries - These can probably be put on hold for a weekend.
Camping in the mountains can be an incredibly beautiful experience, and attending a festival with hundreds (or thousands) of friends can be even more special. However, due to the terrain and altitude of most mountain climates, there are just a few extra items you should plan to bring to be as prepared as possible.
Remember that no matter what you pack into your campsite, it’s your responsibility to pack it out too. With all outdoor festivals and events, it makes an incredible impact when attendees make a conscious effort to leave no trace.
Although this list is not comprehensive, it is a great place to start for your next mountain adventure.