9 Camping Tips for the Festival Newbie

Article by: Andrew Goodwin

Thu April 21, 2016 | 00:00 AM

Let's face it: There's always someone in your friend group at a festival who's never camped before. Don't be ashamed if that fest camping newbie is you! Luckily, all it takes is a bit of practice and some insider knowledge. Below, we bestow upon you some of our very own camping intel for all the newbies out there. Pair our tips with our guide to festival camping landgrabs, and you'll be a camping pro in no time. 

Find a Reliable, Sturdy Tent

Exit Camp

Photo courtesy of Exit Fest

Tent prices are at an all-time low these days – but that doesn't mean cheap tents are the way to go. In fact, cheap tents often increase festival waste; lazy festival-goers leave these low-investment tents behind when they vacate festival grounds and they wind up in the trash. It's a better use of your money to get a sturdy and reliable tent that will last you many summers of festival adventures, and beyond.

Try a Hammock!

The Good Life Electric Forest

Photo courtesy of Electric Forest

Whether you’re camping solo or with a group, hammocks are easy, efficient and super cozy. All you need is a couple of trees and voila! You’re all set up. There really is nothing better than being wrapped up in your own little cocoon and gently swaying back and forth to help put you to sleep. We recommend splurging the few extra dollars to get the mosquito/bug net, which can make a huge difference depending on where you’re camping.

Cook for a King

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Photo by Andrew Jorgensen

Just because you’re camping, doesn’t mean you need to scavenge for food or eat out of cans of corn to survive. Get yourself a compact propane camping stove and few utensils and you can cook yourself a feast whenever you want. It’s best to get foods that don’t perish quickly and can be stored in a cooler easily. Be sure to discard of food properly (and lock it away from inquisitive wildlife).

Bring Plenty of Water!

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Photo by Alexander/Flickr Creative Commons

One rule of thumb: No matter how much water you originally think you need to bring, double it. You can never have enough water, especially while you’re out partying at a festival and walking around in the hot sun all day. You should have at LEAST a gallon per person, per day. Maybe add another gallon to cover your drinking, cooking and cleaning.

Make Yourself a Shady Grove

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Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

Unless you’re camping in a lush jungle with banana trees fanned out over you, come prepared to make your own shade. Many festivals have campsites that are exposed to the sun in brutally hot climates, so bring a pop-up tent or tarp to help create a nice place to cool off and relax back at your site is crucial.

Light It Up

Ef At Night By Adam Zareczny

Photo by Adam Zareczny

It gets dark when you’re out in the middle of nowhere; bring some light. A good flashlight is best, but a lantern or battery-powered headlamps can really brighten up your site, help prevent injury and allow you to actually see what you’re doing.


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Photo by Daniel Zetterstrom

You don’t want to have your set-up so decked out that you forget to go explore the music, but it's always nice to have your campsite nicely decorated to create a relaxing atmosphere for you and your friends. After all, a good environment can make a world of difference in your attitude and overall enjoyment, so whip out those tiki torches, tapestries and LED palm trees to create your own humble abode.

Gear Up for Rain

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Photo by Peter Burgess/Flickr CC

We all have accurate forecasts in the palms of our hands (hello, weather apps), so it’s always a good idea to come prepared. If there's rain on the horizon, a tarp, rain jacket and rain boots are wise investments and will be your favorite purchases if the weather decides to turn on you. Be sure to have additional dry clothing on hand – but you can always dry out your damp clothes by the fire (if fires are allowed!)

Clean Vibes

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Photo by Spanky New/Flickr Creative Commons

We all love being outdoors and camping at festivals in amazing locations, so please clean up your trash! We all want to make our festivals greener and cleaner for everyone involved; that all starts with individuals being conscious of their impact on campsites and making the smallest efforts to recycle, prevent extra waste and respect Mother Earth as much as possible.