Festival season is here again, and you know what that means – mud, body glitter, great music, great friends and truly shocking porta-potties. But if you think all you need is a tent and some shades, we’re afraid there’s a lot more you need to get prepped for if you’re going to survive this festival season. Even after you manage to nab a ticket, there’s a lot of planning to do before you arrive. That’s why we’ve put together a list of budget-friendly essentials every festival-goer should pack.
It works out far cheaper to buy all these essentials ahead of time than to pick them up when you’re desperate at the festival with a much higher price tag. All of us have tried turning up without proper socks or a waterproof jacket and it never ends well. So if you’re heading to a festival (or three) this summer, make sure you’re fully prepped and ready with our top festival essentials for under a fiver.
Personal hygiene on a budget
You’re going to be living in a tent and dancing in the sun (or rain) for a few days, all with limited access to showers. Let’s be honest, things are going to get ripe, and you’re going to have to get creative when it comes to staying fresh. Pack these cheap essentials and at least attempt to stay on top of your personal hygiene – at least by festival standards.
Every girl’s saviour, dry shampoo has changed really changed the game. Although festivals almost always have showers somewhere, let’s be honest, most of us don’t make it more than once, if at all. Thankfully, dry shampoo can give the illusion that you’re fresh and showered, turning your greasy locks into…less greasy locks – at least for a few days. For just £2.99 from Boots, this isn’t one you want to forget.
Speaking of avoiding the showers and poor personal hygiene, wet wipes and face wipes are an absolute must. Whether you’re taking off the days makeup or having a mini wet wipe wash in your tent, you’ll need plenty to save yourself, and others, from that classic festival pong. Pick up some basics from Boots or similar for just £1.
Deodorant and body spray
While you’re at it, grab some extra deodorant and body spray to maintain the illusion of hygiene. Better to smell strongly of your favourite body spray than of sweat and mud.
Dry wash clothes spray
You may have heard of dry shampoo, but have you heard of dry wash clothes spray? This nifty little number lets you wash your clothes (kind of) without a washing machine in the same way dry shampoo helps you wash your hair minus the shower and shampoo. Rather than desperately spraying your clothes with deodorant, just give them a spray with this Day2 Dry Wash Clothes Spray for £5 from Wilko to leave them feeling and smelling freshly washed. What a life-saver!
Anti-bacterial hand wash
Trust us, you’ll need it. You’re essentially stood in a muddy field with thousands of other equally muddy, unwashed party people – have a blast, but keep your handwash close for whenever you have to take the dreaded trip to the portaloos.
A lot of festivals run out of toilet paper by the end, so by the final day walking into a porta-potty and seeing a roll or even a scrap of toilet paper feels like hitting the jackpot. Bring some of your own with you, just in case.
Get ahead and pick up these essentials now:
Protection against the elements
Festivals aren’t for the weak – they’re a four day whirlwind of fun and excitement, as well as a test of endurance. The combo of camping in a tent with your mates, endless walking and the changeable British weather means you need to be prepared and protected against any eventuality. From extra thick socks to hay fever pills, make sure you’re prepped with these must-have basics:
Let’s face it, this is British summertime. If you manage to get through the whole festival without torrential rain, consider yourself extremely blessed. But even if you’re not hit by the customary downpour, you’ll still be walking over fields along with thousands of other people, so the ground is bound to get churned up. Don’t risk it – bring a pair of wellies and, just as importantly, a few spare pairs of long, reasonably thick socks so that if they get wet, you’ve got plenty of others to change into.
Speaking of feet, make sure you look after them – you’ll need them to survive the weekend. Not only should you bring some reliable, comfy socks and a change of shoes, but it’s also a good idea to bring some blister plasters (or at the very least ordinary plasters) too. We don’t need to tell you how unbearable it is when your shoes rub, leaving your feet feeling sore and painful. Now add four days worth of walking and dancing on top of that and you’ll understand why blister plasters are an absolute essential – unless you want to take your chances of hobbling around trying to catch up with your mates all weekend.
We’re sure it won’t be all rain all weekend, so make sure you pack some decent suncream. We Brits aren’t used to too much sun, so whether you’ve got a fair complexion or want a bit of a tan, pack the factor 50 and a sun hat to give your skin a little break and stay protected. Plus, don’t forget the aftersun so you can soothe your burns if you get caught out rather than spending the next few days in agony.
But even if the weather does promise sunny skies, don’t risk it. Pick up a lightweight, foldaway poncho which you can easily carry around with you for if/when the weather turns, then whip it off when the sun creeps back out. They’re cheap, everyone will be wearing one, plus if you get a see-through one people will still be able to check out your festival style even when you’re all wrapped up.
When in doubt, bring out the duct tape. Think of this as your just-in-case tape, your last resort. We’re thinking holes in your shoes, broken rucksacks or even broken tent poles – if disaster strikes, your duct tape can heal all wounds.
First aid kit
And for the wounds it can’t heal, bring a first aid kit. Pick up a cheap one with all the essentials like plasters, disinfectant, eyewash and more. You can even add a few festival-specific medical essentials such as hay fever relief, ibuprofen and Berocca to help you recover and keep feeling good even after day three.
We’re all adults here, no explanation needed. Be safe, be smart, have fun!
Reusable cup and water bottle
Stay hydrated! you’ll most likely be walking around and dancing your heart out all day in the sun, and then all night too for good measure. Bring a reusable plastic cup or water bottle with you and keep it filled with water at all times. As well as all the other stuff you’ll be drinking, keep taking sips of water and keep it close. You’ll be glad you did when you wake up in the morning dry-mouthed and find you don’t have to venture out of the tent to find some fresh water.
Earplugs and eyemasks
Although you’ll be partying hard, at some point you’re going to need a break. Get your full eight hours sleep by packing earplugs and an eye mask so you can block out the rest of the festivities and catch up on your Zzzs. You won’t survive the whole festival without them.
Along with the earplugs and an eyemask, get comfy in your sleeping bag and lie your tired head down on an inflatable pillow. They’re cheap and far more convenient to pack than your usual pillow. Grab one from Wilko for just £3. Alternatively, bring one of your pillowcases from home and just stuff it with a jumper when it’s time to hit the hay.
Pick up your essentials now:
Think ahead, save money
And finally, for those all-important finishing touches. The things that will not only make you feel prepared, but ahead of the game when everyone else is begging to borrow your portable charger or torch. Add these to your rucksack and you’ll be 100% festival-ready:
These days, we can rely on our phones for just about everything. Camera, torch, maps – they’ve got it all. And this rule works great everywhere except festivals, where suddenly our phone’s battery life is a precious resource.
Although festivals often have free charging spots dotted around the site, make sure you pack a portable charger with you too, and ensure it’s fully charged before you set off to keep your mobile juiced up for as long as possible. Again, nothing fancy needed, just something that will do the job. Why not try Amazon’s Choice for just £7.99? Okay, it’s not under a fiver, but it’s still pretty darn cheap.
Pack a torch for all those late night escapades and trips to the toilet in the dead of night to avoid tripping over every tent you pass. You’ll find plenty of choice for a fiver and under at Wilko.
Bin bags will come in handy in so many ways. Keep your camping site clear of rubbish, use it as a place to sit on wet ground, cover your belongings with it if it rains and use it to make packing up to leave a doddle. If Worst comes to worst, you can even make a rain mack if you forget yours. It may not be classy, but festivals are all about survival.
There are only so many clothes you can pack, and since you’re bound to get hit bit a bit of rain, having a few clothes pegs handy will help you dry out your sodden socks and t-shirts. Use then to pin clothes to the top of your tent or over chairs to help dry them out and re-wear them.
Although trying as much delicious food from the many food trucks is an absolute must, make sure you bring your own supplies to save yourself some money and keep you energised throughout the day.
Lightweight snacks such as cereal bars, jelly, beef jerky, nuts, crisps and gummy sweets are all great choices, and may be just what you need when you get back to the tent at 3am or are starving in the morning and need a little boost. Bring a few tinned foods like beans, ravioli and maybe even a cheeky All Day breakfast in a can with you too – breakfast of champions!
Whether you’re heading to Glastonbury or Reading, have an amazing weekend without breaking the bank by arriving prepared. Which of these essentials would you never go to a festival without? Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments – and enjoy all the festivals you’re heading to this summer!