Music Festival Camping Checklist

Festival crowdThere are different types of camping. Camping in your backyard is different than camping in the Ozarks, which is different from camping at a music festival. There’s definitely some overlap, but the gear the you need and the amount of preparation you need to do is different depending on the nature of your camping trip.

Music festivals have become increasingly popular over the last decade, and there are now multiple festivals that draw tens of thousands of people every single year. For example, the Bonnaroo Music Festival had over 80,000 people in attendance last year. That’s larger thanĀ  the population of Fayetteville, Arkansas!

Camping at a music festival is unlike any other type of camping. Even the most popular campground on the busiest weekend of the year looks deserted when compared to the endless sea of tents at a music festival. So here’s a music festival camping checklist to help you make sure that you don’t forget anything!

Camp set up

  • Lights – headlamp, lantern, camp lights, etc.
  • Something to make your campsite stand out – This can be as simple as a flag on a tent pole so that you can find your way back to your campsite. Reflective paracord can help you find your tent in the dark.
  • Camp furniture such as chairs, tables, etc.
  • Tent, tent foot print, and bring your rain fly just in case.
  • Sleeping pad or air mattress
  • Pillow
  • Some people opt for a warm weather sleeping bag, but since music festival camping typically takes place in the hot summer months, you can get by with blankets.
  • Shade is a must have. Get a shade tent, tarps, tapestries, etc. Make sure you bring cordage or clips so you can attach everything
  • Portable speaker
  • Bring a knife or multitool. Just make sure you leave it at camp as many festivals won’t let you carry these into the stage area
  • Phone chargers
  • Toiletries
  • Designated towels for hygiene
  • Fun stuff – games, cards, discs, balls, etc.

Kitchen set up

  • Camp stove – many music festivals do not allow open flames i.e. campfires, so you must make sure you have a way to cook your food.
  • Utensils
  • Dishes
  • Cookware
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Mugs
  • Cups
  • Food and drinks (meals and snacks)
  • Cooler with plenty of ice
  • Trash bags
  • Designated towels or cloths for cleaning and drying dishes
  • Biodegradable soap

Beyond the camp

  • Day pack
  • Sun protection – hat, sunglasses, sun shirt, sun screen, lip balm, etc.
  • Blanket
  • A swimsuit is often the best choice for clothing since they are lightweight and quick drying.
  • Sandals for around camp and shoes with good support for walking around.
  • If rain is in the forecast, pack rain gear.
  • First aid
  • Bug spray


Water is so important that is deserves its own category. Carry at least one bottle of water and or a CamelBak when exploring the festival, and refill as much as possible. You should also have a water reservoir for your camp.

Water is arguably the most important thing, so bring more than you think you need.

Anything else

You’re car camping, so go for broke and camp in style. Bring whatever you can to increase the comfort of your campsite. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should bring something, just go ahead and bring it if you have space. It’s better to have it and not use it than not pack it and want it.

Stop by and see us for any of your camping needs!

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