Basic kit list

The other festival survival guides tell you to take everything you’re likely to need to save money while you’re there.

This is great advice for the cash-strapped, but don’t forget that pretty much everything you could need will be available at the festival once you get there.

It is perfectly possible (believe me) to take absolutely nothing except the clothes you’re wearing and some cash and have the best time ever.

Or, if you’re being careful with your money and you like that boy-scout feeling of being prepared, here’s what to take:

  • Tent including all accessories. Poles, pegs, rubber mallet, inner and outer layers and guy ropes.
  • Sleeping bag and roll mat or airbed. Remember though that airbeds do burst. The law of Sod tells you that yours will burst on day one so have a backup plan.
  • Extra blankets if you feel the cold.
  • Small piece of tarp or other waterproof sheet for your doorway so you don’t step out into a quagmire each morning.
  • Foil blankets to drape over the tent to keep the heat out in the day and keep it in overnight. Though beware; they are flammable so keep open flames away.
  • Gaffer tape or Duct tape for repairing things (like the burst airbed), attaching things, mending things or for barter.
  • String. We’re getting a bit boy scout here but this really is useful for replacing laces or guy ropes, attaching things to other things and tying things down in high winds. Take a roll.
  • Black bin bags. These have a multitude of uses such as keeping you or your stuff clean and dry, separating wet dirty clothes from your clean ones, waterproofing your tent, and putting rubbish into. Get good quality bags as the cheap thin ones are useless.
  • Sturdy waterproof bag to put over your wellies at night so they don’t get rained in (or worse) if you can’t bear to have them in your tent.
  • A torch and decent batteries. An LED head torch is bright and easy to use and is less likely to be dropped down the toilet in the small hours.
  • A lighter and cigarette papers. Even if you don’t smoke you will be asked for these at some point and it’s a great way to meet people.
  • Clothes. It will probably be scorching and raining over the weekend so take a variety. One massive jumper will be bulky and heavy to pack and completely rubbish if it gets wet so take thin clothes that are easily carried around and easily dried out if they do get wet. Then you can build layers up if it gets cool or strip them off when the sun comes out.
  • Hat. One that will keep the sun off your head during the day and keep your bonce toasty at night.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Clean socks. Your feet will love you for it.
  • Shoes. Flip flops keep your feet cool but are not designed for lots of walking across uneven ground. Wellies are vital. It will rain, and there will be mud. You don’t want to go home with a foot infection or a serious injury so strike a balance between fashion and function.
  • Waterproofs are an essential. Thin ponchos are useful but not very sturdy-they’ll do for a shower but torrential rain needs something more. Good old black bin bags are very useful for putting under coats or inside boots to keep sogginess at bay. Whatever you take remember that it will live with you in your tent and a dripping woollen duffle coat will make your tent a very unpleasant place to be and it will probably be harbouring new life by the end of the weekend.
  • Fancy dress. Be someone else for a few days, show off, get noticed. Anything goes.
  • Money belt or bum bag. This keeps everything safe and dry and readily accessible. You’re asking to get robbed if you leave money and phones hanging out of your back pocket.
  • Toiletries. Very much a personal thing here. There are a few essentials but the rest is up to you. But remember, you have to carry it all and store it in your tent so don’t go mad.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste. Take two cheap brushes as the law of Sod says you’ll drop yours into a muddy puddle by the toilets on day one.
  • Toilet roll. Take as much as you can. You will use it and any that is spare can be swapped or sold.
  • Soap, wash cloth and towel. Obvious really.
  • Hand sanitising gel. This is brilliant for final hand preparation prior to eating or after going to the loo. They don’t work if your hands are dirty however, so don’t get complacent. Use good old soap and water for cleaning off muck and then a squirt of gel to kill off any remaining nasties.
  • Wet wipes. What did we do before wet wipes? Take plenty for wiping body parts, cleaning faces and hands, shower-substitution and cleaning muck off dirty things. But please remember that these should not end up in any of the toilets. But biodegradable ones if you can.
  • Anti-perspirant or deodorant. Keep your pits fresh and dry and you’ll keep your friends. Nobody wants a whiffy pit thrust into their face while you’re waving your arms to the music on the last day. Similarly, if you’re sharing a tent, your fellow camper will not be chuffed at the funk if you neglect armpit hygiene.
  • Over the counter pain killers such as paracetamol. Not just for hangovers but sprained ankles, aching backs and anything where there’s inflammation.
  • Plasters and antiseptic cream. Small cuts can turn into festering pus-oozing sores if they’re not kept clean.
  • Talc. Use on your feet after washing and drying to prevent trench foot and in your undies to stop sweaty crotch itch and anywhere else that you want to feel fresh and dry.
  • Sanitary protection for women. It may not be that time of the month but take it anyway. You can always help someone if they’re caught out, and small panty liners can help to keep you feeling clean and fresh.
  • Condoms. Y’never know. Don’t forget your regular contraceptives too, but condoms are essential to avoid STIs.
  • The rest. Make-up, false eyelashes, wigs, glitter, body paint, jewellery. This is your chance to reinvent yourself for a while so go mad!
  • Hair brush, bands, clips and any products you absolutely can’t live without. Dry shampoo is a good stand by if you can’t or don’t have a shower.
  • Any other personal requirements such as contact lens equipment, spare glasses, hearing aid batteries, other health aids and any prescription medicines you need.
  • Make sure all medicines have the pharmacy label on in case you get asked any questions.


There are plenty of stalls selling all kinds of wonders and you don’t need to take anything with you if you are feeling flush and can afford upwards of £30 a day for meals and snacks.

However, in the most likely event of being on a budget you should take some supplies of snacks, drinks and easy to prepare tinned or dried meals.

Don’t take anything that needs complicated cooking or that needs to be refrigerated.

Fresh meat will rot in the heat of your tent, fruit and veg will ferment and start oozing stuff all over the place and dairy products will curdle and stink.

Then you’ll end up with food poisoning.

Some useful ideas to get you started are:

  • Baked beans
  • Dried pasta and sauce
  • Pot noodles
  • Packets of flavoured rice
  • Soups
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Sweets, crisps and cereal bars
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Rice pudding
  • Fruit juice or other soft drink
  • You could also visit a camping shop and see what food products they’ve got.
  • Utensils for preparing and eating food
  • Hard plastic cup and plate or shallow bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Tin opener
  • Reusable plastic bottle for carrying water or other drinks around
  • You’ll need something to cook all these delights so pack a camping stove. Check with the festival which types are permitted as there are restrictions and some gas canisters are not allowed. And remember to be safe with open flames and never use stoves or have fires inside your tent. Not only is there a real risk of burning your tent to the ground, but they also give off toxic fumes that could kill you before you’ve had a chance to enjoy yourself.