Off To A Festival This Weekend We've Got The Foolproof Packing Checklist

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by: Hannah Jones
15 Jun 2017

You’ve forked out on a festival ticket, can’t wait to see your fave artists, but when it comes to the dreaded packing – it’s a total nightmare. Whether you’ve been to a ton of festivals of not, there always seems to be something you forget. So lose that sinking feeling when you think you’ve forgotten something and follow our oh so nifty festival packing checklist. 


Remember that a festival rarely lasts for more than five days, and there won’t be the outfit changes of a summer holiday abroad. So pick your festival fashion carefully and remember you will at some point be lugging everything you’ve packed across a field. Check the weather forecast before you pack, so you can (to some extent) know what to expect. If you are heading off to somewhere like Croatia rather than battling the unpredictable British weather at Reading, you can delete as appropriate and pack a few more sun and swim bits. Wherever you are heading, remember you’ll encounter dirt, so leave the really expensive stuff at home.

  • Dresses – the easiest outfit to throw together for one, so pick one or two floaty pieces. Festivals are all about going bold, so don’t be afraid to pick the most colourful, (or even sparkly) one you have, we love this one from Topshop. Dresses also win the prize for the quickest portaloo stop; you don’t want to be playing with anything fiddly when the smell gets overwhelming.
  • Raincoat – take a pac-a-mac or some kind of lightweight raincoat that you can fold up really small in your bag, and carry round when the clouds look threatening. We would advise making sure you that it truly is waterproof, spending the extra few pennies will be worth it when wearing it regardless leaves you soaked through. See Vetements X Mackintosh cotton oversized hooded raincoat.
  • Jacket – a denim jacket (LINK), or a bomber if perfect just go for your fashion favourite. We are lusting over Zara’s jacket with the feather trim.
  • Jumpers – bring a warm jumper for sure, because unless the gods bless us with a sunshine heat wave, you’ll definitely need it. Even if it is just for the middle of the night, because that cloudless sky brings a cold shock when it turns dark. Packing a lightweight jumper for when it’s just a little cold to be wearing just your tee shirt is a good idea too.
  • Shorts – just one pair because they won’t blow up and they go with everything.
  • Trousers – choose one pair of something loose and baggy, but if jeans are more your thing pick a pair.
  • Tops – think boho, think floaty, and pick out those embroidered numbers we’ve all been lusting over this season. Check out these little beauties from M&S and Olive. Add a couple of plain tees to your bag and you are ready to go.
  • Socks – go extra and pack a couple more pairs than necessary because chances are you are going to need some in bed and some are sure to get ruined. Think about the shoes you are going to bring; wellies demand thick socks.
  • Swimwear – even if you aren’t by the beach, taking a bikini or a swimsuit is still an important festival need. When those shower queues are just unbearable, it’s likely you may have to pull it on and get a friend to pour some bottles of water on your head so you can quickly scrub your body to achieve some sort of freshness. Or more optimistically, you may have the chance to sunbathe (okay, very optimistically).
  • Pyjamas – You may think you can just throw that spare tee on to sleep with, but don’t underestimate the pleasant feeling of clean and warm pyjamas. Top tip- baby wipe the mud off any exposed skin before you slip into these.


In our experience it’s hard to pick just one pair to take, and it always depends on the weather. Again, before packing check the weather and make a judgement on whether the wellies are a necessity, or whether sliders may be a complete waste of time. We recommend taking only two pairs from this list, you probably will end up wearing the same pair the whole festival anyway.

  • Wellies – an absolute MUST if you are expecting atrocious weather, or at least a hell of a lot of mud. Go classic with a pair of Hunter Original Tall Wellington Boots, plus you are spoilt for choice in colour. If rain is looking more like a couple of showers, maybe forget these, as these are heavy to carry. Not to mention sweaty when it’s a nice day and you are dancing to your favourite band in a swaying crowd.
  • Trainers – a good choice for dancing, walking, and slipping on and off. You can take that favourite overworn pair, and give them a real good send off.
  • Boots – a firm favourite for many, get some good quality black ones to last for years, for example these ones from Chloé. Also think about purchasing from Dr Marten, Caterpillar or Timberland – you know you can trust the quality.
  • Sliders – go for some you can wipe clean. Good for the weather, good for showers, good for that morning coffee run when you are still in your pyjamas.


Festivals tend to be a prime opportunity for really accessorizing to the max. Just be aware that you will be in a tent, and you will be in the dark and you will be dancing. Basically just know not to bring anything valuable to you.

  • Sunglasses – don’t take your designer ones and buy a couple of cheaper pairs that you won’t mind losing or crushing. A good UV filter is also a necessary for really looking after your eyes.
  • Jewellery – again make sure you don’t take anything that would upset you if you lost it. If you are determined to wear your grandmothers gold ring, just make sure it properly fits. Shop our festival choices here.
  • Hat – for expected roaring sunshine, a cap is a good idea to make sure your scalp doesn’t burn and you don’t overheat. Don’t take anything too large and floaty, because all you’re going to be doing it holding on to it to make sure it doesn’t come off, and the person behind you is going to be cursing the fact they can’t see the stage past you.


  • Backpack – the bigger the better, so much easier to carry as much as you can on your back. Because suitcases and mud don’t mix, and your fancy holdall will probably unbalance you hugely, expect to be stopping to change shoulders regularly. Pick professional and chose one like this from Mountain Warehouse.
  • Cross-body bag/ Mini backpack– get one with a zip so nothing is going to fall out and you can jump up and down with confidence. This should be your festival bag to keep with you at all times. We are in love with this little one from Zara. (Checklist- money, tissues, phone, camera.) Or better still go for the bum bag- now you can use it beyond the festival what better reason to invest- shop our picks here.
  • Tote – for your jumper and perhaps coat when you know you may have to swiftly protect yourself from the cold and/or wet. Taking a canvas tote bag will mean you can fold it up and put it in your pocket also.

If you are looking for some fashion inspo, check out our festival gallery to put you on the right path for the perfect purchase(s).


  • Sun Cream – because regardless of whether it’s warm and sunny, you are going to be outdoors. And if you are desperate for that tan, think about some good gradual tan so that you aren’t burning in hope of getting brown fast.
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste – in mini size ideally, and if you can get hold of one of those toothbrushes with a cover, it’s definitely worth taking to avoid those stray grass strands.
  • Deodorant
  • Moisturiser – your usual one will be fine.
  • Baby wipes/ Wet wipes – because the chances you will shower everyday tend to be small, and a wet wipe on your face in the morning is the most refreshing wake up routine.
  • Razor
  • Lip Balm with SPF
  • Dry Shampoo – has potential to be the most necessary toiletry for a festival ever. Our Beauty Editor Maddie loves this Quai one. Side note: wigs are the dream- who says that lilac bob isn’t appropriate for a festival?
  • Hairbrush and Hairbands – you are going to want these at some point, whether it be for fancy plaits or shoving your hair up.
  • Small first aid kit – plasters, blister plasters, dioralyte, paracetamol, and ibuprofen. Even if you don’t use these, we guarantee someone will be despairing over the fact that they didn’t bring these.
  • Shampoo/Conditioner/Shower Gel – take the smallest you can, you probably won’t be using them everyday, and carrying full sized bottles if an extra weight you can definitely go without.

Save yourself some stress and work out how you are going to do your hair before you get there. A good hair schedule should include washing and drying your hair last minute before you go, which hairstyles you are going to do once you start feeling dirty, and what glitter you are going to take to cover up greasy roots. So you want inspiration? Look no further than the stars, and see how the celebs do it…


  • Glitter – if this is your festival beauty go to, go crazy with all glitter you can find. Hair, face, body; you’ve got this. And face paint if that is your vibe.
  • Vaseline – so the glitter sticks to you.
  • None of your favourite stuff – the usual make-up bag needs to stay firmly at home. You are going to be in the sunshine anyway. I’ve returned from festivals with brand new make-up palettes mixed up with grass, and believe me, it’s not worth it.
  • Waterproof Mascara – keep you looking wide-awake. Check out what InStyle’s favourites are.
  • Eyebrows – so our suggestion would be to get them done professionally before you go, waxing and tinting is going to ensure the lowest maintenance.
  • Highlighter – enhance that festival glow, use highlighter to show off your tan.
  • Face powder – in case you were regrettably stingy with the sun cream, some kind of anti-redness powder will be a god send. I would personally never look further than the Clinique Redness Solutions Pressed Powder.
  • BB cream with SPF – if you absolutely can’t leave the foundation, forget the heavy coverage and go for BB. Have a look at which ones we recommend in Best BB Creams.

If you find that shopping for all these individual bits is a tad tedious, keep an eye out for festival-ready kits; see the Soap & Glory set that we are definitely going to be getting our hands on. And it you plan on going carnival crazy with your hair and make-up, take a look at our favourite beauty trends.


Portable charger for phone/camera – or alternatively embrace nature and go tech free. Also a disposable film camera will survive the whole festival, and almost certainly be a fantastic flashback when you go and get them developed.


If you forget to pack that one tee shirt, it can be forgiven; but this is a checklist you really can’t afford to be only skimming through once. Converse with your fellow festival friends to make sure that you are all on the same page, and can share where necessary. Only one of you really needs to bring a mallet, and most campers do tend to share a tent with at least one other. Make sure you’ve discussed tent situations so everything is smooth when it comes to set up.

  • Tent
  • Extra tent pegs – year after year we hear people wishing they had more of these, be the genius friend and come with the supplies.
  • Sleeping bag and blanket – to ensure a good nights sleep. I wouldn’t personally bother with a pillow, they are too big to carry and you can always fold up a jumper/blanket/clothes to prop up your head.
  • Sleeping mat – it takes the edge off that little rock sticking into your ribcage.
  • Mallet – again, so easily forgotten, and yet so crucial for keeping your tent securely to the ground.
  • Money – you can judge how much, but cash is vital. Of course there may be cash points, and there may be stalls accepting card, but just save yourself the agg; it’s a sure way to keep to your budget.
  • Torch/lantern – because of the dark, and scrambling about your tent looking for your inhaler (or is that just me?) Aside from that, midnight toilet trips obviously.
  • Nibbles and snacks – let’s not be naïve and pretend that festival food is oh-so-affordable. Because it’s not. We aren’t saying don’t treat yourself to that incredible burger, but we are saying some snacks won’t go a miss, and be better for your budget. Think apples, cereal bars, actual cereal, crisps and maybe a couple of bags of sweets. Think about food that won’t melt, because sweaty melted chocolate is not a thing.
  • Towel – to dry yourself. Or to use just as a pillow- see sleeping bag before.
  • Gum – just a little addition to make your mouth feel a tad fresher.
  • Water bottles – take some even if you are sure there is going to be a drinking water tap- it’s a container and you’ll appreciate the taste more. Hydration is always key to a good time.


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