The Ultimate Girls’ Guide to Festival Essentials

The Ultimate Girls’ Guide to Festival Essentials

With the summer festival season hotting up and T in the Park this coming weekend, I thought i’d share some festival essentials with you.

I’m definitely a glamping or day ticket kinda gal myself but I’m not adverse to a few days camping to reconvene with nature! I’m always the mother hen of the group and I pack for all eventualities and all emergencies. No wonder my bags are always the heaviest!

Whether you’re lucky enough to have a ticket for one of bigger festivals across the UK this Summer, or one of a handful going a more intimate gig, getting the full-on, magical festival experience is only possible if you have the right festival essentials kit to survive it.

Here’s the lowdown on the 9 festival essentials for to make your festival experience :

Camping Gear

Seems obvious but every year festival-goers arrive onsite to discover that something vital is missing. Practice putting your tent up at home and make sure the following is included:

  • Tent
  • Ground Sheet
  • Mallet
  • Tent Pegs
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Roll mat or self-inflating bed
  • Pillow
  • A flag or some other marker that distinguishes your tent from everyone else’s
  • Lantern and Pocket Torch

Tip: Get a tent at least one berth bigger than you need so you’ve got some space to store all your stuff in.


You’ll need a minimum of two bags, the first is a quality back-pack that can fit all your clothes, toiletries and accessories in and the second is a satchel or slouchy shoulder-bag for long days at the festival itself.

Tip: Look for bags with plenty of zip-up pockets and compartments so you can keep everything, especially your money, ID, ticket and keys, safe and organised.

Festival Essentials

Camping Trolley

Your luggage will help you to carry your clobber, but dealing with that stuff and all your camping gear on the long walk from the bus station or car park to the campsite can be really hard work. Make life easy and get a fold-up camping trolley.

Tip: When you’ve made that journey, you’ll want a little sit down before you start putting the tent up so pack a collapsible camping chair and strap it to your trolley with a bungee cord.


Cash machines are available at most festivals but it’s too easy to miss your favourite bands, develop sunstroke or lose all your mates in the mile-long queues to reach them. Take plenty of cash, one debit card for emergencies and keep both on you at all times.

Tip: If you really do have to use a cash machine, go late at night or early in the morning when everyone else is occupied.


Snacks and Drinks

Almost every kind of food you can imagine is on offer at a festival, but when you’re back at camp, you’ll need some snacks and drinks to keep you going. Chocolate melts, so pack crisps, cereal bars, crackers and a few token pieces of fruit.

Tip: To avoid dehydration (and hangovers!), take a refillable drinks bottle and some sachets of rehydrating salts like Dioralyte.

Festival Essentials


Toiletries can really add bulk to your bags but you can reduce this by being clever with your packing. Firstly, empty everything out of your cosmetics case and select just the items and brushes that you really need. Leave everything else at home.

Then, share everything else like deodorant, dry shampoo, toothpaste, make-up remover, hand sanitiser and, in case of tummy trouble, a box of Immodium, with your friends.

Vitally, do NOT forget toilet roll and baby wipes.

Tip: Getting dirty is almost mandatory at a festival but if you paint your nails a dark colour, no one will see the grit that gets under them.


Sun Protection

Nothing will ruin your festival experience (and all the photos of it) quicker than sunburn, which will make you look like a party lobster, or heatstroke, which will make a night in your tent feel like you’ve slept in an oven.

Make sure you apply factor 50+ sunscreen regularly and wear a hat with a brim. Buy one there, they make brilliant festival souvenirs.

Tip: Carefully drape any towels or blankets you have over your tent at night, they’ll help to block some of the light and heat out in the morning.

Festival Footwear

Second to sunburn in the, ‘How to Ruin a Festival’ stakes, come blisters. You will spend the vast majority of your time on your feet, on uneven ground, in unpredictable weather so forget any sort of heel, it’s all about comfortable wellies, pumps and flip-flops.

Tip: If you plan on wearing hunter wellies with shorts or a skirt, pack some long socks to stop the boots rubbing your shins or calves.


Festival Clothing

Choosing what to wear to a festival is all about striking the balance between looking cool and feeling comfortable, but with limited bag space, what do you pack? These are the essentials:

  • Underwear (obviously!): Take a few extra pairs of socks so you can replace any that get wet or double them up if the temperature drops. 
  • T-shirts: Pack at least one long-sleeved, short-sleeved and vest-top t-shirt so you can layer them up or down according to the weather.
  • Trousers: Pack one pair of denims and one lightweight pair of summer trousers or leggings.
  • Shorts: Every girl needs at least one quality pair and this season’s Ted Baker shorts are cute enough to look cool but practical enough to be comfy. Wear them with colourful tights or go bare-legged when the sun’s out.
  • Hoodie: A cosy jumper will keep you warm but a hoodie will do that and give you something to hide your face under on that early morning dash to the loo.
  • Waterproof Jacket: Ignore the forecasts because no matter what they say, rain is a staple of the British festival season and unless you want to be ‘that girl’ who’s had to fashion a coat out of a bin bag, you’ll need to pack a lightweight waterproof jacket. If you’ve got space left in your bag, chuck in anything else you fancy wearing – at a festival, anything goes!

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  1. 9th July 2016 / 7:42 am

    This brilliant! We’re off to camp Bestival, and while we’re seasoned campers we’ve not pitched up at a festival before. Great tips!!!! Going to paint my nails blue 😀

    • Katie
      11th July 2016 / 6:44 am

      Add in some wiggly lines drawn on your face with an eyeliner and you’ll look like a professional festivaller!

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