Preparing for a Camping Festival? Check out These Tips!
by Katherine Crawford
Friends, if you’re like me and you enjoy heading out of state for camping festivals, here’s a few tips that have made my life a lot easier during these treks:
First of all, if you’re a student like myself, there’s a website you need to check out to help you save on flights. It’s called Student Universe (www.studentuniverse.com), and all you have to do is verify your status as a student (the process is really simple) and they help you save on flights (as well as hotels and tours). They show you the cheapest domestic and international flights, and if you create a free member account you’re almost guaranteed to find a good deal. If you’re not a student, there’s also an app called Hopper, where they search across all airlines to find the cheapest flights, and they let you “watch” a flight to get notifications on price drops or rises. The app is also extremely helpful because they provide an estimator that advises you whether they think you should buy that flight now, or wait for when it is likely to drop in price.
Next, the most dreadful part; packing. In order to bring all my camping gear as my carry on, I always pack a duffel bag, and hang my hammock and sleeping bag off of the side of it to save room for my tent and clothes inside. If you didn’t already know the clothes-rolling trick, roll up all your clothes, because it really does save you tons of room. And girls, for festival trips, I highly recommend skipping any type of jacket and just bringing one pashmina; they’re warmer than you might think. Stick to one color scheme, because if you do, you can mix-and-match less clothing rather than bringing more to accommodate different colors. Now this one might be obvious, but, always wear your heaviest pair of shoes to the airport, and pack your lighter pair in the bag. Always stuff your shoes with items whenever you can in your bag. Swap a flashlight out for those tiny little headlamps you can get for just a couple bucks. As far as sleeping goes, sleeping pads are so underrated. If you’re flying, a cot or an air mattress isn’t practical, but don’t count out a good night’s sleep-bring a sleeping pad! You can get one for twenty bucks, they fold up very compact, and they vastly improve your quality of sleep on a camping trip. To capture memories, bring a disposable camera rather than worrying about your phone.
To leave no trace, I suggest using biodegradable bags and glitter, and to always use a trashbag at the site. Don’t forget to set up your tent before you leave, and to bring earplugs! To save plastic, don’t buy a case of water bottles. Buy a big jug instead, and fill up your reusable one or bring a camelback. In my opinion, at a music festival, it’s best to buy minimal groceries, and spend the money to buy one meal a day. This way, you aren’t throwing away entire bottles of condiments and squashed bread loaves on the last day, and you’ll be satisfied with some good hot food. Plus, the vendors work so hard to make good food for you :) Also, some vendors have no problem throwing you a little free food in exchange for you helping them set up or helping them run any errands they don’t want to do; I’ve had good success with that in the past.
Photo Courtesy of Gem & Jam Festival
For your campsite, some festivals will let you pay to rent out your own porta potty that they will deliver to you. It’s a couple hundred bucks for the weekend, and if you have a big group it might be something to consider, since no one likes getting up in the middle of the night and walking all the way to a really stomped-on porta potty. Also notable, both Bunk Police and Dance Safe set up at most major festivals (typically they’ll put up signs and stickers and set up tents near the vendors), and they’re there to provide test kits to promote health and safety for our community. Last, if you’re really worried about theft, I’ve found that the best place to stow important belongings is all they way at the foot of your sleeping bag. They’re even more secure when you roll up your sleeping bag and stuff it away in its bag during the day, and keep a lock on your tent (although, unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for looters to slash tents).
I hope at least one of these tidbits were helpful in thinking about your next trip. Safe travels!