26 June 2015

The Ultimate Guide to Festival Camping

 Lawson Hill Campgrounds, Telluride
This past weekend I attended my first real music festival - i.e., multi-day camping and coin showers. As a festival rookie, I had a difficult time making a packing list. I wanted to make sure I had all the necessities, being careful not to cross the high-maintenance threshold. You see, this was the first trip I had taken with my boyfriend and I didn't want to be, "that girl" - the Cher amongst the hippies -"as if..." I packed my sleeping bag, sunscreen, water and the other basics, making calculated efforts to abbreviate our list.


Once we arrived in Telluride, we hauled our minimal belongings to the camping area and scouted out the perfect spot to set up camp. Having arrived on Thursday, before most other festival goers, we had our choice of prime property plots. Naturally, we decided on a grassy area next door to a cannabis entrepreneur and his wife who happened to have the largest, most defined tent in the camp. I thought of their tent as a landmark, our North Star that would lead us back to our tent at night. Our two-person tent practically set itself up, so with little time and effort our camp was done and dusted.

We headed off to the concert for the rest of the day only to return to a highly urbanized city. Our campground had gone from rural village to sprawling metropolitan in a matter of hours. Five-person tents equip with luxurious foyers had built themselves into one another. Having had a beer or six at the concert, we struggled to find our one bed, one bath studio apartment amidst the high-rises that had popped up all around us.  We stumbled through alleys, tripping over random tent stakes and eventually stumbled upon our very humble abode with the help of our neighbor's flashing lights.

The next morning, we took a stroll around the campground, looking at all the new developments. I quickly learned that festival camping and true mountain camping are two very different things. Mountain camping requires the abbreviated list I had prepared with, while festival camping and glamping are easily synonymous. These festivarians took camping to a whole new level. They brought air mattresses, meal-prep tables, lounge chairs, decorative lights, and most importantly, shade tents.

Needless to say, this trip taught me a lesson or two about the art of packing... and what is a lesson learned if not shared with others? So here is my ultimate guide to festival camping. Enjoy!

Telluride Blue Grass Festival 2015


The Ultimate Festival Camping Packing List:


  • Tent - Preferably one with standing room. No need to so shimmy into fresh undies each morning.
  • Sleeping Bag 
  • Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress - It's not about practicality, its about luxury and comfort.
  • Lantern or Head Lamps - Great for finding your way back home at night.
  • Camp Chairs
  • Sun Tent - Especially important as our campground had not trees, thus no shade. Place over tent or use as a lobby that feeds into your chic camp residence. Perfect for relaxing, cooking and pre-gaming.
  • Cooler - If you are one of the lucky few who are able to spend $300+ on a cooler, invest in a Yeti. We packed our old Colman with ice and ice packs, but it had no chance against our sun tent-less camp and the 90 degree weather. Our food went bad after the first day. You can only imagine how that smelled...
  • Trash Bags
  • Water Bottle 
  • Paper Towels
  • Wet Wipes - We opted against showering in general as I'm a firm believer in the foulness of community showers. Wet wipes come in handy for multiple reasons if your catching my stanky drift...
  • Batteries - Back up for all electronics. Remember festival camping isn't about roughing it. All real-world accessories are welcome.
  • Portable Phone Charger
  • Utensils
  • Pots & Pans
  • First Aid Kit - You never know...
  • Lighter
  • Plates
  • Stove - I'd recommend getting your hands on a Jetboil
  • Music Player
  • Table - Great for food prep; a huge necessity if you choose to get fancier than a bag of Ramen. 
  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Biodegradable Soap
  • Ice - and a lot of it
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bug Spray
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Facial Wipes
  • Chapstick
  • Swim Suite
  • Tickets to the Concert
  • Beer & Liquor
  • Fanny Pack/Bag
  • ID 
  • Cash/Card
  • Blanket - Preferably a Tarpestry
  • Games
  • Hat
Feel free to add to the list in the comments section...

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