What to Pack For a Music Festival: Music Festival Packing List & Essentials

music festival

Written by Stephanie Smith on

My name is Stephanie. I'm a Boise-based journalist, freelance writer, and fitness fanatic. I've written for publications including MensHealth.comMen’s Health magazine, MensFitness.com, and BodyBuilding.com, where I am currently the associate content editor.

music festival

    What To Pack For a Music Festival

    Excited to rock out to your favorite band this summer? Before you get ready for a weekend at Arise, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Burning Man or any other days-long music festival, make sure you’re prepared to endure the crowds, brave endless hours on your feet, and pack the essentials to stay comfortable. After all, you’re there for the tunes and, as long as you go in knowing what to expect, you’re sure to have an awesome time.

    As seasoned music festival-goers, we know that packing well and anticipating the elements—and all of the fun you’ll want to have—makes a big difference in your enjoyment levels. Sure, the music will be great either way, but no one wants to leave with a scorching sunburn, or face the nightmare of dragging their suitcase through muddy fields. In just eight steps, you can determine exactly what you need to bring to make this summer’s music festival adventure one for the books!


    Before heading out to head bang, sway, or groove with the best of them, pack accordingly. Keep your destination in mind when choosing travel bags, and remember that you aren’t headed to a five-star hotel. That means no bellhop to carry your tote, no turndown VIP service, and no safe to store your valuables. Plus, you won't want to lug large, heavy suitcases with wheels around dirt-laden camping grounds (particularly if rain is in the forecast!).

    What to Carry by Day

    Pack everything you need to be comfortable for a day away from your campsite in a daypack—think hat, water bottle, light-weight coverup—and keep smaller items like keys and sunglasses in a Waistpack, Neck Pouch, Packing Sacs and Packing Cubes are a great thing to pack, too! They make smaller items easier to find and an extra small packing cube can help keep everything nice and compact in your festival day bag.

    Best Luggage to Navigate Festival Grounds

    When packing for overnight festivals, you may need more than a day bag—that’s where backpack duffels make the best choice! The Migrate Duffel is our top choice given that its bathtub construction means you can fit a lot while also keeping out dirt and dampness thanks to the water repellent 900D heavy-duty TPU main body material. You want rugged gear on a festival adventure, and things that easily wash up since you’ll likely come back dusty. The backpack straps mean that no matter the weather, you can easily repack and load up when it’s time to leave.


    Long lines and hours spent on your feet are the norm at all music festivals, so be prepared to stand. This means comfortable shoes are essential. When you go to kick them off, throw them in a shoe sac inside your bag whenever you're not wearing them. That way you don't get the rest of your belongings dirty, but can let your feet breath and stretch out those toes!


    With public restrooms being your only option for showering and going to the bathroom—and hundreds of others sharing them—cleansing wipes are a must. Not only will they help you wipe down and wash up in a pinch, but they can also double as an easy way to wipe off used utensils and even shoes.

    For those few times when you’re desperate enough to brave the long line for showers, don’t forget to bring your toiletries with you. Pack your items in a water-repellant hanging toiletry kit like the Pack-It®® Reveal that conveniently has a shatter-proof mirror and can be later washed.


    Rain or shine: Be prepared to brave the elements. Bringing along an umbrella—even when the forecast predicts sunny skies—is smart. Consider easy-to-store, lightweight umbrellas that come with a pouch that make it easy to tuck away in your day pack when skies are sunny.

    If you’re caught in a rainstorm and end up sloshing through muddy campgrounds, or withstanding insane heat as you dance the day away, fear not. Keeping damp or smelly items separate with packs like the Clean/Dirty Cube will not only help prevent the transfer of odors, but also help prevent microbial growth (yay!).


    Temperatures can fluctuate greatly from day to night, and what might be a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) during the day could cool down to a brisk 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celsius) at night. Pair that with sleeping outdoors in a tent, and you’ll likely want to bring along layers to keep you warm. Keep items to a minimum, but have a variety of tanks, long sleeves, and hoodies on hand.


    Bring along an easy-to-strap-on bag that can hold the majority of your daily essentials—including cash. When it comes to festivals, you can’t rely on plastic. Fanny packs work great, but an even better idea is a travel-safe Silk Undercover Bra Stash that tricks even the savviest of pick pocketers.


    Packing fresh food for a three-day festival is impossible, but that doesn’t mean you should leave home without snacks to keep you fueled. Bring along non-perishables like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruits. Also pack a reusable water bottle that you can refill on the festival grounds or at water fountains. You’ll be doing the earth a solid and saving cash at overpriced stands, too.

    8. REST UP!

    While you don’t want to over pack, having a few items on hand for when it comes time to sleep could help you wake up feeling well rested (or at least on the right side of the blow-up air mattress). Soft earplugs can help you get some shut-eye, even when nearby campsite neighbors are blasting their stereos. (They also come in handy during the day if you find yourself too close to the band’s sound system.)

    An eye mask can fool your body into thinking that the tent is totally dark (even if a friend is reading by flashlight), and an easy-to-pack.

    Your Music Festival Packing Checklist

    We’ve mentioned a few things you need, but here’s a quick rundown of what to bring in your bags:

    ● Layers (short-and long-sleeved shirts, lightweight pants to avoid mosquitos in the evening)

    ● Comfortable walking shoes

    ● Money

    ● Cleansing wipes

    ● Phone (with a great camera)

    ● Portable phone charger

    ● Waist pack

    ● Sunscreen

    ● Hat, head scarf/bandana, sunglasses

    ● Trash bags

    ● Rain jacket, windbreaker or umbrella

    ● Travel speakers (for your campsite)

    ● Travel Towel

    ● Toiletries in a hanging toiletry kit

    Travel pillow, eye mask, and ear plugs

    What about you? What else would you bring to a music festival? Let us know on Instagram.