To achieve peak festival fun, make sure to pack smart.
“Things like a chair might sound like a good idea, but they’re a hassle to carry around all day,” says Sharif Zawaideh, the operations manager for the Pilgrimage Festival in Nashville, Tennessee. Zawaideh’s packing advice? “Think of it like packing for an airport. Wear comfy clothes and don’t bring a pocket knife."
Beyond that, here are some more gear suggestions gathered from our editors and favorite festival veterans.
Hydrapak Stash Bottle ($20)
There’s nothing worse than lugging an empty water bottle around all day, which is why we like the Hydrapak Stash. It holds 750 milliliters of water but collapses down into itself to save space.
Howler Brothers Horizon Hybrid Shorts ($70)
The Horizon Hybrid look like a pair of casual khakis but have lots of stretch and dry as quickly as swim trunks. That makes them perfect for impromptu water balloon fights or grassy slip n’ slides.
Outdoor Tech Mini Kodiak 2.0 Charger ($25)
There's nothing worse than your phone dying when you're three feet away from Jay-Z. Enter the Mini Kodiak 2.0, a fully waterproof and dustproof 3.2-ounce pocket-sized charger that can repower your lifeline at least a couple different times.
Outdoor Research Helium II Jacket ($160)
The waterproof Helium II weighs a scant 6.4 ounces, stuffs into its own interior pocket, and disappears in your pack until the rain starts falling.
Flare Isolate Pro Mini Ear Plugs ($65)
Regular foam ear plugs block loud noises but distort the music. Not so with the titanium Isolate Pro Mini's, which protect your ears but still allow a crisp, but quieter version of the music to flow through.
Patagonia Travel Mini Hip Pack ($30)
The small size and comfortable waist carry make fanny packs the perfect gear haulers for festivals. Patagonia’s version, which is made from nylon ripstop, is big enough to hold your essentials and stuffs down into its own pocket when you don’t need it.
Matador Pocket Blanket ($30)
At some point you might want to sit down, so bring the five-by-four-foot Matador Pocket blanket that's big enough for two but folds down the size of a cell phone. It’s also water resistant so you don't get wet.