This is the most obvious item you should take with you, unless you’re going somewhere that provides alternative accommodation. The type of tent you will need will depend on your circumstances, but it’s always good to invest in a quality tent, as these can last for years and years. Tents are listed by the number of people they can supposedly accommodate, but it’s important to note that these numbers are not always compatible with the reality of camping. For example, a supposedly two-man tent may only literally fit two people inside – gear not included! If in doubt, always go at least one size up than the number of people the tent is supposed to be for. This will allow you ample space for both you and your things. If at all possible, choose a tent that has both an inner and an outer layer as this allows for more insulation from the elements. Single-skin tents may appear tempting because they are cheaper, but will consistently fail you when things get too hot or too cold. They are also more likely to leak if it rains. If putting up a tent as soon as you get on site is an activity you’d rather avoid, invest in a pop-up tent. Keep in mind, though, that these usually come in larger packs than normal tents and can be awkward to carry around without a car. Also, unlike their easy pop-up setup, packing them back down takes a bit of getting used to.
Depending on where you are in the world, you may need to invest in a good quality, three-season sleeping bag. In some countries, summer festivals can get very cold at night and you really don’t want to be cold when trying to sleep. Make sure you read up on what temperatures you can expect where you’re going before deciding whether to invest in a warm sleeping bag or settle for a cheap and cheerful one. For added creature comfort, invest in a camping mat or an inflatable mattress. Apart from adding comfort and keeping you away from the hard ground, rocks, plants and other nasty things that can hide under your tent, this will insulate you further and help you keep warm at night. If you can and are so inclined, you may also want to bring pillows, blankets and anything else you can use to make your camping arrangements feel more like home.
Festivals vary in the facilities they provide. While some will offer many options for delicious, locally cooked food, others may offer none at all or basic facilities that are not to your liking. What’s pretty much certain, though, is that any food you buy on site is going to cost more than anything you bring in yourself. The same, of course, goes for drinks, especially alcohol. If you have the space and want to save money, invest in a quality cooler to keep fresh food and drinks cool for as long as possible while at the festival. TentsAndCampGear.com has some good advice on which ones are worth buying. While a cooler won’t keep your food from going off indefinitely, it can certainly give you a few days of uninterrupted fresh food supplies. If you can buy ice at the festival you’re at, it can certainly extend the life of your food even further.
Some people really enjoy cooking at festivals, but even if you’d rather spend your time dancing, having some basic cooking facilities at camp can come in handy. A simple camping stove and a couple of pots and pans will allow you to make hot drinks and heat up dried foods like ride and pasta that you can have with sachets of sauce. These are less likely to go off so are great for eating around camp. If you’re really into your cooking, you can invest in a fancier model or even a portable BBQ.