Eight Music Festival Must-Haves

Dance through festival season like a pro with these simple essentials—from a lightweight jacket to a no-fail phone charger

My first trip to a music festival began in catastrophe. It was Bonnaroo 2009, and since our group of first-timers couldn’t wait to get there, we left straight from work, arriving after dark and waiting out a thunderstorm before we were able to set up our campsite. I use the word “campsite” loosely—sure, I’d hurriedly packed a few supplies and an ample cooler, but after slipping around in the mud and pitching the tent in total darkness that night, we were in for an uncomfortable three days. Cold, wet, and seriously questioning my judgement, I decided right then that I would never show up to another festival unprepared.

In the almost-decade since that first trip, I’ve learned that a few key items can go a long way in making outdoor concerts more comfortable (even when camping is out of the equation, as it is for newer fests like Shaky Knees and Luck Reunion). As we enter another festival season, pack these eight must-haves to keep the weekend stress-free and your focus on the music.

Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow Jacket

This durable rainwear folds into its own pocket and clips to a bag or belt loops, making it easy to pack and ensuring that even out-of-nowhere downpours don’t dampen the mood. $199;  (Available in men’s and women’s styles.)

Pendleton Roll-Up Blanket

Waterproof, stain-resistant, and stylish, this picnic blanket lets you sprawl out without worrying about damp grass or mustard dripping off that corndog.  $138;

EasyAac Portable Charging Bank

Slightly larger than cheaper counterparts, this on-the-go battery can charge four devices at once, with enough juice to fully charge a dead iPhone up to six times before plugging in again. (Bonus: the built-in flashlight makes this model a great choice for camping fests, too.) $36;

que Collapsible Water Bottle

Spending all day on your feet, in the sun, in a crowd, in the South is a recipe for dehydration—even before you factor in any alcohol. So the most important thing to remember at any music festival is to drink a lot of water. This reusable bottle collapses into a smaller, more compact version of itself, saving valuable space in a travel bag between refills.  $25,

Canvas Somerset Backpack

This simple drawstring bag is large enough for the essentials, but small enough not to get in the way when weaving to the front of the crowd. $78;

Travel Sunscreen

Many festivals have cracked down on what size and type of sunscreen can make it through gate security, so skip the aerosols or oversized bottles and play it safe by pocketing plenty of these tiny doses of SPF. $20 for 24 0.4-oz. packets;


Kinven Mosquito Repellant Bracelet

Don this subtle bracelet to forget about bugs—and itchy bites—for the whole weekend. These wearables maintain their mosquito-repellant scent for up to fifteen days. $9;

EO French Lavender Hand Sanitizer Spray
Hand sanitizer is a non-negotiable for any event with outdoor toilets. The refreshing aroma of this one—made with organic ethanol and lavender essential oils—makes it a must-have well beyond festival season. $24 for six 2-oz spray bottles;

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