woman sits at the entrance to a tent smiling as she cooks bacon on a camping stove, the sun is shining, and there is tea perched on the cool box
Camping at WOMAD festival

How To Pack For a Festival

Collection of blue flags against the bright blue sky
Flags at Womad

There are a gazillion lists out there on the tinterweb telling you what essentials to pack for a weekend at a festival. But when I was frantically packing last week for my trip to Womad Festival 2012, I couldn’t find just one comprehensive list to tell me exactly what to pack.

Yeah, sometimes I like to think for myself. But sometimes you just want someone else to do the hard thinking for you. So this ‘What to pack for a festival’ list is just as much a reference point for me to look back on in future as it might be helpful to you, dear reader.

woman stands in the field next to music tents at festival
At WOMAD festival in 2012

Top Tips for Packing for a Festival

  • Before leaving on camping trip, make sure tent is in good working order
  • Freeze ice packs
  • Wrap glass bottles in tea towels, it prevents clanging and tea towels always useful
  • Roll your clothes
  • Bear in mind that the car park might be long way from the campsite – use easy-to-carry bags etc.
  • Use a granny trolley if you have one
  • If you’re a girl, tights are super useful to throw under skirts, dresses and shorts if it gets cold.
  • Remember that denim doesn’t make friends with water. If you’re wearing jeans and it rains you will be inching around rather than walking. (wet jeans = chaffing)
  • Always make sure your have clean, dry clothes for travelling home in (it could be a long journey)
woman sits at entrance of tent cooking bacon on a camp stove
Cooking and camping at Womad festival

What to Pack for a Festival

  • Tent
  • Mallet (we forgot this an jamming tent pegs into hard ground was … well, hard)
  • Spare ground sheet (for sitting on outside tent – blankets will get soggy on dewy grass)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Blankets, lots of them (good for nighttime warmth and daytime picnics)
  • Proper pillow (I can sleep on the ground if at least I have a good pillow)
  • Sleeping mat or airbed if you have one
  • Pump of airbed (manual or battery powered)
  • Camping folding chair
  • Camping stove (we got a great deal in Blacks including 4 gas canisters)
  • Small pan and Frying pan
  • Spatula / Wooden Spoon / Tongs
  • Plates / Mugs / Cutlery / Utensils (think can opener, bottle opener etc)
  • Lighter / Matches
  • Paper kitchen towels
  • Loo roll (lots of it)
  • Wet wipes (good for cleaning equipment and bodies)
  • Ziploc bags (keep all food wrapped up to avoid ‘visitors’ and handy to keep things separated)
  • Lots of spare plastic bags (ideal for makeshift waste disposal, carrying wet clothes etc)
  • Bin liners for the clear-up
  • Spare empty water bottles (take your own water rather than spend quids on it)
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel (good hygiene is your friend)
  • First aid kit (include plasters, antiseptic cream, Compeed, painkillers, Imodium and anti-histamine – don’t forget your daily medication too)
  • Sunscreen
  • Dry Shampoo (and lots of hairbands and kirby grips)
  • Toiletries (keep it simple and sensible 0 but don’t forget moisturiser your skin is battling elements all day)
  • Torches, with spare batteries (a headtorch is perfect for those night time visits to the portaloos – holding a torch between your teeth is tricky)
  • Washing up bowl, sponge and liquid (we got an Ecover sample which is perfect for keeping chemicals out the ground – biodegradable is rad)
  • Gaffa tape (just in case your tent springs a leak)
  • Coolbox and icepacks (the better packed it is, the longer your food will stay cold)
  • Cash! (although Womad had an ATM, you don’t want to be caught without)
  • Wellies and socks (it’s England, chances are you will be living in these all weekend)
  • Flip flops / Sandals (good for about the tent stuff and the small chance of English sunshine)
  • Clothes (think layers – tops, cardies, plaid shirts, shorts, tights, dresses, jumpers)
  • Waterproof jacket (roll up kagols are perfect handbag fodder)
  • Bikini/Swimsuit (sounds odd, but there was a spa at Womad, and in the olden days at Reading festival I would wear this under my tops, because mosh pits are sweaty)
  • Travel towel (the fast drying is where it’s at)
  • Ear plugs
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sarong (I rarely travel without one, useful for all sorts – blanket, scarf, shawl, modesty cover etc)
  • Pyjamas (again, think layers, it gets darn cold when camping)
  • Clean underwear (festivals are smelly enough as it is!)
  • Jewellery (have something fun, or bling, or cute to get into the festival spirit)
  • Day bag (you’ll need to carry your daily supplies in something)
  • Flag, bunting, colourful string or something to make your tent distinguishable from all the other black, navy, green tents

Food and Drink To Pack For A Festival

  • Bottled water
  • Juice with straw (love my cartons)
  • Booze (optional)
  • Teabags (just take a handful in a ziploc bag)
  • Sugar (again in a ziploc bag or small tupperware box)
  • Bread Rolls
  • Bacon (one of my five day)
  • Ham slices
  • Sausage Rolls (can you see a theme here?)
  • Scotch Eggs
  • Cereal bars
  • Crisps (pretty much my staple for the whole weekend)
  • Apples
  • Biscuits
  • Dried noodles
  • Soup
  • Anything you can cook on a camping stove…
woman holds up a plate of bacon baps to the camera
Cooking and camping at Womad

As you can see, my food packing was a little uninspired. We used the Aldi vouchers I won to buy a stash of food for the trip and ended up just buying a huge bag full of junk food! Oops. I think I need to get some camping food inspiration for the next trip.


woman sits at the entrance to a tent smiling as she cooks bacon on a camping stove, the sun is shining, and there is tea perched on the cool box
Camping at WOMAD festival

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