What to Pack Series: Festival Road Trip

Last updated on February 28th, 2022 at 04:59 pm. Originally published on July 26th, 2021
Music festival

Looking for fun ways to change up the way you camp in your RV? A festival road trip in your trailer or motorhome is the perfect solution. Festivals are tons of fun, and taking a camping festival vacation only adds to that excitement, allowing you to park right in the middle of the celebration and take it all in from morning ’til night. Whether you plan to attend CoachellaBurning Man, Bonnaroo, or another festival entirely, you’re sure to have a blast!

All that said, there are certain considerations that need to be made when preparing for a festival camping trip. This means that no matter how much experience you have with packing an RV, you’re going to have some things to learn when getting everything together for your first festival vacation in your RV.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help! In this article we will discuss the things you need to think about when choosing what to pack for your festival RV getaway, as well as those things you don’t want to forget. 

Things to Consider when Packing for Festival Camping

There are a few things that are super important and should be at the top of your packing list. A place to sleep, for instance, is something you’ll want to consider before ever booking your campsite. Many festival-goers choose to camp in a tent, but if the festival in question allows it, we highly recommend taking an RV. Even if RVs aren’t allowed, you will be able to take a van in many cases.

RVs and campervans provide better shade, protection from the dust that so often fills the air at these events, and in some cases, even limited access to running water and electricity. For this reason, many of the best festival camping setups begin with an RV or van.

First, we’d like to share some tips for packing for festival camping trips. These tips include things you might not even know to keep in mind, so be sure to read through them in order to be fully prepared for your getaway. 

Restrictions and Banned Items

Before you begin packing for your trip, be sure to find a list of prohibited items, as well as restrictions on items that are allowed. Some examples of common restrictions include a ban on generators (or set hours when they can be run), a ban on wood fires (or sometimes all fire pits), and rules about how big chairs can be. 

Knowing these rules and following them as you pack will help avoid disappointment—and possible negative consequences—at the festival itself. 

Power Source

Most festival campgrounds don’t have any sort of hookups. This means you’re responsible for managing your power consumption and finding a source of power if needed. Some people will pack solar chargers, while others go in with solar panel setups on their RVs, and still other campers take in generators to recharge their RV batteries.

Whatever you choose, make sure it is allowed and will be enough to get you through the event. 

Water Source

In addition to being void of electric hookups, most festival campsites also do not come equipped with a water spigot. While many of these places do have water onsite somewhere, filling your tanks can be an annoying process that means moving your RV near the spigot or carrying jugs back and forth until the tank is full. 

For this reason, and because you never know what the water at a festival might be like, it’s a good idea to fill your freshwater tank and bring in plenty of jugs of water for drinking. A good rule of thumb is to bring in one gallon of drinking water per person per day. 

Dumping Tanks

All of the water you use in your RV while camping goes into holding tanks. It’s up to you to ensure you don’t overfill your tanks. While most people can get through a festival without filling their tanks—meaning they can dump at a dump station after the festival ends—those who choose to shower daily inside their RV likely won’t make it that long. In this case, a “blue boy” portable dump tank is a must-have. 

Keeping Clean

Because conserving water and waste tank space is so important, many choose not to shower in their rigs when dry camping at a festival. Instead, they will invest in a solar shower or use something like Venture Wipes to clean up for the few days of the event.

Obviously, you don’t have to go this route, but you might find that it makes more sense for you. 

Keeping Comfortable

Temperatures at festivals can get really, really hot. Since you’ll be outside all day during the event, it’s important that you find ways to keep cool and comfortable.

When choosing which clothes to pack, make sure to grab breathable, moisture-wicking items that are light in color. Plenty of water, cooling towels, personal fans, a hat for shade, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes are also must-haves. 

While daytime temperatures can soar, you might also see some chilly nights. Be sure to pack long pants, jackets and sweatshirts, and some kind of shoes besides sandals so you can keep warm when the sun goes down. 

Easy Foods

Finally, we should discuss food. Yes, most festivals have food stalls. However, most of this food is overpriced, the lines for these stands can get incredibly long, and the vast majority of what’s sold at festivals is junk food. 

Sure, you can treat yourself to a few festival snacks, but you’ll also want to pack plenty of quick and easy healthy snacks and meals that you can pull out whenever you start feeling hungry. This will save you time and money and help you feel better throughout the event so you can have as much fun as possible. 

Dancing and festival camping

Festival Packing List

Looking for a detailed list of exactly what you should pack in your RV in order to ensure your trip to a music festival is as awesome as it can be? The music festival checklist below is for you.

This festival camping checklist includes every single one of the festival camping essentials we could think of. Pack them all and you’re sure to be well prepared!

Check out our one-week road trip packing list for more.

RV

  • Fully charged battery
  • Generator and fuel
  • Jack pads
  • Jack tool
  • Level
  • Full freshwater tank
  • Sewer hose
  • Tank chemicals

Sleeping

  • Sleeping bags or extra blankets
  • Pillows
  • Sheets

Clothing

  • Shorts
  • Pants 
  • Tanks and tees
  • Hoodie or light jacket
  • Dresses or skirts
  • Hats or caps
  • Bandanas and scarves
  • Raincoat or poncho 
  • Rain boots
  • Undergarments
  • Sunglasses 
  • Pajamas
  • Bathing suit
  • Comfortable shoes (bring an extra pair)
  • Socks
  • Accessories, face paint, etc
  • Small bag

Living

  • Pop-up tent 
  • Tarps (to hang for shade)
  • Folding table(s)
  • Tablecloths
  • Chairs
  • Outdoor rug
  • Flashlights, string lights, and lanterns
  • Zip ties 
  • Scissors
  • Cell phone case
  • Portable phone charger 
  • Phone charging cable 
  • Umbrella
  • Bungee cords
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Cleaning spray
  • Paper towels
  • Sponge
  • Trash bags
  • Gallon plastic bags 
  • Laundry bag 
  • Broom

Toiletries

  • Sunscreen
  • Dry shampoo
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Towels
  • Flip-flops
  • Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Medications
  • First-aid kit
  • Hairbrush
  • Chapstick 
  • Hair ties

Food and Drink

  • Cups
  • Water bottle 
  • Jugs of drinking water 
  • Cooler(s)
  • Ice
  • Skillet
  • Saucepan
  • Potholders
  • Spatula
  • Wooden spoon
  • Plates 
  • Utensils
  • Anything you want to eat or drink

Recreation

  • Frisbee
  • Football
  • Hammock
  • Lawn games 
  • Ping-pong balls for beer games
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Inflatable floaty

As you can see, there are a lot of things that need to be packed for a festival vacation in an RV. That said, all of that packing will be totally worth it when you arrive at the event and have the time of your life!

How Do You Survive a Camping Festival?

If you’re a first-time festival attendee, you may be feeling a bit nervous about how you’ll get through it all. After all, music festivals are quite a lot to take in, and they do require a certain amount of stamina. 

Our top tips are as follows:

  • Ask for help. For the most part, festival goers are incredibly kind and helpful. They will almost always be willing to help you set up camp, figure out where you’re going, or help with whatever else you may need.
  • Stay hydrated. It can be tempting to skip the water and fill your days with beer and fun. However, because these festivals tend to be in warm climates, and because you’ll be pushing your body to keep going through the entire event, failing to stay hydrated could mean spending your trip in the hospital rather than hearing some awesome music.
  • Protect yourself. As mentioned above, the weather at these events is almost always hot and sunny. Protect your skin from the sun’s rays by wearing sunscreen and a hat. Going through the festival with a sunburn is not fun at all, so don’t forget this!
  • Pack well. Be sure to carefully follow the festival packing list below. Take all of the music festival essentials mentioned along with you, so you are prepared for any situation that may arise.

The Do’s and Dont’s of Camping Festivals

Surviving the festival is one thing, but you want to make sure you have a great time while doing it. Therefore, we’ve compiled a handy festival camping checklist of dos and don’ts. By keeping these things in mind throughout the event, you’re sure to have an amazing time and go home exhausted, but happy.

Do: Make friends

Making friends will ensure you have a helping hand when you need it. It will also improve the overall experience, making the event a more fun and social one. 

Don’t: Get too comfortable

Making friends is great, but you don’t want to go home with regrets. It’s easy to overstep boundaries, especially when you’ve been drinking, so be sure to think before you act.

Do: Bring food

You will need to eat during the event after all, and getting in and out of the festival may be next to impossible. 

Don’t: Pick out complicated meals

You’re going to be pretty tired during the event. Additionally, you probably aren’t going to have tons of extra time on your hands. Because of this, packing super simple meals is the way to go. 

Do: Show your style

People like to accessorize and strut their stuff during festivals. Join in the fun!

Don’t: Sacrifice comfort

You will want to look good, of course, but make sure you’re comfortable as well. Clothing that can breathe is best, and comfortable shoes are a must.

Do: Take advantage of daytime events

Most festivals will offer events such as art classes, yoga sessions, and more during the day. Be sure to participate in some of these!

Don’t: Wear yourself out

That said, you won’t want to wear yourself out at these daytime events. Make sure you have the energy for the music performances as well.

Do: Clean up after yourself

Pick up all of your trash and make sure bottles and cans make it into the recycle bin. Clean up the area around your site as well. 

Don’t: Trash the place

Not only is leaving your trash laying around bad for the environment, it also makes it hard on the event staff.

Do: Pack well

Make sure to pack anything and everything you might need. You probably won’t want to leave once things get started.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind, this festival camping checklist assumes you’ll be in an RV. If you’ll be in a tent or a van with fewer amenities, make sure to add items such as an air mattress, a solar shower, and a propane stove to your festival list.

Of course, in order to go on a festival RV camping trip, you’ll need to have an RV. Don’t have one of your own? Browse our thousands of rental RVs to find the perfect options for your festival road trip. 

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