You scored the tickets. You made the flower crowns. You’ve organized the beer runs. You’ve mapped out your plan for ping ponging between the stages with the precise diligence of a military commander. Yes, festival season is officially upon us…but have you considered where you’re going to sleep?
There’s no better way to get the full festival experience than by camping out under the stars or, better yet, in a tent—which is exactly what we plan on doing with these helpful tips from the founders of the online camping authority: Camp Trend. “Some purists might argue that camping at a music festival isn’t real camping, but we disagree,” say Philly natives Mark and Nives, who are adding a new series of articles to their blog dedicated to festival camping this summer. “If you’re with your friends experiencing and overcoming the challenges of surviving on only what you’ve brought with you, then it doesn’t matter where you camp.” Here, Camp Trend’s best tips for making the most of your festival camping experience:
Get a tent: For a summer festival, you want a tent that will keep you cool and dry, which probably means picking up a three-season tent with mesh windows to let air circulate and a rain fly to keep moisture out. Look for a tent that’s big enough to keep you comfortable for a few days, but that fits snugly into your allotted campsite space—check with your festival’s rules and regulations on how much space you’re allowed with your camping pass. A two-to-four person tent should be perfect if you have a small group.
Scout out a spot: The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of getting prime real estate, and just like in real estate, location is key. If you plan on consuming a lot of beverages, you’ll want to be relatively close to the Porta Potties. “Relatively” being the key word here, if you’re too close then you’re in for some interesting odors and a steady line of people passing by. Another consideration is how close you want to be to the stages. Obviously the closer you are the less walking involved which is good if you plan on going back and forth a lot, but be aware that you’ll be in the loudest camping area, both from the music and from all the foot traffic. Lastly, if you want to be next to all your friends then plan to arrive together as the camping areas fill up quickly, especially for the prime locations. Get Bonnaroo’s camping information at bonnaroo.com (http://www.bonnaroo.com/on-site-accommodations#camping-info)
Stay dry: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, if you have the right gear.” Anyone who’s been to Bonnaroo in the past few years knows all about rain so even if the forecast looks promising, you’re always better off being prepared. At the most basic level, bring an umbrella and rain jacket or poncho. These will keep you mostly dry from the knees up and that’s the most important part. Also, avoid wearing heavy cotton (jeans and hoodies) in the rain since they will get wet very quickly and stay wet for a long time. Same goes for footwear: sneakers will hold onto water for a long time so bring a pair of sandals. If it’s going to be warm, our best advice is to wear a rain jacket with a pair of running shorts and sandals—the Teva Originals the perfect festival option.
Stay fresh: One of the most underrated camp items is a dustpan and broom. Together they will go a long way in keeping your tent as clean as possible since you can sweep up any dirt that’s bound to find it’s way inside. Speaking of which, a small rug or towel outside the entrance of your tent makes for a perfect doormat and can minimize the dirt you track inside.
Stock up: Water is the most important thing to have with you at all times. You’ll be doing a lot of walking in the hot sun and it’s easy to get dangerously dehydrated. Most festivals will have water filling stations so bring water bottles and other containers to keep water on hand as much as possible. Other necessities include sunscreen, bug repellent, and wet-ones to maintain some level hygiene (seriously, three days in a tent pretty much makes this a requirement).
Pack smart: Around camp it’s best to have a set of clothes that are separate from your daily wardrobe, especially for sleeping. The clothes you wear throughout the day will get sweaty and dirty and it’s always great to sleep in some fresh clothes (this also goes a long way in keeping your tent fresh). If you’re looking for the best materials, merino wool not only wicks moisture and dries quickly, it also is extremely odor resistant. Of all the decisions—good or otherwise—you make that weekend your tent mates will be most thankful for that one.
Fuel up: Simple is always better when it comes to camp food. Snacks that don’t require refrigeration such as peanuts, jerky, and granola bars are perfect for quick eating and are easy to bring with you throughout the day. If the festival allows you to bring a stove, canned soups and pasta dishes are easy to cook up since you only need water and a pan. If you are bringing a refrigerator you can make up our favorite camp food: burritos. Prepare all of the ingredients at home (vegetables, grated cheese, meat/fish/tofu, guacamole, sour cream) and then place your prepared burrito on a flat griddle, heat it up, and prepare to fight off hungry campers.
Hit the hay: Sleep starts with where your pitch your tent, so choose an area that is as flat as possible. If you sleep on a slope, even if it’s not steep, you’ll end up sliding in your tent and waking up at some point. An air mattress, blankets, or even a yoga mat will give you some nice cushion from the ground and provide insulation and don’t forget to bring a pillow with you. Earplugs are another good item to bring as they’ll block out noise and will add a few hours of zzz’s to your morning.
Don’t be “that” guy: This is quite simple really—be a good neighbor. Treat your fellow campers as you would any other people living in close proximity of others. Start off by saying “hi”; this simple gesture goes a long way for the whole weekend and you’ll probably make some new friends. Even better, bring some extra snacks and brews to share with those people you like. Music will be coming at you from every angle so your camp spot isn’t the best place to blast your tunes; make it a chill spot where people can converse and relax all at the same time. Garbage sucks, so make it a point to keep your trash in a place where it won’t spread all over the place. Finally, don’t be one of the thousands of festival-goers that leave their tents behind for the convenience of packing up. You may not want/need that tent after it’s over, but all of those discarded tents create tons of trash. Instead, bring it home and donate it to the boy/girl scouts or even to your local charity donation center. Reduce, reuse, recycle, relax—you made it out of the festival alive…and some pretty sweet memories.
Teva is the only sandal for the summer music festivals—that’s why we’re the official partner of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival in Manchester, TN. Show us how you’re prepping for the party by tagging your pre-festival pictures with #ready2roo. You could be featured on our blog and win some free swag.