The Do’s of festival packing

Preparation is key to a good time

Gabrielle Funk

Festivals in Manitoba have the potential to be an absolute nightmare, if you’re not prepared. 

Imagine this: you get dropped off at a five-day festival with a bag full of shorts and T-shirts, food that needs to be cooked and a tent with a hole in it, only to have it rain so much that an empty jar of peanut butter floats past you in your tent? (True story, by the way). 

When you are packing to leave for a festival, it’s important to be prepared for any situation, ideally without lugging half a dozen heavy bags along. 

First, you want to be ready for the hot sun and freezing rain. 

Pack one outfit for heat and one for cooler temperatures. If it’s hot, you can just run into some water to wash your clothes. If it’s cold, you’re probably not going to want to strip off layers to change anyways. 

You’ll also want a few items in case it rains, such as a poncho and rain boots or sandals that will hold up in a mud puddle. 

A warm onesie is highly recommended. It’ll mean you can come with a lighter blanket to sleep with, and you’ll be super stylish. 

But be prepared not to come home with everything you bring. Strangers may borrow and then forget to return clothes. You could lose your clothing in the dark or the wind could carry away items put out to dry. 

Illustration by Gabrielle Funk

And, of course, festivals are messy places and you could end up with tears and stains. 

While a rain-free festival may mean you’re more likely to keep your clothes clean and in your possession, heat stroke and sunburns are another weekend ruining threat. Bring a water bottle you can refill, as well as sunscreen. You’ll need these items to stay safe in the sun. 

Food is probably what will weigh your bags down the most, and it’s likely the most important item to bring. 

You can use frozen cartons of juice as ice packs so you don’t waste any room in your cooler, but you’ll probably want to leave the food that needs to be cooked at home. If it rains, you might not be able to cook. If it’s hot, you’re probably not going to want to cook. 

Pack pre-made cold foods, like pasta salad, and lots of snacks, like apples and granola bars. 

As tempting as it is to pack junk food, try to stay healthy. Festivals can be trying. You’ll be outside a lot, won’t be sleeping much and might be partaking a little more than normal in your vice(s) of choice. 

This combination can lead to disaster for your body, so at least make sure you’re fuelling up on nutritious food. 

And it’s also great to pack a few fun things to do. If chilly weather chases you into your tent, you’ll be happy to have a craft or deck of cards. Between musicians, a frisbee or hula hoop could add to your enjoyment. 

Put some real thought and time into packing, or you might wind up shivering and bored as a peanut butter jar floats by in your tent. 

Published in Volume 70, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 2, 2016)

Related Reads