We all know the scenario—you’re at the peak of the evening, the music flowin’ through your body, you’re vibing with everyone you see, lasers shoot by overhead as your favorite artist delivers an otherworldly drop, and it all comes to a screeching halt. Someone in your squad realizes they lost their phone.
There’s no bigger buzzkill to an amazing festival weekend than getting your valuables stolen. While PLUR is an ever-present mindset at raves, unfortunately not everyone practices the same mantra. This doesn’t mean you have to be overly paranoid and side-eye everyone you pass, but there are a few tips that can help keep yourself aware of your belongings and keep them out of the hands of pickpockets.
1. Never Keep Anything in Your Back Pocket
If you choose to keep your valuables in your pockets, NEVER KEEP THEM IN YOUR BACK POCKETS. Your back pockets are huge targets for thieves, even if they have zippers. Whether you’re a rail-rider or someone who likes to groove towards the back of the crowd, it’s very easy for someone to casually bump into you and slip something out of your pocket. Keep your valuables in front of you where you can keep an eye on them and easily tell if they’ve gone missing.
Keep yourself aware of your surroundings. Pickpocketers rarely go for your things on their first pass, unless you have them hanging out of your bags. If you feel someone bump you particularly harder than usual, they may be checking to see if you have anything easily accessible. Whenever I feel someone bump me, I always check the zippers to my bag to make sure they’re still closed. If you see anyone acting particularly sus, it may be time to switch up your location.
Consistent checking of your belongings is a great way of keeping tabs on where everything! Before going into the fest, change your phone lock screen to a note with the number of a friend in case it goes missing. This extra step could be what reunites you with your lost phone.
2. Use the Right Kind of Baggage
There’s no question that bags are a must for long festivals, especially when dealing with the various elements mother nature likes to throw at us. Choosing the right kind of pack can make or break your experience.
If you’re a rave mom and like to have a lot of essential items to help out your fam, you’re in luck. There are quite a few anti-theft bags created specifically for festivals—fully equipped with water containers and dazzling aesthetics. The key feature these bags hold is the zipper located against your back. This makes it near impossible for thieves to sneak their hand in your belongings without you noticing.
Bringing only a few items with you? Opt into the fabulous fanny pack look. Not only is this another perfect accessory for your festival ‘fit, it also keeps your items more secure when strapped to the front of your body. Place the pack’s strap through your belt loops for extra security!
Check out stellar fanny packs options, like this, iHeartRaves has to choose from!
3. Store Your Valuables in Your Bag's Inner Pockets
If you don’t want to dip back into your bank account for a new theft-proof bag purchase, there are ways to secure your valuables in the bag you currently have.
First things first, make sure the backpack you’re bringing into the festival is durable and can’t easily be sliced through. I’ve heard way too many horror stories of people bringing in thin bags only to find giant holes in them at the end of the night.
If you, like me, have a regular bag with outside facing zippers, be mindful of the way you store the items you bring into the venue. Keep your ID, debit/credit cards, cash, car keys, portable charger, and other top valuables in your inner most pocket! This is the hardest pocket to access, and while you may be slightly irritated by the extra few seconds it takes you to take them out when buying merch, you’ll be much happier knowing you have them at the end of the night. Keep items you know you’ll need and are more easily replaceable in the front pockets.
Plus, if you keep your items sorted out you’ll have fewer panicked moments where you can’t remember where you put something in your bag.
4. Use a Lanyard
If you’re someone who only brings the essentials with them but lack pockets for easy storage, lanyards are the perfect backpack substitute.
What’s better than having everything you need wrapped around your neck? Quite a few of these old school keychains come with attached compartments you can easily slip your phone into. For extra storage space, keep your ID and cash inside your phone case so you have everything wrapped into one.
While your valuables may be in plain sight, it’s a lot harder for thieves to target your lanyard if your items are always in your view—just make sure you don’t fling them off while headbanging!
5. Rent a Locker
When all else fails, rent a locker.
If you are carrying more than the normal amount of items, don’t have a proper bag, or don’t want to worry about losing anything important—the lockers are here to help. Most festivals (if not all) have lockers for rent, both online and when you arrive.
Lockers provide a solution to many more problems than theft. Need a place to keep your phone while it charges? Locker. Don’t want to carry around the merch you just scored? Locker. Need a designated meet up place for your crew? Lockers.
It may be an extra fee you weren’t planning on paying, but it might be worth the peace of mind knowing your stuff is secure.
Keeping yourself and your valuables safe and secure is an essential part of keeping the good vibes rolling throughout the festival weekend. If you have any tips for avoiding theft at festivals that weren’t mentioned here, sound off in the comments!