If there's one thing I know how to do, it's be over-prepared for a festival or rave. I help run a Burning Man theme camp, so I've become the friend that everyone relies on when it comes to camping festivals and other events. Plus I love knowing that I can make it home every night, so I often end up being the DD for my group. This has helped me come up with lots of tips and tricks over the years when it comes to packing rave essentials, so here are my top 10 items that u absolutely cannot forget.
Not all of these suggestions apply to every type of event. For example, I wouldn't bring a pillow to a rave or festival that is only a single day, or that I'll be going back home to afterward!
Like I said, this doesn't apply if I'm going to a local rave or event. I'm obviously not going to bring a pillow with me to the venue, but if I'm traveling or going to a camping festival, I'll absolutely be bringing my own pillow with me. When you get out of your routine, it helps to be able to return to something familiar—especially if it might help you sleep or might prevent neck pain.
This one is always good to have, but keep in mind that the medical tent at any event is there to help you, not get you in trouble. Even if you need something as simple as a band-aid for a blister, get it. If you don't want to have to deal with the medical tent, throw a few band-aids in your wallet before heading out. They'll probably come in handy.
There is absolutely nothing worse than waking up the morning after Coachella night 1 to realize you have no water and no Advil. Stock up on basic needs the day before the event, and make sure it's laid out and easy to access when you wake up.
A gallon of water
Get it before the event starts, and keep it right next to your bed or within reach. It will come in handy, trust me!
It might seem silly, but this one has saved me in more situations than you would expect. If you wear fake nails, or if you're going to a camping festival, nail glue might help you out if you lose a nail or find that your cuticles are peeling from the dry air and rough conditions.
Put the glue around your cuticles to prevent peeling and hang nails, or just keep the nail glue in your purse in case of an outfit malfunction. I wear glue-on nails to festivals so I can change my nails every day, but sometimes they pop off from the heat or from washing my hands a lot. Keeping the nail glue in my purse makes it easy to reapply a nail if I lose one, or for other reasons!
This year at Das Energi my purse broke before it even got dark outside. I glued the strap back on with my nail glue thinking I could just deal with it later, but the purse has been just fine ever since! It's strong glue, what can I say?
A phone charger
Always have a way to charge your phone, or at least a plan B for what you would do if you didn't have access to ur phone. Your phone is going to lose its battery life faster at an event because it will have to work harder to get service in a congested network, so either turn ur phone on airplane mode while u rave, or have a charger with u. This is especially true if you'll rely on your phone to get u somewhere safe once the rave is over, like getting an uber back to ur hotel or if u need directions.
A mini flashlight or head lamp
If you're at a camping festival, bring a head lamp. It was a game changer when I found them and realized I could have a light pointed directly at what I'm looking at without having to use one of my hands to hold it, especially in port-a-potties!
If you're at a regular festival, I recommend packing a tiny flashlight in your bag. Your phone works just fine, but the last thing you want to do when you use a port-a-potty is have to worry about dropping your phone. Flashlights can be TINY, and if you drop or break it you'll be a lot happier about that than your phone.
They come in handy! No matter how secure I think my hair is before a fest, it always finds a way to come loose throughout the night. If you wear your hair down—uh, how? But if you have it up at all, pack a few extra bobby pins with you to secure your hair throughout the night. They could also come in handy in some other way. I'm not sure what that way would be, but they might!
The obvious reason to bring cash is for an emergency in case you lose your wallet or your phone, but I have another reason that might be even better. If you do bring cash for an emergency, store it in your shoe or somewhere that it won't get lost easily, that way if you lose your wallet, you still have cash.
The real reason that I always bring cash to raves and festivals is to budget. I bring a set amount that I know I can spend for the night, and tell myself that I can only use my credit cards if it's an emergency. This will help you keep better track of your budget, and prevent you from having that "whatever, I'll deal with it later" moment that you'll probably actually regret later on.
Those last few drinks are never worth it, and sticking to a cash budget can set that hard boundary.
Extra contacts or glasses
If you can see perfectly fine without contacts or glasses, i'm jealous, but this is not for you. I always bring an extra pair of contacts (I wear dailies, so if you wear long-wear contacts, just bring eye drops) to change into if my contacts get too dry. Sometimes eye drops just don't do the trick with daily lenses, so bringing an extra pair will solve all of your problems.
If I'm driving to an event or can leave things in a car, I'll also bring a pair of glasses and leave those in another bag in the car for the ride home. Taking off my contacts at the end of a long day is like taking a deep exhale, so if I can speed up the process as early as possible I absolutely will.
Do you have any rave essentials you can't leave home without? Maybe a portable package of napkins or toilet paper, or a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep in your purse? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter what your must-haves are!