Camping festivals can be really fun. Going on a road trip with your friends, setting up camp next to people that could likely become your new rave fam, and not having to worry about getting to and from your hotel for an entire weekend is something you just can't beat. But camping is hard, especially if you're not a veteran camper outside of the festival scene. After seven years of going to Burning Man—the week-long camping festival in the middle of a dry lake bed in Nevada—I've learned a secret or two about getting the most out of the experience. Here are my ten festival camping tips from a veteran burner:
1. Stake your tent down
You would be surprised how powerful the wind can be. Staking your tent down is an easy step you can take to avoid coming back to camp at the end of the night only to find that your tent is gone. Odds are low that someone stole it, but high that it could have blown away. This happened to a friend of mine who brought a large dome tent to Coachella and forgot to stake it down. Don't be like him!
2. Bring baby wipes
You might not have access to a shower while you're at a camping festival. Even if it's just for a few days, all of that dancing and sweating will leave you feeling pretty gross after just a day. Freshen up with baby wipes in between showers to at least get the dirt and sweat off of you. Just don't drop them in the port-a-potties!
3. Be mindful of your wast
Burning man is a Leave No Trace festival, and while not every festival has adopted that same principal, it's a good idea to be mindful of how much waste you'll create while camping at a festival. Just in case you're stuck with a car full of trash bags on your way out, remove any excess packaging from things you're bringing with you before your arrival.
4. Bins > Suitcases
One of the easiest ways to pack a bunch of stuff without wasting space is to avoid using a suitcase and use a storage bin instead. For a three-day camping festival you'll probably be able to fit most of your things in a single bin, which can then stack easily in your car for easy packing. Plus, you don't have to worry about getting your suitcase dirty.
5. Be realistic about food
I've had years at Burning Man where I've brought too much food, and I've had years where I didn't bring enough food to last the week. Think realistically about how much you eat before you go grocery shopping for a camping festival, and maybe assume you'll eat a little bit less during the hustle of the weekend. Or, if there are food options available at the festival itself, maybe just stick to some snacks and avoid prepping meals altogether.
6. Bring tons of lights
Like...all kinds of lights. Some camping festivals can get pretty dark in the camping area. Dirtybird Campout, for example, doesn't always light the camping area after it gets dark. Bring a flashlight to keep in your bag, or a headlamp for a hands-free light option (or both). I also like to wrap my tent in some battery powered LED wire (you can get it on Amazon) so I can easily spot my tent from far away at night.
7. Bring more socks than you think you'll need
I like to bring 3 pairs of socks per day just in case. You'll definitely want to switch your day socks off as you head into the night time, but I like to have an extra pair of clean socks for bed time just in case it gets cold.
8. Bring an added shade structure
Your tent is good for sleeping, but during the day you'll want a shade structure to chill in once it gets too hot to sit in your tent.
9. Don't forget camping chairs
You're going to thank yourself if you bring camping chairs. Camping festivals are a 24-hour experience, so having a place to sit and chill when you're not dancing or exploring the festival is a must. You can even bring blow up furniture to save space in your car.
10. Don't forget tools
It's easy to remember the things you're excited to use—like your new iHeartRaves outfits or your body glitter—but don't forget the necessities. Double check before you leave that you have any necessary tools to set up and maintain your camp. This can include things like a rubber mallet for your tent stakes (and your tent stakes), Duct Tape just in case, extra batteries, and an air mattress pump.