How To Make Camping At Music Festivals Less Heinous
A tried-and-tested guide to get you from unhappy camper to amateur adventurer.
Words by Amy Hadley.
If you’re going to a multi day music festival, it will inevitably involve camping. If you’re anything like me, the thought of camping is ludicrous. Early humans worked tirelessly to protect themselves from the elements and build shelter. Why undo their hard work and go camping? Despite my opinion that camping is a slap in the face to our ancestors, you may have to face it. Here are the most useful things I’ve learnt through my trials and tribulations while camping.
Plan your packing.
Let me introduce you to my packing and unpacking philosophy. Pack your bags logically so that future you will know where everything is. This is particularly handy if future you won’t be sober. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to find an item when you’re not lucid.
Pack a bag or section of a bag with underwear and comfy chill out clothes. Pack another bag or section with the clothes you’ll be wearing while partying. Put your essentials like toiletries and a towel in another bag. Continue this method until you have everything you need logically separated and packed. When you’re all unpacked, don’t scatter everything you own across the entirety of your campsite. Future you will appreciate it.
Image via Wandering Wanderluster.
When you arrive at the campsite, it’s important to scope out the available real estate. I’d recommend parking yourself somewhere close enough to amenities so that you can walk there quickly, but far enough away that you don’t wake up to the smell of poop in the morning. Another valuable spot is near a tap with drinking water. You can fill up your water, rinse your face and brush your teeth without having to hike a mile to it. Again, don’t stay too close to a tap otherwise you’ll hear more gargling in a day than you’d ever need in a lifetime.
Hi diddly ho, neighborino!
You don’t have to love ‘em, but you should at least say hey to your new neighbours. It’s a good idea if you’re in a large group and a necessity if you’re camping with a small group. Introduce yourself with a small peace offering, like beer, to foster a healthy relationship for the days to come. Do this, and they’ll be happy to save your skin when your mattress has deflated or you’ve run out of alcohol.
Image via Homecamp.
Create a home away from home.
Sleeping bags are for trekking and people who take camping too seriously. The best way to achieve a decent night’s sleep while camping is to mimic your own bed. Bring a doona, blankets, sheets, teddy bear, and whatever else makes you cosy at home (except for your 1000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets; they will probably get dirty). When it’s time to go to sleepy town, make sure you have a good pair of earplugs in and that your tent is completely zipped closed. It sounds obvious, but you will wake up with the great outdoors inside your tent if it isn’t closed properly.
Another obvious but understated essential is a battery powered light. I once had a panic attack while trying to find comfy clothes using my drunk vision and a phone torch. Avoid this kind of episode by packing an obnoxiously bright lamp or lantern, and plenty of extra batteries.
Another camping debacle is hygiene. I am genuinely amazed at people who can throw in the towel, so to speak, and give up on showering. Before you get on your high horse and tell me, “You’re at a music festival, it doesn’t matter”, let me remind you of an indisputable fact. People have delicate ecosystems which demand a certain level of cleanliness (am I right, ladies?). I’m not going to disregard my deeply ingrained need for hygiene just because I’m outside.
If you’re able to access a proper shower, try and notice which side of the shower block the water is flowing down from. Aim for a cubicle as close to the start of the flow as possible. That way, you won’t have to stand in multiple people’s shower water. But hey, if there’s a long line you’ll just have to slap on some thongs and cop it. If you don’t have the time or the facilities, embrace the wet wipe/bathroom sink combination shower.
Image via Northen Star.
When in doubt, repeatedly play Survivor by Destiny’s Child.
I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but I recommend trying your best to roll with the punches. At many points through this adventure, you’re going to look like shit. You’re going to be frustrated by your living situation. You’re going to pine for a hot shower, a cup of tea, and your own bed. I recommend accepting camping for what it is – kind of uncomfortable, but worth it to spend time with your pals, and to see the music you love.