Last Minute Summer Camping Festival Survival Guide
Summer 2016 is almost over and that leaves us with just a few Festivals left. Perhaps you are travelling to Garden of Eden this weekend, or Burning Man, or getting ready for Harvest Festival towards the end of September. We’ve compiled a list of tips when it comes to camping at an EDM festival, based on personal experiences and past raves.
This may seem silly, but when you’re camping and don’t have access to a shower, baby wipes are the best solution for a nice clean feeling after a long day of raving. You can buy them at the dollar store and they usually come in resalable packages so it’s super convenient. When you get back to your campsite and want to get ready for bed, you can wipe down your feet, arms, back of your neck and anywhere else that feels gross. In the morning when you feel the need to clean up camp a bit, they work great for wiping down surfaces too. I also make sure to pack zip lock bags and place at least 10 baby wipes in a baggy for when I go inside the festival – especially as a girl you never know what the state of a port-a-potty is after waiting 45 minutes in line in the dark – potentially one baby wipe to wipe down the seat and one for your business.
Most people buy Gatorade for camping because they expect to be hungover, but what you really should be doing is buying more water, and a can of Gatorade powder. They have a wide variety of flavours at Walmart, but you can usually find one or two at Shoppers Drug Mart. When you’re hungover in the morning and need the electrolytes, you can add spoonfuls of the powder as dense to the water as you prefer. I also found it really helpful when I saw a stranger staggering through the camp site looking sick. I would sit him down and offer him a bottle of water and put some Gatorade mix in it. This way they’re getting electrolytes and it’s costing me next to nothing to help them out. Or if you’re a party animal and run out of chase for your booze, you can make some Gatorade and boom – you have chase!
This may seem like common sense, but pack healthy snacks and meals that will give you real energy. Fruits, cheese and crackers, Nutella/peanut butter, pasta salads, anything you can snack on that won’t add to feeling terrible the next day. Most festivals will let you pack snacks and bring them into the venue. At Osheaga for example (although not camping), each patron is permitted one sandwich, one fruit, and one granola bar. Not only will these foods provide you with energy, but spacing out when you eat them throughout the day will lower your costs on junk food too. Natural sugars are your best friend for the weekend.
Anti Bacterial Hand Sanitizer
Most girls have these attached to their bags from Bath & Body works, but you can also grab them at almost any dollar store. Many camping festivals do not supply running water, so you’re going to be relying on anti-bacterial hand sanitizer after the washroom and before you eat. Maybe after too. This is something I’d pack in my camel pack. A lot of the times festivals have anti-bacterial stations by the washrooms and they usually run out by dinnertime. Don’t leave yourself in a sticky situation and plan ahead!
There’s nothing worse than getting separated from your friends at a festival when your phone dies. I’d bring an external battery and a spare cord; pack it in a camel pack! A lot of festivals this year have supplied charging stations free of cost for people who need to charge up, but the problem with this is you – or at least your phone – are stuck there charging. It becomes an immobile phone, so come prepared! Put your phone on battery saving mode immediately when you arrive. Close all your apps. Turn your brightness down, Bluetooth off, wifi off, and data off. Cut yourself off from the outside world and truly indulge in the experience. Try to use your phone as a flashlight, clock, and camera only. You’ll make it last a lot longer for the weekend.
Everyone these days has a camera attached to their smartphone. But there’s something about pictures on your phone that’s not always the best. I’d highly recommend investing in a Go Pro, especially if you go to concerts/shows/festivals often. The professional Go Pole is also a good investment as its stronger than a dollar store selfie stick, it’s hollow, and it’s water proof – so if you drop it in a lake or the ocean it wont sink to the bottom. You can even buy a touch screen attachment so you can see as you’re shooting! The quality of footage can be set to expand on storage or definition and you can easily take the micro SD card out and plop it into your phone. There’s also an app that lets you view everything on your Go Pro via your phone.
If you don’t want to invest in a Go Pro, there’s also the current trend of Polaroid Instax mini cameras by Fujifilm, which can be found online for around $80. The film works out to $1 a photo, so be mindful when you take your shot cause there are no re-dos, but they make for fun memories and you can even buy mini photo albums to store them for later and remember the awesome weekend.
If you’re not looking to buy a whole new camera, you can always go to Shoppers Drug Mart or Walmart and grab some disposable cameras. When you get the film developed they will give you a CD with the digital files. There’s something about disposable cameras that has a 90’s nostalgic aesthetic to them, and it’s always a fun challenge trying to get the picture in only one shot.
Maybe you don’t want to buy anything when it comes to a camera for your festival and you just want to use your phone. That’s cool too. Just be prepared and make as much space on your SD card as possible. You don’t want to be that guy who gets the notification saying there’s no more space left while you’re in the middle of your favourite music act.
Drug test kit
Maybe you have no interest or plans in partaking in substances during your weekend, but I cannot stress this enough; you’ll never know you need a drug testing kit until you actually need one. Every group of friends has a wild child – someone up for anything at any given time. I was at a festival where a guy walked through our camp and screamed “Hey guys I found a bag of white powder! WHO WANTS IT?” to which my wild child friend jumped up and screamed, “Yes I’ll take it!”… Just because it looks like blow doesn’t mean it’s blow. Same goes with molly. So I confided in my friend, listening to my gut, and expressed that he should be more cautious. He shrugged his shoulders. Then a friend walks over and offered his drug testing kit, which festivals like Electric Forest and Shambhala hand out for free. So we tested the substance and it was positive for 2CI… needless to say we were thankful for the kit. And the guy who offered us the bag was nowhere to be found once we had the results… If every group of friends had one kit, it would prevent a lot of bad trips and overdoses. You can buy them online, but be careful as some only test for certain streams of substances. So do your research and arrive prepared.
Lock Screen Schedule
This is my personal hack for you guys, but when you’re super intoxicated it can be tricky to go through the gallery app on your phone searching for the lineup schedule you downloaded before you arrived. Take that photo and make it your lock screen background. Now you wont have to go digging through your phone or applications to know which artists are playing at certain stages and times. Doing this also saves your mobile battery from keeping the gallery app open all day. Trust me on this one.
Every camping festival will have groups of people who are Team No Sleep – and I advise you go for it one of the nights and plan it strategically. But when you know you have a super hot day coming up, try to go to sleep around 4am latest the night before. The reason why is simply if you end up going to bed after the sun has come up, you could potentially bake in your tent while sleeping, and wake up with heat stroke. It’s not a fun way to start your afternoon. I’ve seen people go to bed at 10am, and they wake up at 4pm with their day wasted. They start drinking when they’re already dehydrated, and soon after they pop a molly they start having a bad trip because their body is so ready to break down. If you go to sleep around 4 am latest, you can get a solid 6 hours in, wake up around 10, and have enough time to clean up your camp site (which will probably need it) and get a solid meal in before you start another day long of partying.
Invest in a Camelbak Hydration Pack
This is the best tool you could ever have for a camping festival. Take advantage of the free water refill stations. You’ll notice when all the big name acts start their sets the water stations are completely empty. At Bestival Toronto this past year I ran to the water station when Madeon started and again when Porter Robinson started. There was no line and I was back at the stage in under 2 minutes.
Camel Packs are awesome because there are so many sizes with lots of storage compartments. In mine I easily pack: wallet, tiny makeup bag, external battery & cord, granola bar, apple, cheese string, anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, baby wipes, and my polaroid camera. I also tie a plaid shirt onto the top of the bag so I carry it in the day but have it to keep warm when the sun goes down. Camel Packs can carry anywhere from 1-3L of water, and the best deals are off Amazon.ca, but if you need to buy one in person go to Canadian Tire!
I find that when the festival is done and the after parties begin, my Camel pack is perfect for heading back to our site and repacking for the evening too. And most mornings I have woken up in my tent with my camel pack by my side.
Give yourself time to recharge
This may seem like a no-brainer, but however crazy you plan on going at a festival, try to space out the craziness. It’s not a race; it’s a marathon. Look out for the signs of overdosing or dehydration. Give yourself moments like in the mornings/early afternoons to relax and enjoy the company of your friends. Maybe go for a walk around the camp and meet new people, or BBQ a nice lunch. Just give your body a good amount of down time because it will make you appreciate the climax of the weekend all the more.
This is totally optional but I recommend it. Keep a blank page journal and markers handy. When you’re hanging around the campsite pass it around to friends. They can sign it, draw pictures, and write down quotes or songs of the summer. Whatever; it’s something physical to remember the weekend by. Maybe you’d like to turn it into a scrapbook later and glue in your polaroids. I usually draw a little title page that divides the festivals. It’s something really unique and you never know what artists you may stumble upon once you hand them your journal.
Remember, it’s not a race; it’s a marathon. Be safe and have fun!
Serafina Thoma – Euphoradio