With summer on its way, I’m excited that festival season will soon be here. After attending the lesser known, yet really enjoyable Marés Vivas festival in Porto in 2013, I’m well and truly hooked.
Festivals are no longer just about a large outdoor music concert. There’s much more to gain from attending; the music’s simply the icing on the cake. Killing 2 birds at a time, festivals also give the opportunity to travel a new country or city.
Europe in particular has many festivals to choose from, with some located in lesser known places.
Packing for festivals in your 30s: a breakdown
Deciding upon which festival to attend is the easy, and fun, part. The biggest challenge is knowing what to pack, and being prepared for any (weather) elements that may come your way. For flashpackers, a festival bag is more than a standard sleeping bag, change of clothes, flip flops and a packet of wet wipes. Being prepared for the outdoor festival experience requires plenty of planning. If done correctly, you’ll be one happy glamper.
Tent away from home
Choosing a tent can be a tough task, particularly if you don’t know what you’re looking for. After taking advice from experienced campers, the following options should suit a variety of needs as well as budgets.
The Trespass Swift 200 2 man pop up tent easily accommodates 1 to 2 people. Waterproof fabric and a pop-up design allows for quick assemble and is also easy to fold up at the end of the day. Weighing only 1.9kg, the tent’s a dream to transport around. Tent pegs are not provided, so be sure to buy some.
The Vango Jazz 300 Tent Atlantic is ideal for small groups. Compact and easy to assemble, the tent features a handy porch area to store muddy boots and is constructed from a durable and waterproof fabric. It’s also been weather tested to European standard EN5912 in a certified wind and rain test centre.
I added Quechua’s 2 Seconds Easy III Pop Up Tent to the list solely because of its name. Admittedly, the video on how to set up is longer than the 2-second claim, yet assembly appears very straightforward. Wind and heavy rain resistant, the tent sleeps three people and comes with a 2-year guarantee.
Back to base-ics
Next up is the wardrobe. If you’re expecting to read the latest fashion festival trends, you’ll be disappointed. This is about the essentials. The following is for the moments when the sun goes down, and the nights get that little bit cooler.
Cotswold Outdoor is a good starting point, offering base layers for men and women. For men, t-shirts are an ideal choice as a base layer. Likewise for women, super soft and quick drying vest tops and t-shirts are great options for base layers.
With most festivals taking place during the summer months, choosing either a mid-layer or an outer layer should be sufficient. Using the UK as an example, a base layer with a durable waterproof jacket should suffice for any unpredictable weather.
Best foot forward
Choosing the right footwear is essential to making the festival experience more comfortable, and drier. Glastonbury in the UK is one festival where you’ll need a good pair of Wellington boots to weather the elements.
The popular brand Hunters is a favorite, but may be steep in price for some budgets. Other alternative and cheaper options include those by Helly Hansen and Crocs. Be sure to also bring a pair of flip flops, some good quality walking sandals, and a pair of trainers.
The brand Teva offers a stylish yet practical selection of sandals for women. Columbia and Jack Wolfskin sell a wide range of stylish sandals for men while managing to steer clear of the socks and sandals look.
As fresh as a daisy (almost)
Speak to anyone that’s spent a few days living in a tent, and there’s one sure topic that’s bound to come up: hygiene. Here’s some tips on how to stay ‘fresh’ without looking like a castaway and smelling like an old gym bag.
Female travelers with long hair will empathize when I say that long locks can sometimes be a pain in the backside. Tying hair up or wearing a hat etc are viable options, but these don’t work for everyone, especially if your hair’s prone to grease. With showering facilities typically saved for those with camper vans, these hair-saving products will help you fake the clean hair look.
Dry shampoos help to keep greasy roots at bay and they smell pretty nice too. The very reasonable Batiste original dry shampoo is a bargain favorite and comes in different fragrances too.
Dry shampoos are also great for styling hair to give that sexy, tousled beach look without even trying. Suitable for men and women, there’s little excuse not to stay fresh.
The lack of water at outdoors festivals mean face washing routines go out the window. Dirty skin, blocked pores and greasy skin is not an attractive look on anyone.
There are some facial wipes that now combine cleansing and toning properties, making it easy to cheat your way to good skin. Avon’s Clearskin Blemish Clearing Deep Cleansing Cloths is one such product that cleanses, tones and removes makeup.
Keep packing to a minimum by doubling up your moisturizer with SPF. Even in cloudy places, excessive exposure to UV rays can be harmful to the skin.
Olay 7-day moisturizer with SPF 15 and is one of the best budget buys. My personal favorite is Shiseido Sun Protection Liquid Foundation, 30SPF. It’s water resistant, and able to withstand against perspiration and oil.
Travel-sized toothbrushes and toothpastes have been around longer than me, so there’s no excuse for morning hangover breath!
Another classic staple to add to the suitcase are body wipes for festivals.
Wet wipes double up as a temporary solution to washing, but can also be used when visiting the dreaded portable toilets. In short, don’t leave home without them. The brilliantly named Big Big Body Wipes are 2 4ft x 2ft towels, and claim to maintain its moisture despite its size!
If you do want to pack a towel, choose one from the anti-bacterial body range. These towels are typically made out of fabric that’s quick drying, absorbent, lightweight and compact. Online retailers like Amazon offer a decent range and at reasonable prices.
With the essentials packed, it’s time to turn your attention to the main event: the festival. Given the likely long periods away from your tent, a good bag is a must for having somewhere safe to store your belongings.
From bum bags to contemporary crossover styles, there are plenty to choose from. Easy to wear, and available in canvas to more plush leather styles, they also make good traveling bags. The compact size also means it’s easy to pack.
*All prices correct at time of publishing
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