The 8 essential gadgets every festival-goer needs in their bag
The Woodstock hippies wish they could have had these gadgets to help them.
You might think that gadgets have no place at a festival. You try to shine your phone torch in the air to your favorite song, but oops — the battery is kaput. You stumble back to your tent, weary, ready to snatch a couple of hours of sleep before it all begins again, but among the canvas sea of nondescript khaki green, which one even is your tent?
It turns out technology can help you avoid a festival nightmare.
What gear should you pack for a festival?
Festivals are loud — consider packing earplugs so that you can get a little sleep. A battery pack for your electronics is an absolute essential, and I recommend hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Women, a shewee is invaluable; the toilet queues make the lines at Universal Studios look short.
Are you camping? Make sure you have a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and headlamp. The latter is particularly important as tents at festivals are densely packed which means hopping over guylines after a few beers is an acrobatic feat akin to dodging tripwires James Bond-style.
Now that you know some of the basic gear to bring to a festival, here is what I personally recommend for surviving a festival like a pro.
Input may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. We only include products that have been independently selected by Input's editorial team.
It’s a shame to wrap up a festival seeing your favorite act with a painful ringing in your ears. The Loop Experience Earplugs reduce noise but still let you hear everything, just more softly. The silicone ear tips come in four different sizes, and they look great too, so they won’t clash with your jazzy festival outfit.
On those rare occasions where it doesn’t rain at a festival, you’re guaranteed to work up a sweat. The KOODER Handheld Fan doesn’t just blast out cold air though, it also has a misting function to spritz your face as you dance. It’s USB chargeable, lightweight, and lasts for up to six hours on a full charge.
Does the party stop back at camp? Absolutely not. The JBL Flip 5 Portable Bluetooth Speaker is waterproof, so there’s no need to worry about it taking an accidental beer shower, the battery lasts for up to 12 hours, and it produces a powerful sound for its size. Something to be aware of: This speaker uses Bluetooth and doesn’t have a headphone jack for audio-in.
Maybe LA Gear had it right with the light-up shoes because sneakers that light up are pretty dang useful at a festival. DIYJTS Light Up Shoes are rechargeable by USB and the battery lasts up to eight hours for all night dancing. There are eight different color settings, with the final one flashing between the other seven colors. I guarantee these shoes will be a conversation starter.
Charging your gear is potentially the biggest challenge at a festival. You risk wasting precious time waiting to use an outlet and paying through the nose for it. Taking a battery pack will revolutionize your festival experience. Best of all is one that’s solar powered, like the BioLite SolarPanel 10+. The kickstand makes it easy to position on uneven ground, its output is 10 watts in peak sun, and it takes just an hour to charge a smartphone entirely. The corner latches mean you can even attach it to your day pack so that it charges in the sun as you dance.
We all let hygiene standards slip at a festival, but after a few days, you simply stink. Festival showers are often pretty weak with long wait times. With the GoSun Flow Pro, there are no more disco armpits; you get to take your shower and sink with you. It's small enough to fit into a backpack and it uses solar energy to pump water.
There’s a magical cure for partying all night: coffee. It’s just a shame you have to queue for it. With the Conqueco Portable Espresso Machine Coffee Maker, you get barista-quality coffee anywhere. It’s rechargeable, but it can also connect to your car. It boils water in 8-10 minutes, or you can fill it up with hot water directly. And it's compatible with Starbucks coffee capsules.
The sheer volume of people at a festival (and often remote locations), make them black holes for network coverage. So how do you find your friends again after a bathroom break? The goTenna Mesh pairs with your smartphone and lets you send texts and your location when there’s no Wi-Fi, and even no network coverage. It’s tiny enough to clip onto keys and has an emergency messaging feature.
Must-download app for festival camping
Those are my go-to gadgets for festivals. But there's one more essential every festival-goer should have, and that's the Tent Finder app.
Finding a unique tent is difficult. Teepees are common, pop-up tents that look like a '70s disco threw up on them are a festival uniform; and finding a nondescript, two-man tent in the dark? Forget it. Bar attaching an enormous flag to your tent — what can you do? Download Boutique Camping Tent Finder is the app you need. Add a photo of where you pitched your tent, navigate using GPS even when there’s no signal thanks to the built-in compass, and share your location with friends.