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The Summer Music Festival Survival Kit

The Summer Music Festival Survival Kit: Adam Macchia

Adam Macchia

Tis the season for summer music festivals. Governors Ball was last weekend in New York City and Bonnaroo starts tomorrow in Tennessee. And there are still plenty more to go, including Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and Newport Folk.

No matter what your taste in music, there is an opportunity to see your favorite acts play outside this summer. But listening to the music is only one part of the whole festival experience. And if you aren’t prepared, even the greatest set list could result in a miserable time.

That’s why we put together this music festival survival kit to help you get the most out of each show (and take care of your woefully unprepared friends).


osprey manta 28 hydration pack

HYDRATION BACKPACK: OSPREY MANTA 28
$149.95, rei.com
Drinking water is the name of the game if you want to last through an entire festival and drink…other stuff. You don’t want to wait in line at the concession stand every hour and using all those plastic bottles sucks even if you recycle them. The Osprey Manta has a 100-ounce reservoir to hold your water, but also has plenty of handy storage pockets for all the other stuff (see the rest of this list) you’ll be lugging around.

oakley frogskins

SUNGLASSES: OAKLEY FROGSKINS
$110, oakley.com
Frogskins are just as cool now as they were when they first came out in the 80s, a fact that any throwback acts on the festival lineup might appreciate. The UV protection is baked into the lens material, not just coated on, so you can be sure that your eyes won’t fry after hours in the sun.

excedrin

PAIN RELIEVER: EXCEDRIN MAXIMUM STRENGTH
$15.99, drugstore.com
You are going to be walking around a ton. When you sit, it will most likely be in an awkward position. And, oh yeah, you are also going to be consuming more than a few adult beverages. Your body isn’t going to like you very much. So make sure to have Excedrin, Advil, or whatever your pain reliever of choice is on hand. Get the big bottle. You’ll need it.

hearos ear plugs

EAR PLUGS: HEAROS
$5.99, drugstore.com
The most annoying guy at a music festival is the dude who keeps bumping into you while he’s “really feeling” the music. A close second though is the person who keeps asking “What???” after everything you say because his ears are shot from all the loud music. No, ear plugs are not the coolest things in the world, but you’ll be glad you have them. And these ones come in red, white, and blue because ‘Merica.

badger sunscreen

SUNSCREEN: BADGER SPF30 UNSCENTED
$15.99, badgerbalm.com
At the risk of sounding like your mom, PUT ON SUNSCREEN! Next to pain relievers, this will be your best friend at any summer music festival and ensure that you’re able to stay from the first act to the final headliner. Badger’s organic sunscreen does away with the gnarly chemicals and uses just five ingredients, including the mineral zinc oxide, to block both UVA and UVB rays.

Outdoor Technology

Outdoor Technology

PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER: OUTDOOR TECH BUCKSHOT PRO
$79.95, outdoortechnology.com
I was going to include a portable phone charger, a flashlight, and a Bluetooth speaker as three separate items, but the Buckshot Pro checks all of those boxes with one device. Your phone is going to get sapped of energy quick at the festival, so this powerbank will be a lifesaver for the ever-important selfie. It’s also water resistant and rugged so it can hold up to the inevitable abuse it will endure at a festival.

lanisoh baby wipes

BABY WIPES: LANISOH
$3.19, drugstore.com Remember that scene in *Along Came Polly where Ben Stiller plays basketball against a shirtless, hairy, sweaty fat guy who keeps rubbing his blubber all over him? That’s a lot what being up close at a music festival is like. Afterwards, you’re going to want to restore a modicum of hygiene and baby wipes can help you get clean-ish.

huf lips bucket hat

BUCKET HAT: HUF
$40, store.hypebeast.com
A bucket hat provides you with the sun coverage you need without going full-on Pharrell. The lips print on this version from Huf also might make you appear more kissable to the opposite sex.

therm-a-rest treo chair

CHAIR: THERM-A-REST TREO
$99.95, rei.com
You can’t spend the entire festival posted up at the front of the stage. At some point you’re going to want to sit down, and plopping down in the muddy ground is not an option. The Therm-A-Rest Treo deploys easily and packs up neatly into its tripod base so you can go from standing to sitting to standing again before the beat drops.

poler camera cooler

COOLER: POLER CAMERA COOLER BAG
$64.95, polerstuff.com
Nobody likes warm beer. So keep your cold ones cold with this soft-sided cooler. After the festival is over, you can use the included dividers to transform it into a camera bag for your DSLR. Just don’t try to use it as a cooler and a camera bag at the same time, please.

freestyle shark clip

WATCH: FREESTYLE SHARK CLIP
$55, freestyleusa.com
Even if you’ve got a backup charger, you run the risk of your phone losing its juice. Having an actual watch will help you keep track of set times so you don’t miss your favorite act. This classic Freestyle Shark comes in bright colors that will turn heads and have everyone asking you what time it is.


Justin Tejada is a writer and editor based in New York City. Follow him on Twitter at @just_tejada.

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