Troupe featured on Travel Massive

Planning a trip to a music festival this summer? If you’re planning on setting up camp while you’re there, it’s important to make sure you have all the camping festival essentials packed.

Camping festivals have been around for decades (Woodstock ’69, anyone?) but they’ve blown up to a whole new level in recent years. Mega-events like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Burning Man dominate the summer music festival scene. And while you can attend some of these festivals by staying at a hotel or Airbnb, the best way to immerse yourself in the experience is to camp alongside thousands of other festival-goers.

Planning a music festival trip with a group of friends can be hectic. Troupe was designed to take the pain out of group travel planning. Plus, it’s free!

Popular U.S. Camping Festivals

  • Bonnaroo: June 16–19, 2022 | Manchester, Tennessee
  • Country Thunder: June 10–12, 2022 | Forest City, Iowa (and other locations)
  • Firefly: September 23–26, 2022 | Dover, Deleware
  • Lightning in a Bottle: May 25–30, 2022 | Buena Vista Lake, California
  • Imagine Festival: September 15-18, 2022 | Rome, Georgia
  • Rocklahoma: September 2-4, 2022 | Pryor, Oklahoma
  • Burning Man: August 28-September 5, 2022 | Black Rock Desert, Nevada

What is a camping festival?

A camping festival is typically a multi-day music festival where the majority of festival-goers sleep in cars or tents on the festival grounds. Coachella, for example, is one of the most popular camping festivals in the world. The number of Coachella-goers who choose to camp in the designated camping area can reach over 100,000.

So what does that look like? At bigger festivals like Coachella, you’ll be directed to what’s essentially a ginormous parking lot when you arrive by car. Each space is 30×10 feet to fit one car, tents, tables, chairs, and as many people as you choose to camp with. There are designated camping zones at smaller festivals where you can pitch your tent as you please.


Camping festival essentials checklist

Packing for a trip is never easy and there are certain specifics to think about when it comes to the essential items for attending a camping festival. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.


While people tend to wear seemingly few clothes during warm festival days, clothing is a camping festival essential for both practicality and aesthetics. You want to feel secure in whatever you’re wearing since you can’t easily change once you enter the festival. Consider sun protection and whether the outfits you choose will be comfortable when dancing. Be sure to take note of both the daytime and nighttime weather at your destination. Many destinations might be scorching during the day but get chilly at night.

What clothes to bring for a camping festival:

  • An outfit for each day of the festival
  • A hat
  • Bandanas (to cover your face at dusty festivals)
  • Comfortable shoes for being on your feet all day
  • Sweats and a sweatshirt for nighttime
  • Pajamas
  • Sunglasses
  • Rain jacket


The food you bring with you should be ready to eat or easy to prepare. Consider bringing a camping stove, especially for a hot breakfast in the morning. Eating well and staying hydrated are two of the biggest camping festival essentials. It’s typically hot outside and you’re expending tons of calories dancing and walking around the grounds.

Essential foods to bring for a camping festival include:

  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Deli meats and cheese
  • Loaves of bread
  • String cheese
  • Granola/Power bars
  • Fruit/dried fruit
  • Chips/Crackers
  • Nuts
  • Beef Jerky
  • Bagels and cream cheese
  • Eggs and bacon
  • Coffee
  • Electrolyte replenishing drinks
  • Oil/butter
  • Camping stove & fuel
  • Utensils/plates/cups
  • Can opener
  • Corkscrew
  • Trash bags
  • Soap


When it comes to the ‘pitching a tent’ aspect of camping festival essentials, these are similar to any camping trip you might take.

Camping items to consider bringing include:

  • Tent
  • Easy-up
  • Sleeping bag/blankets (most festivals are HOT so it can be better to bring light blankets)
  • Pillows
  • Pop-up table
  • Camping chairs
  • Air mattress & pump
  • Battery-powered fans
  • Hammock
  • Headlamps/flashlights
  • Camping stove
  • Spare car key
  • Jumper cables
  • Lanterns

Keep in mind: You can also sleep in the back of SUVs with the backseats folded down or in the back of a pickup truck.

Festival-specific items

There are certain things which set camping festival essential items apart from your generic camping gear.

Camping festival essentials include:

  • Your tickets!
  • The festival schedule, printed out, to hang up at your campsite.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • First aid kit
  • Earplugs
  • Insect Repellant
  • A deck of cards or board games
  • Football/frisbee/etc.
  • Fanny pack (any secure place to keep credit card/id)
  • Portable battery charger for your phone
  • Baby wipes: it’s not always easy to shower so be sure to bring lots of baby wipes to clean the dirt/body paint/grime off yourself at the end of the day.
  • Body paint/glitter/etc.
  • Portable speaker. You’re all here because you love music so make sure you have a rechargeable portable speaker to continue playing music back at your campsite.

Essential questions to ask prior to packing for a camping festival

  • What type of weather should I expect?
  • What type of tent should I bring?
  • Do I need a sleeping bag or a lighter blanket?
  • How much food will be needed for our group?
  • How do you reach the festival grounds?
  • Is there enough room in the car we’re taking for everything?
  • What kind of shoes are best at this festival?
  • How should I secure my spot on the camping grounds before anyone else gets there? 

Ready to start planning your trip? Head over to Troupe and let your camping festival crew collaborate on the group trip planning all in one place.

For more travel inspiration: