Festival season is officially here, and to make sure you pack everything important (at best you forget about dry shampoo, at worst your ticket), a comprehensive checklist is a must.
Whether you’re performing at Glastonbury, Download or Reading and Leeds, heading to your favorite daytime festival in the city, or flying overseas for some beach fun, your packing list should include beauty, toiletries, camping gear, clothes and more.
While most festival essentials are non-negotiable (think tents, toothbrushes, underwear, sunscreen, and trusty shoes), others can simply make your experience that much more enjoyable (we’re talking tools hair cords, pajamas, camping stoves, and eye masks) .
To prevent you from being that The one in the bunch who borrows everything, the exhaustive list below includes everything you need for your next (you’re welcome) festival, whether it’s an all-day rave or a four-day camping stint.
grooming and beauty festival
The best must-haves for festivals
Taking the top spot in our roundup of festival tents, our tester praised Coleman’s eight-person model as spacious and excellent value for money. “This geodesic beauty is classified as an eight-person tent, but we suggest sleeping six more, or two or four with tons of living room,” they said. Taking just 10-15 minutes to erect, the waterproof design is perfect for the festival season.
Best Roll Up Camping Mat: NHOWIN Self Inflating Camping Mat: £30.99, Amazon.co.uk
Dubbed the best budget buy in our camping mat roundup, this NHOWIN deal is self-inflating, comfortable, and lightweight. Praising it as “compact when rolled up” and “an effective bed” once inflated (complete with a “shimmering pillow”), the budget-friendly mat is ideal for festival season.
Best festival sleeping bag: Coleman monstera single XL sleeping bag: £101.49, Leisuredepot.co.uk
The most affordable option in our selection of sleeping bags, Coleman’s extra-large design helps “recreate the comfort of your favorite down comforter on your next camping trip.” The “deliciously” soft cotton exterior is paired with a plush flannel lining that’s “great if you don’t like the slippery plastic feel of synthetic sleeping bags.” Generously sized and warm enough to wear from spring to fall, our tester rated this bag for looks and comfort.
Securing a spot on our roundup of the best camping chairs, the Futon wood offering packs completely flat, so it can be easily stored or transported to festivals. While the Adirondack style of seating might not be associated with camping, our tester found it “ergonomic and incredibly comfortable.” Better yet, it’s also one of the best-looking, helping you make a style statement when casting.
Best camping bag: Montane trailblazer 25l backpack: £100, Montane.com
Our favorite travel backpack, the Montane Pioneer Bag is just what you need to transport your essentials to a camping festival. “Even when filled to its full 25L, this bag felt surprisingly light, thanks in part to a well-balanced back system that kept the bag close to our bodies while allowing for breathability,” our tester said. . With extra deep side pockets, adjustable chest straps and a breathable mesh finish, it ticked all the boxes.
Best Face SPF – La Roche-Posay anthelios UVmune 400 oil control fluid: £19.90, Boots.com
Considering that you will be spending most of the festival in the sun, a good SPF is essential. Our favorite comes from La Roche-Posay, with its anthelios oil sunscreen lauded as ticking all the boxes. It includes UVA, UVB and long UVA protection, is suitable for sensitive skin and has a non-greasy and light formula. “By reducing shine, we found that you’ll still get a fresh-faced glow without any sticky or oily feeling, and keep you safe from the sun,” our tester added.
Best SPF for the body – Coola classic body organic sunscreen spray: £27, Spacenk.com
It’s just as important to complement your body sunscreen, and Coola’s classic spray is our top pick for summer 2023. “With a unique ‘pina colada’ scent that’s sweet without being overpowering, it’s a delight to apply, a process much easier because of the spray applicator, which means the sunscreen absorbs quickly into the skin,” our tester said. Mild and nutritious, more than 70 percent of the ingredients are organic.
Best aftersun: Bioderma photoderm refreshing aftersun milk: £13, Escentual.com
If you do get burned, having some aftersun on hand will be a blessing mid-festival. Bioderma’s formula topped our roundup of the best aftersuns, with our tester praising the lightweight product for its immediate cooling effect. “Allantoin and ginkgo biloba gel soothe overheated skin, while proprietary cellular bioprotection technology works to protect skin against cellular damage caused by UV rays and other stressors,” they said.
Best Dry Shampoo: Batiste, Naturally Dry Shampoo, Green Tea & Chamomile: £3.19, Boots.com
To keep your hair fresh between showers at festivals (or if you don’t plan on showering at all), dry shampoo is a must-have toiletries. Batiste’s formulas are affordable favorites, and her bottle of green tea and chamomile earned a spot on our roundup of the best dry shampoos. Our tester loved the “luxury” scent, which reminded them of sandalwood perfumes.
Best waterproof jacket for festivals: BAM longaford waterproof recycled jacket: £64.50, Bambooclothing.co.uk
“This stylish and flattering jacket is perfect to keep close at hand in any size bag, as it folds down into its own side pocket,” our tester said in their roundup of the best waterproof jackets for women. With two large inner pockets, chest and back vents for breathability and a drawstring hood, you’ll be ready for whatever the festival season throws at you in the Bam jacket.
For men, we recommend Finisterre’s rainbird jacket (£125, Finisterre.com), which was dubbed best for comfort in our edit.
Best Wellington Boots for Festivals: Barbour Abbey Wellington Boots, Black: £59.95, Barbour.com
Our favorite pair of wellies for summer 2023, these sturdy Barbour boots offered a “flexible fit for motion,” and the chunky soles provided good grip as you walked. “There’s stylish Barbour branding throughout, from the tartan pattern on the interior to the logo that runs down the back,” our tester said. A solid, stylish and reliable option for festivals.
Best Festival Bag: Uniqlo Mini Round Shoulder Bag: £14.90, Uniqlo.com
The bag of the moment, the Uniqlo TikTok Viral Crossbody Bag is perfect for the festival season. Roomy, adjustable, affordable, and available in a variety of fun colors to make a statement, the streamlined fanny pack is just what you need to carry your essentials on the course. With minimalist finishes in black, beige and white or playful yellow, red and green, there’s a reason Lyst named it the world’s most popular product.
Best Festival Dress: Free People, a laussane slip: £88, Freepeople.com
The perfect throw-on-and-go festival dress this summer, Free People’s laussane slip is chic and effortless. Whether teamed with wellington boots or silver western boots, the deep red ’empress rock’ finish is endlessly versatile and easy to style, while the ruched bodice, billowy hem, button-down front and adjustable spaghetti straps create a flattering silhouette. Made from breathable cotton, wear it alone on hot days and layer it under an oversized sweatshirt at night.
Best Festival Hat: Arket Crochet Bucket Hat: £55, Arket.com
A hat to protect your head from the sun (or from the rain, if the weather is bad) is a must at festivals. We love this offering from Arket, with the perfect fun multicolor finish to enhance your outfit. The cotton crochet design will be breathable, while the cube silhouette will help protect your face from UV rays.
Best Festival Eye Mask: Soap & Glory, Rest Insured, Sleep Eye Mask: £6.50, Boots.com
Waking up hungover in a tent is never fun, but a good sleep mask can make the experience a lot less painful. “Made from polyester, Soap & Glory’s mask has a silky feel that’s nice and smooth against the skin, while the extra-long shape hugs the head and blocks out almost all light,” our tester said.
Best earplugs for festivals: Haspro universal earplugs: £6.85, Amazon.co.uk
If you have a hard time sleeping at festivals, be sure to pack some sleeping earplugs. Proving that you don’t have to spend a fortune on good headphones, these Haspro plugs were our tester’s favorite. “You really can’t go wrong with these foam earplugs from Haspro—they’re ultra-soft, super comfortable, and effectively block noise,” they said.
Best cordless hair tool: The Babyliss 9000 High-Performance Cordless Hair Straightener: £60, Lookfantastic.com
With a high-output lithium iron battery, three heat settings (160C, 180C, and 200C), and some of the largest plates found on cordless iron models, this is a great option for keeping hair tamed for longer. the festivals. With three hours of charging, you can enjoy up to 30 minutes of styling (it can also be used plugged in). Making light work of our curly, frizz-prone hair, it smoothed flyaways and left us with a shiny, freshly washed finish.
Best reusable water bottle: Contigo chill couture autoseal vacuum insulated water bottle, 720ml: £27.69, Amazon.co.uk
Our tester praised this top-rated reusable water bottle for being “totally leak-proof” with double-walled vacuum insulation that keeps drinks cold for up to 28 hours. “We also liked the fact that the screw cap is attached to the bottle, so there’s no chance of losing it while drinking,” added our tester.
For the latest discounts on festival essentials, try the links below:
Find more camping gear recommendations in our tried and tested reviews