Festival Essentials for 2016

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We’re coming up on festival season folks, when the hipsters don their finest and music lovers across the country head out to empty fields to take in the plat du jour of upcoming singers, DJ’s, and bands. Whether you’re hitting up one of the many festivals in the bay or heading down to SoCal for some Coachella action, these are the festival essentials you’d be remiss to leave home without.

A Midnight Bathroom Trip

If you’re taking on the wonderful world of camping for your trip, you’ve probably already thought about the tent, sleeping bags, and blankets you’ll need to make it through chilly nights. But have you thought about those bathroom breaks that creep up at 3 a.m.? Instead of stumbling through the pitch black and tripping over more than a few sleeping bags, come prepared with a flashlight that will get you from tent to toilet. Really feeling like going headfirst? Grab a headlamp that will have you doubling as a coal miner on your way to the outhouse. Side note: you’ll need more than light when you reach the bathroom. Festival toilets are disgusting, to be sure, and nothing’s worse than the feeling of realization that hits when you see an empty toilet paper canister. Stock up on some TP before heading to your festival—it’ll probably be your most prized possession for the weekend. One more tip from the clean freak inside: bring hand sanitizer or wipes, or face the consequences of carrying around whatever nastiness you touch while in there.

Get Proud

Want to show a little patriotic pride while also channeling a good ol’ vintage vibe? Grab some American Flag shorts. This is especially handy for you honkytonk country festival goers looking to jam to Toby Keith while smashing PBR cans against your heads—or whatever it is that happens at country music events. Not to mention, this is one look that’ll take you through the year. After all, we’ve only got a few months until drunken Fourth of July shenanigans when you can whip those shorts back out and say your pledge of allegiance while watching explosions of color in the night sky.

Sun Protection

Don’t be an idiot and forget to take sun protection. That doesn’t stop at sunscreen; caps, hats, sunglasses, and any other protection that will keep you safe from the sun’s rays is an essential, and a festival list that doesn’t include this facet is just lying to itself. If you’ve ever been to a festival before, you’ve seen the nasty third-degree looking burns that result from dumb kids and adults letting their skin bake in the sun without protection. Avoid becoming “that guy” and also make sure you grab some aloe vera in case a burn happens in your crew. Since you’ll have hours in the sun near your campsite, avoid having to burrow inside your tent by bringing along a portable canopy that you can easily put up and sit underneath.

The Fanny Pack

Fanny packs may be the cliché festival must-have and they may look ridiculous but their convenience can’t be denied. Backpacks are the most commonly robbed item, as a bit of intoxication combined with pack crowds mean you might never feel an opportunistic thief grabbing your stuff right off your back. Instead of putting your valuables up for grabs, keep them safe by strapping them to your front. Bringing these along means avoiding the trip back to the campground to grab your Chapstick, sunscreen, or whatever else you need throughout the day.

Portable Cell Phone Charger

Charging your phone in the middle of the desert is no easy task, and at least one of your friends will get lost at some point during the festival so it’s essential to find ways to stay in contact. Grab a cell phone power bank that you can pass around the crew to make sure your phones are always charged and ready for use no matter how many hours you’ve been dancing and snapchatting in the hot sun. Use a device to keep your phone going at full power all day long, and never worry about having to find a plug in at an outlet-free campsite.

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