With the second weekend of Coachella two days away, festival season is officially in full swing. For some people, that means massive events like Coachella, Sasquatch! or Bonnaroo, while others find their home at more niche events like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival or even the Phish tour.
But when it comes to the festival itself, it turns out living outdoors with thousands of music lovers is more like an episode of Bear Grylls's Man Vs. Wild than you might expect. There are certain things, though, that make festival life infinitely better.
Everybody needs things like water, a raincoat and your ticket — basics, which are pretty essential if you don’t want to end up miserable. Then there are things like a sleeping bag you can have sex in that you didn't know you were missing. Read on.
1. A Jambox
Music festivals are just as much about sitting around your campsite with friends as they are about seeing live music, and a portable music player is a must for optimal campsite chill time.
Jambox is a good one to pick up — the battery lasts up to 10 hours — but really most portable music players will work here. At $150 it’s actually a pretty good deal, especially considering that it’s protected against minor spills (courtesy of your inebriated friends) and is compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices.
A cheaper option is simply to use your phone, or, best-case scenario, snag a couple of talented friends with acoustic instruments (though, I doubt they have 10 hours of play time in them).
2. Flash Tattoos
I was pretty reluctant to name this one — and risk seeing everyone this summer rocking these — but I caved because it seemed selfish to horde something so cool.
Every girl (and a lot of guys) knows that wearing metal jewelry when it’s 80 degrees out is about as much fun as wearing jeans, and the team at Flash Tattoos has taken that in stride and created an entire temporary tattoo collection inspired by jewelry.
3. A solar charger
This may seem obvious, but how many people do you know who actually have one of these things? A solar charger is a must when it comes to charging your phone (and said Jambox). As tempting as it is to forgo all ties to civilization for the weekend, at festivals like Bonnaroo or Coachella you want to be able to find your friends (or, at the least, make your friends at home jealous via Instagram).
Most solar chargers can convert a day of sunlight into more than two cell-phone charges and, with such a crowded market, they're getting more affordable every year. WakaWaka is a great option, as it doubles as a flashlight and will make you feel good about your purchase: You buy the charger at a competitive mark-up, enabling those in the developing countries like Haiti and Syria to get one too.
4. An Undercover Bra Stash
This is pretty great for women at fests. Silk and discreet, this is a wallet that you wear under your clothing to ensure you have all your cash and identification when you need it, but your hands and mind are free to wander.
This is a great travel accessory that works so well at a festival — unless your clothes don’t even cover enough skin to hide it.
5. Coconut water
Hands down, this is the best hangover cure. A typical serving of coconut water packs more potassium (electrolytes!) than a banana, which is vital in speeding up your slow road to recovery. It also contains antioxidants, is more nutritious than a Gatorade and is easier to take down on an empty stomach than a full Nalgene of water.
6. A drug testing kit
If you’re headed to a festival, chances are you or someone you know is planning on taking some drugs. In order to ensure that what you’re taking is what you’re dealer claims, you’re going to want to test it.
Buy the appropriate kit ahead of time, and make sure you know how to use it. The Bunk Police sell kits for $20, and they’re good for anywhere from 50-100 uses. Their website not only tells you how to use the kits, but also provides a lot of general information regarding misrepresented substances and what to expect from any drug you may encounter. When you’re at a festival this summer, you can also text their hotline to see if they’re around at 1-512-200-BUNK (they’ll be happy to answer questions and provide some guidance), or keep your eyes peeled for DanceSafe, who also preach harm reduction and keep a solid presence along the festival circuit.
7. A pair of great sandals
It’s pretty obvious that you need good festival shoes, and though most people go for Tevas or Chacos, there's a new alternative on the scene.
The product of a successful Kickstarter, Bedrock sandals not only cost less than the go-to festy brands, but the minimalist design and customizable color makes for a shoe that’s functional and attractive.
8. A Diva Cup
This only really applies if the festival falls on that time of the month for girls, but in general, the Diva Cup is a game-changer and every girl should have one.
There are other brands, but you can buy the Diva Cup at any Whole Foods and feel better about your eco-footprint. Just talk to your doctor first if you have an IUD.
9. The Sexy Hotness sleeping bag
Festival loving can be a great thing, but nothing will kill the mood faster than an old fashioned sleeping bag on a cold, desert night. Introducing, the sleeping bag you can f*ck in.
The Sexy Hotness sleeping bag can be zipped up for nights when you’re flying solo, but it can also be zipped with another Sexy Hotness bag in order to make one big one. It’ll also keep you warm up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’re not forgoing comfort in favor of your libido.
10. The world’s best earplugs (or any earplugs)
Whether it’s on stage or in the campground, the music’s going to go late. You can also be sure that none of your neighbors will be using their indoor voices, even if it’s 4 a.m. and you’re ready for bed.
Any old earplugs will help with letting you fall asleep and sleep in (especially if you add an eye-mask to the equation), but only the Etymotic Music Pros function as normal earplugs, but can also help protect your ears while you listen to music. They’re ideal for musicians, anyone with hearing issues or girls who like to rage in the front row.
11. A mattress that lets you sleep in your car
It’s not exactly cheap, but this mattress could be such a godsend for any car camper who hates sleeping on the ground. From when it rains to when you’re stuck in a sandstorm (and not a musical sandstorm), this will ensure you wake up ready for more music.
12. This lighter, bro
It’s a multi-tool, and it’s a lighter. Enough said.
13. A lantern
A solar lantern would be great, but really any lantern will do. It’ll save you from using up your car battery while you stumble around trying to find that bottle of whiskey post-show, and it’ll also make your campsite a hospitable environment to hangout in late night.
At $28, the Rayovac Sportman was named a "best buy" over at Outdoor Gear Lab.
14. The “fold up” hat
Once again, I feel like I’m giving away one of my essential style secrets here, but it's in the name of the public good: You need a hat to protect your skin from the sun and to ensure that you’re not worn out come 3 p.m.
This Minnetonka hat will fold up into virtually any space you would want to stuff it, and whenever you take it out, it will always return to its original shape. It comes in three colors, is made of leather and will save you from making the awful, awful festival faux pas of rocking an Indian headdress.
15. A tent with a view
Way more breathable than your average tent, the Ticla Teahouse 3 has room for three to sleep comfortably and will let you soak in gorgeous views through your post-slumber daze.
That is provided you have views. Telluride Bluegrass definitely does. Coachella, however, does not.