Ultimate Outdoor Festival Packing Checklist 2014!

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Two years ago i wrote a rather lengthy blogpost on Rocking The Daisies in anticipation of the festival. I was so unbelievably excited… little did i know that it’d be my last RTD for a while. This year will be the 2nd year that i miss, and i’m gutted. I’m trying out this “adult” thing and that means that paying gigs come before fun festivals.

Every single year, around RTD time, i start to get hits on the original post & packing checklist. So i thought it was about time that i do an updated one! Below is a direct quote from the original piece, and is written like i’m going. I’ve included it because it sums up my reasons for making the list to start off with, and also because i think i was funnier back then:

“I’m usually rather ambivalent about most things, it takes a lot to get me really excited, and it takes a lot to get me really angry, but once I’m excited (or angry) there’s almost no stopping the steam train that is my emotions… this is why I’ve been making an imaginary packing list for Rocking The Daisies in my head over the past few days. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve become a little obsessed. I spent about half an hour on the Official Daisies website yesterday, I’m not even sure why.

Anyway, as excitable as I am, I am even more forgetful… so this imaginary packing list needed to get put down somewhere a little more permanent before I ended up on the day before Daisies running around my room and packing in things like my Matric Dance dress and a jar of mayo. I’m a panic-packer… don’t judge.”

So without any further semi-incoherent ramblings, I present to you:

The Ultimate Essential Outdoor Festival Packing Checklist

– Please note: Yes, girls and boys have different needs, so girly specific items are listed as such. Everything else is pretty much a necessity for any humanoid wishing to attend any festival and still resemble a non-homeless person afterwards.

1.) Personal Hygiene Items / “If You Ever Want To Hook Up”

 DO NOT ignore this section. BOYS, I’m looking at YOU!

–           Wet Wipes (get a pack of scented for underarms and body & non-scented for sensitive areas or if you’re sunburnt.  It’ll be worth it.)

–           Condoms (girls, it’s not just the guy’s responsibility to carry)

–           Freeze (best after-sun EVER! Keep it cool with your drinks, it’s like heaven on burnt skin)

–           Sunblock (none of this SPF10 shit, SPF30 or higher)

–           Anti-Perspirant Deodorant (Leave your expensive perfumes at home)

–           Tweezers (getting tiny pieces of glass out of feet or splinters, etc)

–           Toilet Paper (take more than you think you’ll need, it ends up getting used around camp too)

–           Pocket Mirror (keep this in your tent.) EDIT [girls]: You WILL bump into that hot guy you’ve been eyeing up for a day or two at the festival on your way to the bathroom in the morning. Check your face first.

–           Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Mini Mouthwash/Mints/Sugar Free Gum (water isn’t always readily available for you to brush your teeth with, so mouth wash will take care of that. If you’ve lost your toothbrush or left it in someone else’s tent, pop 2 pieces of chewing gum in your mouth and chew it with water at the same time, spit out after a minute or so. It’s almost as good as a brush.)

–           Hand Sanitizer (after you’ve used the loo. Ecoli is not your friend)

–           [GIRLS] Waterproof mascara! (stays on longer, obviously)

–           [GIRLS] Tampons (even if it isn’t “that time” for you, it might be for a friend who is caught by surprise… be nice and just take a couple along in case)

–           [GIRLS] Makeup Remover Wipes (normal wet wipes don’t always do a good job of removing mascara, etc)

–           [GIRLS] Hair Elastics (buy an extra pack! There’s nothing worse than having your long hair clinging to your neck when it’s 30C outside, but you still want to party.)


2.) SUPER Imperative Vitally Important Necessary Essentials

–           TICKETS!

–           Water Bottle (maybe 1 for water and 1 for alcohol…. But definitely take extra, you will probably lose them. Daisies usually have water filling stations throughout the site too. Stay hydrated)

–           Sunglasses (you will also probably lose a pair of these, or break them. Leave your designer shades at home and rather bring 2 pairs of cheapies)

–           Torch (you don’t want to waste your cellphone battery using it as a torch)

–           Lighter, matches (even if you don’t smoke, people are always looking for lighters)

–           Rennies/Myprodol/Plasters/Immodium/Panado/Valoid! (at the risk of sounding like your mom, I can’t emphasize how important it is to take ALL of the aforementioned goodies. You really don’t want to feel ill at an outdoor festival. You ruin it for yourself and for your friends.) Rennies: If the festival food doesn’t agree with you, or even if you’re feeling sick from too much beer/spirits, it basically just makes your stomach acid less acidic. This is a pretty gross tip, so stop reading if you’re sensitive. If you feel like you’re going to throw up, try and get 3 or so Rennies into you a good amount of time before you chunder, and when you do, it’ll feel like you’re throwing up water rather than Satan’s own burning lava.

3.) Clothing

–       Hat

–       Beanie (in case your hair looks like shit, and for when it gets cold at night)

–       Socks (lots)

–       Undies (the amount depends on how un/hygienic you are)

–       Try and plan for an outfit a day, it stops you from packing random shit you probably won’t wear. Saves loads of space.

–       CHEAP sunglasses (yes, I’ve mentioned these again)


4.) Food/Drink

–      Packets of chips (possibly the easiest and lightest food to carry around, it’s also the best thing to eat if you’re feeling sick)

–      Alcohol Sachets (easy to hide in your tent from scavengers, rolled up in some socks. Also, super easy to sneak into the main stage area… but i never said that)

–      Decant All Alcohol! (no glass is aloud into Daisies at all, and I’m glad about that. So don’t complain, just sort yourself out before you come)

5.) Equipment

–           Tent

–           Sleeping Bag

–           Extra Blanket

–           Pillow

–           Spare Tent Pegs (pegs bend/break and there’s nothing worse than a floppy tent)

–           Bin Liners (preferably the tough kind with drawstrings, for rubbish & to store stuff. If you get clothes wet, pop them in the bin liners, pack it away and worry about it when you’re home)

–           Mallet (to knock the tent pegs in – no a shoe wont work)

–           Torch (yes, you really do need one)

6.) In Case Of Rain

–           Bin Liners (put pillow/sleeping bag in to keep dry, or wet shoes in so they don’t wet other things)

–           Wellies

–           Extra socks

–           Umbrella (doubles up for Sun too)

–           Poncho (just a cheap one – Dischem is probably the best place to get ‘em)

7.) Optional Awesome Extras (Winning At Festivals)

–           Ear Plugs (for when you’ve had enough but thousands haven’t, or your tent neighbours are noisy motherfuckers)

–           Glow Sticks (to mark your tent, or friends that go missing easily)

–           Scissors

–           Lighters

–           Rolling paper

–           Box of cigarettes (even if you don’t smoke, use ‘em to make friends with your neighbours, barter, etc)

–           Bubble gun (it’s hilarious and fun, seriously… people dig it. It’s in our nature to be in awe of bubbles)

–           Beach Mat (for sitting outside of your tent or at the dam)

–           Lilo (or any blow up flotation device, for some good dam fun)


8.) Personal Advice/Tips and Super Rad Extras 

–       Talk to your neighbours. Share a beer, donate a roll of loo paper, offer them some chips, roll ‘em a small one if they haven’t got any… Scratch their back, and they’ll challenge people who look like they’re up to no good fiddling in your tent.

–       Survival blankets, those bright silver ones they use at accident scenes, they decrease the oven like tendencies of a tent when you lay it over the roof. You can buy them at most outdoor shops and they aren’t expensive at all. This means you don’t have to wake up at 07:00am feeling like you’ve been baked like a tray of muffins.

–       If you can afford to, get a “festival phone”. You can pick them up at PEP Stores or Ackermans and they cost about R300… they sms and call and have a torch/alarm, that’s it. Their battery life is amazing and one charge might get you 4 days standby time. Leave the beloved iPhone, Galaxy, Blackberry, whatever at home or in the tent. If, however, you can’t live without tweeting/instagramming/facebooking for more than 2 days, then take your phone BUT make sure you have insurance that will cover theft AS WELL AS water damage and general drunken damage.

–       Combination Lock (some people recommend a combination lock for your tent, but I feel like it just shows people that you have something valuable that you need to hide. Rather lock your valuables in a lock box that you wrap up inside your sleeping bag.)

–       Store real valuables in the car (if you can, rather leave your drivers license, cellphone, etc locked in your car or a friends car.)

–       Don’t pitch your tent too close to any loos. Ever. It may seem like it’s more convenient that way, but it really isn’t worth it. Bleh.

–       Wear swimwear/bikini under clothes. Convenient for spontaneous jumps into the dam, and quick drying afterwards :)

–       Write down the cellphone numbers of friends that are at the event, in case your phone goes missing/dies.

–       Know where the spare key for your car is before you leave home, whether it’s at home and someone there would be willing to bring it through if you lost yours…. Or whether you give it to another friend to lock in their own car at the event. Car keys are lost/stolen all the time and car locksmiths are expensive, and for the newer cars, impossible… you’d have to get towed and then have your car taken to the dealer to get a new laser key (which could take weeks and cost you buckets).

9.) Leave The Following Items At Home. Seriously. 

–       Anything you’d miss if you lost/broke it. If you would be upset about something getting stolen or broken at a festival, don’t take it!

–       Your “favourite” anything… sunglasses/underwear/shirt/earrings.

–       Attitude! I don’t want to sound too preachy, but outdoor festivals attract so many different types of people, don’t be a dick about it. Thousands of people are put into a place with little or no personal space for a couple of days, with all their luxuries and home comforts taken away… just try and be a little more understanding, and if you don’t like something, shut up about it. Move on. Walk away.


I wish i was going to be at RTD this year! I would have had all this stuff with me, and i’m cool with sharing. So the onus is on you to make sure you’re prepared, so that you can have the best festival without worrying about anything.

This is obviously written with RTD in mind, but it goes for pretty much every single festival in South Africa and around the world. SO feel free to use this same checklist for; Up The Creek, Ramfest, Synergy, Rezonance, Organik, etc.

PS: If you feel like there’s anything i’ve left off of my list, put it in the comments section and i’ll add it. Thanks.

banner sunset

A Song To Make Love To

This cover turns me on more than i can describe. I honestly believe that Ellie Goulding is my Spirit Animal! Here, she does a sort of sensual vaguely jazz parlour-esque cover of Alt-J’s Tesselate.

Alt-J are coming to South Africa this year, more specifically (and importantly) to ROCKING THE FREAKING DAISIES! I could not have chosen a better place to see them live! *SQUEEEEEEEEE*