Rave Essentials: What to Bring With You to a Music Festival or Rave

car packed full for a music festival

The festival experience is an adventure! You’re about to immerse yourself in a wild environment that will shake you from the routines of your daily life—you should be so excited! But you should also definitely be prepared and caught up on what to bring to a music festival. Speaking from experience, there are so many easily overlooked rave essentials you might wish you had once you arrive. Or, you might see something another group brought and think… “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?!” Well, lucky for you, we’ve made every mistake (and every major packing win!) in the book, so you don’t have to. Let us guide you through what we forgot, what came in clutch, and the extensive festival packing lists complete with the unique items you might find yourself wanting.

In this guide, we’ll help you pack for festival life with our lists of rave essentials. And break it down depending on the climates and situations of your particular festival because each one has a different vibe and set of needs. As for what to wear, check out our music festival outfits here to find awesome pieces curated by the festival. As we help you navigate what to bring to a rave or music festival, we’ll aim to strike that perfect balance between preparedness and minimalism. You’ll find that creating the perfect festival packing list takes some creative strategizing. In general, we want to make sure you’re safe, ready, and maximize the opportunity to have an incredible, life-changing experience.

Before sharing our go-to rave essentials with you, here are a couple of general tips to keep in mind:

Packing Starts with Research

Because each festival has slightly different ‘rules’ and criteria, the first answer to what to bring to a music festival is, “It depends.” You’ll want to do a little reading up on what’s allowed and prohibited on festival grounds. Oftentimes, they’ll even offer suggestions on what to bring.

Keep it Manageable

While we advocate maximalist fashion statements, we recommend minimalism in packing. Make room for that killer rave wear by leaving the unnecessary stuff at home. Keep in mind that anything you bring with you—whether away from your campsite or to the event itself (especially for one-day events)---you will be lugging around with you all day. And hey, back at camp, it's tent city! Considering your limited space in the tent, it's wise to keep your belongings light and easy to carry. Simplifying your load will undoubtedly make your festival experience more manageable and enjoyable.

Prioritize Your Protection

Keep a water bottle high on the rave essentials list—hydration is key. And consider your environment when it comes to protecting your ears, eyes, skin, and feet.

Be Kind to the Environment That You’re Visiting

These physical landscapes go through a lot when becoming home to a festival. We like to approach our festival packing lists with the ‘Leave No Trace’ rule in mind. Little switches like biodegradable soap and reusable water bottles make a difference. Also, consider offsetting your carbon footprint, having a recycling plan for your campsite, and not bringing unnecessary packaging with you, as it will be harder to discard on-site.

The Fun Stuff

While planning can feel quite serious, a positive vibe is what makes the rave world so magical. Remember your PLUR: Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. We are impressed and inspired by the generosity of a rave environment every time. So, lean in, bring gifts for friends, bracelets, and fun things to trade. Go all out with your props, embellishments, or anything that steps you out of your ordinary day-to-day to help make the experience exceptional (and even make some friends!).

1. Rave Essentials

Friends with festival wristbands

We’ll start with the list that’s always applicable. These are the absolute basic rave essentials—what to bring to a rave and have readily available no matter where you’re going. Consider that you’ll need to be carrying these items around as you dance and explore. So, having festival outfits with pockets and great hands-free festival bags that match your look will also be important.

Here are some great options we designed for this exact purpose.

  • Tickets/QR code redownloaded/wristband—whatever gets you into the event
  • Phone (set on battery saver and data saver mode at all times)
  • ID
  • Credit card
  • Cash
  • Shoes (and socks) you can dance and walk around in for hours. Comfort and festival fashion occasionally mix here. We love sneakers or worn-in boots because they are incredibly comfortable, but you know your goldilocks. 
    • PRO TIP: Insoles are clutch here too for adding comfort.
  • Earplugs
  • Chapstick (with SPF if it’s a summer event)
  • A reusable water bottle or camelback
  • Sunglasses
  • Hair ties
  • A festival bag with zippered pockets or at least clothing with zippered pockets
  • 1 strand of CR battery-powered, mini LED fairy string lights
  • Ladies: a small pack of tissues (you never know if there will be toilet paper).

2. Winter/Cold Weather

a crowd holding umbrellas at a rainy festival

When the elements add to the challenge of what to bring to a music festival, there are some rave essentials and hacks you’ll want to have on hand. And yes, you should also make sure your rave outfits are up to par with the climate. (We love this trend, too 😉… but we also want you to be comfy). Here is a winter rave wear guide with our best tips on dressing to stay warm. And check out this Cold Weather Rave Outfits collection lovingly curated with pieces that allow you to layer for chilly or rainy festivals while still bringing the heat.

  • Wellies (if it’s going to rain or has been raining up to the event)
  • Wool socks
  • Reusable rain poncho
  • Warm jacket & raincoat depending on the weather
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Extra trash bags for muddy shoes/to sit on

3. Summer/Hot Weather

a summer festival crowd

The same sort of thing applies at the other end of the climate spectrum: in the dry heat of a summer rave, staying cool in crowds under the beaming sun rays goes beyond sun rays. Deeply considering what to bring to a rave or music festival in high temps is also about your safety: this is where protecting your skin and eyes and staying hydrated really comes into play. And when it comes to your looks, you can read up on the best practices for summer music festival outfits here, and check out the Summer Festival Outfits collection for a selection of summer-ready rave clothes created in light, breathable materials. Or, if you’re off to a beach festival this Beach Festival Outfit collection will have the vibes you’re looking for, and our Burning Man collections have you covered for the desert.

  • Sunscreen
  • Scarf/Pashmina/Hat
  • Parasol
  • Electrolytes
  • Swimsuit
  • Personal fan
  • Spray mister
  • For a festival on a lake, bring inflatables and an extra quick dry towel!

4. What to Bring to a Music Festival Where You’re Camping

A field of tent festival camping

So, this is where the rave essentials preparation levels up a notch. We like to walk ourselves through the experience—almost like a little dress rehearsal to ensure we’re maximizing the potential for the best weekend ever. For instance, consider how you get to your campsite: are you parking next to your car, taking a bus or shuttle, and then walking in? This will dictate the bag you pack in—backpacking/trekking backpacks are always a safe bet. If you have to travel far, consider a small wagon, it will make the long walk feel effortless. Another rave essential to keep in mind: bring power banks, and bring them fully charged! Ideally, you’ll have enough mAh for a couple of days to limit trips to the charging stations. In terms of rave outfits on the festival packing list, you want to dress for your festival. We have collections full of pieces specifically for Burning Man, Coachella, EDC, and more. Now, on with the rest of our list:

  • Camping ticket (pass/sticker/QR code)
  • Tent with rain fly & waterproof bottom (double check to make sure you have all of the pieces before you leave home)
  • Tarp—put this inside the tent, not underneath it—otherwise, it will just collect water
  • Mallet for tent stakes
  • Shade
  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Inflatable sleeping pad (opt for a style that doesn’t require a pump)
  • Foam or silicone sleeping earplugs and an eye mask (the party doesn’t sleep— but you may need to!)
  • PJs specific to your climate
  • Flag AND battery-powered string lights (+ extra batteries!!) or some other distinguishing way to identify your tent both day and night time when you’re stumbling home and dying to sleep 
  • Headlamp & batteries
  • Lantern or a second headlamp that you can hang from the top of the tent for light at night.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pain relievers & allergy tablets 
  • Quick dry towel
  • Toiletries: Dr. Bronners or other biodegradable(!) soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, perfume/cologne, painkillers, condoms, tampons, eye drops, contacts/glasses, personal medications, bandages, and dry shampoo may be important rave essentials. Remember to opt for travel-sized options when possible to keep your load lighter.
  • Tiny mirror
  • Biodegradable face wipes and body wipes
  • 1 roll of toilet paper in a resealable plastic bag
  • An outfit for each day/night 
    • PRO TIP: Pre-bag outfits with socks, underwear, and festival accessories to make getting dressed in a tent as painless as possible rather than digging through a pack for the right stuff & potentially forgetting about jewelry or accessories.
  • Extra socks and underwear
  • A festival bag you can comfortably carry around all day
  • Two pairs of shoes so your feet can get a break (see the bit above in rave essentials about shoes)
  • Sarong/pashmina or XL Scarf
  • Body paint/glitter/embellishments/LED accessories/props—anything that helps you get into the spirit!
  • Fully charged power bank & charging cables 
    • PRO TIP: It’s safer to leave your power bank with your name on it charging at a charging station than your phone. Solar-powered power banks are also a good option if it’s a sunny locale.
  • Flip flops/slides to wear to shower/toilet around camp
  • Snacks that don’t require refrigeration, because “hangry” looks good on no one and who’s to say how far you’ll be from food vendors when you’re feeling peckish? 
  • Some Duct tape wound around a pen (you always end up needing both the pen and some kind of fastener)
  • Scissors
  • Jumper cables (If you didn’t drive, then you don’t need this. But, if you did, you will have good karma for lifetimes!)
  • Various sizes of resealable plastic bags
  • Trash bags

5. What to Bring Only if This is Your Thing…

Let’s talk about substances. But first, a note to say: there’s no rule that says you can’t go sober at a rave—it’s a stimulating, serendipitous experience as it is. But certainly, things like drugs, alcohol, cigs, and vapes are a part of the culture. And if you are partaking, we have some more rave essentials for you to keep in mind.

  • Test kit (test everything—it’s just not worth the risk) 
  • Refillable flask 
    • PRO TIP: Bring a tiny funnel to refill
  • Vape cartridges/charger
  • Extra cigarettes and an Altoids tin or small sealable jar to use as a personal ashtray
  • Standing stool/collapsible stool if you have a bad back
  • Yoga mat
  • Hula hoop
  • Cooler with wheels full of ice and canned beverages

6. What to Leave Behind

Finally, in the conversation of what to bring to a rave or music festival comes the all-important question of what NOT to bring. ‘Cause certain things do not belong at a rave; and as we said, complicated, extra stuff will only slow you down. So, here are some things to leave behind…

  • Stilettos 
  • Sentimental items and valuables
  • Pets
  • Glowsticks—Say no to single-use plastic and keep our planet fantastic! They also contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to humans and the environment. Upgrading your glow sticks to LED lights is better for the environment and will last longer.
  • A bad attitude
  • Often, festivals don’t allow glass inside so double-check!

There it is, friends: the ultimate festival packing list! Know that all of this preparation is setting you up for the time of your life. When you’ve maximized the experience, all there is left to do is let go, be present, and enjoy the adventure. Did we miss something? Is there something else you consider to be a rave essential? Did you learn something you’re excited about? We’d love to know your thoughts, so please leave us a note in the comments!

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