The IN staff is no stranger to music fests. Jazz Fest, Coachella, Bonaroo and, of course, Hangout Fest since it started—we’ve done it all. After 10 plus years of festing in scorching hot climates, we think we’ve finally got it down enough to consider ourselves “pros.” Here are a few festival staples we’ve learned to keep in our bags—in addition to sunscreen, sunglasses and a water bottle, of course. Those are non-negotiable.
A light-weight scarf in cotton or another natural fiber
Unfolded natural fiber scarves let in more of a breeze when you are inevitably shielding your skin from the sun beneath them, and they dry out faster. Scarves are also good to wet at a water station to help cool you down. Plus, they are a sassy accessory for men and women alike. So, quadruple points for functionality and general greatness.
For cleaning hands after a Port-a-Potty stop or before chowing down on festival food. Wipes can also double as TP in a bind or as a sunscreen remover when the sun goes down. Most travel sections of pharmacies have packets small enough to carry around in your fest bag.
Plastic sandwich bags
If you’ve ever had a beverage leak on your new camera or a tube of sunblock pop in your fest bag, you no doubt understand this one. Isolating liquids and/or electronics in their own baggy is a good thing. You can also use empty baggies to squirrel away leftover fest food for later, or as mini garbage bags for all those used wet wipes if there is no trash bin nearby.
Lip balm with an SPF
Because few things look and feel as bad as sunburned, peeling lips—except having to go out in the sun with them for two more days.
I know, I know—it sounds terribly uncool. But trust me, by day three they’ll be your best friend. Especially if you like to hangout in the Boom Boom Tent.
A straw hat
Since umbrellas are a no-no and shade is hard to come by near main stages, a straw hat is your best bet for protecting your face from the sun. Throwing on a hat also means not having to deal with your hair, so it’s a win-win in our book.
A lot people think “chafing” when they hear baby powder. While we don’t deny its usefulness in that capacity, it’s on our Hangout packing list for another reason—getting sand off. Apply a little bit of baby powder to dry skin and the sand just falls right off. It’s almost like magic.
A few ‘just in case’ band-aids
Even though you aren’t going to have your shoes or sandals on for most of the day, you still might get a blister. Better safe than sorry, right?
Portable phone charger
In past years, outlets have been pretty hard to come by and we’ve never seen a public charging station, so if you’re lucky to have your phone work inside the festival grounds you are probably going to want some backup juice.
An actual schedule and map of some kind
We know there’s an app for that but again if you’re lucky enough to have your phone actually get reception in the crowd, you aren’t going to want to waste your precious battery life checking an app.