Spending The Night At A Music Festival Taught Me Pro Tips For Camping IRL

Courtesy of Amanda Fama

I was 18 years old when I went to my first camping music festival — and before that, I had never gone camping before. Back then, my friend and I were pretty inexperienced in the realm of camping, so we drove to Firefly Music Festival in Delaware with a folded tent and a packed cooler. Sure, we were a *tad* unprepared, but we still had a great time. Fast forward to 2019, and I feel like an expert now. To help other nature lovers, I created this list of camping tips I learned at a music festival. If I had it back then, I'm sure it would've helped.

I put my list together after Firefly Music Festival 2019, which featured artists like Panic! at the Disco, Travis Scott, Post Malone, and more. This year's event was a little bit different, though. Instead of packing my own tent and pitching it with the other campers, I tried the festival's "Elevated Camping" package, which provided elevated tents that were already set up upon arrival. It was convenient, to say the least.

Don't get me wrong, though: Whenever I attended Firefly in the past, I always brought my own tent and pitched it with everyone else. Thanks to those experiences (and my time in the Elevated Camping area), I was able to solidify my list of camping tips. Hopefully, it helps you out during your next camping excursion — whether you're at a festival or in the woods this summer.

Do your research on the campsite

Regardless of where you're going camping, make sure you do some research on whichever campsite you'll be sleeping in. You'll want to know exactly how much space you'll have, whether or not you'll have room to park your car near your tent, and if there are bathrooms nearby. Once you know what your designated site includes, you'll be able to start planning.

Create a checklist of essentials

In my opinion, the best way to start planning is to create a checklist of essentials. I'm talking about bug spray, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and water bottles. Remember: You're going to be outside at your campsite, which means you'll be chilling with the bugs who also live outside at your campsite.

Chances are high you won't have running water, either, so it's best to pack tons of water bottles or jugs. Between staying hydrated and brushing your teeth, you're going to need 'em.

Pack cool clothes

Let's face it: There's a good chance you're going to be camping in the midst of spring or summer. If that's the case, you're going to want to bring cool clothes to romp around your campsite in. You'll also want to bring light pajamas, because waking up in a tent that's been basking in the sun all morning is a sweaty experience.

When I say "cool clothes," I mean undies, too (c'mon everyone has 'em). Wearing the right underwear can make a huge difference when you're hanging out in the sun all day — and if you're on the lookout for a comfy pair, check out Fruit of the Loom's Breathable line. The collection — which is available for both men and women — is made with micro-mesh and cotton-mesh fabrics that make it possible for your undies to breath. Thanks to that air flow, the underwear keeps you cool. (Trust me, it works.)

Courtesy of Fruit of the Loom
Prepare a cooler with water and snacks

Speaking of staying cool, you're definitely going to want to pack a cooler for your stay at the campsite. You can throw things like water, cold brew coffee, and energy drinks into it so you always have a cold beverage at hand. If you're at least 21 years old — and if your campsite allows it — you can also throw some beers in there.

In addition to drinks, you can pack some snacks in the cooler (I like to keep fruit in mine.) However, you should also bring food that doesn't need to be refrigerated. Some go-to's that I usually pack include energy bars (for breakfast), peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and trail mix.

Gather your showering essentials

Whether you're camping at a festival or on a campsite in the middle of the woods, the "showering" situation can be hit or miss. Sometimes, sites will provide showering services for an additional cost — and other times, you're on your own.

If your campsite doesn't provide showers, you can always bring a portable camping shower with you. But if it does provide them, you'll want to bring a pair of old flip-flops to bring into the shower itself (just trust me on this one). You'll also want to make sure you have a waterproof bag full of toiletries and a towel to dry off with.

Practice pitching your tent

This might sound silly, but you'll want to practice pitching your tent before you leave for the camping trip (especially if you've never done it before). That way, you'll be a total pro once you get to the campsite, and you'll know what kind of tools you need to set it up with.

Decorate your tent when it's up
Courtesy of Amanda Fama

Once you're at the campground and your tent is ready to go, you might want to decorate it. This isn't just for looks, though. By decorating your tent with a unique flag, tapestry, or string lights, you'll be able to find it amongst the sea of other tents (if you're camping with a bunch of other people, that is).

As someone who's gotten lost in the dark amongst hundreds of other campers, I know how important it is to make your tent recognizable amongst the rest.

Have a garbage bag at your site

Garbage bags aren't glamorous, but they're essential. You'll definitely want to prop one open near your tent so you have a spot to throw away your trash, because it'll pile up quick.

Keep a first aid kit in your tent

Sure, there's a high chance that whichever campsite you're staying at has an emergency medical site available to campers. Still, it's good to have the essentials in your tent, like Band-Aids and Neosporin.

Carry toilet paper with you

IMHO, toilet paper is your best friend when you're camping — especially if porta-potties are the "bathrooms" at your campsite. After a few days of use, there's a high chance that a few of 'em will be lacking TP. Therefore, you'll want to have your own with you.

Make sure your light source is charged

Since you'll probably be outside without a power source, you'll want to have a designated lantern or flashlight for the campsite. With that being said, you'll also want to make sure it's charged — so bring some extra batteries with you.

Put down a tarp if it's muddy

Camping can get messy, especially after it rains. To prevent muddy sheets inside your tent, put a tarp down at your tent's entrance. Then, you won't be tracking a ton of mud into your sleeping space after a muddy day in the wilderness.

Set up a canopy for shade
Courtesy of Amanda Fama

Canopies are pretty much essential if you're camping in the summertime, because you're always going to want a shady space to escape the sun in (whether you're hiking up a mountain or walking around a concert).

Keep your car keys in a safe spot

If you keep your car next to your tent at the campground, chances are high that you'll be using it to charge your cell phone from time to time. Since you'll be in and out of it, keep your keys in a safe place.

Make your tent comfortable
Courtesy of Amanda Fama

Your tent is your home away from home, and you'll want to make sure it's comfy. Bring your favorite sleeping bag, some sheets, and a pillow. You'll want to get a good night sleep so you can recharge for the next day in the sun.

Bring a speaker and make some friends

This "tip" is just for fun, but it's super useful. If you're planning on hanging out at your campsite with other campers, you might want to listen to music and hang out with everyone around you. To make it happen, you can bring a portable speaker and some outdoor games.

Hopefully these tips help you out when you're preparing for your next camping trip, whether you're heading the mountains or music festival. As always, stay safe, have fun, and bring an instant camera for the memories.