Festival essentials: making your festival camping sustainable

When you hear "festival essentials" do you think about costumes or tent pegs? There are three types of campers at a festival: first is the I’ll-figure-it-out-when-I-get-there; second is the I-packed-two-extra-tents...just-in-case; and third, that's just the rest of us.

Let that first person go. Let them walk into the sunset on the first night and accept that you may not see them again. They are no help to you. It's up to you to make a home in a field that won't add a second storey to the Great Pacific garbage patch. 

Create a home, not a recycling centre

A tent that will withstand the summer sun is important, as is a blow-up mattress that won't suddenly explode come 3a.m, but how do you become that camping site which, like a flame to a mosquito, is so inviting that it distracts everyone from ever actually getting down to the stage? 

Let's look at your tent. According to research done by Green Music Australia, a third of festival attendees are happy to see their new tent go straight to waste the day after the festival ends. This is because it is so easy to get a tent for under $30, one that will barely stand up for the entire weekend and one that may have questionable manufacturing standards behind its cheap price. 

Investing in a quality tent or borrowing one from a friend helps to not only provide you with a good night's sleep but combats the throw-away mentality that has become a major problem in festivals (55 per cent of respondents in the same survey believed it wasn't their responsibility to clean up after themselves).

Green Music Australia also found that 50 per cent of the garbage generated in a festival comes directly from the campsite. Good quality camping furniture and reusable crockery will change your relationship with your festival campsite, and are key festival essentials for those who want to enjoy the experience sustainably. 

Once you have the planet sorted, then it's time to construct a ridiculous 15-foot mascot that can be seen from space and will be a beacon come early morning. 

Festival grounds covered in trash

Antarctic winds don't mean a thing

Festival season is all about expressing yourself – but sometimes that paper-thin zebra onesie doesn’t seem like such an awesome idea once the temperature drops into the single digits and the mud begins to creep up your ankles. Don’t throw the zebra onesie away…just accessorise.

You’ll need a pair of gumboots – but take it from us, they might be enough to keep you dry, but they won’t keep your feet warm. A pair of good quality boots for those early mornings and dinner runs and some quality socks in a toasty fabric like merino will do you wonders. They are antimicrobial. This means fewer smells. This means we all get along better on the drive home. 

A zebra onesie also takes on a more sinister vibe when temperatures plummit and your skin begins to look similar to a recently plucked goose. Make sure you throw a waterproof and warm jacket in your kit, not for the moshpit, but for that 5a.m call of nature.

We might as well throw in a mention of our awesome REPREVE fabric – made from recycled plastic bottles. That way you’re keeping yourself warm and helping to keep the good karma flowing. 

If you’re planning a festival in high summer, remember that zebras also have white stripes too – so slip slop slap with sunscreen, a pair of shades and a hat. We’re loving the TOMS sunglasses – not only are they a perfect addition to your festival essentials, they come with a side of warm and fuzzy: your purchase will help give sight back to a person in need through prescription glasses, medical treatment or surgery. This initiative has already restored sight to more than 5,000 people.

People playing cards infront of  campervan at night

Reducing plastic each day

Festival essentials are one thing, but are there ways you can reduce the amount of plastic you produce over a three-day festival? 

You have paid so much so far, why not add a little more for your food? Seek out the food trucks that don't dole out their food in plastic containers with plastic forks and favour them with your business over the weekend. These guys pay a fortune to be involved in the festival and their margins can be slim, so support them by limiting how much plastic-covered food you bring in to the festival. 

Staying clean at a festival is another headache. Basically, just say no to wet wipes. Most of them contain plastic and are not biodegradable, instead, causing havoc to marine life once they enter our oceans. When did we all forget that we had towels? Wet a towel with some water and use this to stay fresh. 

Solar lights are one thing, but solar lights that charge your phone? Gone are the days of just accepting that you will never see your best friend for the rest of the weekend. While we're on lighting, candles and torches are one of those festival essentials that are easily forgotten, but on a still night can make your campsite as cozy as the Survivor elimination circle. 

Festival essentials: checklist

Now that we’ve thrown a few great ideas your way about essential festival gear for the festival camping pro, it’s time for the all-important list. After all, the most important thing on your mind right now is whether any of your favourite acts are subject to those much-feared line-up clashes…

Here is our perfect festival essentials list, so you don’t forget a single thing.

Campsite setup essentials:

  • Tents, hammer, mallet
  • Mattress and pump
  • Pillows and blankets
  • Tarps/ gazebos
  • Table, chairs and mats
  • Light/ torches / lanterns
  • Campsite landmark / flag
  • Esky
  • Drinks, food and snacks
  • Mugs, plates and bowls
  • Portable speaker
  • Mirror


  • Gumboots
  • Comfortable footwear
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm jumpers
  • Thick socks
  • Jeans, t-shirts, shorts, pants
  • Sunhat/ beanie / sunglasses
  • Swimwear (useful for outdoor showers)

Festival essentials:

  • Ticket
  • Festival map
  • ID/ credit cash/ cash
  • Phone + portable charger
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Painkillers
  • Toiletries

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