It's finally festie season, our favourite time of year. You get to dress up, chill out, party and enjoy the sunshine and awesome tunes with your mates - what more could you ask for really?
If you're heading to one of the many camping festies around the country over New Years and beyond, we've got some tips and tricks for you to make sure you have the best time possible. Aside from the obvious point of having a good crew, here's our best advice:
What should I bring?
Let's start with some of the toiletries you might forget. We hate to sound like your mum but SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN. Our NZ sun is dangerous, and if you're going to be sitting/dancing out in it all day you want to protect yourself. Make sure you take at least SPF30, and reapply every few hours. A good chapstick with SPF is also an essential, especially because you're likely to be dehydrated.
You'll also want to bring along some wet-wipes - perf for getting back to your tent covered in mud and the showers don't open til the next morning. You may even just want to skip showers altogether (the queues are sometimes too much to handle on a hangover), so wet-wipes will be your best mate. Alongside some deodorant of course. Some bandaids won't go amiss either, to avoid or help any nasty blisters on your heels from all that partying.
Meds wise, obviously bring any medication you need, but also some Panadol to combat those sore heads in the morning. If you think you might be lacking on sleep (likely, lets be honest), packing some No Doz caffeine pills can be a life-saver to boost your energy levels.
We won't go through all the obvious ones because you should really know how to dress yourself by now. But we will say it's a good idea to keep a warm hoodie or jumper in your tent to sleep in - don't take it out of the tent or wear it out to the festival because it might get wet or dirty. You want to have at least one warm clean thing to comfort you in your misery. On that note, spare socks will never go amiss - it can get cold at night and your feet are likely to get muddy and/or wet at the festival.
Speaking of rain, ponchos are an absolute packing essential. You'd be pretty bloody lucky to get a festie completely clear of rain, so why not pack for the worst. Clear plastic ponchos can save you from the rain while still showing off your outfit - ideal.
In terms of accessories, we highly, highly recommend a cool hat - to keep your scalp protected from the harsh sun obv - as well as a fanny pack. Both items can help add to your festie look, while also being super practical. Fanny packs are ideal for making sure you keep all your essentials safely on you - phone, money if you need it, chapstick, gum, etc.
We also definitely reckon a pair of jandals is a must - you don't want to go barefoot in those grotty campground showers, god knows what's been in there.
In terms of a tent, go for a larger tent than it says on the pack - if it's just for you, go for a 3 person, if it's for you and a mate/partner, go for a 4 person. This leaves ya enough room for all your gear and a comfortable sleeping arrangement. Also, make sure it's waterproof! Some of those cheap Kmart ones won't cut it unfortunately, unless you want to be very damp if the weather packs in.
You'll also want to bring an air mattress for the most comfortable sleep, rather than one of those little foam ones. Then just a sleeping bag and you're sorted.
Outside the tent, it's always good to set up a little home-base with your group of mates. So putting all your tents close to each other with a middle area with a camp table and camp chairs is the way to go. Bring along a gazebo for shade, or even some tarpaulins and string to tie up and create your own shelter - this will be especially easy for you Rhythm and Viners, because you can just tie it to the vines!
Another MUST is a chilly bin, essential for keeping your drinks and food chilled. One on wheels can be especially helpful in carrying all your stuff to the campground - some of the walks can be pretty long. The tarps can come in handy here too - a tip we've picked up is pilling all your stuff into the tarp, grabbing all the ends and dragging it. Makes life a little easier rather than making a few trips back and forth.
A power bank is so incredibly valuable at a festival. If you have one that can do multiple charges of a device, you can keep your phone juiced up for the few days no worries - necessary with all the pics you'll be taking, and all the frantic "where u?" messages you'll be sending. Most campgrounds will offer phone charging for about $6 - $10, but if you want to save your dollars as well as your time and hassle of having to wait for it to charge, bring along your power bank. You won't regret it.
Another essential is an empty plastic water bottle. There will be water filling stations around campgrounds where you can fill it up and stay hydrated, without having to spend a million dollars on a bottle from one of the food vendors.
Plastic bags will also be super helpful for you, especially if it's muddy or wet. You can store away any dirty or wet clothes in them and stop the rest of your stuff from getting wrecked.
Where should I camp?
Getting a good camp spot can sometimes be a gamble, but you can definitely help your case. We recommend showing up early so you get a better choice of spot. You'll want to pick somewhere that's not too close to the action, but also not too far of a walk. You don't want to be on a main path, because this will inevitably lead to drunken wanderers heading past every night, which can both be noisy and destructive. Try and get somewhere that won't be too hard to get back to at night though, and reasonably close to the toilets so you don't have to go far for a wee. Make sure you take note of a landmark near your campground as well, so you can find your way back no matter what state you're in. Either count the rows, remember a specific sign, or even look for a particularly noticeable group or campground close by.
What should I eat?
We know it can be difficult to keep to a regular eating schedule, what with the heat, hangovers and just so much going on. But if there's one piece of advice we'll give it's this: make sure you eat at least one substantial meal per day. You'll need the energy to sustain all the dancing, and your body will thank you for it. There are always heaps of food trucks on site at every festival with pretty much anything you could possibly want, or if you're wanting to go a bit cheaper, a trip into town to the supermarket is another option - the old chicken and coleslaw bread rolls is a classic.
Remember it's going to (hopefully) be pretty hot, so you want to bring some snacks that aren't going to melt or get sweaty in the sun. Some good options are corn chips and jarred salsa, tuna and crackers, a good ol' packet of Shapes, apples to keep those sugar levels up, and if you've got a real sweet tooth some lollies are great for a bit of a pick-me-up.
Have a happy and safe summer campers!