Rooster’s guide to festival camping gear — everything you need to caravan in style, now that music festivals are finally back
Music festivals are back online! So how’s your camping-gear-game?
This summer is going to be a hot one. Not just because of climate change and rising temperatures across the globe, but also, because this summer (hopefully) represents the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and this year and half of quarantined madness. Masks are falling by the wayside, occupancy limits are returning to normal, bars and clubs are opening up again, live music is coming back and perhaps most excitingly, music festivals are back on the schedule.
Just in the next few months, there will be Global Dance Festival, Rockygrass Festival, Bass Canyon, Backwoods Music Festival, Deep Tropics, Telluride Blues and Brews, Beyond Wonderland, Bonnaroo and many others.
People are excited to get out, mingle, dance, party and camp. Tickets and campsite spots are selling out quickly. Which means it’s time to line up a road-trip, dust off your festival gear and upgrade the camping set-up! It’s been a long year and now that festival season is upon us once more, you’re going to want to bring your A-game.
That’s why we’ve assembled this list. After extensive research in and out of the field, many discussions and long hours spent seeking out the raddest and most functional festival gear on the market, we’ve compiled this short-list of the most essential non-essentials for festival camping in style.
- MoonShade by MoonFab
Top of the list, is MoonFab’s MoonShade. One of the most essential items in any festival goers campsite is always the shade structure. Otherwise, you’ll spend your mornings and early afternoons frying under the sun like an over-easy egg — and by the time the music starts, you’re drained, zapped of energy and already ready for bed.
Shade structures solve that problem. But, they are often bulky, hard to pack, awkward to set up and a massive wind liability. Or sometimes, they’re just a cheap tapestries tied with shoelaces between cars. Either way, they can be a bit of a pain.
However, the Moonshade totally circumvents all of those issues. Engineered by MoonFab, the Moonshade has been fine-tuned to be the lightest weight, most compact, easily assembled shade structure you’ll see in any festival campground between Coachella and Bonnaroo.
The Moonshade attaches directly to the top of your vehicle and extends out to create a 9’x7’ site. It’s made of extremely durable, water resistant material, and packs down into a small shoulder-slung bag. In total: it weighs a mere 8 pounds, and can easily fit under a bed, in a drawer, closet or on a shelf. And the set-up is so easy, it doesn’t matter what kind of night you might have had — you’ll be able to get your Moonshade up in the morning, regardless of how scattered your brain might feel.
With one of these rigged up at your campsite, you’ll be the talk of the tent town. Not to mention, you’ll be comfortably shaded, protected from rain or shine, and fresh for the night ahead of you.
- DemerBox ‘Indestructible’ Speakers
Camping can be a rough ordeal. Particularly camping at a music festivals, where beer is often spilled, objects are often knocked over and just about anything is libel to be broken.
Except, that is, the DemerBox waterproof, crushproof, portable Bluetooth speakers. These puppies were designed to be used and abused. Made from Pelican cases, the batteries on Demerboxes last an astounding 40 hours — which means you can blast tunes the entire time you’re at your site, all weekend long, without fear of running out of power.
Oh, and the sound quality is killer, also. These things get LOUD, without getting scratchy. They play clear music, on max volume without issue. And if they don’t — if they ever break or malfunction — you can send them back to Demerbox and they’ll fix the problem for you. They want these speakers to last forever and they’ll help you accomplish that if need be.
That’s why they’re perfect for the festival life: good sound, durable, abuse-proof, and fixable. What more could you want from a campground speaker?
- Galaxy Lamp Galaxy Projector 2.0
You might not always be able to see the stars where you’re camping, but you can always bring them with you.
You’ve probably seen a lot of the basic laser lights, that project green and red rotating dots onto any surface you shine them on. But Galaxy Lamp’s Galaxy Projector 2.0 takes that to the next level. Not only do these lamps project rotating dots, but they also cast pink and blue nebulae as well, giving the magical illusion of deep space.
Set a Galaxy Lamp up under your MoonFab MoonShade, and you’ll have a wildly cosmic, personal planetarium to return to after the show.
- Igloo Tailmate Journey
Yeah you can get by with your basic $35 cooler from Walmart. But if you’ve made it this far down the list you’ve realized that these aren’t the cheapest festival gear options on the market — they’re the best. And sometimes you have to pay a premium to have the hottest, most outfitted campsite in the entire festival.
In that spirit, we present to you, the Igloo Tailmate Journey: the pinnacle of over-engineered all-terrain cooler tech. This thing has off-road rubber treaded wheels, cup holders, mesh storage bags, a food basket, bottle openers, an extendable pull handle, a “butler tray” for drink or food prep and even a cell-phone holder. This ain’t your grandpappy’s cooler — the Tailmate is a modern vertex of unnecessary but useful and interesting features.
Best of all it can hold up to 112 beer cans and can keep them ice cold for up to 4 days.
- The Kelty Loveseat
It doesn’t matter whether you’re single or taken, Kelty's loveseat is a wildly useful and comfortable amenity to bring along with you to a music festival camp site. It’s like having your own personal couch. It sits low to the ground, it’s extremely ergonomic, has a double cupholder on both sides, and is made with a steel frame and 600 polyester body fabric.
So, cozy on up to your significant other, your dog, or offer the extra seat to the newfound love interest you just invited back to your campsite.
Or save all that room for yourself, sit back, relax and enjoy all the love this seat has to offer, all to yourself.
- The Pulsar Rugged Indestructable Pipes (RIP)
Often times, festival camp grounds won’t allow glass of any kind inside. Which is probably for the best — shards of broken bottles, pipes or bongs are never a welcome obstacle when you’re just trying to enjoy a weekend of live music and camp festivities.
Many liquor, beer and seltzer options come in cans or plastic bottles — but what are the cannabis users out there supposed to do? Roll joints the whole time??
Thanks to Pulsar, that’s not necessary. Pulsar makes indestructible silicon pipes — from bongs to steamrollers and dab rigs — all part of their RIP series of pipes. For a festival, where glass is often prohibited, and almost always a liability, a silicon piece is a game changer.
- Goal Zero Nomad Portable Solar Charger
Cell phones are a life-line at any festival. They’re the only reasonable way of finding your people in crowds and between stages, they’re your camera, and your flashlight (to hold up during all those Kumbaya songs). It’s an essential piece of gear — and one that’s totally useless without a means of charging it.
And what means could possibly be better and more reliable for charging than the sun?
Goal Zero makes a line of portable solar panel chargers that are light, compact and durable, called the Nomad series. They come in 5, 10, 20, and 50 watt sizes depending on your energy needs. Lay a Goal Zero solar panel out in direct sunlight, and plug in your cell phone (or whatever you’re trying to charge) and sit back and let the monocrystalline panels do their thing.
Goal Zero’s other products are all fire for festivals as well. They make solar paneled string lights that can be hung from a structure like the MoonFab MoonShade easily, and brighten up a campsite like a home patio. They also make flashlights, lanterns and more — all solely solar powered.