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How to pack your car for a festival

Camping at a festival this summer? We’ve put together a festival packing checklist that will ensure your car is organised and ready to go.

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Packing your car for a festival – the essential festival survival kit

Before we start thinking about how we’re going to pack your car up for a festival, we need to figure out what it is you’ll need for your time away.

We’ve split this into three sections, so you’ll know you’re covered for everything festival life might throw at you. 

1. Festival food supplies – fuel yourself and your car

Festival food prices can sometimes be a bit hard to swallow, so bringing along your own essentials is a great way to cut costs and ensure you’ll have something on hand to keep you going.

We recommend options that are easy to store and require minimal or no prep – think protein bars and non-chocolate related treats that won’t end up melting in the heat.

You might also consider some pre-prepared foods like pasta dishes or soups in a flask.  

Our top picks: 

  • Protein or cereal bars 

  • Crisps, nuts, crackers & savoury snacks 

  • Biscuits 

  • Pre-packed pasta salad or sandwiches 

  • Overnight oats 

  • Instant noodles or tinned food (if you have a stove – see if your festival allows)  

Now you’ve thought about yourself, don’t forget to factor in your car’s needs.

If you’re heading out on a long trip to reach your festival destination, it’s a good idea to find petrol stations or EV charging points along the way so you won’t be stuck searching if you're running low. Bonus points for service stations in case you need to pump a tyre or want a rest.  

2. Camping festival essentials to stay as fresh as possible

Unless you’re fancier than the rest of us and have splurged for a more ‘upgraded’ festival experience, the likelihood is you’ll be in short supply of showers for your time away. This can mean you end up a little bit less than fresh and start mourning the loss of warm, running water.

If you’ve got space, grabbing a camping water tank for your car is a great way to have at least some liquids on hand to freshen up, and we also recommend trusty essentials like: 

  • Dry shampoo 

  • (Biodegradable) wet wipes 

  • Mouthwash 

  • Heavy-duty deodorant 

A top tip we’ve always appreciated is packing an extra, empty bag for separating any dirty washing to keep the rest of your clothes fresh. You’ll avoid confusion when looking for your daily outfits, and won’t have to rely on the slightly undignified sniff test.  

For your car, it's a good idea to think about protecting your boot from any mud in case it rains during your trip and your camping supplies get messy. Consider laying a tarpaulin sheet across the bottom of your boot to keep things fresh.

3. Festival must-haves you didn’t know you needed

We’ve covered the basics, and we won’t insult your common sense by really going into detail, but we do also have some extra car essentials in mind that really will smooth out your festival experience, and won’t take up much space in your car.  

  • A real essential is a few, fully charged power banks for your phone, so you won’t be left completely flat after your first day.  

  • You might also benefit from a first aid kit (no major mishaps please!). Plasters, pain killers, and a cream for bites and grazes are all a good bet.  

  • Lastly, we’ve found ourselves lusting after a roll of tape previously at festivals, for outfit and camping gear fixes, and a good size mirror for hair and make-up sessions.  

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How to fit your festival gear into any car with ease

So, you know what you need to pack, but how are you going to do it?

Fitting absolutely everything you need to survive your time at a festival can be a big job, especially if you haven’t got the largest of cars. Don’t stress – you’ll be surprised at how much you can fit inside even the smallest of vehicles with a little bit of forward planning.  

You can get some great organisation systems for the boot of your car at really reasonable prices, and they take a lot of hassle out of keeping your luggage in order.

Having all your essentials bagged up and then sorted into sections so they’re easily accessible and visible will make the process much smoother and will stop items from rolling around en-route. You can also just pick it up and carry it with you, if it seems easier than multiple bags.  

We also recommend getting your hands on a cool box and some ice packs to keep your food and liquids fresh for the whole trip. On the flipside, a flask of hot water will always be appreciated.  

Packing your car for the best driving experience

As you start packing all of your luggage into your car, there are a few things to consider to ensure you’re comfortable for the whole journey.

One thing to really be aware of is how balanced your packing is – have you put all the heavy gear on one side? It’s best to distribute all the weight evenly, utilising the backseat if you have the room and start to feel the boot sitting low and heavy. 

How to move your stuff between your car and the campsite

So, you’ve seen your nan heading to the shops with a rather dashing, floral shopping trolley, but have you considered how handy these might be in a festival scenario?

No, we don’t want you to borrow your poor nan’s and leave her without – you can grab special camping and festival trolleys that will help you transport all your luggage with ease.

You might not care much for it as you arrive, but on the last day when you’re sore, tired, and just want to get home, you’ll be grateful for being able to shove in all your luggage and drag it back to the carpark. These also fold down for easy storage, so you won’t be taking up too much valuable room in your vehicle.  

We recommend starting with the heavy stuff first as you load the car, so you can ensure this is spread throughout the boot and on the backseat if necessary.

You can then move onto the lighter stuff, so it’s not sitting beneath your heavier equipment and getting squashed, and can slot it into gaps around your bulkier items.

Once your boot is full, hop into the driver’s seat and check all of your mirrors. Can you see clearly in all directions? If nothing is blocking your view and the car feels evenly balanced – you’re good to go.  

Packed-up and ready for your festival road trip

Packing to head off to a festival this summer doesn’t need to be a stressful experience and really just requires some planning and forward thinking.

Now you’re ready to go, we’re officially jealous! Just remember, you still need to pack it all up and bring it back home… 

Read more about travelling to festivals: