Not so long ago, I was telling someone about how much I hate camping. She asked a totally normal question: "When was the last time you went?" I replied, "What? I've never been. Why would I go camping?"
To say that nothing ever appealed to me about camping would be... a fair thing to say. This doesn't mean that I don't like nature. I do! But I like it to serve as a contrast to when I am not in nature and can, like, use a toilet and do fun things like watch TV and order food to my home where my bed is. This article by Kelly Conaboy, "It's Insane That Anyone Goes Camping," is a very accurate and true representation of my feelings. Read it. It's smart and good.
And yet: Next week, I am going to go camping. I am going camping because I am going to the WayHome Arts & Music Festival in Canada (Canada!), and this means that I will be sleeping outdoors in nature. There are aspects of this which really, weirdly, excite me. I like stars and trees and music, and sometimes I like other people and being around them. But there are also aspects of this which scare me. Not the stars, obviously. Or the music. And I guess trees are all right. But it's all the other stuff, like being around so many other people with no escape other than a tent, which will not feature things like a toilet or a TV or Wi-Fi through which to order Thai food. These are all things that scare me. Also: the lack of showers.
In an effort, then, not to be scared, I spoke with some festival camping experts, founding partner of Republic Live (WayHome Music & Arts Festival, Boots & Hearts Festival) Eva Dunford and her daughters Brooke and Rachel, to see if they have any wisdom to offer me, and anyone else who is going to be in the great outdoors this summer—especially those people who think "great outdoors" is something approaching an oxymoron. Here are their tips!
Eva's Festival Camping Tips
1) Don't forget the dry shampoo!: Sometimes the lines for the showers are just too long, and you can't risk missing the next-big-thing playing the first set of the day; dry shampoo to the rescue.
2) Pack light and layers: When you're packing for a festival, you've got to keep comfort in mind. But whether it's your favorite pair of vintage jean shorts or your go-to summer crop top, don't forget to bring layers. I like to carry a light windbreaker that can be folded up small into a backpack for unexpected summer showers.
3) Invest in a portable phone charger: There's nothing worse than your phone dying in the middle of a set. Get yourself a portable phone charger before the fest to make sure you stay connected and don't miss that once-in-a-lifetime snap.
4) Set check-in times with friends: So you've got your extra phone charger, but your friends forgot to pick one up. Don't risk losing your spot at the front of the stage trying to locate your crew. Set meeting places and times throughout the festival; we have a ton of unique installations throughout the grounds that are impossible to miss, including our field of flags designed by Angus Watt.
5) Stay safe from the sun: It gets hot out there when you're checking out your favorite bands, and risking a sunburn is just not worth it. Keep the sunscreen slathered, and take your outfit game to the next level with a cute hat and trendsetting sunglasses. And always: Drink lots of water!
Brooke and Rachel's Camping Must-haves
1) Hair elastics: That's a big one for anyone with long hair that is bound to get dirty. French braids on the last day are your best friend!
2) Sunglasses: A fun pair of cheap sunglasses is something I always go out and grab before camping. They complete an outfit and are essential during the day.
3) Cleansing face cloths: We need these always, but especially at the end of every day or the morning. They totally refresh you. And don’t just save it for your face. Use it on your arms and legs for sunscreen removal and post-sweaty dance parties. They'll have you feeling fresh for the whole time you're there.
4) Ear plugs: The party never really stops in the campgrounds, so it's always safe to bring your own ear plugs to ensure you can rest at any time of the day or night for some much-needed beauty sleep.
5) Comfy shoes: Worry less about your favorite sandals or coolest pair of shoes and go for comfort—just know they’re going to get dirty. Converse are our fave options.