The Things I Learned About Festival Camping
Ray and I went camping at Lightning in a Bottle about a month ago, and it was an indescribable feeling to say the least. It was our first time camping ever. I mean we’ve never gone camping at all, and our friend encouraged us to do so at LiB. Doing new things is always an adventure and thinking about that weekend makes me smile! How awesome was it? Well as soon as we got home, we wanted to pitch the tent back up and sleep in it!
Here are some tips we learned for festival camping:
Pick a Flag to Camp Next to – We got to the festival late Thursday night. We were tired from the 6 hour drive, but we had to build our home. We walked up the little hill, pitched our tent (easier than I thought!), then walked back down to the porta potties, toilet paper in hand. When we walked back up to finally sleep, we had a hard time finding our tent! A funny adventure on our first night! When we found our tent, we realized that one of our neighbors pitched a black pirate flag high up near us. This became our landmark, and we never lost our little home from then on! Find one a landmark and pitch your tent next to it! Also, remember that your neighborhood will change throughout the weekend. People will come and go and you might find a big tent in front of yours one day. Just remember that your tent is around that pirate flag, and you won’t have a problem! Hopefully, the flag doesn’t leave!
Camp by a Tree – Depending on where you’re camping, it could be terribly hot during the daytime. We were inexperienced at LiB, so we didn’t camp by a tree and had to cover our tent with sarongs and towels in the morning. You’ll be partying all night and taking naps during the day. When the sun hits, the little tent windows might not be big enough for the breeze to cool off your festival home. Park where you think there will be shade. You’ll thank yourself later! This could also work as your landmark. Bam! Two birds, one stone.
You can sleep diagonally – Depending on how lucky you get, you might have to camp on a hill. No worries. It’s really not so bad! You can sleep diagonally! You might wanna think about which direction you want to face your door. Do you wanna fall into your tent or climb up into it? Do you wanna climb out of it or fall out of it? We didn’t think it through and faced our door upwards. We would step downwards to get into our tent and climb up out of it. This wasn’t a big deal, but it all depends on your comfort level. Also, we slept sideways the first night, and we felt like we were falling down the hill sideways while sleeping. We learned to sleep with our heads up on the hill and feet going downwards. This was way more comfortable!
Make your “bed” comfortable – It took us a couple of days to have a completely comfortable sleeping condition. The first night, we only unwrapped our sleeping bags and slept in it. The second day, Ray went ahead and hammered down the tiny little rocks under our tent. No more rocks poking our backs! By the third day, we used our yoga mats! Why didn’t we think of that? We unrolled our yoga mats THEN put our sleeping bags on top of it! Now, it’s perfect!
McGyver Your Lightsource – We hung a bike light on our tent’s ceiling and covered it with a camera diffuser. The light wasn’t just shining in one area of the tent, it lit up the entire tent! Made it easier to find things at night especially when everything is packed into one corner. Thanks to Ray’s photography skills, he learned how light works and the diffuser saved us time and headache.
Bring Layers of Clothing – This really depends on the weather of your camping location. Lightning in a Bottle is in California next to a beautiful lake, so the weather was hot and cold all throughout the day, but mostly freezing at night. Bring layers of comfortable clothing since you’ll be nice and warm for yoga in the morning, but cold for partying at night. Check out my tips on surviving the winter for ideas on what to bring.
Bring Fun Party Gear and Makeup – My focus was to pack lightly since we were already bringing a lot of camping gear. I regretted not bringing colorful makeup and fun clothing and accessories! What’s party gear, you ask? Fur anything, colorful fishnets, feather anything, headpieces, wacky accessories, etc etc. We did bring our ElectroFur hoodies and one colorful outfit, but I wished I brought more. Try thinking about different kinds of face makeup since you’ll be seeing a ton of well-decorated, smiling faces. This tip is for both men and women who love partying!
Expect to Walk a Lot – Ray and I are Burning Man trained so we know how it feels to bike everywhere. The problem was, we didn’t bring bikes at LiB where there was a hill to climb every day. Because of walking around Europe, this wasn’t a big problem for us, but we did get tired on Saturday night and cut the night early. There will be a lot of things to do at these types of festivals, so if you’re walking around during the day, expect to be pretty tired at night. We did yoga, took a hoop class, and walked every where to take photos on Saturday. Because of all the fun we were having, we didn’t realize how tired we were until we were passing out during the Glitch Mob’s set that night. Is that even possible? It was pretty bad. Lesson learned! We took a long nap on Sunday to make sure we were there for Bassnectar that night.
Vendor Food Can Become Pricey – Like I said, this was our first time camping so knowing how to deal with food wasn’t our expertise. We brought sandwiches for the first day and snacks to last us for the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get a camping stove, so we smelled our neighbors’ bacon in the morning and made us drool! We figured we would just buy food from the vendors not realizing that the festival had mostly vegan food. I have nothing against vegan food, but with all the walking around, we became hungry every couple of hours and the food became pricey. Make friends with your neighbors, and they’ll happily share their food. Just make sure you have something to gift back to show your gratitude. Or you can plan your food better for the rest of the weekend.
Wet wipes, toilet paper, and a flashlight – These three items saved our lives. We brought our own toilet paper to use in case the porta potties ran out. The flashlight helped us look into the porta potties before getting in to avoid encountering any offensive bodily fluids. The wet wipes were used for our “shower” and helped me psychologically get over the dirtiness of the entire weekend. LiB also provided the Oasis portable shower. They were actually pretty amazing and relaxing! The only problem was, I decided to line up for the shower on Sunday morning. It might’ve been the busiest day to shower since we waited 2 hours for it! Plan better if you’re planning on using the showers. It might be less busy during the night time.
Camping at Lightning in a Bottle was definitely an amazing experience. It’s easy to make friends and hearing everyone celebrate the sunset together is always relaxing. When your neighbor says, “Hey, want a watermelon?” you’d be dumb to say no. Be prepared and enjoy your time camping!
Any of you pro campers have tips for us? This won’t be our last time, so anything would help! Share them in comments below!
Sneak Peek of Lightning in a Bottle by nighttime. It’s no wonder people howl every time the sun is seen setting behind the beautiful mountains. Okay, they don’t just howl…they mooooo, they caw caw, they clap, etc. We joined in on the fun. It’s nature’s sign that daytime is ending and the mayhem is just about to begin.
The DoLab Event Creations, in charge of designing LiB, specializes in lighting, so the nighttime artwork at LiB was out of this world. See more of it in our upcoming article!
‘Til next adventure!
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