It is that time of year again, as Spring rolls in and all those festival line-ups start popping up, the new year brings demand for new ways to keep ourselves fresh and spiffy while enjoying our favorite events. As it is, being a lady comes with a lot of maintenance already, without the inclusion of a festival and the survival that comes with being there. While the guys may be okay for days without showers and no need for keeping cute (there is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best always), us females have a lot more to lose if we do not watch for dirt and grime towards our special bits...(insert skeevy eye roll).
Working from my own experience as a female and the multitude of festivals I have attended, spanning from a few hours to almost five days, I have gathered this year's bare essentials for surviving a typical festival (minus the camp gear, that is for another day). The way I choose my essentials is based on compatibility, necessity, and affordability.
As someone who likes to have the bare amount on her, I prefer items that are light and take up a small space. I try to limit myself to caring things that are necessary to my hygiene and protects me from the elements versus stuffing a backpack of cute crap that does nothing in the end. Lastly, I am the first one to agree that when it comes down to it, the cheaper the better in regards to getting stuff for festivals because quite frankly stuff breaks and you just want a disposable version. However, there are items that I would splurge over $10 only because it can be a once every year purchase rather than every festival.
Getting down to it, here is my Girlfriends' Guide to Summer Festival Essentials:
Sunglasses are more than just for looking cute, they're also important for protecting your eyes while you are running around in the sun and though we make fun of the whole, shades at night trend, there is something to wearing them to keep your corneas from being nearly blinded by epileptic strobes from the stage. I mean, I am all for productions, but there are times where I dance backward 'cause my eyes are practically incinerated by them. My two favorite brands to bring (and I always carry two) are:
Blender Eyewear - $25 - $45
Blender Eyewear has a great selection of brand-like style shades for a fraction of the cost. They're pricier than your general store sunglasses, but most of their lens have UV protective coating, amazing lens colors and a durable frame that outlasts a multitude of festival hopping. Especially considering we always just toss them into our back and you can find some sweet deals in their sale section.
Rainbow OPTX - $29.97
Rainbow OPTX's entire sell is that they have specific colored lens shades within their five different frame styles that help enhance the seven different chakras when the sunlight passes through them. Whether it is true or not, it does not change the fact that I have three different kinds already and their sunny lens colors not only look super cute in the sunlight but definitely add a little whimsy to your day when each lens shade changes the color of your perspective...but maybe that was the point! They also have great deals if you and the gang all throw in, you can get 10 shades for $20ea with their buy 7 and get 3 free sales.
I cannot stress how important it is that we all invest in some earplugs. You do not have to shell out hundred of dollars for professional grade ones unless you have a need for it with there being plenty affordable ear plugs available on Amazon.
As someone who works in the music industry, I do not generally like to use cheap foam ear plugs since they block out all sound and not filter. One of my fave lower grade earplugs are ER20XS High Fidelity Earplugs, which I have been using for almost over a year and they have done wonders. More expensive than the foam, but they're not for one time use and come with a string that keeps the pair together and a cute keychain holder.
This topic is probably the most crucial because like I said, most dudes don't care about their hygiene at a festival, but they also do not risk contracting a UTI wiping the wrong way...*le sigh* And if you are anything like me (and I take like 3+ showers on average), it would suck not being able to keep fresh throughout the day if water is not available for a full body submerging. Here are my favorite things to carry:
Epic Wipes - $25/ 10 pack
Earlier last year I funded a Kickstarter for these hiker's full body fresh wipes. They're awesome and super convenient when you do not have access to water for a weekend. It does not leave that weird sticky residue that some, body wipes have and this has been hiking mountain certified, so it can definitely help out at a little festival!
Summer's Eve Female Wipes (Individually Wrapped) - $5 -$12 @ Your Local Major Chain Pharmacy
All my ladies know of Summer's Eve! The ones that come in individually wrapped packages are super awesome to have on for any moment that you find yourself feeling a little more icky than usual, but also in lieu of toilet paper.
Dove Go Body Mist (Travel Size) - $2-$4 @ Your Local Major Chain Pharmacy
These small Dove Go Body Mist come in such pleasant and fresh scents that I like to have one in hand to sort of spray over after maybe having to stand in line near the bathrooms too long, or maybe offer it to a fellow dancer if his presence is starting to make my eyes water. It also substitutes for a deodorant so you do not have to get caught lifting your arms up to freshen up!
Nothing ruins a night more than looking in the mirror and realizing that your hair just a mess and then realizing you cannot wash that rat's nest for another day or two. Bring on self-conscious bouts loathing and cue the internal sobs...but have no fear! Keep these products in your bag (they do not need much explanation) and you will be good for at least the weekend:
Baptiste Dry Shampoo (Travel Size) - $2-$4 @ Your Local Marshalls/TJ Maxx or Local Major Chain Pharmacy
Compact Folding Brush w/ Mirro - $3-$6 @ Your Local Major Chain Pharmacy
Scrunchies... SCRUNCHIES GALORE - $2 -$6 @ Your Local Major Chain Pharmacy
Stardust Love Hoods - $20 - $50
I love Stardust hoods and I bought two from one of their vendors at two different festivals. Burning Man favorites because some are heavy duty with little "secret" compartments and beautiful color changing dragon scales to protect you from the elements. I bought a light hood which helped me survive the blistering heat during Movement one year for $25. Worth the dinero for sure since it covered my head when I was grooving in the sun and I would leave it around my neck at night. Plus they're hella gorgeous!
SUNSCREEN (travel size) - $2 - $4 @ Your Local Major Chain Pharmacy
I do not mean cool, I mean keepin' yo' butt hydrated and cool in the blistering heat. Believe me, it is not as easy as it looks, there have been festivals I have attended when standing would make you sweat a puddle around your feet. It ain't fun and it definitely ain't pretty.
You can play around with what brand you actually want to get (it may lower the price) however, the point is to have a collapsible bottle on you so can refill if there are water stations (and save a ton of $$) or if you and your friends bring a big gallon to the festival you can refill your bottle as needed. It is light and compact which makes is a great asset.
Selfie Fan - $8
That is right! It looks like another useless iPhone contraption, but it is actually pretty neat to have on hand. It is small and just sticks into the charging jack of your phone. Amazon has them for iPhones & Androids.
Lifesavers are not 100% necessary, but will definitely make things a little bit more comfortable for you in the long run. Check out these awesome additions to your survival pack:
Golyte Picnic Blanket - $15 - $20
Golyte is a blanket that folds into a size that fits into the palm of your hand! It comes in two sizes and can fit up to 5 people on it. It is lightweight and durable material, that is water-resistant and easily cleaned. Why I like having a blanket is that it is a nice luxury to put one down when you need to rest and have a clean spot to lay down on. Alternatively, if you do not want to bring a jacket and the night gets chilly, you can always wrap yourself in it to stay warm.
Solar External Battery + LED Light - $10 - $30
Amazon has a large variety of these if you wanted to choose one based on your budget, but nothing is handier than a solar powered external battery pack that also has a LED light built in. It comes with a hook that you can snap onto your backpack during the day to let it charge and then have light to shine in the dark port-a-potties and give your cell some juice if you start to run low!
Disposable Rain Coats - $3 - $20
Pricing varies with how may you buy, but I would always grab a 10 pack to have on hand for myself and friends in the event the weather is not agreeing with the festival. We came all this we to get turned back by rain, HELL NAH! Whip out this little-compacted poncho, put it on and dance through the pouring rain! And you won't be hella drenched after. If you choose to wear shoes that you don't want to be ruined by mud, there are rain shoe booties that you can have on hand too...but just don't wear expensive shoes to a festival...DUH!
Here are two items that I own, that have been remarkable in terms of longevity, usefulness, and price:
This little backpack is my best friend at an event or a festival. The slim design of the back allows me to pack it out and not have a bulging thing on my back smacking people's faces. It is also deceivingly small. I can literally have all the above-mentioned items, neatly stored in this back and it would lay nice and flat against my back.
Women's Layla Sneaker - $17
I have a pretty simple rule at festivals, no open toe shoes, and no expesnive ones either. Save all your energy and money on your face, hair, and body...your feet need only one thing and that is comfort and reliability. These Mossimo brand sneakers from Target are awesome. I bought a pair almost two years ago, though they're hella ragged, they have survived every festival, event and BBQ I have encountered across the globe. AND THEY'RE STILL ALIVE AND WELL...granted a little dirty, but that is one me. Any other shoe wouldn't make it and even if these eventually tear and are ready to buried, who cares? They are so inexpensive.