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5 Mini Festival Essentials You Can Fit in Your Pocket

posted by Alyssa Buffenstein on July 16, 2014

A festivalgoer who clearly needs our help by Laura Baker-Finch

Packing for a festival can be overwhelming. When you're about to head out for a full day, weekend, or even week of music, food, drinks, and fun, you want to make sure you have everything you need. Of course you'll grab your phone, keys, and cash, but you also might feel the need to bring the contents of your wallet, makeup bag, maybe an extra t-shirt or hat, some snacks - not to mention health necessities like a water bottle and sunscreen. Once you're finally done getting your things together, your backpack of "essentials" has begun to more closely resemble the backpack a traveler might take with them on a summer tour of Europe.

Though, as any one who has attempted it can attest, there's nothing worse than keeping track of a bag at a festival, whether it's because of the back pain, sweat, worry that someone might swipe your phone from an outer pocket, or struggle to find someone to hold your stuff while you crowd surf. 

Luckily, you don't have to accept carrying a cumbersome bag as part of your festivalgoing experience. Once you pare down your "essentials" to essentials, you'll realize all you really need is a pair of pants/shorts with ample pocket space. We couldn't tell you why men's jeans have cavernous pockets while women's can barely fit a festival ticket, but if you have the girl pockets problem, you might want to head to your nearest Goodwill and pick up a pair of oversized men's Levi's - cut 'em into shorts and you've got the only high-waisted, wearable bag you need. Now fill those pockets with these 5 mini festival essentials and head out to your next music festival bag-free.


Phone Case +



via Eyn Products

Eyn Phone Case for iPhone or Android: $29.99

Your cell phone, ID, and cash are three daily essentials you need just to leave your house in the morning, and they're especially necessary at a festival. A card holder/phone case hybrid, like this one we told you about back in March, can keep all three of these things in one neat package. Store your ID, a debit card, some folded cash, and your festival ticket in there, and you've got almost everything you need all day in one small package. You might even be able to fit your house key as well. This case makes the "do I have everything?" pat-down check super easy. 


Mini Charger



via Jackery

Jackery Mini Portable Charger: $19.99 (on sale from $39.99)

Even with a cool case, your phone is useless when the battery dies. But no longer do you have to leave your portable charger at home because it's too bulky or heavy to carry around, because the Jackery Mini portable USB charger is just about the size of a tube of lipstick. So, it can fit easily in a pocket, whether that means in your jeans or your bag. This battery will fully recharge your phone one time from zero to 100%, so it's best for non-camping festivals when you'll be able to charge both this external battery and your phone at home or at a hotel each night. 


Collapsible Water Bottle



via Vapur

Vapur Shades (.5 L): $9.99
Vapur Element (.7 L/1 L): $11.99

We all know it's important to stay hydrated at festivals, but carrying a water bottle can get awkward and heavy. Still, you don't want to spend $3-$9 every time you need a drink of water. While you could beg food vendors for empty cups to fill at the refill station every time you're feeling dehydrated, a better alternative is a collapsible water bottle, like Vapur's "anti-bottles." The collapsible water pouches can be folded or rolled to fit in a pocket, and even come equipped with a carabiner so you can attach them to your belt. These are definitely lighter than your Klean Kanteen and less bulky than your Nalgene, but can still hold up to a liter of water when full. 


1oz Sunscreen



via Banana Boat

Banana Boat 24 Pack: $28.14

While water keeps you comfortable on the inside, sunscreen is the festival essential that keeps you comfortable on the outside - today, tomorrow, and in years to come. Because Amazon is a wonderland, you can buy a 24-pack of 1oz Banana Boat SPF 30 tubes for just $28.14. You might wonder why you would need 24 separate ounces of sunscreen as opposed to a larger tube, but we're talking about things we can hold in our pockets, remember? An ounce of sunscreen is the recommended amount to protect your whole body, so one or two of these babies is all you need to stay sunburn-free for one day of a festival. Plus, these are small enough to bring as a carryon on an airplane, so if you're flying, you don't have to worry about stocking up once you arrive at your destination. One tube could easily fit in your back pocket or small purse, and once you've used it up you can toss the bottle in the trash and grab another one for day two. 


Folding Sunglasses



via Ray Ban

Ray Ban Folding Sunglasses: $155-$280

The last thing on your list of minimal festival essentials should be a pair of sunglasses. While they take up no space in your bag during the day, once the sun goes down you'll need to worry about where you can put them. Luckily, Ray Ban has an entire line of foldable sunglasses, so when the sun goes down you can safely stow your shades in your pocket, rather than letting them hang precariously off the neck of your shirt or on the top of your head. They come in all of Ray Ban's most popular styles, so you don't have to sacrifice your looks in the name of compact size. They come with a case that's designed to hold the glasses folded in half, so throw that in your bag, too, if you have the space. If not, be careful not to let them get squished, because there are few eyewear-related accidents more devastating than snapping a pair of $200 sunglasses in half.

So if you're willing to give the "festival without a bag" game a try, here's a recap: find a pair of jeans or shorts with deep pockets. In the front, keep your phone with card case in one pocket and a portable charger with USB cable in the other (these are the valuables, so it's best to keep them in the front where you're more aware of them). In your back pockets, stick your rolled up collapsible water bottle and small tube of sunscreen, and you're good to go. When the sun goes down, you've probably used all of the day's sunscreen, so put your sunglasses in its place and enjoy your night, bag and bulk free.

See Also:

This Cooler is the COOLEST
Campsite Tunage: Tips and Gear to Play Music While Camping
High-Tech Camping Gear for Camping Music Festivals