Bonnaroo Gear Basics

So, if I did my job in this post, you're raring to go to a music festival.  The most important step, after buying your ticket, is gathering your gear (if it's a camping festival).  Here is a list of the basics you'll need, plus some optional items and what I'm thinking about adding to my setup this year.


A good tent

DO NOT cheap out on this.  Invest in a good quality tent and take care of it.  I have a Coleman 6 person Instant Tent that cost me about $200.  It is truly instant- you can put it up in minutes. Dealing with poles and such is just a hassle if you're a camping novice.  Also, keep in mind that a 4 person tent will house 2 people comfortably, a 6 person 3, etc (in my opinion.)

Something to sleep on

After the sleeping situation went a bit awry my first year at Bonnaroo, I broke down and bought a camping cot.  Again, this is something that you probably don't want to cheap out on, especially if you're a bigger person, like I happen to be.  I have a very sturdy, surprisingly comfortable cot that I bought on Black Friday from Gander Mountain for around 75 bucks.  Other options are an air mattress or camping pad.  Some people even use portable hammocks.

Something to protect you from the elements

Buy an E-Z UP.  You can usually get a good deal on one, and they're the sturdiest, easiest to assemble shelter you can find.


Your basic camp chairs.  You don't have to spend a lot on these- they sell perfectly good ones at every big box store for like, $8.

 A cooler with a good seal

Very important for keeping your beer cold.  Oh, and perishable foods, I guess.


We've had the same cheapy battery-operated butterfly lights for the past two years.  They're festive and really helpful for locating our tent at night.


Put a tarp under your tent.  Put a tarp over your tent. Put a tarp in front of your tent.  Put a tarp on it.  Any old tarp.

Something to drink water from

Whatever, as long as it isn't glass, which is a no-no.  I've used a foldable water bottle, and a Brita one with a filter in the mouth piece.  Both have done the job. 

Not necessary, but nice to have...

A camping stove

I wouldn't have bought one if it was full price, but I found a Colman propane stove on clearance at KMart for $30 last year.  It was kind of a mess, but it was nice to have a "home cooked" meal one night.

Interlocking foam mats

These make the floor of your tent a bit more comfy.

Battery operated fans

Some may beg to differ that these are optional, but we always bring one but never use it. But it's nice to know we could if we wanted.

Stuff I'm considering this year...

E-Z UP walls

Trying to attach tarps to our shelter is a pain in the ass.  I'll probably just buy walls for it this year.

Pop-up shower/changing room

Trying to get ready in the tent also a pain in the ass...this seems like a possible solution.

A Luggable Loo

I'm still kind of grossed out by the idea of this.  But it might be nice to have in the middle of the night, or when the porta potties are particular nasty.

A camelbak hydration pack

Like I said above, I've used water bottles in the past, and they've worked find.  But this year I'm going to invest in a Camelbak for my hydration needs, even if I do think they look real dorky.

Like I said, these are just the absolute basics.  Click here to see my complete packing list from last year.

Also tune into my podcast at oddgurlsout.podomatic.com to hear me talk a bit more about what to bring to Bonnaroo or any other festival!

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