Gimme Shelter - 9 Tips for a Super Setup

July 19, 2016

Just like thru-hiking or backpacking, festival camping asks a lot of you: active, energy-filled days on your feet mean you need restful downtime back at the site to recharge and get ready to do it all over again. And how you set up that site can make all the difference.

We polled our ambassadors, fellow teammates, and friends in the outdoor industry for their best advice when it comes to creating shelter that’s welcoming, functional, and designed to nail festival camping.

Here's The Products Covered In This Article >>>


Go Vertical

Stingray | $650

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Portable Seating

Mayfly Chair | $100

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Beyond The Headlamp

PowerLight Bundle | $80

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Hygiene Goes A Long Way

Pressure Shower | $100

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Get Your Power in Order

SolarPanel5+ | $80

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Create a Camp Kitchen

MealKit 2.0 | $30

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Keep Your Stuff Cool

Bucket Cooler | $60

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Hang and Bag It

Loop Hook | $20

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Tune In (or Out)

Turtle Shell | $60

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1) Go Vertical

“Festival camping is just nonstop crowds. Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at all times. It’s a great energy, but it can zap you if you never get a breather,” says Matt L, a friend of BioLite. We agree, and one way to get a break is to find some fresh air at your campsite by sleeping among the trees.

The folks over at Tentsile give you the ability to take a treehouse wherever you go with their elevated tent series. If your campgrounds have three trees or poles you can claim, you’re in business. Warning: if you’re looking to reallllly get away from people, this might backfire as you’re going to have a lot of folks asking about the cool tent.

At the Festival Shop: Tentsile

2) Portable Seating Is Friendly Seating

You never know when you might stumble upon an impromptu jam session and want to join in on the fun; bring your own seating and get in on that circle seamlessly (no one likes the awkward guitar player hovering over you). Not looking to wander? Set up your seats outside your tent for an instant porch feel and greet passerbys for a friendly vibe (bonus points if you offer them some water).

At the Festival Shop: Alite Mayfly Chair

3) Go Beyond The Headlamp: Think About Light In and Around Your Shelter

Chances are you’ll be heading back to your shelter after dark which means good lighting is clutch. Keep a central light inside your tent for helpful area lighting (ie find your toothbrush without tearing your bag apart) and use string-lighting outside your tent to create welcoming areas for evening hangouts or light pathways to things like outhouses or your friends’ tent.

**Shameless plug alert: we really love our PowerLight Mini for festival camping because it gives you the hands-free personal lighting you want from a headlamp but without blinding the people around you.**

At the Festival Shop: PowerLight Bundle | PowerLight Mini | PowerLight Mini 4 Pack

4) A Little Hygiene Goes A REALLY Long Way

Wet wipes, deodorant, hand-sanitizer, water, and trash bags are no brainers. But after a few days of camping, dancing, and sweating, a quick shower can really bring you back to life. Some festivals offer pay-per-use shower stations, but look to the camping world for some smart portable solutions you can use on your own.

We’re huge fans of the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower. We’ve been using it for years on the BioLite Summer Roadshow and we’re fresh as ever. Bonus: you can use it to wash dishes or pets.

At the Festival Shop: Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

5) Get Your Power in Order

In this tip we’re telling you to find your sunny spot: use the power of solar to keep your phones and lights charged and ready to roll. If you’re idling your car in the parking lot to charge up your phone, you’re wasting gas and probably wasting a lot of time shuttling yourself over to the car zone.

At the Festival Shop: BioLite SolarPanel 5+

6) Create a Mini Camp Kitchen...

Festival food is expensive. Plan a few key meals at your site to save some serious cash and have a nice activity away from the craze. We’ll talk more about this next week.

At the Festival Shop: BioLite CampStove Bundle | Good To Go Meals | Light My Fire MealKit 2.0

7) …And Remember to Keep Your Stuff Cool

If you’re bringing perishables, remember to have a storage plan. Food poisoning has no place at your campsite.

At the Festival Shop: Alite Bucket Cooler

8) Hanging And Bagging: The Key To A Calm Site

Use drybags to keep your stuff clean and dry, and interior stuff sacks to organize your supplies into easy-to-reach categories that you can recognize by color. And whenever you can, get stuff up off the ground! Hang clothes and towels to keep things aerated and dry and elevate bags especially if your site gets muddy. Avoid damp stuff inside your tent at all costs!

At the Festival Shop: Dango Loop Hook

9) Have the Tools to Tune In – or Tune Out

Bring a portable speaker to keep the party going at your site; when it’s time to wind down you can use it as a white noise machine, pairing it with one of many free apps you can download on your phone. This especially comes in handy when the rest of the tent village might still be abuzz but you’re looking for a little extra shuteye.

Prefer no noise at all? Then break out the trusty earplugs. Buy multi-packs from your local drugstore and offer them to neighbors for instant camaraderie. And if you yourself happen to be a snorer, that last suggestion is an absolute must; keep up your camping karma.

At the Festival Shop: Outdoor Tech Turtleshell 2.0 Speaker

Looking for all of this gear in one epic deal?
Check out the Shelter Festival Bundle and save $110 off the regular price.

Festival Bundle
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What tips do you have for the perfect camping setup? Join the conversation and help out fellow festival goers!