How to buy festival camping gear (while balling on a budget)

Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 1.14.12 PMIf you’re an avid festival goer then you know finding quality gear is essential- especially if you’re going to be camping for a couple days in inclement weather. Nothing’s worse than waking up after an evening of raving only to realize that your tent has collapsed around you and your entire campsite is well… four campsites away in a pile of disaster.

First of all, let me just say that you by no means need to get these things all at the same time. Camping gear can be a pretty penny on your wallet- determine the things that are going to be essential before you go splurging on all the extra things that are fun, etc. I’ve recently found myself in need of replacing some of my music festival essentials but can’t commit hundreds of dollars on my wallet, so this is how I got my festival gear without breaking the bank.


This is going to be a festival essential if you’re going to camping. I quickly learned after my first festival that the best route to go was having a tent that was easy to set up for one or two people and only took us 5-10 minutes to set up. (Our first tent was an 8 person Coleman tent, it took us 5 people and almost 30 minutes, i.e. this is not the option you want for a festival).

When you’re making a purchase, make sure you know what you need from your tent. So, for example, my list looked liked this:

  • Spacious enough for me, boyfriend & bags
  • Rain tarp & semi-rain proof
  • Mesh walls/breathability
  • Easy to set up for 1/2 people in 5-10 minutes
  • Sturdy in inclement weather

REI co-op half dome 2 plus tent 2017If you’re like me, then you probably have no idea in your head how big an actual 10 x 10 space is- head over to your local sporting/camping store and check out their tent options. Make note of the sizes that they advertise and what really fits Coleman Sundome 6-person tentin that space! This year, I went to REI and really fell in love with their Co-Op Half Dome 2 Plus Tent (2017), but at a price of $219, I couldn’t convince myself to commit but it was spacious enough that I knew I would be comfortable in it’s 96x56x42 size, so anything around there would work. I decided that Amazon was going to be the best bang for my buck so I started going through their options and finally fell in love with their Coleman Sundome 6-Person.  It’s affordable (at $78 for the 6-person and $50 for the 4-person) it’s a great addition to anyone’s gear. (It also got some great reviews from fellow festival goers so you already know it can hold up!)

Learn how I bought all my camping festival gear while balling on a budgetSleeping

Getting good and enough sleep during a festival is essential to being able to last for 2-5 days with constant raving. I’ve explored different routes when it comes to how to sleep and what to sleep on at a festival. The air mattress ended disastrously every night, the cots are great options if you’ve got the room to bring them along because they can double as chairs during the day, but this year I’m going to be limited on space so I went ahead and just snagged a general, ‘all weather’ sleeping bag by Ozark from Walmart for $15. To go along with it I’m bringing along my yoga mat as something to sleep on! I got mine from TJ Maxx for about $20.



ozark trail 300 lumen lanterI learned at my first festival that although there are lights surrounding the campgrounds, those lights don’t do a lot inside your actual campsite. Getting some good lighting options is going to make your life so much easier so this year we’re bringing along a couple different options- firstly we’re bringing along our trusty Ozark Trail 300-Lumen Lantern. It’s been with us for a while, but it sadly doesn’t provide enough light outside, so we use this bad boy inside the tent! For outside you can go a couple different routes, bringing along battery-powered twinkle lights is always a great and creative option, but if you’re looking for something a little easier and practical, decide on a lantern with about 700 Lumens or more! That’ll give your site plenty of light. Try staying away from a propane lantern- safe yourself the hassle and potential of running out!


81hjlc4aujl-_sx679_.jpgSo, I usually just steal the foldup chairs that my parents have in their house- they’re a little old and dusty but do the trick to save the money. Although I’ll still be bringing along my favorite of those chairs, I also enjoy having somewhere else to sit and even lay down on during the day. This is usually where I put my favorite outside/camping/decorative blankets. To have a more accommodating outside sitting space I’m splurging on a shade tent. Having somewhere covered but where you can still see outside and feel the breeze is too nice. It’s also a great place to transition in and out of your tent under, but also a great spot to keep your chairs and things covered. I decided to grab myself one of the Coleman Instant Screenhouses off Amazon for a cool $64.


So, lets just look at the total end of this shopping trip:

Tent – $77.80   •

Shade Tent – $64.00   •

Sleeping Bag – $15.00  •

Lantern (700 lumen) – $25.00  •

Total – $181.80

So, in total, I’ve spent about $180 to get all the camping gear that I needed/wanted. Keep in mind that the original tent I fell in love with was about $220, but for less than that I’ve outfitted an entire campsite, and I managed to even snag a tent that was larger than the one I initially loved from REI.

So what do you guys think? Where do you usually go to find the best options for your camping gear? Drop us a comment!


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