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It seems like the (natural) high of last year’s music festival season just wore off, and what do you know? Festival season has already snuck up on the world again. Whether you’re heading out to Coachella in Southern California, Lollapalooza in Chicago, Bonnaroo in Tennessee, or the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, get excited: music festivals offer special opportunities to bond with old buddies, make new friends, and enjoy amazing music.

You may be a festival virgin looking to start a tradition, a one-hit wonder, or a repeat offender—no matter where you fall on the spectrum, the better you prepare, the more you’ll enjoy the experience.

Preparing may seem antithetical to the (pseudo)hippie festival experience, but don’t worry—we’ve tried to make it as painless as possible. We put our heads together to compile a list of 7(ish) essentials.

Note: We left off the obvious (your phone, wallet, cash, and tickets)… but don’t be that guy who forgets them. We also can’t guarantee a good time—that’s on you, buddy.

LAD's Festival Season Survival Kit
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1. Portable Phone Charger

Real talk—your phone hasn’t made it through a full day since… ever, and a festival with a dead phone is not an option. Portable chargers and batteries come in lots of forms these days—from cases that provide extra power to battery bricks that plug in via USB. Whatever the source, a little extra juice should be numero uno on your list. The last thing you want to be doing is squatting by the charge station, isolated from your friends and a prime view of the action.

2. Hand Sanitizer/Wet Wipes

There’s a reason this one is #2 on our list. Has anyone ever successfully washed his hands at one of those porta potty washing stations? Hand sanitizer (Shark Tans fans—try Dude Wipes) will help you avoid slipping into dirty hippie mode by the end of the weekend.

3. Sunscreen

You may not be lying out for the express purpose of getting a tan, but don’t underestimate the power of the sun beating down on you for 2 days straight. A good sunscreen will save you from going full lobster (you’ll still get tan, don’t worry). And make sure you re-apply throughout the day. PRO-TIP: Cream over spray for effectiveness.

4. Hydration

Instead of lugging around your water bottle, a backpack with a built-in bladder will make staying hydrated a more elegant task. Already have a bag you love? Your nearest outdoors retailer should sell bladders that easily pop into your backpack.

4a. Drink Electrolytes

Drinks like Emergen-C or coconut water will help you stave off heat exhaustion and muscle cramping after a day sweating under the sun. Sure, you may need to wait in line for the port-a-potty an extra time, but it’s cool—your hand sanitizer is ready.

5. Cotton Shirts

Your friends, significant other—or anyone else who comes within two feet of your armpits—will thank you for this one. Don’t hesitate to pack an extra shirt or two, and whether button-downs or tees, breathable 100% cotton shirts, like life/after/denim’s Toluca and Cozumel, are essential for making the heat more bearable. Linen-Cotton mixes like the Masaryk and Tulum are also great options to keep you cool and fresh.

6. Lightweight Jacket

Don’t let the daytime sun fool you—it can get chilly in the evening. Look for a light jacket that packs away easily, so you don’t feel like your jacket is a ball and chain all day. life/after/denim’s Packaway Parka easily tucks away into a backpack you can wear—even better.

7. Download the App

Unless you’re hitting up the Fyre Festival, you’ll want to have a complete run-down, and there may be no better source of information than the festival’s app (pretty much all of them have one now… hello 2018). PRO-TIP: Set the festival schedule as the wallpaper on your phone. This’ll save you time and help you avoid checking the schedule five minutes too late and missing your favorite musician performing your favorite song.

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