Heading to a country concert or country festival for the first time?

From the proper way to pack a cooler to keeping those pesky mosquitos away and campsite security, we’ve got a comprehensive list of tailgating and camping hacks for your upcoming weekend getaway or a long day of country music with your friends and family. Check out our festival camping checklist to help ensure you bring everything you need to make the most of your country music filled weekend!

Festival Camping Hacks for First Timers

Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me!

Keep mosquitos away by burning bundles of sage!
Tip: You can purchase packaged bundles of sage at Wal-Mart for about $4.


Baby I’m Worth It!

Well insulated, state of the art coolers are expensive but trust us, they are worth it. These high-end coolers are carefully engineered to keep food from spoiling and ice from melting for days at a time. Sure, some cooler brands are expensive, but there are alternatives. Can’t afford a Yeti Cooler? Check out other brands like Rtic, Orca, Polar Bear, nIce Coolers, and more.

rtic cooler

How to Pack a Cooler Properly

Purchasing ice onsite is expensive — like $10 a bag for something you can typically off-site at a convenience store for a couple bucks. Pack your cooler with dry ice at the bottom to keep your ice from melting all weekend. We’ve also included this handy diagram that shows you the proper way to pack items into a cooler to maximize space.

Tip: Call a local retailer that sells dry ice (Wal-Mart, Costco, etc.) ahead of time to schedule a pickup. Pick up your dry ice as close as possible to when you actually need it to prevent melting. Here’s a helpful guide if you’re buying dry ice for the first time.

How to pack a cooler

Get in My Belly

If you aren’t a master at campsite cuisine, keep it simple. Readymade food like Lunchables make it easier to satisfy hunger when you’re on the road or camping for a weekend. Make sandwiches and mix in some healthier options like hummus or veggie trays – your body will thank you later.

Keep it Lit Fam

Put a headlamp around a full gallon jug of water to create light for a camping tent.
Watch this helpful video for more info:

When Ya Gotta Go, Ya Gotta Go!

Portable toilets at festivals are gross, but when you gotta go, you gotta go. Rent a porta potty for your campsite if the festival you’re attending offers them. Keep unwanted poopers out of your portable toilet with a padlock.

Holy Toledo, it’s Raining Cats and Dogs!

Weather is not something you can control, but it is something you can be prepared for. If you’re camping in a tent, bring tarps to lay down under your tent to prevent the water from soaking through. If you’re in an RV, make sure you have the right tools to help you dig out of the mud if needed. Bring a blowup mattress or something to keep you elevated while you sleep. Remember to keep your bags and other items off the ground too. Most importantly, high winds can cause camping tents and popup tents to literally blow away, bring stakes to keep them secured to the ground.

Safety First!

Staying in an RV? Double check that your generator is set up properly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

R.I.P. Phone.

Type up and print the names and phone numbers of everyone in your campsite before you head to the festival and screenshot it. Then use that image for your lock screen. Someone who finds your phone will be able to contact your group to help you get your phone back!

Campsite Security

Lock and/or put anything of value in a safe place (inside your car or RV). You can create locks with zip ties.

Boot Scoot on Into the Festival Early, Y’all!

Sure, the tailgate party is a blast, but don’t forget the reason why you’re attending a weekend-long country festival – the amazing country music! Thankfully, sophisticated mobile apps make it easier to remember when your favorite country artists are playing with alerts and reminders. Make a list every morning of who you want to see before you start indulging in the “liquid wheat.” Give yourself plenty of time to make the walk to the festival gates, through security, and to your seats or where you will be watching the show from. Not to mention, you don’t want to be stuck in a slow-moving line, shoulder to shoulder, with other festival goers who may not have showered in a few days… think about it.