Electric Forest 2018 Packing Guide (written by a 6-year EF veteran)
As I prepare to embark on my 7th year at Electric Forest, I wanted to share my knowledge of must-have items for one of the greatest festivals on the planet. I will also touch on what NOT to bring, as there are many items that the festival does not allow into the festival that I see many people try to bring every year. My hope is that this helps everyone have the most enjoyable experience, whether it is your first time or you’re an EF veteran like myself.
WHAT TO BRING
Hammock - One of my favorite things about this festival is being able to take a day nap or two in the lush forest when I really need to get off my feet. I recommend Castaway Travel Hammocks. These are nearly identical to the ENO brand, but for 1/4th the cost and come WITH nice straps (unlike ENO).
Ozark Trail Hammock Stand - I just heard about this inexpensive portable hammock stand through the Electric Forest Year-Round Facebook group (shoutout Reeves Morgan!). I bought mine the day I heard about it and I couldn’t be more happy with it. It takes 30 seconds to setup and fold up. It even comes with a nice carrying case if you want to bring it into the festival. (Tree/hammock real estate inside the venue can get pretty slim these days). At a cost of only $48, I consider this to be one of the best finds for EF 2018.
Comfortable Footwear - You will inevitably walk roughly 30 miles in the 4 days between your campsite, venue and stages. Seriously. I’ve tracked the steps/mileage on my phone. Unless you want to cough up the $$ for the psychedelic taxi’s I would suggest choosing some extremely comfortable footwear otherwise your feet will be aching after. It's always an added bonus when they light up with LED's too - you'll meet a ton of new people when they compliment you ;)
Ear Plugs - Whether it be for lowering decibels when you’re riding the rail, or when trying to get some sleep at night when there’s loud music/partying going on around your campsite - ear plugs are a MUST HAVE. I made the mistake of not bringing these once and let’s just say I’ve never forgotten again.
Portable Battery Charger - I highly recommend Anker’s brand. This thing gets me through the 4 full days on one charge no problem! I couldn’t be more pleased with this thing. It’s truly a lifesaver.
Fanny Pack - I’ve been forgetting to bring one of these and always wishing I’d had one in my previous years. I’ve lost too many things by relying on my “pockets” at festivals, and even had my phone stolen out of my pocket at a different festival before. I will be bringing one this year for sure.
EZ-UP / Canopy - these are super nice to have at EF in making your campsite complete. Shade is necessary for those hot summer days and also keeps you dry in case of a downpour. Make sure you stake them down, though. I see a lot of canopy’s become victims of the wind and break because they weren’t staked down.
String Lights - This is one thing I’ve seen others have and always wished I’d had. Thanks to a recommendation from another Electric Forest Year-Round member (shout out Alexis Holmes!). I will be rockin’ these super cool multi-colored, battery-powered lights to hang from my canopy.
Rain Boots / Shoe Covers - these are a lifesaver for any festival in the event that it becomes a mudfest. I’ve learned the hard way that wet or cold feet can really put a damper on your festival.
- VICUNA POLO Rain Shoes Transparent Waterproof Snow Rain Boots for Kids/Adult Shoes (Adult(L), Sliver)
Ponchos - for obvious reasons. Having extra ponchos also helps you make new friends very easily in the event of a downpour or to leave at the Giving Tree ;)
Totem/Flag - These things are a lifesaver for finding your campsite or to bring in the venue to keep your squad together.
Bluetooth Speaker - Again, I recommend Anker’s brand. The battery life on this thing is insane and it also has pretty decent sound for such a low cost. You’ll have tunes for days back at the campsite or for your lounging hammock sessions.
Inflatable Lounge Couch these are really nice if you’re able to actually fill it with air. They can be tricky at first!
Yoga Mat - There is a huge morning yoga session every morning. I highly encourage you to attend as it helps you stretch out and energize you for all the walking ahead of you that day.
Other Useful Items: Tent, Plastic Clamps, Air Mattress, Propane Grill, Headlamp, GoPro, Solar Shower, Combat Wipes, Sleeping Bag, Egg Case, Bread Case, Cooler, Coffee, Harney & Sons Classic Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea, Polaroid Camera, Hydration Pack
WHAT TO BRING MONEY FOR
Tolls for the drive there and back
Waterpark ($20, which doubles as a shower!)
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Ferris Wheel Rides
Food ($8 per meal on average)
Bring an emergency credit/debit/ATM card in the event that you lose your wallet/purse
WHAT NOT TO BRING
Glowsticks - while they look cool and are fun to throw, these are extremely wasteful and bad for the environment! EF strives to be eco-friendly, let’s be mindful of that.
Too Much Food - In past years, my camp buddies and I would always do a grocery store run at the Walmart near EF and stock up on food. Every time we did this, we would buy way more food than we needed and a lot of it would go to waste. We would end up buying vendor food more and we’d only cook food once per day at most. Keep that in mind when you’re planning for food. Instead of spending money on food you’re going to throw away, spend it on SPICY PIE!
Charcoal Grills - I made this mistake at my first E Forest back in 2011. I bought a nice new grill + charcoal for around $30 and literally had to leave it at the security checkpoint. I was very discouraged to say the least.
Weapons / Bad Vibes - Seriously. This is meant to be a microcosm in celebrating the love of music. Let’s keep it that way!
A Note From Electric Forest HQ
“A note on headdresses & threatening messages: at Electric Forest, all should feel safe, comfortable, and welcome.
In this spirit, HQ requests that those who would bring American Indian Headdresses to the festival leave them at home. Out of respect for this community, it is inappropriate to wear headdresses outside of traditional ceremony.
Additionally, while HQ supports diversity in signs, totems, and articles of clothing, words or images that threaten harm to others are not welcome in The Forest.
Electric Forest reserves the right to confiscate items deemed to be in violation of these two policies at its discretion.
In such a creative community, HQ is confident that these requests will open up new, more inclusive creative opportunities for all who attend. Thank you for making choices that support and inspire all members of the Forest Family.
- No fireworks, flying prayer lanterns, or explosives
- No grills, open flame, candles, or charcoal (they seem to allow propane grills though every year)
- No gas/fuel cans of any kind (again, they seem to allow propane year after year though)
- No drones
- No laser pointers
- No illegal substances
- No weapons of any kind
- No tiki torches
- No golf clubs
- No hammers
- No unauthorized merchandise
- No helium tanks
- No one wheelers
- No Headdresses"
Written by Ryan Quella