Van lifers (like our friends at Swept Together), part-time nomads and celebs-alike (we see you, Paris Hilton) are in Black Rock Desert for the 2017 Burning Man arts and music festival. I’ve never been, but playing dress-up in over-sized fun fur vests, black knee-high boots and rose-hued sunnies, and prancing around the desert for four days is on my bucket list.
And while Burning Man is kind of the last hurrah as far as annual fests go, there are still plenty of others to seek out (Desert Trip in Indio, California; Lost Lands in Thornville, Ohio; Imagine in Atlanta, Georgia) before 2017 fades into a distant memory.
For Coleman and I, we seem to be on a one multi-day festival per year kind of schedule. And I’m okay with that. This year, we went to WayHome in Ontario (last year, we did British Columbia’s Shambhala), and both times, I was so thankful that we were able to show up in our rolling home. After hours of dancing like maniacs, there’s nothing better than crawling back into your cozy rig. Home sweet home. Last year, we were those festival goers sauteeing onions on our stove at nine in the morning for delicious breakfast burritos. We actually heard people (who likely had yet to sleep) walk by our camper and ask what smelled so delicious.
The thing is, a lot of our everyday vanlife/camping essentials double as festival gear.
Here are five camping essentials that play double duty and will make your festival experience so much more comfortable than sleeping in the dirt for four days.
Portable cocktail system.
Because, caesars. And gin martinis, extra dirty. Yeah, we’re those people who show up to a festival with dry vermouth olives, and a shaker. Luckily for those who camp around us, we’re good at sharing.
For when you’re cooking dinner or whatever at your rig and want to relax, sure, but also, these collapsable wooden chairs from MEC can be slung over your shoulder and easily carried to the festival stages. Don’t be that guy who bounces between other people’s chairs.
The best mini lanterns are light and or solar-powered. We use this little guy on the daily when in van, but it’s also handy to strap to your backpack when heading into a nighttime show.
Gear line multi clip.
This gear line multi-clip is so versatile it hurts. In the van, we clip all of the hats we own (we have more than I’d like to admit; it’s a problem) and put them on display. We also clip our cat’s leash to it. But when in festival mode, you can attach this thing to a backpack or wear it as a belt and clip your hat, water bottle, sweater, or whatever junk you want to have on your person, but don’t want to actually carry. Hands and arms are too busy dancing.
Eventually we tire of gin martinis and move onto margaritas, which is why this crank blender is life. Actually, we mostly use this handy device for smoothies in the am when our throats hurt from sing/screaming the night before, and want to drink down six green vegetables at once. Plus, healthy things like juices and smoothies are oh-so overpriced at festivals, so we make our own.
The adventure loving people at MEC/Good Times Outside hooked us up big time this summer: Free tickets to Wayhome, camping, a bunch of gear from MEC, and some slick shots from photographer Jess Baumung.