The ultimate sustainable packing list for Glastonbury 2020

 The ultimate sustainable packing list for Glastonbury 2020

Update 18th March: Glastonbury 2020 has been cancelled due to coronavirus. As such, this page will no longer be updated. More info.

Our Glastonbury packing list is the first in a series of festival-specific lists we’ll be putting out ahead of the 2020 festival season. Instead of sticking with a big overall festival packing list, we’ll be doing it this way so we can keep everything relevant to the layout and the rules of each event.

We’re also keeping it as sustainable and plastic-free as possible, so baby wipes are out and reusable washcloths are in.

Most important things to pack

Your festival ticket

I’m not sure there’s a worse feeling than turning up at Glastonbury after an eight-hour journey to realise you’ve left your ticket at home. Get that thing safely packed in your bag before you pack anything else!

Bank cards and cash

You can now pay for most things at Glastonbury with a contactless bank card or with a smartphone that supports contactless payments, so you don’t need to bring hundreds of pounds in cash and risk losing it. You’ll still find a few things where you’ll need some old fashioned paper (or plastic?) money though, so bringing a small cash supply with you might help you avoid the cash machine fees (and queues!) on site.

Tent

Get a decent quality tent you can use again and again and make sure there’s enough room inside for yourself and all your stuff. Try to avoid single-layer dome or pop-up tents which usually start to leak when it rains. Practise putting it up and packing it away at home.

The sun rises very early at Glastonbury as it’s just after the summer equinox (think 5am-ish!), so a ‘blackout’-lined tent will go a long way to keep the light and heat of the morning sun from waking you up before you’re ready. Other features to look out for include a decent porch or ‘living’ area and multiple bedrooms if you’ll be sharing as a group. Get one with enough room to (almost) stand up and it’ll make your festival life much easier, especially when you’re getting changed.

RELATED: The best festival tents for just you, a couple or a group

Sleeping bag

It might be summer but it can still get pretty cold in the early hours, so make sure you’ve got a reasonably good sleeping bag to keep you warm and toasty. A decent one should draw moisture away too, so you don’t wake up all sweaty – pretty crucial at Glastonbury where there are very, very few showers to go around.

RELATED: The best sleeping bags for British festivals

Self-inflating roll mat

We’ve tried airbeds and tried all sorts of roll mats and most of our team agrees self-inflating roll mats are the best thing to put underneath your sleeping bag at a festival. They’re much lighter to carry than airbeds and don’t leak or require a pump – or any manual labour! Glastonbury is big – you’ll have to walk much further from your coach or your car to your campsite than most other festivals, so the less weight you’ve got to carry the better.

Just unscrew the cap then replace it once the mat fills with a layer of air. Take the cap off again and squeeze the air out, then roll it up and replace the cap to take it home. Easy. You won’t get ‘seasick’ trying to fall asleep like you might on an airbed either.

RELATED: The best roll mats for festivals – 2020 edition

A proper rucksack

As above, Glastonbury is big. You’ll have to walk far with your stuff, so you don’t wanna be struggling along with three different school backpacks. You definitely don’t want to drag a wheeled suitcase along, it’s unlikely to survive the walk if it’s dry and you’ve got absolutely no hope if it’s even a little bit muddy.

Get yourself a proper camping rucksack from an outdoor shop and it’ll make your life much easier. It should last for years and a good one will let you attach your roll mat and sleeping bag to the outside – as well as having enough room inside for all your clothes, food, spare shoes, gadgets and pretty much anything else you can think of.

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Reusable water bottles

Glastonbury banned plastic bottles ahead of the 2019 festival, and while you can still buy water in aluminium cans, you’re much better off grabbing a few reusable bottles and refilling them from the hundreds of free refill points scattered around the site.

You’ll save money, save the planet and you’ll quickly realise a decent, steel reusable bottle keeps your drink way cooler than a plastic bottle. You definitely need at least one and you’ll be able to buy them on-site if you forget, but I normally take a few with me. One that’s convenient to carry around, a big one to keep in the tent and a couple of others for stuff like mixing your own alcoholic drinks.

RELATED: The best reusable water bottles for festivals

Super Sparrow Stainless Steel Water Bottle 500ml
Choice of 20+ vibrant colours and sizes from 350ml to 1 litre.

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A sturdy trolley

While many make do without, some people find a trolley to be absolutely essential for getting your tent, beer and everything else into the festival. Because Glastonbury is so massive, and often involves a queue to get in, you’re much more likely to need a trolley than you would be at a smaller festival.

The flipside of this is that any trolley you do bring must be up to the task, and even in dry weather, most folding trolleys won’t hold up over the distance you’ll cover. Get yourself a solid, metal trolley with air-filled pneumatic wheels and make sure you only load it to HALF the recommended maximum weight. That should still get you a few crates of beer at a time, but the recommended max weight of any trolley is based on going a few metres across a patio, not a few miles through rough fields.

RELATED: Where can you buy a good festival trolley?

Chair

Sitting on camping chairs at Glastonbury 2019

If your campsite has fewer chairs than people, it’s gonna suck. Make sure you’ve got a decent camping chair, with armrests and a cup holder ideally. They’re also good if you’re waiting in the queue for the festival to open or for chilling towards the back of a crowd watching bands all day.

ID / proof of age

Glastonbury operates a ‘Challenge 25’ policy, so unless you’re really confident there’s not a chance you look under 25, you’ll need to bring some ID to prove you’re 18 when buying alcohol or other age-restricted items.

If you bought your ticket as part of a coach travel package, you’ll need photo ID to claim your festival ticket once on the coach.

Glastonbury campsite near Arcadia Pangea crane

Footwear

Walking boots

I’d always recommend walking boots over wellies. It baffles me how so many people spend the entire festival in wellies when the ground is mostly dry, because it’s so much comfier to walk around in a decent pair of boots.

Wellies

If your walking boots are up to the job and you’ve checked the weather forecast, I’d only bother packing wellies if there’s a chance of prolonged heavy rain. Although if you’re taking trainers instead of boots, it’ll be worth stepping up to the wellies much earlier.

RELATED: The best festival wellies for 2020

Thick socks

Get some proper hiking socks from a sports or outdoors shop – and make sure you’ve got enough to whack a clean pair at least once a day. If you’ll be spending a sizeable amount of time in wellies it might be worth investing in some ‘welly socks’ so they don’t rub against your skin.

Flip-flops or sandals

I have never taken these to a festival but some of my friends do and one time it was actually sunny enough they got to wear them for like two hours one morning.

Glastonbury Pyramid Stage crowd

Clothing

Underwear

At least one change of underwear per day, please.

Trousers with pockets

A couple of decent pairs of jeans will do you well. It’s worth taking a couple of pairs of jogging bottoms or similar too.

Shorts with pockets

Well, ideally with pockets, but you won’t want to be stuck in jeans if the sun comes out.

Bum bag or money belt

Especially if you’re lacking in pockets.

Waterproof coat

Stop wasting money and killing the planet with those awful plastic ponchos. Even if you’ve found a plastic-free one, you’ll be much better off with a decent waterproof coat and I’m not really sure how you’re getting through life without one.

Jumpers and hoodies

Once it gets dark, it gets really cold in festival campsites, so make sure you’ve got a couple of decent jumpers or hoodies with you.

T-shirts and tops

At least one per day.

A hat

You’ll really regret not bringing a hat if you get a few days solid sunshine. It happened to me at Glastonbury 2019 and I had to buy an awful one for a tenner to keep the sun off my head. Bring one with you.

Bikini top

If you get the weather for it.

Sunglasses

As above.

Glastonbury Rewild

Gadgets and technology

Power bank

A decent quality power bank with a capacity over 20,000mAh should keep your phone charged for the length of the festival. If you’re doing the full five nights, it’s probably worth taking one each rather than sharing.

Make sure it’s fully charged in good time before you start packing and don’t forget to take the USB cable you’ll need to charge your phone from it – and maybe even take a spare!

REVIEWED: The best portable chargers that’ll last for a whole festival

Smartphone or spare phone

You’ll almost definitely want to take your smartphone, but if not, or if you’d rather leave it in the free lockups when you head on a night out to Shangri-La, you might want to take a cheap ‘dumbphone’ too.

Networks often run promotions giving away a free, basic phone with a £10 top-up – ahead of Glastonbury 2019 you could get a free Nokia on EE from Carphone Warehouse – so have a look around for these if you’re going basic.

Torch and/or lantern

A decent rechargeable LED lantern is (almost) worth its weight in gold when you’ve arrived back to a dark tent. Much better than trying to find stuff amongst your mess with your phone light. Bonus points if you can hang it from the ceiling inside your tent.

If you’ve already got a torch lying around, you could try taking that instead, just make sure you take some spare batteries.

The Park Stage at Glastonbury

Food and drink

Biscuits and cereal bars

Cereal bars will keep you alive until you have the energy to sort out proper food. Biscuits are good too, just don’t crush them.

Alcohol

Festival beer crates packing
Fosters is the best lager to drink warm

You’ll need more alcohol for Glastonbury than pretty much any other festival, as there’s no separation between the arenas or stages and the campsites. Most festivals have security checkpoints as you leave the campsites and make you buy drinks from the bars inside the arena, but at Glasto’ everything is intertwined. You can walk around all day watching music with a bag full of cans.

Find out which supermarket has the best deals on your choice of cans and spirits, then stock up. Remember you can’t bring any glass into the festival.

Something to keep things cold in

Some people obsess over crazy plans to keep their beers cold in a hot field. My advice would be to buy something that tastes as bad warm as it does cold – Fosters ideally. Others try burying their cans or filling a bucket with water. If you’re a bit of a Tory, you might want to spend loads of money on a nice cooler or cool bag, then spend every day buying ice from the Glastonbury Co-op to keep it cold.

Packing a cooler for Glastonbury
See, they love it

A few of my friends bought Titan ‘deep freeze’ cool bags online before the relentlessly hot Glastonbury 2019 and seemed pleased with themselves. They sell a 16-can cool bag or a huge 60-can capacity cooler with big wheels and everything.

Stove or kettle

I have never taken a stove to a festival, or even a kettle, but some people do and enjoy cooking in the campsite, so if that’s you don’t forget it.

Tea and coffee

Only if you’re taking a stove and a kettle, though. Traders generally don’t like people asking for hot water, although a few will sell you some.

Glastonbury Free Press Pyramid Stage
Sunday at Glastonbury 2019

Toiletries and hygiene

Washable flannel

Don’t bring baby wipes, even ones marked plastic-free or biodegradable. Glastonbury say they’d like people to use alternatives as even plant-based wipes release greenhouse gases when they decompose. Bring a facecloth or flannel instead.

Suncream

You can get sunburn through the clouds while it’s raining at Glastonbury. Honestly. Don’t decide not to bother bringing suncream. It’s always a mistake.

I always use the dry mist spray sun protection at festivals, because I hate the sticky feeling from normal suncream at the best of times and can’t handle it at a festival without a shower. A can usually lasts all summer for me and aluminium is generally better for recycling than a fully plastic bottle.

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Don’t buy a bamboo ‘festival toothbrush’ thinking you’re helping the environment. You’ve already got a toothbrush at home, hopefully, so bring that one – unless it’s a really expensive one you don’t want to risk losing or breaking.

Fair enough if you don’t want to bring your fancy supersonic toothbrush, buy something cheaper to use at festivals. And yeah, in this case, bamboo is probably better than plastic. Just try to find a decent quality one that’ll last longer than the five days.

Toilet roll

Bring some normal toilet roll, not those ‘flushable’ wipes – they don’t mix well with festival toilets. Glastonbury’s awesome lockups usually give out toilet roll for free – but you won’t find any in the toilets themselves, ever, so you’re definitely best off bringing some with you.

Deodorant

Ideally, just bring the deodorant you’re using day-to-day at home and don’t go out to buy a miniature one for Glastonbury.

Hand sanitiser

If you can find any, that is. You don’t see much plastic-free hand sanitiser around, unfortunately, but this one is part of the official advice for keeping coronavirus (and many other things!) at bay – and I’m not going to tell you to ignore that. Hopefully, the bottle is recyclable, at least.

Dry shampoo or waterless washing kit

The only public showers at Glastonbury are usually in the Greenpeace fields and the Kids Field, so most people will be going without. You might want to bring something to freshen your hair up in that time. Find an eco-friendly product to wash without water – or just get a friend to fill a bucket!

Towel

You’ll need a towel with some of the waterless wash kits, but they’re worth bringing even if you’re not taking anything like that.

Condoms

I’m sure you can get them on site but they’re probably not something you want to queue for. You’re better off buying them online anyway.

First aid kit / plasters

Might save you a trip to the medical centre. Turns out biodegradable bamboo plasters are a thing now.

Rennies

Do you know heartburn? You don’t want to know it at a festival when you’re miles from the nearest shop. Bring some Rennies or a supermarket own-brand equivalent.

Medicine

Ibuprofen? Paracetamol? Imodium? Probably all good shouts. Make sure you’ve got any prescription medication too and check out Glastonbury’s policy on them here.

Glastonbury the Other Stage

Camping extras

Duct tape

Ideally, you’d be able to find some eco-friendly and plastic-free tape with the strength for any makeshift tent repairs. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any yet, so if you’re trying to make your tent last a little bit longer rather than replace it, maybe it’s worth using a little bit of tape.

Carrier bags

It doesn’t matter if they’re plastic if you’re reusing a stash you’ve got at home anyway. They’ll be useful for keeping dirty or wet clothes separate inside your tent or bag, among many other things.

Blankets

If you’re up for making the effort to bring extra blankets, it’s always nicer in a tent with more blankets. Makes the place feel much more cosy which definitely helps keep you warmer.

Earplugs

There are two main types of earplugs you might want at a festival. Some to block as much noise as possible to help you sleep and some to protect your eardrums while you listen to loud music. These special earplugs let music pass through clearly while blocking harmful sounds. Check out our recommendations here.

Eye mask

Glastonbury takes place just after the summer solstice, which means it starts getting light pretty soon after 4am. This doesn’t bother everyone, but some people can’t sleep through it, so if you haven’t got a tent with blackout lining you might want to pack an eye mask.

Something to use as a pillow

Just take a normal pillow if you can get away with it. If you’re short on space, take a pillowcase and stuff it with clothes to support your head while you sleep. Alternatively, you can take an inflatable camping pillow or a nice travel pillow.

Glastonbury festival tube map
A map of Glastonbury 2017 in the style of the London Underground

What not to bring

This section is pretty much the opposite of a packing list, but it should help you stay out of trouble.

Anything you can’t take home again

‘Love the farm, leave no trace’ is the motto. They’ll have recycling areas in the campsites for empty cans and food packaging, but make sure you leave absolutely nothing in the field when you go home.

Gazebos

Gazebos take up too much space in the campsites and make it harder for other people to get to their tents. You risk having yours taken off you at the gate, or having stewards ask you to remove it after you’ve gone to the effort of putting it up. They’re also a safety risk when it gets windy.

Hopefully, some of your group will be sharing a large tent with a central living area where you can socialise with some shelter. And hopefully, it’ll be sunny the whole time and you won’t need it. But, if you’re really concerned about having nowhere to chill as a group, and some of you still need a tent to sleep in, this thing might make a good compromise:

Coleman Octagon Tent for 6 to 8 people
Open every side for enhanced ventilation and a 360-degree view.

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Non-biodegradable glitter

Glitter is really bad for the environment. It’s a microplastic, just like those beads they had in shower gel until it got banned. Plant-based alternatives are available, but some of these are still harmful to the festival environment, so buy carefully, if at all.

Disposable wipes – even biodegradable ones

Even biodegradable wipes can quickly break up into microplastics. Glastonbury ask that you don’t even bring plant-based wipes as they still give off greenhouse gases when they break down. Bring a small towel or washcloth instead.

Single-use plastic

Try to avoid bringing anything packaged in or made of disposable plastic, such as glow sticks. A small amount is probably unavoidable (obviously bring your medication in its plastic packaging!) but much more is definitely avoidable.

Glass

No glass of any kind for any reason. No glass bottles. No glass mirrors. No glass anything. Don’t be the comedian who asks: “but isn’t my smartphone screen made of glass? is that allowed?”

You’ll need to transfer any alcohol in glass bottles, such as wine or spirits, into other containers before you’ll be allowed to bring it into the festival – so make your life much easier and do this at home.

Drones

Drones or UAVs are on the prohibited items list – and there’s usually a special, temporary Air Navigation Order in place which bans flying over the festival.

Laser pens

Lasers are banned. Shining them around the crowd and at the stage is stupid. Don’t bring them.

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