festival gear
Rumpl blankets

The summer festival season is much like the summer camping season in that you’re essentially living outside. You’re eating outside, you’re sitting outside, you’re drinking outside and in the case of longer festivals, you’re sleeping outside. So doesn’t it make sense that you equip yourself for a festival much like you’d equip yourself for camping? And with the festival season upon us (see below for some of our faves), what better time to double team on gear? Gear such as:

Let it Rain

Recommendation: Patagonia Torrent Shell 

festival gear
Women’s Patagonia Torrentshell

The need: Let’s face it, one of the realities of the summer festival scene, as well as the summer camping trip, is the inevitable afternoon rain shower. It likely won’t last long, but it can be a drencher. We say Let It Rain, thanks to the Torrent Shell, which has a two-way adjustable hood (that stows easily when not on duty); it employs durable H2No Performance Standard protection to keep the elements out; it has two armpit zippers to vent body heat build-up as you wait out the rain delay; and the torso is slightly longer than most rainwear to keep wetness from seeping into  your nether regions. Plus, it balls up into its own pocket so you can keep it handy for those sudden downpours. Learn more here.

Rockin’ Chair

Recommendation: Nemo Stargaze Recliner

festival gear
Nemo Stargaze™ Recliner

The need: Here’s a rookie mistake: You show up for your first 10-hour festival thinking you’ve packed wisely — then notice everyone toting in a chair. Hmm. Ten hours standing and/or laying in dirt: could be a long day. Instead, be the envy of the festival crowd with your Nemo Stargaze Recliner. Not only does this chair recline, it also rocks, letting you sway along to the beat of the moment and chase those blues away (unless you’re listening to blues, in which case the Stargaze will help you embrace them). Plus, it weighs just seven pounds — light enough for even a moderate tote — and packs down to less then two feet in length and 6 1/2 inches in diameter. With the Stargaze Recliner you’ll be pleading for encores late into the night. Learn more here.

The Heat is On

Recommendation: Cap Cool Lightweight Shirt

festival gear
Patagonia Cool Caps

The need: Another challenge of spending 10 hours in the summer sun: retaining your ability to look fresh. That stable of cotton Ts you’ve collected from festivals past may meet the esthetic criteria of festival fashion, but along around the second act, the heat is on, and let us tell you, you can feel it. You’ll feel it less so with Patagonia’s Capilene T wicking sweat about as fast as you can produce it, leaving you fresh for a day of music and mirth. You can even play a little Frisbee, no sweat! Plus, it’s made of 100 percent recycled material and it’s Fair Trade Certified: the folks who made your shirt earned a premium wage. Good vibes all the way around. Learn more about the men’s Cap Cools here, the women’s here.

The Boxer Song

Recommendation: Mountain Khakis Bison Boxer

The need: Do we really need to spell out the need, guys? You’re in 90 degree heat with 90 degree humidity for 9 hours … 90 percent of your body can be cooled in socially acceptable ways. Not the other 10 percent. You need extra special help in keeping things cool and dry, the kind of help offered by the Mountain Khakis Bison Boxer. They’re quick dry (no chaffing), they’re antimicrobial for odor control (‘nuff said), and they have “Mountain Khakis signature Action Gusset” (not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds good). Rest assured you can take some comfort here. Learn more here.  

Gimme shelter

Recommendation: Sierra Design Clearwing tent

festival gear
Sierra Design Clearwing

The need: Even if a festival isn’t a multi-day camping affair, even if it’s “just” 10 hours, they’ll come a time when you need to get out of the sun for a little me (read: nap) time. We can’t think of a better place to make that happen than in the new Clearwing line of tents from Sierra Designs. They come in 1-, 2- and 3-person versions; we recommend the 3 to give you the extra room you might need to stretch out and store your gear. The Clearwing’s mesh emphasis aids airflow, and if a storm is threatening and you need to throw on the rainfly, the two doors and two vestibules keeps the rain out while letting the associated breezes blow through. Winner of a coveted Backpacker magazine Gear of the Year award in 2019. Weighs about 5 pounds and packs down small for convenient passage from car to campsite. Learn more here. 

Lay me down in the tall grass

Recommendation: Rumpl blankets

The need: The reality of laying down in the tall grass never quite lives up to our dreams. In our dreams, for instance, we don’t picture creepy crawly things climbing over us, nor the persistent itch that inevitably results from stretching out on some St. Augustine. Ah, but picture yourself insulted from these pests of the pasture and, yes indeed, this is the stuff of lazy days as a kid, whiling away a Saturday afternoon watching the clouds go by. The perfect insulation, in our book: the Rumpl Puffy Blanket. Synthetic insulation sandwiched between layers of tough but supple 20D Ripstop Nylon creates a downy nest … sorry, where were we? Oh yes, about to tell you where you can find more info on the Rumpl, which would be here.

Cool, clear Water

Recommendation: Hydro Flask

festival gear
Hydro Flask

The need: Water, cool, clear water — not water that’s been in an uninsulated bottle for three hours that’s more suitable for brewing tea than slaking a festival thirst. Pack your Hydro Flask 21-ounce Standard Mouth with Sport Cap before heading out, top it off with water (cool, clear water) throughout the day and your Hydro Flask will ensure you’re never tempted to pull out a bag of Earl Gray. Learn more here.

Carry Me

Recommendation: Osprey Daylite pack

The need: So you’ve got all this cool gear to help you make the most of your musical day in the fun — how are you getting it from your car to your turf? “This is a killer deal,” Johanna Breed, assistant manager of our Chapel Hill shop, says hoisting the Osprey Daylite pack from the display rack. “It holds two water bottles, has an outside zip pocket for your phone, sunscreen, snacks, and it has a 13 liter main compartment for all your bigger stuff” — like a Rumpl Blanket, a Nemo Stargazer Recliner, a Sierra Design Clearwing tent, your Patagonia Torrent Shell rain jacket, you’re Hydro Flask and maybe a footlong sub! The deal of which she speaks? It’s just $50. Learn more here.

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Like it, Reserve it

You read about one (or all!) of the following pieces of cool gear and decide, “Man, I need that! I wonder if my local store has it in stock?” Now, when you click on the product link, it will take you to a more detailed description of the product and give you the opportunity to see if it’s available in your size and favorite color in your local store. Find the right size and color? Great! You can put the item on reserve for up to 24 hours! No more keeping your fingers crossed on the drive in that those awesome pants will still be there when you arrive. Pretty cool!

In a festival mood?

Here are three of our favorite summer festivals (and three that we support!). Click the link for more info.

  • Festival for the Eno, Thursday, July 4 and Saturday, July 6, West Point on the Eno city park, Durham, N.C.
  • FloydFest 19, Wednesday, July 24 through Sunday, July 28, Floyd, Va.
  • Lockn’, Thursday, Aug. 22 through Sunday, Aug. 25, Arrington, Va.