Festival Glamping | Leave No Trace Packing List and Tips

What does it mean to Leave No Trace? Packing list and tips using Leave No Trace principles for music festivals, campgrounds, and social gathering spaces.

crowd of people dressed in costumes and on bikes at Burning Man 2019

original content - BM 2019

Leave no Trace is Our Social Responsibility

Music festivals, campgrounds, and social gathering spaces can be hotspots for unnecessary consumption, careless acts of dumping, and poor waste management practices. Let’s be real, you may have seen trash sites overflowing with cans, bottles, broken tents, and packaging. Many of us may have seen this exiting a festival or campground and it is truly saddening to witness the lack of personal responsibility taking place in these beautiful spaces.

By embodying a Leave No Trace (LNT) philosophy, we can increase community cooperation for diverting waste from landfill and protecting land for generations to come.

Here we will cover what it means to Leave No Trace, how to plan ahead, and a recommended festival packing list with suggestions and tips and what products to avoid.

trash cans indicating where to recycle, compost, and put trash

(original content - Umbrella Weekend 2023 waste sorting)

What is Leave No Trace?

Whether you’re camping or attending a music festival you should always practice “pack it in and pack it out.” This means, whatever you bring with you, including the litter accumulated during your stay, must be packed out and brought with you to be disposed of offsite. Now, this doesn't mean tossing your trash in a dumpster behind the grocery store or on the side of the highway but going the responsible step further to understand the waste diversion practices in your neighborhood and doing responsible sorting. When we understand how trash is sorted in our own communities this can help you plan ahead and asses your consumption in holistic way. 

piles of trash at a campsite

(original content - Northern Nights 2022)

To Leave No Trace means leaving the land better than you found it by leaving no trace of yourself behind. Lnt.org and Burning Man Org do a great job of identifying key Leave No Trace principles that can be applied to the festival and beyond. Many music festivals like Do Lab’s Lightning in a Bottle have incorporated Leave No Trace principles into their culture by having Pack It In and Pack It Out guidelines to encourage waste sorting. You can find their efforts written into their Leave it Better Leave it Beautiful and Sustainability Guide on their website and they provide waste sorting assistance when leaving their event which is incredibly helpful for cultivating learning. 

Awareness is the key here. Assess your own consumption, learn how your community addresses waste management, integrate LNT principles and leave no trace of yourself behind. 

a leave no trace wood painted sign in the middle of the desert

original content - Love Machine Festival Nov. 2022

How to Have a Leave no Trace Camp

Awareness of your consumption practices are key and it’s key to bring the least amount of packaging possible. Borrow items you don’t have and double check with campmates before purchasing anything new. Be vocal in your guided efforts to sustain a Leave No Trace camp by encouraging campmates to bring their own reusable water bottle, cup, eating utensils and to opt for aluminum packaged beverages so sorting recycling is easier on everyone. If bringing anything new be sure to remove all unnecessary packaging prior to your trip. This ensures you can save space, have less to pack out, and gives the opportunity to dispose of it properly from home.

It is important that when you spot a piece of trash on the ground – pick it up. When leading by example it is almost guaranteed someone will see and do the same especially close friends and family.
When leaving a site always make sure to do a final check of campgrounds for any pieces of trash that may have been dropped like fibers, bottle caps, tent stakes, string, etc. By adopting these simple habits, we are being considerate to others and the wildlife around us. Together we can build a sustainable future for generations to come. Below you will find a suggested packing list of items that can be used over and over again with tips and what to not bring and avoid. 

Aerial view of the stage at lightning in a bottle festival

original content - LIB 2016

Leave no Trace Packing List

The Glamping Essentials

  • Tent – investing in a quality tent can save money, time, and waste

  • Easy Up - make sure you know how to build it, secure it, and take it down and pack it into its case. This lowers risk of wind blowing it away and breaking it in which it might become waste and this process will be less frustrating if you have done it before.

  • Sleeping Bag

  • Towel – You already own at least one of these

  • Chair

  • Air Mattress – Bring a patch kit for quick and easy repair

  • Pillows - save old pillows for your camp stash

  • Reusable Water Bottle – this is a must have

  • Reusable Beverage Cup – attach a carabiner clip so it’s easy to pack to yourself

  • Reusable Utensil Set – use a set from home to avoid purchasing new

  • Reusable Cooler - Say no to Styrofoam

  • Collapsible Garbage Can - makes sorting recycling a breeze and this can be reused over and over again

  • Refillable 5-Gallon Potable Water Containers - for when no potable water is available

  • Pocket Ashtray or Altoid Tin - for disposing of ash and cigarette butts

  • Plant Based Wipes - for removing makeup and cleaning up

  • Beverages Packaged in Aluminum - this eliminates heavy glass that can break, and they are light and easy to crush. Aluminum is a circular product and is accepted through most recycling programs

  • Patch Kits - for repairing air mattresses, float toys, bike tires

  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen – water is life

  • Bronner’s Soap – for washing and showering

  • Single Ply Toilet Paper - 

  • Designated Bags/Containers - for sorting compostables, batteries, vape pens, and e-waste

Party and Glamping Aesthetic Essentials

  • String Lighting – store and use with care to ensure they are long lasting

  • Reusable Zip Ties - when applicable for attaching lighting and lanterns

  • Patio Mat – these are easy to clean and can be reused over and over

  • Meaningful Décor – like tapestries, flags, rugs, and poufs (be careful of loosely attached decor like sequins, fringe, and glitter)

*Avoid single use items like glow sticks, plastic tablecloths, silly string, balloons and unnecessary single use decor

Packing List: Personal Adornment:

  • Sunglasses - attach a strap or chain to low chance of getting lost

  • Plant Based Mica or Glitter – use with caution and NOT when near a body of water. Check out our blog article How Harmful is Glitter for more information on this subject.

  • Plant Based Wipes – for makeup removal

*Make sure all costume adornment is secure and affixed.

  Packing List: Comfort Extras
  • Reusable hand warmers – check out HotSnapz

  • Metal Tiffin – for storing food

 Items to AVOID

  • Single use plastic bottles/water jugs

  • Disposable Cutlery

  • Plastic Straws + Cups - say no to red solo cups

  • Sky Lanterns – these are a fire and waste hazard

  • Glow Sticks – these are single use and contain harmful chemicals

  • Plastic Glitter/Rhinestones – see our blog article How Harmful is Glitter for more info

  • Confetti Poppers

  • Fireworks

  • Balloons

  • Ribbon 

How do you Leave No Trace? Let us know Below 

Handful of trash that is missed when camping like bottle caps, fuzz


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