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Summer Festival Gear Guide

17 products that’ll keep you on the grid – and off a stretcher – all season long

summer festival gear guide bonnaroo

Douglas Mason/Getty Images

Summer's here, and so is the unrelenting onslaught of music festivals. So whether you're gathering with fellow Juggalos, or off getting stupid somewhere in the desert, it's time to buy the ticket, take the ride and load up with the gear that'll keep you on the grid and off a stretcher – no matter how loud or ludicrous your adventures get.

By Seth Porges

Airbnb mobile app

Courtesy of AirBnB

Airbnb Mobile App

Try finding a hotel within a day's drive of Bonnaroo. Seriously. Thank goodness for Airbnb – the crowdsourced room-rental site that lets anybody rent out their spare room (or entire home). It's proven itself to be the absolute easiest way to find cheap, convenient and often pretty amazing accommodations for even the most out-of-the-way festivals. When we're last-minuting things, we reach for the service's iPhone and Android app, which lets us book a bed in minutes. [free; airbnb.com]

summer festival gear guide bonnaroo

Courtesy of Kelty

Kelty Tailgater IPA

If you're camping at a festival, you never know how far your plot will be from your car. This space-saving three-season tent tumors onto the back of your vehicle for instant shelter from the sun. The payoff – 46 square feet of shade and easy access to your trunk, all packed into an eight-pound package that's perfect for parking lot shade-seeking and multi-night campouts. [$150; kelty.com]

Biolite CampStove

Courtesy of Biolite; Matthew Land

BioLite CampStove

A multiday music festival and the end of the world? Honestly, not that different. This campstove is the perfect companion for both – not only does it let you burn your bites using spare twigs and leaves as fuel, but it also transforms excess energy into gadget juice, delivered via an accompanying charge cable. Fill your belly and your bars at the same time! [$130; biolitestove.com]

Pelican ProGear 35QT Elite Cooler

Courtesy of Pelican

Pelican ProGear 35QT Elite Cooler

We're not saying you're going to utilize this cooler's military-grade construction, but you just might learn to love its seven to 10 day ice retention, courtesy of two inches of polyurethane insulation. Translation: Your brews stay cold throughout a week-long fest. Who says you can't buy cool? [$260; pelicanprogear.com]

Petzl Nao Headlamp

Courtesy of Petzl

Petzl Nao Headlamp

Navigating a Porta-John without a light is just plain dangerous. Not only does this headlamp keep your hands free for more important tasks, it also features an integrated sensor that automatically adjusts the beam's shape and intensity based upon your current situation: Wide and weak for in-your-face business (such as reading a festival map), or focused and intense for gazing into the distance. [$175; petzl.com]

Timbuk2 Power Commute

Courtesy of Timbuk2

Timbuk2 Power Commute Laptop Messenger Bag

Behold: The perfect festival day pack. Not only does it serve as stash spot for the rest of your in-the-sun survival kit (there's plenty of room for grub and gear), it comes with a built-in backup battery for all your gadget-charging needs: simply stash your phone, camera or tablet in the bag, then jack it into the integrated power plug. The accompanying battery gives your phone about two full charges – no outlet-hunting required. [$199; timbuk2.com]

Ultimate Direction Jurek Endure

Courtesy of Ultimate Direction

Ultimate Direction Jurek Endure

One bottle for water, one for vice! This hydration belt's double-bottle design doesn't just let you lug more liquid – it also helps balance the load, making it more comfortable to wear for long stretches. Each bottle holds 10 ounces of liquid, and the stretch mesh pocket is perfect for safely stashing cash, your phone or food. [$40; ultimatedirection.com]

Vapur Shades

Courtesy of Vapur

Vapur Shades Water Bottles

The problem with water bottles: You need to hold onto them all day. This 18-ounce collapsible bladder takes its design cues from an IV bag – unlike rigid bottles, it basically disappears when it's empty, taking up far less space when it's full. Bonus: It comes in five different colors, and doubles as an ridiculously pocketable, disappearing flask. [$10; vapur.us]

Blue Microphones Mikey Digital

Courtesy of Blue Microphones

Blue Microphones Mikey Digital

This iPhone-jack microphone is all you need to become a Gatsby-grade bootlegger. Pull it out of your pocket, plug it in (iPhone 5 users: you'll need a Lightning adaptor) and the stereo recorder does the rest. [$100, bluemic.com]

Jawbone Custom Big Jambox (NDA)

Courtesy of Jawbone

Jawbone Custom Big Jambox

The best way to cool off from a sun-soaked day at a music-filled fest: More music. The Jawbone Big Jambox is our favorite portable battery-powered Bluetooth speaker – it lets us kick out surprisingly gigantic jams from our phone, tablet or laptop, for up to 15 hours on a single charge. Even better: Jawbone just launched an online tool that lets you customize your speaker's colors and finish, with more than 100 possible combinations. [$300; jawbone.com]

Delorme inReach SE

Courtesy of Delorme

DeLorme inReach SE

On a good day, cell phone coverage in rural Tennesee or the Coachella Valley is spotty at best. Add in a hundred thousand fellow festival goers, and you're better off finding an old telegraph station than relying on your phone to send a simple text. This satellite communicator uses our Earth-orbiting friends to send texts without forcing you to rely on overworked towers. [$300; inreachdelorme.com]


Courtesy of Dropcam

Dropcam HD

This dead-simple Wi-Fi surveillance camera is the absolute easiest way to keep one eye on the homestead while the other's on the stage. Set-up takes seconds, and you can tune in to 720p HD video of your dogs, significant other or anything else, thanks to a free app that transforms your smartphone into a window to your home. [$149; dropcam.com]

Eton BoostTurbine 2000

Courtesy of Eton

Eton BoostTurbine 2000

At festivals, there's only one thing scarcer than clean toilets: An available outlet. Basically, if you want your phone to last past midday, you're gonna need a backup battery. This juice box doesn't just store enough power for a full phone charge, it also comes with a built-in hand crank for truly off-the-grid charging. Sixty seconds of solid spinning gives you about four minutes of talk time – or enough texts to plan your next move. [$60; etoncorp.com]

Pivothead video recording sunglasses aurora durango

Courtesy of Pivothead

Pivothead Video Recording Sunglasses

There are two ways to shoot a festival set: Suffer a sore arm (and anger the folks standing behind you!) by holding your shaky hand in the air for an hour; or strap on these combination sunglasses-video camera. On the shade side: Four different frames (and a ton of colors) to choose from. On the camera side: 1080p HD video and 8-megapixel still shots. Sure, they aren't Google Glass, but until you get your hands on that techie white whale, they'll do. [$299, pivothead.com]

Vans LXVI Graph shoes

Courtesy of Vans

Vans LXVI Graph Sneakers

After a full day of blistering in the sun, your feet will be your biggest foe. These shoes are, quite simply, the lightest Vans ever, yet they provide plenty of padding for a full day of being on your feet. It's never been easier to be the last man standing. [$90; vans.com]

Insect Shield Canvas Sun Hat

Griffin Lotz for RollingStone.com

Insect Shield Canvas Sun Hat

If you're spending any amount of time outside, nothing bites like the sun and. . . well. . . bugs. This wide-brimmed canvas hat protects you from both with an insect repellant built right into the fabric. [$30; insectshield.com]

Jack Black Performance Remedy Oil-Free Sun Guard

Courtesy of Jack Black

Jack Black Performance Remedy Oil-Free Sun Guard

By day two, Coachella is basically a mess of sunburnt skin. So if you want to avoid being a peeling, miserable, sun-soaked statistic, you'll need to lotion up. This broad spectrum, UVA/UVB-blocking SPF 45 hits the Holy Grail hat trick: It's water and sweatproof, oil-free and rubs on with non-existent levels of grease. [$20; getjackblack.com]

In This Article: Bonnaroo, Bonnaroo 2013

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