12 Essentials Every Woman Should Pack for Outside Lands

Photo:  Kim Lucian

Photo: Kim Lucian

Outside Lands is almost here, and with it comes the usual questions about what to pack. If you're planning to recreate your Coachella experience—or realize your dream of wearing 16 outfits each day in Golden Gate Park—I highly recommend renting a locker. Three day rentals are still available for $60–$80, depending on which size you want, and renting a locker could save you the trouble of hauling your blanket, water bottle, and other necessities in and out of the festival grounds each day.

If a locker is not in the cards for you, Plan B starts with a backpack. Once upon a time, you had all the choices in the world for OSL bags, but the festival has tightened security. Now, only clear backpacks are permitted. Otherwise, the festival allows small bags, fanny packs, and purses, smaller than 6” x 8” x 3” [and] drawstring bags with only one opening, up to 13” x 16.”

After you settle on a bag, the first thing you should pack is a pair of sunglasses that you wouldn't be devastated to lose. Between the sun, dust, and wind, they will be helpful. Next, remember that you're attending a festival...in San Francisco...in the summer. Afternoons will be lovely, but the evenings will be cold AF. As is typically the case in the city, layers are your friend. Try to figure out a jacket situation that can easily roll up in your backpack, and consider bringing an additional layer for good measure. (I'm a big fan of Everlane's classic crewneck sweatshirt to satisfy that bonus layer requirement.)

Think about packing hand warmers, too. No, they won't keep your entire body toasty, but they'll help. And don't forget a hat! The rumor that you lose 80 percent of your body heat through your head is false, but you can get cold when your hang outside for a long time without a head covering.

Now that we've talked about how to keep your body warm, let's move on to ways to stay cool. First up, sunscreen. The sun will come out in the afternoons, and people will rejoice by dancing in the fields as if they live in Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day." If you don't care about sun protection, that's your business. Personally, I'm a firm believer in SPF, and I always keep SPF on my face. Need a sunscreen that works on top of your festival makeup? Check out these four options. SPF lip balm will be a lifesaver, too.

Photo:  Kim Lucian

Photo: Kim Lucian

If you're at a three-day festival, there's a decent chance you'll be drinking, but you'll need to hydrate, too. Bottled water at festivals gets really expensive—and produces a lot of waste—so bring a plastic or metal water bottle with you. (OSL does not allow glass; leave the Bkr at home.) Something like a S'well or a Corkcicle will keep your water cold for up to 24 hours. There will be water refill stations, so you might as well keep your water chilled.

Finally, let's move on to necessities. You need your phone, so that should absolutely go in your bag—not that you would even consider leaving home without it. On the first aid front, bring whatever kind of headache medicine you prefer. When you find yourself battling a headache or hangover, it could save your festival experience. If there's even the slightest chance you'll need tampons, bring 'em because they're hard to find once you're inside the park. And pack hand sanitizer, too. By Sunday, the soap and water situation by the porta-potties can turn bleak, and you'll be thankful for a way to keep your hands clean.  

 Of course, there are non-essential items beyond these 12 if you're not committed to traveling lightly. A blanket to spread on the grass. Bandaids for both scrapes and blisters. A selfie light to make everyone look infinitely better in night photos. 

Before you decide what to bring and what to leave behind, think about your personal pain points. With those in mind, pack the items you need to stay happy while wandering around the park all day. That could include allergy medicine or tissue if you have allergies, ear plugs if you're sensitive to loud noises, or a backup battery for your phone if you tend to 'gram a lot. Just remember: lockers sell out every year. If you're on the fence about renting a locker, make a practice OSL backpack now while they're still available. If your backpack starts to resemble Monster in Wild, fork over the money for on-site storage.