Camping at Bonnaroo: 16 Tips, Tricks and Reminders For Conquering the ‘Roo Campground

Bonnaroo 2016 is upon us, with  80,000 people returning to the gorgeous fields of Manchester, TN for four days and nights of musical debauchery and hedonistic escape on the festival’s 15th anniversary celebration. We’ve walked you through the basics in our Bonnaroo Survival Guide, but for the tens of thousands camping at Bonnaroo, a whole new level of excitement awaits – and with it, a new set of challenges. More specifically, this is about to be your home for four days:

All walks of musical life are going to be packed like sweaty sardines by the tens of thousands. It can be a beautiful experience, as long as you’re prepared. Once you navigate your way through the endless stream of cars from the 55N or Highway 24 (or 55S or 41 or.. ah hell, just follow the trail, there’s no magic shortcut), there are a few important details to remember when you get to your campsite. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled them all in a list of 16 Bonnaroo Camping Tips.


1. Stay hydrated. Duh.

It’s obvious, a total no-brainer, but it’s the first and last item on this list for a reason. You’re going to sweat. A lot. Your pores will be faucets, especially when the sun bakes you in your tent as you sleep off the previous night’s fun. Don’t be the dude passed out under the tree by nightfall on Thursday because you didn’t stay hydrated. Free fill-up stations all around the park will save you some serious cash while you’re rocking, but as for camping it’s important to come prepared with a few gallons per person.


2. Set up your campsite quickly

Get there early. Like, right now. Seriously, stop reading this and get moving. Gates open to campers on Wednesday night at 8pm, and by the stroke of midnight it’s going to be an unending sea of brakelights stretching halfway to Nashville. Once you’re in, you’re going to want to set up as quickly as possible to keep things moving for everyone coming in behind you, as well as to get into the ‘Roo action as soon as possible! The tent city is a whole world unto itself…


3. Sun shade

Your tent is going to feel more like a sauna not long after the sun breaks the horizon each morning. Whether a big fancy sun shade or mylar sheeting, make sure you have something extra to cover your tent with to give yourself a couple extra hours of sweet, merciful sleep. Even if you’re resorting to sticks, blankets and rope, it’s better than nothing. 


4. Rain gear!!!

Ponchos, extra clothing, ziplock bags, tent seam sealant, the works – be prepared for wetness, no matter what the forecast calls for. It’s commonplace for Bonnaroo to experience multiple downpours. If you’re ready for whatever the skies are bringing down on you, a little rain isn’t going to ruin your fun. A lot? Well… that’s all about your attitude.


5. Towels

In addition to showering, between the rivers of sweat, the inevitable rain and whatever spills are bound to occur, you’ll want a few towels nearby to handle whatever needs absorbing. With a weather forecast looking like an unmerciful joke from the gods, it could make all the difference in your camping experience.


6.Tent flag

Get a flag or balloon and fly it above your tent. When you’re exhausted at the end of a long day of rockin’ in the sunshine, it can be a soul crushing experience to stumble around trying to find your tent among the tens of thousands on the fields of ‘Roo.


7. Padding

Whether blankets, an inflatable raft, an air mattress or a camping pad, you’ll want something to give you a little leverage off the hard ground. Sleeping off the day’s adventures and indulgences will be far easier when you’re not spending the night trying to navigate around a rock poking you through the bottom of the tent.


8. Fan and/or Water sprayer

With a battery operated fan, especially one with an attached mister, you’ll find a little relief from the sweltering madness of humidity and baking heat. Bring extra batteries, of course.

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