Summer music festivals have become an institution — but what do you wear and pack? We explore the four essential music festival clothes for men to help you pack, no matter if you're looking to chill out to the tropical sounds of Klingande or dance the night away to the pop house of Martin Solveig.
Music festivals, whether you prefer strictly EDM or opt for the multi-genre medley that’s Coachella, have a few definitive characteristics. You’ll be out in the sun for hours – unless, if course, it rains. There’s always a large crowd. And, whether you’re walking, dancing, or simply relaxing, it’s always over dirt and grass.
Basic Tips for All Festival Clothing:
In this context, your clubbing clothes need to stay at home. Instead, be sure to bring the following.
Your Festival Clothing Packing List:
1. Light-Weight Shirt That Stays Fresh
Your first rule: Keep it light. It doesn’t matter if you opt for a short-sleeve button-up, a tee, or even a bro tank. It’s expected that you’ll be sweating under the sun, even if you’re not dancing and moving around.
Few things are worse than a soaked-through shirt once the evening rolls around. Get ready for an uncomfortably damp feeling accompanied by chills.
Secondly, think about dirt. Or, more specifically, wearing something you won’t mind getting a little bit dirty. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or camping out somewhere, you’ll finish off the night wondering why all your skin, hair, and clothing has a dusty film on it.
As such, avoid that linen or silk shirt, no matter how ultra-light it feels. A festival is the sure spot to ruin anything remotely high-end.
Third, neutral’s the most versatile path – for instance, solid-color tees or a small, neat-print shirt – unless you plan to go in the opposite direction. If that’s your approach, think about those all-over, Hawaiian-style prints, neon rave-inspired hues, or metallic, sequin-covered pieces.
Our Top Music Festival Shirt Picks
Best Hawaiian Shirt:
The Kooples Short Sleeve Button-Down Shirt
Hawaiian shirts are back with a vengeance. If you want to go beyond the stand t-shirt and wear something that expresses a bit more flair and personality, give it a try. The pattern (perfect for hiding dirt) plus layering make them a perfect festival choice.
2. Sweat-Wicking Chinos or Joggers
With pants or shorts, take the same approach as your shirt. As such, chinos or smart joggers are preferable to denim. Color-wise: brown, gray, or navy blue over anything white. And, with plenty of patterned choices out there, why not hint at some old-school rave style?
Along with this these factors, avoid anything skinny. Sweat increases the chafe factor, and even with the lightest cotton, anything soft soon starts to feel like sandpaper, and you’ll be thinking about going home.
Instead, go for something with a bit more space, and as backup, have a stick of Body Glide on hand.
Our Top Music Festival Pants and Shorts Picks
Original Penguin Men's Vintage Gym French Terry Jogger
It's hard to beat a jogger for pure comfort. However you do want to still look somewhat presentable as well. The best way to avoid looking like you rolled into the festival right after the gym is to go with a tapered shape and avoid obviously athletic-wear shapes and fabrics.
3. Moisture Wicking Bucket Hat
Around 2012, everyone wanted to have one of those Deadmau5 headpieces, but after a couple of hours, it meant lugging your DIY creation around. Instead, be practical.
No, that doesn’t mean opting for a dad style baseball cap – unless, of course, that’s your thing – but be ready with some kind of hat – at least a six-panel cap with a bill in front. It’s a reliable and unobtrusive solution that’ll keep the sun out of your eyes and reduce the glare.
As a step up, go for a bucket hat, a staple of many rave-wear collections and a style that screams “’90s rave” without being a pair of bondage pants.
This scenario, too, opens up the opportunity for tech features – think moisture-wicking sweatbands, breathable panels, and UV-resistant materials. The result, even when just enhancing a standard cap, reduces sun exposure and fully keeps your head cool.
Our Top Music Festival Hat Picks
Best Classic Bucket Hat:
Kangol Men’s Striped Lahing Classic Bucket Hat
This is an updated version of teh the quintessential bucket hat. The classic boonie-style hat features a flat top and a brim that provides great protection from the sun and elements. The sporting stripe ads classic design appeal.
Carhartt Men's Cap
If you're not a fan of the bucket hat revival or just want more head ventilation, a cap might be up your alley. Avoid sports teams and instead go for a workwear classic like Carhartt that features a sweatband fights odors and fast dry technology wicks away sweat for comfort.
4. Comfortable Sneakers that Give Support
Weekend-long festivals rarely provide seating – the live tent at Ultra being one of the exceptions. So, be prepared to be standing on your feet all day, if not walking around between the stages or getting jostled by the massive crowds.
Considering this context, comfort is paramount, followed by a design that’s either scuff resistant or that you won’t mind getting a bit dirty.
Boots are out, and sandals pose too much of a risk. Rather, standard sneakers, retro skate sneakers or even a running shoe gets you prepared with enough support and padding. For effortless breathability and a lightweight fit, canvas shoes often do the trick.
In any case, go for darker shades that can handle all that dirt – after all, you’re not just ambling along the sidewalk. Your solid-white kicks, unless you have an after-hours excursion planned, should stay home.
Our Top Shoe and Sneaker Picks
Best Classic Sneaker:
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Ox
The Converse All Star is a good bet for almost any occasion. While it's less padded than more contemporary sneakers, it's still comfortable and classic style that matches with everything. Plus budget friendly! Just avoid bringing your white sneakers as you'll never get them clean again.
5. Waterproof Shell for Unexpected Rain
Prepare for any rain by having a water-resistant or waterproof shell ready in your bag. Packable and light, they weigh next to nothing, and barely take up any space. But, once the storm arrives – and you still plan to stay at the festival grounds – it proves to be one of the most important items in your pack.
Our Top Rain Shell Picks
Best All-Weather Rain Jacket:
The North Face Men's Resolve 2 Jacket
Designed for use on the trail, this jacket is rugged and waterproof and comes in a wide range of colors from classic yellow to more subude navy and black. It's a bit bigger to pack but if there's a good chance of rain, worth the extra bulk.
6. Bonus: Everything Else You Will Need
Now that your basics are out of the way, what else should you bring along?
Hydration Pack: Best of Both Worlds
Even when water bottle aren't permitted, a lightweight hydration pack often seems to make the cut. In this instance, for a two-for-one idea, opt for a pack with at least a 1L bladder and some storage space. It won’t be a full backpack, but you’ve got enough room to hold onto your basics.
Feeling overwhelmed packing for your music festival? Not sure what to bring? Mainly remember to pack light, comfortable, clothing that won't show grime and dirt but will still make you feel stylish.
Depending on the climate and weather, moisture-wicking is good but not mandatory. Look through your own closet first, then discover what elements are missing and just buy those pieces. Also for grooming products, check out what the pros bring to music festivals.