24 tallboys and 12 packs of ramen might seem like smart packing before a festival, but once you're lost in a field, sunburnt and in the dark, those noodles become nothing more than primitive bartering currency. The two pillars of any gadget-lover's field-based rocking are light and power.
You won't need all of this to see you through a weekend -- even we're not this paranoid about running out of juice. But, if you want to make sure your festival is fully upgraded, technology can help. What follows is a selection of gadgets and apps we'd be reaching for if we were heading out into the wild (or at least, TomorrowWorld).
Festival Ready - Victorinox (Android/iOS,free)
Recognize that red logo? It's the same one you'll find on Swiss-army knives (and watches). So you know you're in safe hands with Festival Ready, an app from the tool-maker that will let you find food / friends, check the weather, run ticker messages (for band abuse) and more. Disappointingly, no tweezers though.
Wicked Lasers - Torch ($199)
The company is perhaps better known for its selection of bat-sh.. er, crazy LASER products, but Wicked Lasers makes a "regular" torch, too. We use that term loosely, because it's still guano by flashlight standards. The 100 watt device pumps out a whopping 4100 lumens -- enough to light up a whole (festival) field. The problem won't be finding your tent after lights out, it'll be trying not to melt it once you do.
LED Lenser - H7.2 headlamp ($70)
It might not boast the brilliancy of the Wicked Lasers Torch (which has over eight times the lumen count), but the LED Lenser is a lot more practical (not to mention, a lot less blinding). The 250 lumens it does have are powered by three AAA batteries -- so you can stock up before you go. It's light, comfortable and is adjustable for long or short distance viewing. If you're ever caught short out in the wild (or gingerly heading for the port-a-johns) you'll appreciate the hands-free of a headlamp.
"Where are you...? By the red ice cream van? Near the rainbow flag...? Ok, I think I see you... be there in a few."
Warning: red ice cream vans and rainbow flags will instantly become the second and third most common things at a festival after body odor. Use Find My Friends instead.
The liquid fuel upon which most festivals run. It comes in two varieties at most events: warm, or over-priced. Often both. If you can bring your own you'll have to weigh up the effort-to-profit ratio. If you can't, then at least seek out the beer tent that gets the most shade.
Eton - BoostTurbine 4000 ($80)
Between all the selfies of you in faux Indian headwear, and checking the festival's app (again) to find out where Terravita is playing, it's never long before the red battery of doom appears. Our first solution is the Eton BoostTurbine 4000. The number refers to the mAh count, good for about two charges of most smartphones. If that's not enough, there's a hand-crank turbine. A few minutes of spinning should provide enough juice to check your email (and the app, again). It's earns you eco-points too.
Ravpower - Xtreme Series power bank ($100)
If you're not one for bothering with turbines, then Ravpower's 23,000 mAh mega-battery should appeal. Basically, if you manage to run this thing down over a weekend, you're missing the point of being at a festival, or missing the office too much... one of the two. If you absolutely must bring a laptop to the gig, then this has a choice of voltages from 5 up to 19. It's a chunk of battery for sure, but if you're going to do something... do it with 23,000 mAh we say.
Goal Zero - Nomad solar panel ($80 - $199)
Want to go all the way green? Goal Zero's Nomad series of solar panels scoop up the sun and feed it into your gadgets (as electricity, not heat, obviously). You can either plug your phone right in, or charge up the a separate battery (like the Eton/Ravpower). There are also straps so you can hang them off a backpack as you wander between arenas. Pictured above is the Nomad 20 ($199), but the smaller Nomad 7 is a fraction of the size, outputs at 12 volts and a relative snip at $80.
The bold colors and child-friendly design of Sunfriend's UV exposure monitor might not jive with your carefully selected ensemble, but neither will lobster red skin. We don't even need to mention the more serious perils you face from over exposure to the sun.
Set the SunFriend to your personal sensitivity level, and it'll alert you once you've soaked up the optimal UV for health (vitamin D boosting etc.) and prevent you from spilling over into the danger zone. What about the UV light at the Psytrance tent you ask? We're not sure that's ever a good idea.
When others have their hands in the air, you have yours in your pocket. No, you're not having a miserable time, your rummaging for your phone so you can use Shazam to find out what this epic anthem is -- and smugly add it to your Spotify playlist on Monday. Problem is, turns out you're the only one who never heard Party Rock Anthem before. Weirdo.
Logitech - UE Boom ($170 - $199)
"All back to mine." It's like calling shotgun. You get the best seat -- one with no walk back to your abode, even if that is a shabby tent. But, what to listen to now that And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead has finished playing?
The answer, if you have a UE Boom Bluetooth speaker from Logitech, is "whatever you darn well want." Rugged build and surprisingly good audio has made the Boom stand out above the great many competing Bluetooth speakers. No mean feat.
What goes up, must come down -- the first law of festival-thermodynamics. Maybe not the breakfast of champions, but it's the start to the day you might well need after the "night before." If the ingredients read like an Aphex Twin set-list, that means it's probably the good stuff.
Uber Pool (Android/iOS, free)
So you didn't follow our advice and use Friend Finder. Or, maybe the batteries on your headlamp ran out, and you found yourself in an adjacent field on Monday afternoon. Either way, you need to get back home, and pronto. You're likely not fit for public transport, of flush enough for a cab. Uber Pool to the rescue. Like regular Uber, just with the benefit of splitting the cost with other festival casualties in surrounding fields.