Packing 101: Outside Lands

Packing 101: Outside Lands

I’m so excited! I’ve been receiving email reminders telling me Outside Lands is coming up in a couple weeks. As if I needed a reminder for such a huge event. Outside Lands is like no other music, art and food festival. Big names such as Muse, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Jack Johnson perform at this festival and many local restaurants set up stations or even bring their food trucks, selling their tasty food. The performances start early and end late so we’re at Outside Lands all day. We drink mimosas right after parking our car and then have “brunch” at the festival.

Outside Lands takes its name from the 19th century term used to denote the present-day Golden Gate Park and the surrounding Richmond and Sunset Districts in San Francisco, California. The festival is held every August in the Golden Gate Park and takes up four main stages with smaller music venues throughout. It is a very expensive event to attend as the tickets are $274 for a three-day pass if you buy early, otherwise expect to pay around $300 and the food and drinks is another few hundred for the weekend. There’s the option of packing your own food to save a buck but you can’t bring in any drinks, not even non-alcoholic, with the exception of two factory-sealed water bottles up to 1 liter each. You can also bring in an empty plastic water bottle or Camelbak to fill at the free water stations. And last year, they banned strollers too so those mommies and daddies can no longer sneak in alcohol. We usually pack snacks for when we want to lay around our blanket and drink wine. But since it is a food festival, we often indulge on Farmer Brown’s Fried Chicken and Mac & Cheese, raw oysters by the wine tent and whatever else our taste buds feel like having.

San Francisco nights can be very brisk and even during the day, some stages can be colder than others. With San Francisco’s temperamental weather, it is very important to pack correctly or you will be focusing more on keeping warm than you are watching the show.


What to Pack

  • Always, always pack and wear sunblock!!! Don’t let that fog fool you. Sunlight will seep through and will definitely burn you gradually. My family doesn’t call Steve a redneck for nothing. I recommend Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen SPF 45 Twin Pack 6.0 Ounce.
  • Snacks that are easy to transport and won’t spoil in case it gets warm. Try sandwiches, crackers, hard cheeses, salami, chips, cookies, fruits and veggies.
  • Pack a hat with a brim for day time and a beanie or wool hat for night time.
  • Sweatshirts or sweaters. I prefer zip-ups with a hood because you can zip it up and cover your ears when it gets really cold or you can keep it unzipped when it’s not so chilly.
  • Bring socks. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Mats or blankets to sit and lay out on.
  • Blankets to keep warm.
  • Sunglasses. Save your eyes!
  • Hand sanitizer because they are likely to be out of soap and water at the wash stations.
  • Baby wipes are always good to have on hand.
  • Read Outside Lands official “What You Can Bring/Can’t Bring” list.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • It can be sunny in one area and then cold in another part of the park.
  • Wear layers.
  • Girls, don’t wear heels or wedges because there are small hills, dirt and holes in the ground. There’s a lot of walking between stages so you’ll want to be comfortable. I actually walk enough to fulfill my Fitbit steps.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water. We’re out there all day.
  • Pace yourself with the partying. Again, you’re out there all day so don’t wear yourself out too early pounding drinks with your lunch.
  • Bring cash for the food and drinks vendors.
  • There are also vendors selling crafts, arts and clothing and most take credit cards.

What to Wear: Guys

  • Shorts and a t-shirt is the typical festival outfit.
  • Jeans for night time.
  • Hooded sweatshirts.
  • Flip flops or comfy shoes.

What to Wear: Girls

  • Short dresses that can easily go over leggings are best. It will most likely be warm for a few hours so you’ll want to soak in the sun while it is out.
  • Bring leggings or tight jeans for later in the night to wear under your dress. Baggy jeans will touch the dirty ground when you push them down in the port-a-potty. I prefer not to have to worry about my clothes in the port-a-potty.
  • Short shorts and medium length shorts are better than long shorts. The bottom edge of your long shorts will likely touch the dirty ground in the port-a-potty when you aren’t paying attention. I think that’s just gross.
  • Flip flops, sandals, or other cute, comfy shoes.
  • Cute hats are awesome. Not only will hats spice up your outfit, they protect your face from the sun.
  • DO NOT wear rompers or overalls. They are really cute but when it’s dark in the port-a-potties, you’re not going to be able to maneuver very well trying to get in and out of your outfit.
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