"The Starwood List"

“The Starwood List”, or What to pack for a Pagan festival

So..please be so kind as to tell this "virgin" just
what she should bring..I know I need tent, bedding
etc..now tell me what about clothes..ie in relation to
the weather and such...also any helpful tips woudl be

I keep a list of what to bring to fests...every year I go over it and cross off some stuff that I brought but didn't use, and add some stuff that I didn't bring but wished I had. I suggest that you build and maintain a list of your own- but in the meantime, here’s mine.

 I do tend to pack a LOT of stuff and you may choose to pare it down a bit if you're not quite so uptight, or you may HAVE to pare it down if you're flying or have a small car. Some of this stuff you can toss in the trunk and leave it with your car, so as to not have to lug it around and store it in your tent, but you'll be able to go get it if you decide you want it.

I recommend "stuff sacks" for packing. The ones I have are "Granite Gear" brand. All of my clothing for the week compresses down into the size of a volleyball. Sleeping bag is a second volleyball.

Anyhow, here's my list:

*cassette tapes for the car ride to the fest
Pagan stuff will get you in the mood! :-)

(The bigger, the better... people will happily help you set it up)

*mini tent-patch kit and seam sealer
(The year you don't bring this will be the year your tent develops a leak right over your sleeping bag)

(to pound tent stakes)

*At least 2 big tarps
(one to go under the tent, one to rig up above to keep the rain off. You may also want an extra one with which to rig up a shady lounging area. If you have a teeny tent and all your stuff won't fit comfortably inside, bring an extra tarp to rig up a sheltered storage area for some of your belongings)

(to string up your tarps, to hang a clothesline, to tie bundles, it has myriad uses and I wouldn't dream of leaving home without it. I use cotton clothesline (don't get that plastic-coated crap, it's impossible to tie),
and I usually bring a gigantic hank of it.

*safety scissors or a knife to cut rope with

*one of those little mini travel broom-n-dustpan sets
(to sweep all the dirt, crumbs, dead bugs & other crapola out of your tent before you pack up)

*campsite lighting
You will want something to mark the location of your tent. A tiki torch or
2 (or more) is good; you can also use a big jar candle or one of those
citronella candles that come in a bucket. If you bring tiki torches, remember to
bring plenty of fuel, and a small funnel with which to fill the torches. Don't bring anything that might tip over in the wind, or unenclosed candles that might set the woods on fire.)

*matches, or a lighter
(I always bring at least 2 books of matches and pack them in different
duffle bags, because some stuff always seems to get wet)

*camera & film, if you desire
(remember to always ask before photographing anyone- some people are
really touchy about this)

(I bring 1 sleeping bag to spread out on the floor of the tent and a
second one to actually sleep in. In addition, I bring 1 or 2 thick extra blankets. Even at the height of summer, while you’re roasting in your own skin during the day, it can get pretty nippy at night. Better to have it and not need it, you know- the extra bedding is something you can leave in your trunk if you desire, as a just-in-case. You may also want a pillow, air mattress, whatever.)

*condoms(and any other related items you may find yourself in need of)

*a cooler (if you desire to have perishable food and/or cold drinks. Ice is
usually available for purchase in camp)

(Don't forget to eat. Don't laugh, it's easy to do. The excitement and
energy seems to sustain you, and there are plenty of more interesting
things to do than stop to eat. you also may enjoy bringing a few things to share.
 Granola bars are handy to have for a quick snack-on-the-run; they keep well and you can slip them into nooks & crannies in your luggage.)
For easy, quick, yummy, and no-cleanup meals with no worries about refrigeration, I recommend Mountain House dehydrated hiking meals. Boil a little water, pour it in the bag, eat right out of the bag, throw bag away, wash fork, done. Tons of flavors.

*water, and water containers
(It is vitally important to remember to carry water with you
everywhere, and drink a lot of it at frequent intervals. There are usually spigots about, but
I kinda like to bring my own water that I'm certain is clean. I usually
bring a few gallons, either store-bought water or recycled containers that
I filled from my own tap at home. Even if you plan to utilize the
on-site water, you'll want to have 2 empty gallon jugs so that you'll have
some water at your tent when you want it. Another (optional) nice thing to
do: there is never enough water at the bonfire circle at night where
people are getting all dehydrated drumming and dancing... it's kinda nice to
bring  a couple of gallon jugs to pass around and/or leave in the area for use
by the dancers & drummers.)

*water bottle
(a plastic bottle with a non-leaking cap that is easy to carry around
with you, to keep your body hydrated. I use a recycled soda bottle with one
of those pop-top caps. You can also buy water bottles with their own
carrying straps, or a canteen.)

(any prescription meds you are on, birth-control pills, also bring some OTC allergy meds,
ibuprofen/aspirin/acetaminophen for any headaches or muscle aches.
Remember that you will be carting a lot of heavy luggage, sleeping on the ground, probably doing a lot more walking than normal, dancing, imbibing, etc. I bring some Pepto-bismol
as well (they have it in tablet form now), a couple of lip balms, and throat
lozenges. Vitamins, if you tend to not eat as well or as often as you should during fests.)

*first aid supplies
(I bring an entire box of bandaids. There is so much walking & dancing
to be done that I always wind up with blisters. You may be going barefoot,
and a lot of injuries happen that way. Blundering around in the woods at
night is also a good way to get scratched up. Bactine/neosporin or other
similar stuff to put on any hurts. I also make sure to have a needle for
splinters.  Tweezers in case of ticks. Something to put on poison ivy, should you be so unlucky. Something to use in case of sunburn. Bee-sting kit, if you are allergic.
Something to put on itchy mosquito bites.)

(if you have allergies; it is also handy for other uses... I bring a
couple of little travel-packages)

*A folding chair
(it is worthwhile to invest in a good, sturdy, comfy, portable one.
The ground is often wet; it will be wet in the mornings even if there is
no rain all week. You will want something to sit on at workshops, while
schmoozing around the fire, etc. I have a real comfy chair that folds up quite
small, has a carrying strap, and a pouch to carry small items in. If you have
extra folding chairs, it's nice to bring a couple to set up by the fire.
People are always dropping by, and it's nice to have a few extras
hanging about.)

*map/directions to the site, and a contact phone # in case you get

*festival booklet or any other info you may have received ahead of

*gate pass/registration/proof of fee payment, if such is required for
entry into the specific festival

*drivers' license or other photo ID

*cash/checkbook/credit cards
(make sure you have some emergency cash, and some small bills to buy
ice. Many fests have food available to buy, or even meal plans. There are
also lots of wondrous things to buy at the merchant booths!)

*sunglasses and a HARD case to keep them safely in. A string to wear
them around your neck. If you wear prescription eyeglasses, a HARD case to
put them in when you take them off. If you kneel on them in a dark tent
and bend/break them, you are utterly screwed (yes, she speaks from hard
experience!) A tiny eyeglass repair kit would not be amiss.
Contact-lens case and cleaning materials, if you wear contacts.)

(biodegradable soap, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, razor,
anything else you use. Soaps, shampoos, etc are best to bring in travel/sample
sizes, or put into smaller bottles. Liquid soap in a squeeze-tube is handiest. Wet-wipes are also handy to have. feminine hygiene supplies if you think you might need them-
and your cycle may get thrown off when you're at festival)

*mesh shower bag
(for your shower items)

*nail clippers



*antiperspirant/deodorant (travel or sample size)

*One of those folding travel-pack-thingies with many clear
zipper-compartments is invaluable for storing and organizing your
toiletries, meds, jewelry, car keys, and other small items. I can
never find anything when I'm camping, especially if I'm crammed into a small
tent. One or more of these organizers are priceless.)

*a washcloth or 2, and towels
(bring plenty of towels. They never dry fast enough. If it's really
hot, you may want to duck under the shower or pour some of your water over your
head several times a day. There may be a pool and/or hot tub You
will also want a few towels to park at your tent door with which to wipe
mud & dirt off your feet. And if it does rain, you will need several towels
to mop up. You can't have too many towels. This is another item which it
doesn't hurt to throw several extra in the trunk just in case you decide you
need them.)

(and lots of it. Bring more than you think you'll need, and cake it
on. Remember your face, the back of your neck, your hands and feet, and

(and lots of it. I usually bring 2 or 3 big cans- coat my body, and
spray some around my tent door a few times daily. I also usually try to have
a citronella candle in a big bucket for my tent site. Protect your body
and your campsite.)

*A hat, bandanna or something else to cover your head.
(You may need to sit/stand out in the hot sun for hours at a time for
a ritual, workshop or work shift. Bandannas are also another one of
those handy-dandy items that can be put to myriad uses. I always toss a
handful of them in my bag.)

*a fanny pack or other small bag
(for carrying your sunscreen, lip balm, and other small items
around camp.)

*rain poncho
(you can get a cheap one packaged in a tiny wallet-sized envelope. Prepare for rain. You have been warned)

*folding umbrella, if you desire

*waterproof boots
(again, prepare for rain. In addition, if it does rain early in the
week, the number of feet slogging around camp can turn the place into a mud
lake that can last all week long.)

*plastic bags
(I bring a big wad of plastic shopping bags for trash, for sorting and
packaging various luggage items (they keep things clean and
water-resistant), and for separating wet items. I also keep an empty,
flattened plastic bag just inside my tent doorway to put my
muddy/dirty footgear on. When it's time to pack up, you can turn this bag inside
out and put your wet/dirty footgear inside it, and just pitch the whole thing
in your luggage. If it rains late in the week and you have to pack up a
lot of stuff wet, you'll be happy you have plenty of plastic bags. Some
small, ziplock baggies and some larger freezer-baggies may also come in handy
to keep your tarot cards or other small, precious items dry.)

One year, it rained terribly and all of my clothes ended up in a soggy heap in the middle of my tent, being turned a few times a day like a compost pile to spread the wettest on top. Not only did this not work very well, but unfortunately at least one item had come in contact with poison ivy. Yes, that meant everything I had was contaminated. Please learn and benefit from my pain. From this misadventure, I learned to pack my clean clothes in sealed Ziplock Freezer bags (a couple of items per bag). Don't open the bags till you put on the item. Dirty clothes are kept *separate* in a different plastic bag. I never re-wear stuff in case it's come in contact with poison ivy.

*trash bags
(I bring an entire box of trash bags, for the same reasons I described
above. If we have a true downpour, you can break out your trashbags
and put everything you own inside them, including your bedding. This method
has kept my stuff dry through many a rainstorm and leaky tent. You don't want
wet bedding, trust me. If you are in a small tent, anything that is
touching the walls will get wet because the rain (and dew) whicks in. If I'm using
a small tent, I put everything in trashbags. Also, if you have a small
tent, you may double-trashbag some of your belongings and put them outside
to give yourself more room. You can fit a big drum in a trashbag to keep it
dry, too.)

*sandals, rubber thongs, tennies, hiking boots
(I bring at least 4 different pairs of footgear. As I mentioned
before, there is so much extra walking and dancing that if you wear the same
footgear all week you will almost certainly wind up with blisters. If
you do get blisters, you'll thank Gods you have sneaks and/or comfy boots to
switch to. If it's cold, you'll want something other than sandals.
You want something substantial on your feet when shlepping gear, and
setting up/ taking down camp. Rubber thongs are good in the dew, light rains,
and in the shower. Leather sandals turn into instruments of torture when
wet- and even if it doesn't rain, the dew appears soon after dark. Footgear
tends to not dry very fast, either. Last year my birkenstocks took 2 days to
dry after I wore them at night (just from the dew), and after it rained my
tennies didn't get fully dry all week. I was very, very happy that I
had brought enough changes of footgear that I always had something dry to
put on, and something to change into if I felt blisters starting to form.
Yet another item that you can toss a few extra in the trunk just in case.)

*Several pairs of good cotton socks
(see above. Also, if it gets really cold at night, you'll be very
happy to have a few pairs of socks to keep your feet warm)

(better yet, two or three of 'em. They love to get lost. Bring extra

*lantern, if you desire

*a pen & little pad of paper
(you may want to leave someone a note, mark down your workshift info,
circle interesting events in the program, or share your addy with new

*a watch
(I know, I know... but if you want to go to any workshops or rituals,
you'll need it. If you really balk at wearing a watch at festival, you can
buckle it onto your folding chair or fanny pack. You may want a glowing watch
for inside your tent at night, and/or one with an alarm if you want to get
yourself up at a certain time in the morning or keep track of some
event you want to be at.)

(useful for hanging your wet things up. I also use them for suspending
my trash bag from a seam inside my tent, hanging up my mesh shower bag to
let the stuff dry off, for pinning up the tent partitions just the way I
want them, and for hanging certain fragile, easily-misplaced and/or
need-to-be-able-to-find-it-in-the-dark items from the inside tent seams (ie my feathers, program booklet, book of matches, etc.))

*earplugs if you are a light sleeper

*eyemask if you want to nap during the day so as to better enjoy the
nightlife- just try to sleep inside a screamingly-bright tent, that
thin nylon blocks no light at all

*if you drum, a trash-bag tie is the perfect way to be able to take
off your rings/bracelets and secure them to your drum/chair/fanny pack.
You will meet very few drummers who have not lost precious magical rings at

*phone number of your pet-sitter
(in case you want to check in, or if you are delayed in returning
home. Also have a phone card or emergency change for the phone)

*hair elastics
(if you have long hair)

*Travel-toothbrush with case, and travel/sample size toothpaste

*a small pocket mirror

*drums, rattles, other musical instruments

*items with which to decorate your campsite, if you wish
(I bring foil/plastic star garlands, mobiles, windsocks, flags,
pinwheels, etc. You can hang things from the trees with fishing line.)

*portable altar, if you wish


*body paints, glitter, temporary tattoos (with alcohol pads to remove
them), mendi, etc if you wish

*ritual items

*ritual clothing

*costume items

*Clothing in general
(It is wise to layer. It may be 110 in the shade, or it may be
absolutely freezing. It is usually pretty hot & humid in the daytime and cold at
night. I bring at least 1 pair of jeans, a sweat suit, a set of long johns to
layer under the sweat suit if it gets really cold at night, a few
sweatshirts/sweaters, some sarongs, a few T-shirts, a pair of shorts
or 2, a thick cloak and/or coat, a few dresses, etc. Everything goes with
everything else, more or less, so I can mix & match & layer. You can wear mundane
stuff, costumy SCA stuff, ritual stuff, or whatever you fancy. In
particular- if you go down to the bonfire at night, you will want to
layer so that you won't freeze your buns off walking to and fro your camp,
but you want to be able to strip stuff off as you get warm from the fire
and/or from dancing/drumming.)

*some small magical and/or hand-made gifts for your friends, if you

*a small offering to give to the festival-site land, if you wish... a
little stone from your own yard is ideal.

Also, consult any website or snail-mailed info you have available
About the particular fest- they will usually have a list of suggested items to
bring, and will tell you a little about the facilities (which may suggest
other items you will want), and sometimes they'll tell you about some of the
planned activities. For instance, if there is a tarot workshop you'd
like to attend, you may want to bring your cards. If there is a Bast ritual, you may want to bring a whisker from your Cat and/or
a can of tuna for the altar. If there is a Druid ritual, there may be
certain items of ritual jewelry or clothing you may want to bring for that
event. If there is a Santaria ritual that kind of catches your interest and
you'd like to go, but don't know zilch about Santaria, you may have time before
you go to the fest to read up on it a bit. Etc, etc, etc.

Also- and this is important- if you've never been to a fest before, it
can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the energy flying around. It's a
good idea to practice your grounding, centering, and shielding techniques
beforehand, and take along any items you find helpful (or even photocopy some
different techniques out of books in order to have a few cheat-sheets if you
need them). Check in with yourself often to be sure you're doing okay, and
if you seem to be having a hard time for any reason, don't hesitate to ask
someone for a little help.

Your cell phone. All year long, we listen to our phones (and other people's phones) ringing. Nobody wants to hear your phone ringing at PSG. Especially during a ritual.  Please.

Stonehouse-specific: Stonehouse campground has poison ivy, mosquitoes and copious bold raccoons. Plan accordingly.

Whew!! :-) How's that for a start?

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