Article by: James Jimenez
Back for its 15th year, Gem & Jam Festival 2023 is set to take place February 3 – 5. For those ready to soak in all this unique festival has to offer, make sure to come prepared. The camping experience is all fun and games until you realize you forgot some essential items for the weekend. Don’t fear, because here are some things on my checklist this year to ensure the weekend is smooth sailing based on previous experience.
Obviously, these are imperative if you aren’t planning to camp in your car or RV. The key is to make sure to properly stake down everything. Last year was very windy, and my group made the mistake of not staking down our campsite — learn from our mistakes. This also includes anything you will put in the tent to sleep (i.e. air mattress, blankets, pillows, etc.). A set of locks to close up the tent when you are away is also a must.
Grill & Propane
Food is essential to keep your energy up to party all weekend, so make sure you have a way to prepare it. Pots, pans and cutlery are also key for cooking your own food.
Arizona is never cold until it is. Even if it is supposed to be warm in early February, it is always a safe bet to bring an extra layer or two in case it gets cold — warm socks too.
This one goes hand in hand with warm clothes. We brought a propane heater to keep us warm around camp and it worked like a charm. A little goes a long way here, but still be sure to stash some extra cans of propane if you decide to bring the heater. However, beware that these heaters get very hot and can be a safety hazard. Don’t burn yourself, melt anything, or catch anything on fire and always turn it off when you leave camp.
Comfortable Shoes/Slip-Ons/Waterproof Shoes
Whether you’re out and about exploring the venue or chilling back at camp, you’ll want to stay comfortable by bringing a pair of comfortable shoes you know will work for you. I also recommend slip-ons, like Crocs or slides, because they are clutch to quickly throw on at camp to move around. If rain is a possibility, waterproof shoes might also come in handy.
If you aren’t planning to come in an RV and use the power provided by the festival, you will need to bring your own means of power. I bring at least two portable chargers for my phone and recharge them when I can. Another helpful gadget is a 120V car power adapter — it plugs into a cigarette lighter and provides you with a standard U.S. wall outlet to use for things like air mattress pumps and other electronics.
Not only will this create a colorful and fun vibe for your camp, but it will help you see at night and serves as a great way to identify your campsite in the dark. Something as simple as a few string lights or a lantern goes a long way!
I can’t stress this one enough — protect your hearing! The music is great, but it is also quite loud; make sure you are able to preserve your hearing for a long time. The last thing you want is to have ringing in your ears. These are also good if your campsite happens to be noisy and you’re trying to sleep.
Not only are they helpful to stay hydrated, but there is a bring-your-own cup bar to fill up with your drink of choice which helps to reduce waste.
Unfortunately, festival pickpockets are out there looking for opportunities to snatch your phone or valuables. Keeping those valuables on your person and in a fanny pack will help to keep them safe and secure.
The list could go on and on, but these are some of the most important things to plan to have with you at a camping festival to make the weekend go smoothly. Of course, all festivals are best when you bring good vibes and meet some new friends, so enjoy your time at Gem & Jam. If you don’t have tickets yet, just head over to the festival website and follow the socials for all the latest news and updates.
CONNECT with Gem & Jam Festival: