Tips for Tatts at Electric Forest

A play on the phrase “tit for tat”, meaning “an equivalent given in return”, Camp Tip-for-Tatt has a dual purpose: a.) to collect the best and most unique camping tips from fellow forest dwellers and b.) to decorate your face or body with a painted tattoo in return for sharing your festival expertise.

Participating in Electric Forest’s Ultimate Camp Contest was really fun and exciting. The open invitation to swing by our camp to hang out, get tatted up, and share festival wisdom brought many kind souls and positive energy through Camp Tip-for-Tatt. We even got a special visit from The Electric Forest King, Queen, Duke and Duchess!

A lot of people gave obvious pointers such as “bring baby wipes!”. One of my friends staying at Camp Tip-for-Tatt remarked, “This is my first time ever at a festival and I knew that.” Others reverted to substance advice (“No hard drugs before noon,” one girl advised), but that’s not exactly the type of intelligence I was seeking either.

The most unique answer I received all weekend came from Heather Morris of Indianapolis. She advised, “Fill a vertical rectangular container (something like a pringles can) halfway full of water and mix in some kind of mild soap. Freeze it for a day or two and then top off the container with regular water. Once the entire thing is frozen, you have a shower block! Rub the soapy side one your skin to lather up, then rub the plain water side to rinse. In addition to getting clean, you get cooled off, too!”

Read on for the best of the tips I gathered, including advice from my fellow experts at Camp Tip-for-Tatt… just in time to prepare for All Good and Mojostock!

My best tips:

  • Do as much food prep as you possibly can at home (cleaning/slicing fruits and vegetables, seasoning hamburger patties, etc.).
  • Freeze everything that can be frozen at least two days before the festival.
  • Double bag any kind of food item before putting it in your cooler; ice melts and turns into water, which will easily penetrate one layer of bagging and contaminate your cooler.
  • Wrap a headlamp around a gallon jug of water with the light facing into the jug to use as a lantern for your campsite.
  • Bring solar powered or battery operated yard lights to place on all four corners of your tent to avoid tripping and accidents.
  • Take care of your feet!ALWAYS BRING RAIN BOOTS. Every five times you bring them and don’t need them will be worth it the time that you DO need them.
  • In addition to rain boots, bring sandals with thick soles and moccasins or some kind of ankle boot; switch back and forth from one day to the next.
  • Pack twice as many socks as days you are camping.

Morgan (our tattoo artist):

  • Bring a flag or some kind of bright and easy to spot marker for your campsite and pay attention to landmarks around your camp. You’ll be able to tell friends where to find you and you won’t get lost!
  • Plan to arrive with at least a quarter tank of gas. Your car will be idling for a while in lines to get in and out of the fest, and running out of gas is the last thing you want!
  • Be sure to stay healthy! Days of hot sun, partying and little sleep takes a toll on your body and immune system, so bring your multivitamins, Airborne, or Emergen-C.


  • Don’t take ice out of the bag to pour into the cooler; leaving it in the bag makes it last longer.
  • Get there as early as possible for a good camping spot.
  • Bring high protein foods such as eggs, yogurt, and cheese.

Courtney a.k.a. C-Style: instead of draining your melted ice water from your cooler onto the ground in the morning, use it for a refreshing face wash.


Electric Forest King Brandon, from Albuquerque, New Mexico: Meet your neighbors right from the start and bring something to share with them (like something from your home town or region). It is the best way to break the ice and it will mean a lot to them to receive the gift. It also makes it so that they will be more willing to help you out in return (for instance, if you forgot a knife, they will be willing to let you borrow it). It makes your campsites interact and friendly. I am from New Mexico, so we always bring a lot of Green & Red Chili to share with our neighbors for them to share a taste from our home state. Sometimes they never have tried some so it is a great memory and introduction to our beautiful state! And makes breakfast soooo good with burritos!

Duke Tim, runner up in the King and Queen contest, from Los Angeles, CA:

David a.k.a. Spaceboy from Indianapolis: use bondage tape to hide things from security (e.g. a flask) by adhering them to your upper thigh (bondage tape doesn’t tear out your leg hair)

Aaron from Bloomington (of Wide Aperture Images): Bring LED balloons to camp for late night circle kicking. We spent about an hour at camp one night after music in a circle kicking 4 balloons back and forth. It was so much fun.

But a real tip would be to bring children’s swimming earplugs. They mold to your ears and don’t fall out. I get very peaceful sleep every night with those things.

Lauren from Missouri: For any music festival, earplugs and a light-up, water-resistant watch are vital. Earplugs help keep your hearing in good shape when you’re dancing up by the speakers, and they multitask at night when you’re trying to sleep through music combined with your neighbors’ conversations. It’s a lot easier to keep track of time yourself than asking every person you see with a watch on—feel the self-sustaining liberation as you arrive at the gate a solid 15 minutes early to your favorite band’s set.

DJ WALA from San Francisco, CA: One thing that I really like doing is putting fresh ginger in my water. Ginger is really good for your digestive system and it’s a natural stimulant. So caffeine will dehydrate you at festivals, but the ginger will wake you up and will still keep you hydrated.

Jeremy Salken and Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic:

Colby Severine and Michael Hunt of Prymativ from Boulder, CO:

COLBY: Dry ice. It keeps everything dry and cold. It lasts all weekend. Just make sure you crack the cooler every now and then or it’ll blow up.

MIKE:You can actually make a really good air conditioner that way. If you get styrofoam coolers and cut a hole in the top and put a battery-operated fan in the hole, then cut a hole in the side for a PVC pipe.

MOJO: That’s tight. Is that your tip?

MIKE: No. I learned that from someone. My tip would be to make sure that the people you’re with are solid. Regardless of supplies and everything else, if you have a core group of people that are good, then everything will come together. I picked up friends form Florida and from Colorado at the airport that came with one bag and they were worried that they need to go shopping. I was like, “Everyone has three of everything that you need.”

Tommy & Kate from Nashville, TN: don’t stress if you forget something; make friends and ask a neighbor.

Michelle a.k.a Machete from College Park, MD: bring something to sell or trade; the barter system works.

Alley from Terre Haute, IN: put baby powder in your hands and run it through your hair to soak up the oil.

Anna & Kathryn from Chicago & Milwaukee: Sharing is key. Don’t be shy; no one here is shy.

Johnny Rebel Rebel from Chicago: pack your clothes in a trash bag so they stay dry if it rains.

Photos by C-Style Photography.

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