I tend to make a mini mental list for myself anytime I go—but if you’d like a complete and comprehensive list, check out the Don’t Leave Without and What To Leave Behind page carefully so that there are no surprises at the door.
I always like to think that the more prepared you can be while being open to and rolling with everything that occurs over the day is the happiest compromise to having a spectacular time. It’s a festival! Magical things tend to happen. Don’t ruin your own good time just because you forgot something as silly (and as easy to pack) as sunscreen.
First things first, check the weather and dress accordingly. For those coming out from out of town, Calgary’s weather is notoriously fickle and can change in a matter of five minutes. But, that doesn't mean that you can’t outsmart it at least a little with some clever moves.
My personal day’s prep would start with a comfy backpack. Chasing Summer doesn’t allow anything with metal in it, so a soft pack or a messenger bag is key here.
Think big enough to house some important items, but not so much that you end up packing way too much and carrying everybody else’s stuff too! For example, I like to bring a K-Way or similar style of rain jacket, because it’s super light, and barely takes up any space. A portable charger for my phone is essential, and, of course, an already charged phone to take pics with, use the Chasing Summer App, stay in touch with friends, check the weather, and plan when you’re going to catch particular sets.
Include the aforementioned sunscreen (if you need it), chapstick, a hoodie or sweatshirt to toss on after if the evening gets chilly, a big bottle for water, and shoes that you can spend two days dancing in. A hat is always a good idea, and don’t leave your sunglasses behind. If you use earplugs, take those too.
Look after your body. Think about the fact that you’re helping yourself to a couple days of music, revelry, and dancing, but don’t forget to be nice to the vessel that is treating you to such things too.
There are free water stations all over the grounds, so HYDRATE and hydrate often. I can’t stress that enough. I have seen friends positively poisoned by the sun with heat stroke and dehydration, but it actually doesn’t take much effort to prevent. Just make sure your water bottle is full and you’re paying attention to drinking it. If you are drinking alcohol, a good rule of thumb is to have an equal amount of water for every boozy beverage you consume. Remember: WATER IS LIFE.
You can take up to a 1L plastic bottle to use at the free water stations, a Camelbak, but no glass or metal bottles. You can also bring snacks, but they have to be in commercially sealed packages, such as chips, trail mix, or snack bars. It’s a bummer not to be allowed to bring your own homemade food, but luckily Chasing Summer has a great selection of some of Calgary’s best food trucks. Make sure you take the opportunity to try as many delicious things as you can and eat throughout the day! (And on that note, don’t forget your bank card. You’ll find ATMs throughout the grounds).
Even if you’re having tons of fun, take breaks in the shade during the day. A good way to kill two birds with one stone is to pick somewhere shady when you first walk through the gates and have that be “your spot” for meeting up with friends for the weekend. That way, if you lose your buddies, you’ll have a way to find them, there’ll be a spot to re-group, and you’ll all have a place to either take a breather together or on your own without being worried about getting too lost. I find picking a spot really centers the group and creates potential to make new friends too. For these sporadic sit-downs, I like to pack a sarong to sit on. That folds up super nice and light as well.