Things I wish I knew before my first festival
There are many factors that make camping at a festival different to all other forms of camping - the sheer number of people, the facilities and the mud factor to name a few.
Here are our top 5 tips for surviving the camping experience and our suggestions for what to pack.
Top 5 Festival Camping Tips
You'll have a lot of stuff with you so use a larger tent than there are people sleeping in it. We use a 4 man tent for 2 people which makes for a comfortable stay and gives you plenty of room to store your possessions. Particularly useful when it's muddy! Check your tent before you go to the festival to ensure it's in good condition. It's better to find out whether you need a new tent before your get there!
Take a few bin bags with you as you may get muddy, use these to store dirty/muddy clothes to prevent the mess being spread around inside your tent.
Try to find a spot to camp towards the top of any slope in the field so that, should it rain, you don't get a field's worth of mud slushing down towards your tent. Camp away from the toilets, but near a landmark so you can find your way back to your tent easily, especially at night. If your neighbours have a particularly funky tent, you may want to use that as your landmark, or make yours the funky tent! Flags, bunting, inflatables - anything goes!
If going with a group, pitch your tent in a circle with all of your tent openings facing inwards. It means you can still be sociable in the rain by sitting in your tent's porch with the flaps open. It also puts others off from camping directly outside your tent opening. You can put up tape or other barriers between tents to stop people from walking through your circle.
Take minimal valuables with you to the festival. When in the tent, place them inside the bottom of your sleeping bag, particularly when you are sleeping. Also, don't lock your tent with a padlock as that is a sure sign to any would-be thief that there is something worth stealing inside. If you can, try to say hello to those camping immediately around you - they can be your eyes and ears when you are not around your campsite.
Festival Packing List
In addition to the key items such as tickets, your tent and seeping bag, we suggest you take the following:
- Bin bags - to keep clean clothes dry and dirty clothes contained in your tent.
- Gaffer tape - one of the most useful things ever. Can be used to patch up almost anything and is good to stretch between tents in your group to stop people walking through the middle of your camp.
- Large bottle of water - to keep in your tent in case you are thirsty in the night.
- Ear plugs - in case you're a light sleeper or camped next to one of the stages.
- Head torch - it's much easier to be hands-free at night when trying to find the zip on your tent.
- Portable power pack for mobile phones - there may be charging stations at the festival but the queues will be long.
- Waterproof poncho/top - make sure it's light so you can carry it around during the day in a back pack.
- Wet wipes and antibacterial hand gel - you'll only get to wash your hands a couple of times per day so a handy pack of each of these will help to keep your hands clean and face fresh.
- Folding chair - you're going to be standing up a lot so having something to sit on back at camp is surprisingly pleasurable.
- Day bag/backpack - to carry your essentials during the day.
- Travel clothes - it's great to travel home in fresh clothes, so pack some in a separate section of your bag to pull out for the journey home.
- Warm clothes for the night - it may be hot during the day but it can get cold at night.
- Wellies - even a little bit of rain can create a great deal of mud with everyone walking around the site.
- Sun cream - protect yourself in case the sun shines all day. Shade is limited in the middle of a field.
- Medication - in original packaging in case emergency services need it. It is advisable to keep this is a waterproof container.
- Toilet paper - better to have your own supply in case the temporary loos run out.
- Cash – there may be ATMs on the festival site, but the queues will be long! Take a money belt with you if needed.
It's always a good idea to check the festival website as they usually list things that they won’t let on to site.
If you know someone heading to a festival this year, why not offer them a gift? Our festival survival kit in a tin offers some key essentials to make the festival experience more comfortable!
If you discover a new festival or would like to recommend one to our blog readers, please let us know via our contact page!
Festivals are a great way to have a break from day-to-day life, and enjoy spending a lot of time outside. Please remember to take all of your possessions home with you and throw away any rubbish in the bins provided to preserve the countryside.
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