37 handy tips for camping
Festival camping. Two words that fill some people up with enthusiasm and eagerness. For others… the thought of sleeping under a thin piece of material in a restrained cocoon surrounded by other noisy folk in a festival field somewhere… well, it simply sends shudders through ones soul.
But what about those of you that are in-between? Well, we have gathered a few tips together for anyone who finds themselves on the verge of dusting their tent off and go hunting for that 10yr old camping stove which is currently located at the back of the shed behind the half empty paint pots (we feel you, it’s in there somewhere!!) Hopefully we can get you over the line to booking a camping spot at a festival somewhere this year!
Before we start, clear your mind of all the bad experiences you may have had previously and forget about the daunting festival campsites that you have seen on the news. Unless you are going for the really big festivals, campsites these days do tend to be (we said tend to be!) better set up for an overall more enjoyable experience. The one thing that you need to remember, you make the experience what it is.
The best tip is to go into the experience in a care free, c’est la vie way, and you will embrace the things that go wrong, you will welcome the additional time everything takes – waiting for the kettle to boil being a key one, and you will enjoy every moment of your ‘Bear Grylls’ experience.
Here are a few key points that we want to pass onto you after our years of festival camping…
1. Choose a bigger tent that you think
Once you start filling the space with camp beds, air mattresses, etc… you will find your tent shrinks dramatically. Give yourself room with a bigger tent. A great tip is to buy kit out of season, you can get some really great deals.
2. Test your kit prior to the festival
We feel awful when excited people arrive with great enthusiasm, only to discover missing tent pegs, broken sleeping bags, holes in air mattresses, or no pump (red faces as they try to do it themselves!) lack of ground sheet and empty gas canisters. Best thing to do is get it out in your garden the weekend before your chosen festival to check. Make it an adventure if you have kids, they can trial it for you!
3. Give yourself time
This may sound like an obvious one, but if your chosen festival opens their gates early for campers, take them up on this. Assess the ground, make sure there are no rocks (hard to get a good nights sleep with half a boulder in your back) Get there and give yourself plenty of time to set up and get organised in the daylight.
4. Essential tools
If you have a pen knife, gaffa tape, cable ties, string or anything like this, make yourself a little toolkit to take with you. You might think that a broken tent pole spells disaster for your tent. Well, it’s not great news admittedly, but you don’t need to cancel the event. A bit of gaffa, allowing a temporary fix can get you through the weekend (it has happened to the best of us!)
5. Create a place for footwear
If you can, a handy tip to stop dirty footwear being walked through the tent is to create a covered porch area where people can take off their shoes/wellies. Place a mat down to show where dirty shoes go. Create a strict no outdoor shoe policy in the tent and try to stick to it. We also find the foam tiles that you can get for kids play areas handy to put in your tent to create a warm and softer experience. They also wipe clean. Handy!
6. Pop up table
It’s not something we would think about straight away, but having somewhere to put your morning brew on whilst reading your fav book is useful. Uneven ground and mugs don’t always get on, leaving you with a Yorkshire tea disaster.
7. Camping chairs
Ideal for a festival – use them in and around your tent, but they also fold up and are easy to carry. If your chosen festival does not have much seating, they will help save your legs throughout the day.
8. Take your favourite pillow!
Yes, any comforts that work for you at home will work for you in a tent. Obviously, bringing your whole bed is probably not an option, but make your stay as snug as possible.
9. Decent sleeping bag
If you are choosing to get your kip in a sleeping bag, do your research. Buying cheap can sometimes lead to problems down the line. Less expensive ones may not be as insulated and you may find that you wake up shivering throughout the night. If you do find yourself getting cold, a sleeping bag liner might be helpful.
10. Extra blankets
Yes, we all know about the Great British weather. It will be guaranteed to snow when you don’t have enough blankets and it will be scorching hot when you have packed every jumper in your wardrobe. Needless to say, the weather in the UK does tend to get colder at night and it is always good to throw in lots more blankets to make sure the cold does not spoil your weekend.
11. Dress for the weather
As with the above comment, make sure you have lots of options for things to wear depending on the weather. If the weather looks wet, prepare with extra clothing. Hats are always a handy thing to have to keep your head warm. Don’t forget your waterproofs – coats and trousers if you can.
12. Bag for dirty wet washing
Something that we have learned is to take a bag specifically for this. Separate the clean from dirty and keep them far far far away from each other!
13. Take a pair of snuggly socks!
On a day to day basis, sleeping with socks may not be your thing, but on a cold night, there is nothing better than snuggling up in your sleeping bag with a great pair of warm socks.
14. Wellies and flipflops
Having different footwear is a MUST. You never know what the British weather will throw at you!
15. Slip on footwear for showers & midnight loo trips
Yep, I know we keep banging on about footwear… however, a great tip we have found is having some slip on shoes that do not require tying laces when you need that late night toilet trip or in the morning to wear to go to the showers.
16. Torches & lanterns
One of our best tips is to have a lantern or torch with you. You can get some great options on solar powered ones. It would be best not to rely on your phone torch, just in case you have no way of charging it. A head torch is also a great option, leaving your hands free!
17. First Aid Kit
Yes, as much as we try to stay away from harm during the weekend, it is likely that you will have to venture into your first aid kit. Plasters, bite cream, antiseptic wipes, etc… You can buy one of these for fairly cheap in your local camping shop or online. When you arrive at your chosen festival, it is always good to find out where the Festival Medical Point is. Become familiar with your surroundings. If you can get hold of a site plan, this will help.
18. Sun tan lotion
Yep, sometimes the sun likes to pop its head out in the UK, so be prepared. Aftersun, always a good idea too.
19. Anti-bacterial Gel
At some festivals, we do find ourselves in a situation where maybe the toilets don’t have running water, or the closest hand-washing facilities are far away. We do believe in the phrase “a peck of mud” but sometimes having a little bottle of this might be worth it.
20. Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is super handy to have. Whether you need it to wipe your nose, or to take into a portaloo that may have ran out of the stuff, it’s always good to have on you.
21. Shower kit
Oh yes, you will be visiting the portable showers no doubt at some point over the weekend. Make sure you have a little shower kit with you. There are generally hooks on the backs of the doors to hang things up, but if there isn’t, a handy waterproof bag that will allow your towel and change of clothing to stay dry within whilst on the floor is useful.
22. Dining facilities
Most festivals provide all the food you can ever imagine and therefore, you will not need any plates, cutlery, etc… However, if you are planning to prepare and cook some of your own food, remember all your pots, pans, cooking gas, (always check if the site allows BBQ’s with naked flames) and of course don’t forget the grub as well. ALSO a match to light the gas stove!
23. Washing essentials
Dishcloth, tea towel, washing up liquid and washing up bowl should be on your list of things to take.
24. Mini washing line
If you have some string spare and there is enough room, create yourself a mini washing line and bring pegs with you – hang up wet tea towels, shower towels and anything else you wish to air or get dry (weather dependent of course)
25. Ear plugs and eye masks
If you are a light sleeper, this could be the decider on whether you get a good nights sleep or if you lie there awake listening to the morning birds or snoring coming from the next tent.
26. Cool box
If you are looking to bring some essentials like milk or something that needs to be kept chilled, we suggest a cool box. Also, if you have any ice packs or coolers, bob them in there and keep the items cooler for longer.
27. Bottle opener/corkscrew
Always good to keep one in the camping kit, wink wink.
28. Thermal Mug
As you know, we love our Yorkshire Tea. There is nothing better on a cold night at a festival than to have a warm drink in your hand. Instead of using throwaway cups, do your bit for the planet and ask the tea/coffee trader to fill your thermal cup up for you. It is likely to stay hotter for longer!
29. Re-usable bottle for water
Another great tip, bring a re-usable bottle with you. So much plastic is used nowadays, bringing a re-usable bottle means that you can simply fill up at any festival drinking water point.
If you are taking any objects that require batteries, like torches, take some spare batteries just in case.
31. Solar charger
Try and appreciate the outdoors, it is a chance to break away from technology and ditch the devices. But if you need to still use them, why not buy a solar charger. Or charge up a portable charger before you come away and use this.
32. Book lovers
If you have decided to ditch the devices, camping can be a great time to pick up a book or a crossword. No electricity needed… unless you are using a kindle that needs charging! See point above.
This follows on nicely from the above… take a pack of cards with you. Or pen & paper for quiz’s. Or get yourself a set of paints and test your art skills. If you are with a big party, there is always Pictionary or charades! Be careful, it can get competitive!
Even if you do decide to eat at the festival, bring some of your fav snacks for the tent, just in case you get a bit peckish!
35. Kid friendly
If you have young children and are considering a festival this year, it is worthwhile to do some research into the camping facilities. There might be an option to go into a family area. This may be a bit further away from the action, but it will be a lot quieter for young ones to get to sleep. Also, finding out when the music stops would be beneficial. It might be better to look for a festival where activities finish before midnight. Bring a potty. Even if you are not that far away from toilets, having something they can use which isn’t such a drama makes things so much easier.
36. Group camping
If you are looking to camp with other friends or families, it is worth contacting the festival to see if they can accommodate this. Some festivals separate the campsite by tents, campervans and mobile homes and choosing to be together is not always an option. However, there are some that will allow groups to camp together when requested. Always check.
37. Camping with your car
Another thing that is good to find out is if you can camp with your car. If not, be ready for a trek carrying everything you have packed from the car park to your tent location. A cart would be good at this point. However, if you can camp next to your car, you can lock things up and setting up in general becomes sooooooooooo much easier! Again, good if you have brought everything including your kitchen sink!
Well, there it is. 37 reasons to book a camping spot at a festival this year.
If you fancy giving it a whirl, Underneath the Stars has great camping facilities. Find out more here.