Music festivals have become somewhat of a summer tradition in the UK, but if you’ve never been to one before, it can be quite an overwhelming experience.
One of the big draws of festivals, aside from the music (obviously), is going camping with your nearest and dearest, whether it’s family or a group of friends from school or work. In fact, for many it’s the socialising and camping that is the most fun – chilling out around a campfire, having a few drinks, singing a few songs, etc.
If you’re new to the whole festival camping thing, we’ve devised a beginner’s guide full of tips and tricks to help put you on the right path…
Festival Camping Equipment
Here’s some advice for choosing the best festival camping equipment so you don’t get caught out.
You’ll need most of your normal camping equipment
At the end of the day, you’re going camping, so you’re still going to need most of your usual camping equipment. If you’re a serious camper, you probably don’t need absolutely everything you normally take with you, but all the basics are important. For first time campers, here’s a quick checklist:
- Sleeping bag
- Roll mat
- Tent pegs
- Camping stove
- Basic repair kit
- Tent footprint – here’s why you need one
Don’t spend a fortune on a tent
Festivals are busy places with people stumbling about all over the place. As such, there’s a reasonable chance your tent could take a bit of a battering and will come back in a worse condition than when you left.
Therefore, unless you’re at a family-friendly festival where you have plenty of room to camp, it probably isn’t the best idea to spend a fortune on your tent. Take one that you wouldn’t be massively disappointed to come home without.
See our full range of great value festival tents.
Make your tent memorable
Literally tens of thousands of people go to each festival, so your tent is just one in a huge crowd. Consequently, it pays to make it as easy as possible to find. If it’s dark and/or you’ve had a few drinks, it might be a little tricky to remember where your tent is, so make life easier for yourself.
Ways to make your tent memorable include choosing a brightly coloured tent, painting it in some way or attaching a flag to it so you can quickly identify your tent among the thousands of others.
Use brightly coloured guy ropes
Weaving your way through a mass of tents is hard enough, but trying to negotiate guy ropes as well is nearly impossible for many, and it’s a formality that people will trip over them. Using brightly coloured guy ropes will at least give people a fighting chance of seeing them in the dark.
Take a separate pop-up tent
If there’s a group of you going (and there probably is), then it might be worth clubbing together to get a separate cheap pop-up tent. This is a perfect place to dump any wet or muddy clothing so that you don’t have it messing up your tent.
If you don’t take a pop-up tent then take plenty of bin bags in which to put wet clothes.
Shop our great range of pop-up tents.
Tips for Pitching a Tent at a Festival
So you’re into the festival site – now what? It’s not quite time to break open the beer; first of all you need to pitch your tent. Here’s some advice…
Don’t pitch near paths
There will usually be designated paths through the campsite, but try and avoid pitching too close to them. Yes it’s a bit more of a pain to get to the paths, but that also means it’s much less likely others will accidentally stumble into your tent.
Don’t pitch near the toilets
If you’ve never experienced festival toilets before then you’re in for a treat. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t pitch your tent near the toilets or you’re in for a world of pain.
Not only will the smell be pretty horrible, but the area will also be constantly busy, so it’ll be noisier and people will be more likely to trip or fall into your tent.
Find a flat, clear pitch
Again, the basics of camping apply here, so make sure you find a suitable pitch. Try and find somewhere that’s flat, not at the bottom of a hill (if possible) and is clear of lumps and bumps that could damage your tent or make sleeping uncomfortable.
It helps if you get to the festival as early as possible so you can have your pick of the pitches, otherwise you could end up with what’s left.
Check out our full guide on how to pitch a tent like a pro.
Tips for Sleeping at a Music Festival
For many festival-goers, sleep might not be at the top of the agenda, but for those who do enjoy a good night’s sleep, here are some tips…
Just because the bands have finished, that doesn’t mean everything is going to go quiet. There may be DJs playing until all hours, whilst the general hubbub of the campsite can also get pretty noisy.
Earplugs are your best friend here as they’ll block out a good portion of the noise. They will feel odd if you’re not used to wearing them, but they will help you get a better night’s sleep.
Keep valuables away from the entrance
Just a simple bit of security advice. The further away you keep your valuables from the entrance, the more difficult it is for someone to pinch them in the night.
You’ll probably have no issues at all like this but it still pays to be vigilant.
Use a padlock on your tent
Putting a padlock on your tent’s zip is another little security tip to deter would-be pilferers. However, it’s also incredibly useful in stopping those who are drunk/lost from accidentally mistaking your tent for theirs. You don’t want the shock of someone climbing inside whilst you’re getting some shut eye.
Don’t drink too much
Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, but for those who really want a good night’s sleep, it’s important you don’t drink too much. Drinking alcohol does actually help you nod off easier, but it also makes your sleep much more disrupted, meaning you’ll feel more tired in the morning.
Wear an eye mask
It might not be the most fashionable of items, but an eye mask will help guard against the sunlight streaming through your tent in the morning. Most festivals don’t start until around midday so you have plenty of time in the morning to catch up with a bit of sleep.
Tips For Cooking at a Festival
If you don’t fancy being ripped off by the extortionately-priced burger vans, you can take a stab at cooking your own food with these tips…
Check what you’re allowed to take with you
It’s important to double check what you’re allowed to take with you in terms of cooking equipment. Some places aren’t a massive fan of gas stoves, so make sure you comply with festival guidelines or you could have it confiscated.
Cook for the group
If possible, it pays to cook for a group of you rather than individually. Cooking one-pan meals for a few of you will reduce the amount of food you need to take and save money too.
Try making foods such as chili, soup or noodles that are easy to share out between you. You might need a decent stove to cope with larger pans, but the result is worth it.
Check out our wide range of camping stoves and cookers.
Don’t take foods that will go off
The food you take with you is very important. It’s best not to take foods that will easily go off, such as meat or fish. If these are left in your bag for a couple of days, they will more than likely make you very ill.
Fresh fruit is good to take with you, but avoid fruits such as bananas or pears that will turn into a mushy mess in your bag. Apples and oranges are a much better choice.
Dried foods are obviously ideal as they won’t go off, although don’t take anything bulky that will take up precious space in your pack. Take foods that are high in carbohydrates as you’ll need the energy for the long days.
General Festival Camping Tips
Here are some more general festival camping tips worth bearing in mind…
Be careful of campfires
Having a campfire at a festival is fantastic (if permitted), but you need to be careful. Festival campsites are crowded so don’t start a fire if you only have limited space as you risk burning yourselves and your equipment.
Take plenty of layers
Even though most festivals are in the summer, it can still get pretty cold at night. A roll mat and tent footprint will help keep you insulated against the cold ground, but packing plenty of layers will keep you nice and warm when sat around or trying to get to sleep.
Take your tent with you after the festival
Most right-minded people naturally pack their tent up after the festival and take it with them, whether they’re going to keep it for next year or dispose of it when they get home. However, many people just leave their tent there at the campsite or, even worse, burn it.
This is massively disrespectful to those who have to clear the place up afterwards, and is a waste of a perfectly good tent. Either take your tent with you or check whether there are any tent recycling schemes you could leave your tent with.
Do you have any tips for people camping at a festival for the first time? Let us know in the comments or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter.
Last modified: December 6, 2018