Festival Camping Essentials : Choosing a Tent
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The festival season is kicking off now, so if you haven’t already done so; order your tickets, grab your mates and get planning! With this weekend marking the official start of summer and hopefully some cloud-free weather, we thought that we’d share some festival camping advice for those of you who haven’t quite got everything planned out. You want to have (well planned) fun in the sun and avoid a washout at all costs, so just follow these festival camping tips. Camping at festivals is half the fun and an essential experience, so getting it right and it can really make a good festival a great one.
Choosing a festival tent
First you’ll want to get the right tent. It’s where you’ll be spending a precious few hours trying to get sleep, or lounging in the sun before your favourite bands are due on stage and sizing is everything. Well, almost everything. Think about whom you’ll be sharing with, can you all fit or would it be better to get two smaller tents rather than one larger one? Your tent will be your place of refuge for the duration of the festival, come rain or shine, so it’s worth making sure you’ll want to be there, snug, safe and dry.
If you’re unsure, remember there’s a wide range of two, four and eight man tents out there that might be suitable, each with different advantages. Think what you might need; is it sleeping space, ease of packing, or just somewhere dry? A larger tent might be more comfortable than several smaller ones. But that depends who you’re sharing with.
If you’re all elbows and thumbs when it comes to pitching tents, you might want to consider a pop-up tent. These types of tents literally pop-up from packed to a liveable space in seconds by way of their construction. Simply unzip your pack and fling it down onto the ground, and you’re done. Remember to peg the tent into the ground though as you don’t want it blowing away. There is a little bit of effort involved – it can’t get any easier than this though, we promise!
Creating your own festival community
Whether you’re heading to a festival with a small group of mates or a larger crew, you’ll want to plan your camp site fully in advance based on how many of you are going. Think about the size of tents you’ve got what their orientation within the field should be like and their proximity to other tents other tents. Planning where to pitch them and focusing on making the layout work for your group’s needs is the next step.
Choosing the best camp spot
If you’re sorted on the tent front and on who’s sleeping where, make sure you’re setting up in the best location. Avoid anywhere near toilets, busy walkways, hills or bushes. The reasons for avoiding toilets might be obvious – you don’t want the smell or any leaks to come near you and the walkway for peace, lowered risk of accidental damage or mud. However, stay clear of bushes trees or hills as these are prime locations for people to relieve themselves when they can’t find the porta-loos. You definitely don’t want to wake up to a soggy midden around your sleeping bag.
Another good plan is to have all tents facing each other in a circle, leaving the central area for socializing. This doubles up as security as you’ll always have someone watching your stuff, and makes it easier to socialise and stops people using your area as a thoroughfare.
Finally, make it stand out. Festival campsites are notorious for getting lost in, so make sure that your little village is distinct, or as distinct as it can be, amongst all the weird and the wonderful. Grab a balloon or flag pole and set it up above your tent zone to make it identifiable from a distance.
Building your festival nest
After a day of partying, you’ll want to have a comfortable place to crash and recharge your batteries. Festivals aren’t the most sleep-friendly place to camp and it’s unlikely that you’ll get a full eight hour sleep, but staying warm and waking up refreshed is still important.
Make sure you’ve got a quality sleeping bag that you can fit into without much difficulty. They come in a wide range of types for different weather conditions, so if you’re using them predominantly for a summer festival, you won’t need an arctic survival one. Tents will tend to get quite warm once the sun has come up too, so something that looks comfortable and is suitable for summer camping will suffice. Inflatable air bed or foam roll mats are also good ideas to make your precious few hours of sleep worthwhile.
Getting to the festival
Do your research on the best way to get to the campsite, you might be able to arrive 3-4 days in advance of the opening of the main arena and avoid any crowds. Festival websites will answer many of your questions about parking, camping and other logistics, too. Find out whether or not you can park your car at your camp site as some festivals will have you park in a separate lot, which means you’ll have to carry loaded coolers, camp furniture and all your other gear to your camp spot. A large backpack, wheeled cart and rolling cooler can make lugging your gear and food to the campsite much easier. Make sure you’ve got suitable bags to carry everything with waterproof covers.
Even with wheels, hauling all of your camping gear can be a bit of an ordeal. This can be even more of a nightmare when you’re packing up and covered in mud. At some festivals you’re able to avoid this though by using a camping gear pre-order service. UK retailer Halfords have some of the main UK festivals covered, so depending on which festival you’re attending, you might be able to order your camping kit online and have it waiting at your campsite for you. It’s a recent phenomenon, and the next level from collection in store or home delivery. What could be easier?
So there it is – our quick guide to camping like a pro at a festival. Just keep the points above in mind when both choosing a tent and pitching it and you’ll have a blast. Plus, even if the weather takes a turn for the worse, you’ll be snug and dry with your carefully chosen tent.