Festival camping essentials

By Sarah Edwards at

Well if like us you are off to the Cornbury Festival this weekend (for the final time-can’t believe it) then, like us, you are also probably in the final couple of days of pre-fest frenzy and have just realised that you are woefully ill-prepared!

Fear not festival friends! We have put together some last minute tips and ideas with the lovely experts at Go Outdoors, and FieldCandy to make sure that you have a truly fabulous and stress-free festival weekend.
Have you realised at the eleventh hour that your lovely tent has been converted into a refuge for homeless mice since you packed it away at the end of last season? Or perhaps you haven’t given food and catering a second thought.

Read on to pick up some great ideas and checklists to tick off as you load the car…

Here’s the FieldCandy top tips for choosing the right tent for a great UK break, whether you’re feeling the festival vibe, keeping cool in the countryside or baking at the beach.

First on the list, of course, is a tent to make you smile – you wouldn’t choose a dull B&B or distinctly average hotel for your special break, so why choose a run-of-the-mill tent when you can shine on the campsite?
Make sure your tent is up to the job. ‘Cheap’ and ‘cheerful’ don’t always go together, especially if your tent can’t withstand the unpredictable British weather.
Staycations are for R and R, not stressing over putting up a complex system of poles and guylines. Find out how long it will take to put up the tent before your adventure begins
There’s nothing wrong with being a bit nerdy about your camping gear either – impress the other campers with your knowledge of the of Aluminium Alloy poles over Fibreglass (spoiler: they are stronger and lighter). Even better, if you can move on to the subject of metal pegs which provide a better anchor than plastic ones, especially in harder ground. And finally, who could fail to be captivated by your knowledge of waterproofing when you talk about the need for a flysheet with a Hydrostatic Head of at least 3 metres?

The amount of space you have under cover is important. Enough height to sit up or even stand in the tent is vital – and maybe look for one with decent porch space to keep your essentials safe, like wellies, bags and even bikes
Always aim to act like a scout – and ‘be prepared’! Make a list of everything you need to take, and check that it’ll fit in your car. Remember, it’s not just holdalls and hand luggage – a tent, sleeping bags and mats, fold-up chairs, cool box, stove, and foody treats are just some of the essentials on any camping trip. A car top box might need to be added to the shopping list if you struggle to travel light.


The Original Explorer tents retail from £249 to £399. Visit www.fieldcandy.com

The team at Go Outdoors have put together their check list for surviving the festival season.
The following items are must-haves before the festival, check once, check twice and check again to make sure you take these with you.
Festival Ticket
Money (The queues for cash machines at festivals can waste hours of your day)
ID (Many festivals need your ID for various reasons, especially drinking)
Festival Camping Checklist

Buy gear you are proud of, gear you want to bring home. A good tent can last for multiple festivals and you should make sure you don’t leave anything behind at your festival site.
Always choose a larger berth tent than the number of people camping, this gives you extra space for your bags. Make sure you practice pitching and packing away your tent before you go, there’s really no need to leave a good tent behind.

Take a torch for those late night toilet trips, nobody wants you to trip over their tent while they sleep!
Duct Tape – you’d be surprised what can be fixed with tape
Folding Chair – Sure you can go without, but it’ll take you 10 minutes after arrival to wish you’d taken one, and they cost far more at the festival
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Mat//Self Inflating Mat/Airbed – whether roll mat or double airbed, this can add comfort and extra insulation during the night.
Pillow (Or roll up a hoodie on your rucksack, to save some money)
Ear plugs – Looking for a decent night’s sleep? You will probably need to block out the 24 hour partying

If you want to save yourself a whole lot of money, it’s best to cook your own food at a festival. Even if you’ve never cooked before, it doesn’t take much to pour the contents of a camping meal or tin into a pan and heat it up.
Stove – Check with your festival, as many major festivals no longer allow gas stoves of any kind. If this is the case, look for a spirit burner or solid fuel stove
Pan – You’ll likely need at least one pan to cook with, a mess tin is ideal for cooking single pot food, and you can hold it to eat out of. Less mess.
Cutlery
Food for meals and Food for snacks (You’ll be on your feet a lot, so think high energy to keep the party going. Avoid perishable items)
Water Carrier (Water for boiling, water for drinking, water for washing yourself and dishes, water for brushing your teeth – water is great!)
Tin Opener
Lighter
Bin Bags

Waterproof Jacket / Poncho
Hoodie / Fleece
Quick drying legwear (Avoiding denim can help for wet festivals, choose a quick drying material and the chances of it drying for the next day’s activities will be higher)
Comfortable shoes / boots (Ideally you’d take supportive footwear, as you’ll be on your feet and walking over uneven terrain all day)
Wellies (The great British summer will eat your trainers alive)
Hat (Shade at many festivals is a premium, and if it’s sunny you can make yourself ill having the sun on your head all day. Also helps if it rains, or if it’s colder at night)
Spare socks and underwear (if either of these get wet, it won’t be comfortable. Take dry spares)

Health and Safety Checklist

Look after yourself at a festival, if you’re on medication make sure you’re fully stocked up. Festivals can be dirty places (especially the toilets) so keep yourself clean and safe.
Personal medications (plus extra)
First Aid Kit
Sun Cream
Anti-bacterial handwash
Toilet Roll
Fully charged mobile phone
Wet Wipes

Additional Extras Checklist

Here are some extra bits of kit that can help you along the way
Microfibre Towel (Ideal for wet days, and drys quickly)
Camera (Don’t waste the battery on your phone by using it as a camera)
Mobile charger (You can now get battery packs, or solar powered chargers to help keep your phone charged)
Dry Shampoo
Sledge/Trolley (Ideal for towing those heavy creates of alcohol to your camp)
Leave No Trace

When the festival is over it’s important to take home everything you brought with you, or dispose of items you do not want in the correct way. If for some reason you do not wish to bring your tent home, ask the festival if they have drop off points for unwanted tents. These tents are often passed on to charities for re-use. Discarding your tent creates landfill that is very difficult to dispose of, and we urge all festival goers not to leave behind any of their camping equipment.
One of the main reasons cited for not bringing home a tent is not knowing how to pack it back into it’s bag. It’s really simple, check out the video below for some helpful tips.

Folding bbq from Halfords £10

Snacks and food are festival essentials-Dole has launched a range of fruit pouches that are re-sealable and will also make sure that you can enjoy your five a day-even in between burgers, gin and other festival fare. They make a brilliant, fresh, zingy and convenient treat if you need to survive in the middle of a field! The family testing panel at Cherwell Valley Today all like these very much (including our chief tester Inspector Morsel) and we think they are a great option for all ages. They are top of our list for healthy camping sustenance this summer!

Huel bars are another good bet to help keep you going while at festivals. Unlike other bars, Huel offers you a nutritiously complete product contain the correct balance of Carbohydrates, Proteins, fibre and all 26 essential vitamins and minerals. Each bar contains 250 kcal – the perfect snack to have at breakfast and to throw in your bag.

We have road tested these and there is a bit of a split in the camp! We like the flavour and Inspector Morsel has snaffled quite a few so far as he likes them with a good cup of tea or coffee. Teenage testers are not so keen but we suspect that is because this is a relatively healthy snack option…!

Staying hydrated in the heat of a festival is no easy feat, especially for those who want to party all weekend long. Helping festival-goers drink more water throughout the day, Robinsons Squash’d is a festival must-have designed to make water more exciting when on-the-go.

Giving water an added edge, Squash’d is a super-concentrated portable squash that uses real fruit which is squeezed, pressed or crushed into every drop.

Perfect to keep in a pocket or handbag throughout the day, festival-goers can keep their cool for longer with Squash’d, whichever flavour they choose to liven up their water. This has been tested by our 17-year-old teenager (currently in Devon on an A level ‘field trip’) and gets the thumbs up!

And of course our own vital ingredients for a fun filled festival are:

Friends
Good food and drink
Fabulous music
Sunshine
Comfy clothes and a hat
Bunting
Fairy lights
Bunting
Fairy lights
…see where we are going with this?

Have a great festival season!

Festival enamel mug from Bicester Bazaar