06/07/2012
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Festival camping essentials

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Check out Camping's Guide to Festival Camping - Essentials you shouldn't leave home with out...and some things you should leave behind!


Tent
Pretty obvious, but choosing the right sort of tent for a festival is important. If you’re on your own a simple pop-up will probably meet your needs but if you’re taking the family obviously you’ll need something more substantial – but still easy to pitch. You could try something a bit different like Soul Pad’s canvas tents or Gelert’s Cabana tipi.
 
Sleeping bags/pillows/mats
I know it sounds a bit old fogey-ish but to get the most out of the festival experience you’ll need a good night’s sleep – so make sure you’re as comfy as possible when you turn in for the night.
 
Earplugs
And on that subject… the combination of booze and takeaway food means there will be a lot of noise from neighbouring tents, so earplugs are an essential.
 
camping chairsCamping chairs
You don’t always have to trek to the main festival arena. Sitting outside your tent on a sunny afternoon listening to the music wafting down to the campsite can be just as enjoyable. And at many festivals, you can set up your camping chair in front of the stage.    
 
Daysack
For stuffing your camera, snacks, poncho, suncreen etc in
 
Waterproof jackets/wellies
Believe it or not sometimes in rains during the Great British Summertime, so it’s best to be prepared.
 
Fleeces
And it gets cold…
 
Bottle opener
The essential festival accessory?
 kids ear defenders
Toiletries/medicines
Festival toilets have improved over the years but it’s always advisable to bring your own loo roll just in case. Paracetamol is also advisable.
 
Antibacterial handwash
An easy way to keep your hand clean and avoid any nasty germs.
 
Sunscreen/after-sun/sun hats
Absolutely essential. Even on hazy days you’ll burn and kids especially need to be protected from harmful rays.

Kids’ ear protectors
Another essential if you’ve got youngsters with you.

Money
You’ll need cash all weekend and rather than endure the endless queue at the one ATM machine on site it’s much easier to bring money with you. It goes without saying that you should keep it on you all the time.
 
Torch
Avoiding guyropes and closely-pitched tents can be tricky in the dark
finding your tent in the dark 
Poncho
Yes they look absolutely ridiculous but you’ll be grateful to have one of these packed away in your daysack when the heavens open. I’ve always been a fan of the Demis Roussos look anyway.
 
Food and drink
There are always plenty of food outlets at festivals so you probably won’t want to cook meals at your tent. In saying that, the smell of bacon and sausages frying in the morning is one of the best things about festival camping. Most festivals have restrictions on how much alcohol you can take on site and many ban it completely (for commercial rather than puritanical reasons - the idea being that you buy booze from the festival bars). Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and soft drinks as well.
 
Snacks
Crisps and other nibbles are hard to come by on the festival site so best to bring your own.
 
Bin bags
Keep all your rubbish and dump it at the end of the weekend in one of the festival bins – or failing that take it home and put it in your bin at home.
 

FESTIVAL CAMPING VETERAN NICK HARDING ON WHAT TO LEAVE AT HOME

* Chocolate. Sooner or later it’ll succumb to the heat. There’s probably a First Law of Chocolate out there that says, when it melts, it will be at the time designed to cause most inconvenience.

* Anything that runs off mains electricity. TV, iron, computer, curling tongs – all best left at home. What are you doing, contemplating taking a TV camping, anyway?

* Your best clothes. Dress for the occasion. People laugh at my zip-off trousers, but I find them ideal for events like these – shorts one moment, full-length trousers the next.

* Glass. Most organisers attempt to ban glass bottles etc, for sensible reasons – the breakages just cause too much trouble.

* Your football. This one’s aimed specifically at my son who, nevertheless, managed to get involved with the regular football matches taking place stage left at last year’s Green Man.

 
TOP TIPS
 
* Don’t camp too near the toilets. Fairly obvious why

* Get your bearings. Look out for landmarks to help you find your tent

* Bring a cart or trolley for your gear. Chances are, you’ll have to park elsewhere and carry all your kit into the camping area. Ideal for ferrying youngsters around in

* Don’t leave valuables, keys or cash in your tent. Another case of stating the obvious, but it’s worth remembering there are some unscrupulous types out there.

* Bring big bottles of water. You can normally top these up from taps but it’s handy to have a ready supply

* Take at least one extra set of clothes. There’s nothing worse (or, in fact, more impossible) than trying to dry sodden jeans overnight in a tent.


To organise your festival camping this summer, make sure you get the May12 issue of Camping, or Summer 2012 Go Camping, on sale now.

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