Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Festival camping essentials


What You Need To Take

Pretty obvious this, 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.

A regular tunnel tent will be fine, especially if you glam it up with bunting or fairy lights, but you could try something a bit different like Soul Pad’s canvas tents or a tipi from Easy Camp. A top tip is to get a tent with darkened bedrooms so you don't get wakened up as soon as the sun rises at 5am - unless you want to go outside for a spiritual experience. Coleman family tents now come with a special black-out material that keeps your bedroom completely dark, while the Black Out three-berth pop-up tent from Mountain Warehouse is made out of silver reflective material to keep the inside cool - particularly useful if you're recovering from a heavy night!

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. A good sleeping mat or airbed will help and if you've got the space to carry it, bring proper pillows from home rather than resting your weary head on a rolled up hoodie.
And on that subject… the combination of booze and takeaway food means there will be a lot of unwelcome noise from neighbouring tents, so earplugs are an essential.
Camping 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.    
For stuffing your camera, snacks, poncho, suncreen etc in
Waterproof jackets/wellies
Believe it or not, sometimes it rains during the Great British Summertime, so it’s best to be prepared.
And it gets a bit chilly too…
Bottle opener
The essential festival accessory?
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. you really don't want to spend more time in those festival toilets than is absolutely necessary.
Sunscreen/after-sun/sun hats
An 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.

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.
Avoiding guyropes and closely-pitched tents can be tricky in the dark so a headtorch is ideal for negotiating your way home after the headliners have finished.
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 might not 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 and rustling up you own meals can save a fair bit of cash. 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.
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.

What To Leave At Home

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. It's either going to be dry, hot and dusty or cold, wet and muddy. Either way you don't want to ruin your designer togs.

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



  • 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


Back to "Practical Advice" Category

22/06/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Make sure your tent is completely dry before packing it away or it will get mouldy. Here's how to do it ...

Campsite cooking: Vegan chilli non carne

Sitting around the campfire with a spicy bowl of chilli is one of the best things about camping and you don't ...

Around The Campfire: Camping photo competition

Share your favourite camping pictures and you could win a great prize from Coleman! Here's June's winning ...

Camping off-grid in a tent

Off-grid camping is about getting away from the stresses of daily life for a few days and enjoying the ...

Other Articles

You simply can’t go wrong with this foolproof recipe for a delicious, aromatic campsite curry ...

The best sleeping bags for camping

The quality of your sleeping bag can be the difference between a brilliant camping trip and a disaster of a ...

Campsite etiquette: the unwritten rules for camping beginners

Tent life should be simple and uncomplicated – and following basic campsite rules and advice helps make it ...

Campsite cooking: Spicy eggs rancheros

A fiery breakfast dish inspired by the Mexican morning favourite, huevos rancheros ...