Camping Survival Guide
Losing your festival virginity can be quite a daunting experience and if you’re not prepared you run the risk of ruining your festival weekend. Nobody wants to be covered head to toe in mud before they’ve even pitched their tent! Therefore, I have prepared a beginners camping guide to make sure that you’re ready for whatever the weekend may throw at you!
So, let’s start off with the essentials:
Of course, you need a tent. It would be a pretty pointless idea to turn up to a festival without one. But getting the wrong tent could prove disastrous. After all, it is going to be your mobile home for more than four nights so a tent that leaks and smells of mould is not going to be fun. For the best tent experience, stay away from anything that sleeps more than four men and has a big bag full of poles as: 1) it will be far too heavy to carry all the way from the car park to the campsite, 2) it will be far too difficult to put up, especially if you have been travelling all day and it’s raining (which is likely), the last thing you want is to spend hours reading tent diagrams and hammering in pegs and 3) big tents are targets. You don’t want to be set alight whilst you sleep.
More importantly, make sure it’s waterproof. This does sound like I’m stating the obvious, but, working in a camping shop myself I have come to realise that tent people are sneaky and like to lie on their labels. If your tent doesn’t have a hydrostatic head of more than 1,500mm (read the label) you will get wet and cry. Even if your tent is described as “water repellent”, it will repel nada.
Now some people like to get a blow up airbed. Of course, they are going to be cosy and comfortable and a bit of luxury if you’ve been jumping around to bands like a madman all day. But carrying an air pump and the airbed itself normally work out to be heavy extra added weights that you don’t really need. Therefore, some people just sleep on a roll mat. They’re lightweight, protect you from the coldness of the ground but do generally feel like you’re sleeping on your living room floor. So what’s in between an airbed and a ground mat I hear you ask? Well, that is called a lilo. They’re cheap, lightweight, compact, easy to blow up and pretty damn comfortable too. Problem sorted.
If you’ve got the last two sorted, the rest needn’t be too much of an issue. It does still get pretty cold on an August night so make sure your sleeping bag is nice and warm. For an even better night’s sleep (and when I say night’s sleep, I mean around four hours) invest in a blow up pillow from the Poundshop. Surprisingly, the lilo’s headrest doesn’t always do the job.
Finally, the most important item I am going to give to you is this: bin liners. Do not underestimate the power of a heavy duty bin liner. Its functions are endless. Firstly, it can clearly be used just as a bin liner. The campsite will get dirty and smelly quickly so putting your old tins of baked beans away is necessary to avoid any nasty surprises when you walk out of your tent first thing in the morning. Secondly, bin liners are WATERPROOF; the magic word at a rainy festival. Got a leaky tent? Not a problem put a bin liner (with some duct tape) on top. Thirdly, you don’t have a waterproof jacket? Not a problem, make an arm and head hole and you have your very own mac. The bin liner has saved me many a time and I would not travel to a festival without one!
So you’ve got all your kit, you have a decent tent, you have a lilo, you have a nice warm sleeping bag and you have the rest of your wardrobe all ready to pack. The last thing to do is work out how you’re going to transfer this heavy load from your doorstep to the field. Getting a decent rucksack is a must! But even then, if you’re a lightweight (like me), even the best of rucksacks isn’t going to make the dreaded two mile walk to the campsite any easier. I’ve seen people use everything from suitcases to wheelie bins but I have found that there is only one trusted solution that really works: a sledge. They’re not only useful in snowy conditions but also for piling on all your festival gear to drag through the sludges of a muddy field! It may sound like a ridiculous idea now, but it won’t be when all of your friends are struggling with their supersized heavy weight ruck sacks and you’re leisurely strolling in front with your stress-free sledge.
All that’s left to do that after that is get in the beers and have a brilliant weekend!