5 tips to help you be a happy camper during festival season

Here are the five best tips to live by if you’re planning on hitting the festivals this summer.

Festival season is rapidly approaching, and people are readying themselves for a summer of sun and music. But as many festival vets know, British summers are an unpredictable time, leading to a cold, damp and potentially miserable time. So, Siarlot, who has been camping since before she was born, pooled her knowledge with an even more experienced camper and outdoor pursuits leader, to help make your summer as enjoyable as possible for minimal money and effort.

5. Zip-lock Freezer Bags

3 T-shirts, 1 pair of dungarees, 1 pair of shorts and 1 pair of baggy trousers in a 30cm x 8cm ziplock bag

Waterproof, and they act like a cheap vacuum sealer so stuff takes up less space. IKEA do a variety of sizes for low prices, which means you can also pack socks and make-up separately. This means that even if it does rain constantly for 2 days, or flash flood, and someone has accidentally moved your kit in the mad rush to protect their electronics, you’ll at least have dry underwear.

Also, consider rolling your clothes rather than folding them when putting them into the bags. There are two reasons for this: first, it takes up less space. But also, it minimises creases, so will help you keep your clobber looking especially fabulous.

4. Extra Socks

While most festivals are during the summer months, we are still based in the UK, and as such it can get COLD at night, especially in a cheap pop-up tent. One easy way to combat this is to bring along an extra pair of socks, the fluffier the better!  They don’t take up much space, they keep your toes toasty at night, and also, you’d be amazed at how much of a morale booster having dry feet can be, especially after a day of wet feet or muddy wellies.

Last year I ended up keeping a pair at the bottom of my sleeping bag in case I forgot to pack a pair! Woolen socks are a particularly good shout, as they keep you warm even when wet. Plus, it’s worth trying to see if you can get your hands on a pair of merino socks, as merino is considerably less itchy than regular wool. Although it can be a little pricey, it’s worth keeping an eye out as Lidl and Aldi occasionally do their own brand merino stuff.

3. Torch (fairy lights)

While most phones come with a torch these days, you’ll want to save battery as much as possible. Plus, with a torch or fairy lights you can hang them up inside the tent and leave them on, so if you’re planning on staying out all night, you can find your way back to your tent without too much trouble. Just watch out for moths!

You’ll also want to make sure you have fresh batteries before leaving. Solar powered fairy lights are also a relatively cheap option, but bear in mind this is the UK and in some parts of the country, ‘sun’ is more an abstract concept than weather.

2. Self inflating sleeping mat

These come in various sizes and prices, the ultimate being Therma-rest, though sadly Therma-rest mats tend to be a little pricey. There are however, generic ones that you can pick up for between £10 and £20. Lidl even occasionally do their own mat, but they can be a little bulky, though no more than a deflated air bed.

The benefit of a self inflating sleep mat is they’re a lot comfier than a normal sleep mat,and warmer than an air bed. They’re not much bigger than a normal sleep mat either. As long as you take care of it, they’re also a lot more hard-wearing than a sleep mat.

1. Waterproof Coat

I know that anoraks get a bad rap, but you can pick up some nice designs at low prices. And since most of them fold down to a pocket size, it seems mad not to have one in your bag just in case. I think I got mine from Millets for £15 three years ago and it’s still going strong, even after putting it through some heavy punishment. Also it’s floral with a massive hood so, a win.

Also, if you subscribe to the Umbrella Theory of Weather, having a waterproof coat in your bag may in fact help dissuade rain. At the very least it should help prevent you from nearly catching bronchitis or pneumonia.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it’s a good start if you just want to make a few small changes to your packing list for festivals. A stuff sack or compression sack is good for squishing down sleeping bags, extra tent pegs are always helpful, a stove to avoid spending too much at pricey vendors, and a proper backpack spring to mind, but that starts to push into the more expensive, Serious Camper territory.

I hope you’ve found this list helpful and that you’ll spend this festival season especially warm, dry and well-lit.

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