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Festival

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Festivals have become a very British pastime

And we absolutely love them

Festival season is a symbol of the British summer. And enjoying your festival experience can hinge on buying high quality outdoor equipment. Come rain or shine, you need to feel assured that your festival gear works. But you also need festival know-how to ensure that you get the right festival gear for the occasion.

The UK music festival culture: A brief history

Though there are older music festivals in Britain, the Reading Festival originated the festival culture in the mid-50s. From it came a culture of loud music, raucous behaviour and, importantly, festival camping.

Originally a more rarefied jazz festival, the two-day festival underwent many stylistic and logistical changes throughout the 60s. By the early 70s, it had transformed into the rock-dominated format we recognise today.

About the same time, both the Isle of Wight and Glastonbury festivals emerged. Influenced by hippie culture, these festivals catered to thousands growing in size yearly. As Glastonbury continued on, the Isle of Wight Festival ceased in 1971 due to the “Isle of Wight Act”. The act prevented the unlicensed gathering of more than 5000 people on the island.

Isle of Wight was only revived as recently as 2002 rejoining a now saturated market of festivals and smaller festivals. Now festivals such as T in the Park, V, Download and Latitude are equally as popular. Though each festival has its unique features, the archetype of festival camping and rowdy revellers remains.

Festival gear considerations

Festival gear offers great variety. Still, that doesn’t make the task of figuring out he essentials from the luxuries easier. Festival camping is about being as efficient as possible. Knowing how to prepare and what to expect will set you up for a pleasant festival outing.

Size and weight

Never bring more camping gear than you can handle. Not only do you risk injuring yourself, but you could potentially damage or misplace items. Ideally, your outdoor equipment for festival camping will of a manageable pack size to transport using public transport.

Campsite

No two festival campsites are the same. Some will allow you to get away with bringing outdoor equipment that others will not. Check for campsite rules. These rules will provide valuable information should you need space for extra provisions. They will also help you to accommodate entire families or disabled revellers, if necessary.

Location

Consider where you will be festival camping before amassing your camping kit. How close is your pitching area to the car park/amenities? Are you beneath a slope? The location of your setup is important to figuring out which outdoor equipment will be most effective for you.

Duration

If you’re going to a festival for a short weekend, then this enables you to take less. Any consideration that helps you to lighten your load of outdoor equipment is handy. Longer stays will mean additional provisions which require additional considerations such as portability and sanitation.

Number of attendees

The number of people attending your festival camping experience can help to determine what camping kit you require. For example, if you are attending with two children, you’ll need at least a 3-man tent. The number of attendees is also important in deciding inventory size and transportation of your festival gear.

Weather

Expect every eventuality when festival camping. So you should prepare for them all when you buy your outdoor equipment. The weather changes frequently and festival sites are located on malleable turf. If you don’t want to risk a drenching or possible sunburn, buy your camping kit with weather in mind.

Price

Typically, buying for festival camping means buying camping kit to last a short amount of time. This is ideal for a small budget. Paying for expensive outdoor equipment – particularly for a rowdy environment – will end in tears.

Try before you buy

Your outdoor equipment may look and sound good, but how does it feel? You can’t tell for sure from pictures and words. Many retailers allow you to try out festival gear you want for your festival camping trip.

Essential Festival Equipment Checklist

Festival tents

The best festival tents boast three key attributes: lightness, brightness and easy pitching. A good tent that is secure and roomy enough to accommodate users and their outdoor equipment is vital.

Rucksacks

Rucksacks are obviously essential kit. You’ll be carrying a lot of outdoor equipment, so you need to feel comfortable doing so. Use a supportive 50L+ rucksack for taking all your necessary belongings. Also bring a smaller backpack for carrying your valuables whilst away from your tent.

Stay dry

It’s no fun, no matter the festival, when you’re soaked through. But bad weather shouldn’t signal the end of the festivities. Most festival campers pack stay dry insurance for the inevitable flash floods. Make sure that a waterproof poncho or a thin mac is tucked in amongst your festival gear.  

Sleeping bags

Sleeping bags make for perfect festival camping sleeping apparatus. They are comfortable, lightweight and packable. Try the one you have an eye on out before you commit. If it’s not an ideal fit, there are many sizes, shapes and materials for an adequate alternative.

Camping chairs

You’ll spend long hours on your feet during a festival. So, when those brief lulls come, you’ll appreciate a lounger. Camping chairs are super portable camping kit that ergonomically designed for comfort without encouraging listlessness.

Torches and lanterns

Humans can’t see in the dark. When it’s 12am and you’re having to navigate a labyrinth of tents, a lightsource becomes your best friend.

Portable tech

From chargers and speakers, to action cameras and phone holders – portable tech is a common sight at festivals nowadays. These innovative gadgets are for the campers who’d like to stay “on the grid”. Festival camping no longer means slumming it nomad style for a weekend.

Festival trolleys

Trolleys are essentially like rucksacks, only without the strain on your back. They have the capacity to carry as much – if not, more. When you arrive at the camp parked some distance from your pitch, you’ll quickly realise their worth.

Wellies

The unofficial symbol of the British festival season. When we think of appropriate festival clothing, wellies instantly spring to mind. The agricultural boot now comes in varying heights and designs to complement your outfit. Give your camping kit some wellies!