I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to Glastonbury festival. Not because I’ve been countless times, but I just can’t remember exactly which years I went. So I think it’s about five or six times, maybe seven.
Either way, I’ve have enough experience to pick up some tips and tricks when it comes to festival camping, or pitching up a tent in general. After a few fails, I’ve learnt from past mistakes. Even though glamping in a tepee is my festival accommodation of choice, sleeping in a tent still has its charm.
Whether you just need a reminder before your next music festival, or you’re a camping newbie, here’s a check-list that might come in handy this summer.
- Shade is your best friend – park yourself under a tree if you can. It will minimise the risk of waking up in a hot mess and having to peel your way off of your sleeping bag.
- Set up next to the group with the quirky flag – this will make it easy for you and your friends to find your tent among the sea of tents without the hassle of having to carry your own flag all the way to the festival. Of course, if you have a favourite flag then you could just bring your own. #YOLO
- Avoid the long-drop like the plague – it wouldn’t surprise me if you actually could catch the plague from inhaling its fumes. And they drift a surprisingly long way. So don’t pitch your tent too near the toilets.
- Bigger is better – yes, it’s a pain to carry but being able to stand up to get dressed makes all the difference. Also, if your friend spills a whole bag of pasta in your tiny Tesco two-person tent, you won’t have to lay over crunchy pasta swirls for several days (they are surprisingly hard to pick up).
- Pack a camping mat – a grassy field may sound soft and fluffy but it’s not. It’s really bumpy, hard and often slanted. I found this out the hard way on my first festival visit and tried to fix the situation by laying down sheets of newspaper and clothes in the absence of any other padding. Not ideal, and it didn’t stop the Princess and the Pea style bruising. Air beds are the crème de la crème of camping comfort but they’re kind of heavy. A foam camping mat is my weapon of choice against camping wounds.
- Keep your strings stretched – make sure your tent cover is pulled nice and tightly. Otherwise when it rains (and it probably will rain) the roof will mysteriously start dripping inside your tent, forming a nice puddle exactly where your sleeping bag is.
- Practice your Entrapment manoeuvres – make like Catherine Zeta Jones in the heist thriller Entrapment. These skills will come in handy when navigating the criss-crossed gauntlet of tent strings as you stumble back “home” in the dark. A torch app also comes in handy. As do these other camping and festival apps.
- Snuggle up – no matter how hot it is during the day, it will be freezing at night. So whether you’re just popping back to your tent in the evening before you go out again or you’re going back to get some shut-eye, a warm onesie will be greatly appreciated. Or better yet, those hiking hand warmers that look like tea bags and act like mini hot water bottles for up to 10 hours.
- Stock up on bin liners – great for storing soggy clothes and laying your muddy wellies on. And for sitting on if the ground is wet. And they also work pretty well as a bin bag of course. Thumbs up to multi-functionality (although please remember to reduce, reuse, recycle).
- Beware of kittens – this didn’t happen in Glastonbury but in Greece, although it’s still an important thing to note. If a crazed kitten starts continually head-butting your tent in the middle of the night, with a run-up each time for maximum impact, just let them in. They won’t go away. Kittens can be very persistent.