The Essential Guide to Surviving a Festival

Festival Ready

Whether you’re a veteran festival goer or a first timer, Squirrel Outdoors are here to help. Here’s our guide to surviving your next festival.

Top 10 Festival Essentials

Before you head off to your big summer festival, you’re first going to have to sort out what kit you’ll need to take with you. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 festival essentials.

Folding chair – You’re going to want one of these to sit on first thing in the morning and last thing at night when you’re at the campsite.
Sleeping bag – Although It may be summer, it will get cold at night, so invest in a good quality sleeping bag to keep you warm.
Portable phone charger – There’s nothing worse than having a dead phone all weekend, especially when you’ve lost your mates.
Poncho – Now it wouldn’t be a real British summer if it didn’t pour down now and then.
Head torch – Use it to navigate back to your tent at the end of the day or as a fashion accessory in a rave, either way, a head torch will be your new best friend.

Petzl Headtorch

Earplugs – Often a disregarded piece of kit, but trust us, when people are still up partying at 5 am, and you’re trying to sleep, you’ll be glad to have them.
An additional layer of clothing – A reserve hoodie or jumper will go a long way if the temperature decides to drop and you’re still partying.
Roll mat – For a quality night’s sleep.
Bin Bags – Don’t be a litterbug! Bring a roll of bin bags to put all your rubbish in.
Hand Sanitiser – Trust us on this one, you’re going to want some of this, especially if you’re camping all weekend.
We’re going to need a bigger tent…

When buying a festival tent, consider how many you need the tent to sleep, as well as the amount of kit you’re taking. Don’t be afraid to size up if you have lots of gear. You’re going to be camping for a few days likely, so space and comfort are worth considering. If you’re planning on fitting two, size up to a three-person tent. Also, remember to practice pitch at home to make it easier when setting up inside the festival.

Now that you’ve got your kit sorted, you’re ready to head to the festival. Here’s what to do when you get through the gates.

Choose location wisely

Quick tip for finding the perfect place to set up camp is to show up early, arriving later than everyone else means that all the right spots will be gone.

Festival campgrounds are huge mazes of tents. You want to find a spot that is close to the action as well as being convenient for your group. You might think setting up near the toilets will be a good idea, but after a long day of them being used a few thousand times, you’ll begin to reconsider. You also want to avoid being next to paths. This may sound clever at first, but do you want to be woken up every morning by the constant stream of chatter of other campers getting back to their tent?

A wise plan is to choose a spot that’s not too remote but not in the middle of all the action. Look for landmarks such as toilets, signposts, trashed tents or nearby paths for orientation so you can easily find your way back at the end of the day. This is particularly important at more prominent festivals such as Glastonbury or Leeds and Reading.

Festival Campground

Set up base camp

If you’re camping in a group, form a circle with your tents with an open inner area. This will provide you and your friends with your little communal area. Try and get your tents as close as possible with few gaps in between. Should you leave any wide spaces, people will likely set up in between them and invade your space.

When you’ve got yourself set up, you should take a moment to get to know your neighbours for the next few days. Doing this means that you can set up some boundaries and avoids any awkward interactions later on. Making new friends also enhances the festival experience and provides an extra set of eyes to spot anyone going through your belongings when they shouldn’t be.

Stay secure

Keeping your gear and valuables on you is the best way to protect them at a festival. Your best bet would be to leave anything worth stealing at home and don’t take anything you’re not prepared to lose.

It may seem like a good idea to padlock your tent; however, this only attracts thieves who’ll think they’ve hit the jackpot. Someone who’s determined could easily penetrate your tent, lock or no lock, so avoid advertising your belongings.

Additional tips & hacks
Read the rules – Generally, Most festivals will have their own rules and regulations. Take some time before the festival to read up on them. Most rules won’t be too strict. Some festival campgrounds, for example, won’t allow glass bottles inside the event. Make sure you comply with the regulations set so that you avoid things confiscated at the gates or perhaps even being kicked out.
Pack a pillowcase, not a pillow – We know it sounds odd, but hear us out. When you’re packing your pillow, take the pillowcase instead and place your clothes inside — saving space in your pack.
Duct tape around a bottle – Take a small piece of duct tape and wrap it around a water bottle in case your tent suffers from an unexpected rip or tear, it saves you having to take a full roll with you.
Before you leave

Don’t be a litterbug – take everything with you. Festivals are a lot of fun, but nobody wants to see a field of rubbish or discarded tents left behind at the end. To keep your tent in top condition, remember to give it a quick wipe down before you pack it away. If the tent is wet or damp, then open it out to dry when you get home, then check and repack it ready for next time.