Fancy yourself as the next Bear Grylls? Maybe you’re more into glamping with all the mod cons. Choosing the right home can make or break your weekend.
The Tent Commandments
- Rule number 1: Don’t be a #FestivalFail – bring a tent! Or at least know where you’re sleeping.
- Go for a double skin tent, this means it has two layers of fabric between you and the elements. Single skin tents flood easily.
- Bring a tent that is one size too big, for example a three-person tent if two of you are staying in it. This will give enough space for you and your stuff.
- Festival campsites are tight on space. Don't take an overly large tent if you don’t need it.
- New tent? Practice putting it up and down before you go. Check you have all the poles and sufficient tent pegs. A mallet is useful for hammering tent pegs in.
- You might have the same tent as 100 other campers; make it stand out with a flag or something recognisable.
- Use your guy ropes and secure them properly, same with your tent pegs. Heavy wind can blow your tent away if it is not pinned down.
- Never leave valuables in your tent when you are out. When sleeping, put your valuables at the bottom of your sleeping bag, read more about avoiding theft and robbery here.
- Wind and rain are a camper's worst enemies! If the rain is particularly bad, try to lift your clothes off the ground of your tent in case of flooding.
- Take your tent - and your other belongings - away with you when you leave the festival. If it’s bust, take it down and bin it yourself, don’t just leave it up in the campsite.
Location, Location, Location!
- Always camp in allocated areas and don’t obstruct fire lanes – you’ll get asked to move.
- Map out a route from your tent to the arena using recognisable landmarks that won’t change so you don't lose your tent - classic #FestivalFail!
- Bring a head torch - guy ropes and exposed tent pegs can make for an interesting walk home.
- Scope your surroundings - where is the nearest drinking water point, information point, toilet and shower located?
- Beware of camping next to trees or fence lines: people sometimes use them as toilets - you shouldn't do this, love the site! Near generators: they are loud at night. Under light towers: they are bright and you won't sleep very well
- Don’t tape off your camping area as this can make it difficult for other people to get home.
- Get to know your neighbours! It makes for a nicer environment for everyone and means you know who should be coming and going in your area.
- Try and respect other people’s need for sleep. Even if you want to stay up all night, keep noise levels respectful in the early hours.
Fire Safety & Camping
A fire can destroy a tent in 60 seconds. Make sure you:
- don’t use candles in or near a tent, torches are safer;
- avoid smoking inside your tent;
- keep cooking stoves and BBQs away from tent walls as they can easily set alight;
- know how to escape by cutting your way out of the tent if there is a fire;
- never use BBQs inside or near the entrance of your tent - the carbon monoxide they produce can kill even hours after they have been used. To work safely BBQs need more ventilation than your tent or awning can provide. BBQs are designed for cooking food not heating spaces.
What to do if there is a fire:
- keep calm and get everyone away as quickly as you can;
- contact the nearest steward or campsite info point.
Fire Safety In Camper or Caravans
- Fit and regularly test a smoke alarm in your van, optical alarms are most effective.
- Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.
- Take special care when cooking, don’t leave pans unattended.
- Turn off all appliances before you go to bed.
- Never dry clothes over the stove.
- Remove any litter and rubbish near the van to reduce the risk of fire spreading.
- Make sure the van is well ventilated to avoid a build-up of poisonous gases, never block air vents.
- Keep a fire extinguisher by the entrance to your van, but always read the instructions before using it.
Using Gas Cylinders
Some festivals don’t allow you to bring gas stoves and cylinders on site so check the event website before packing them. In recent years, several festival goers have been injured changing cylinders on the cheaper small gas powered stoves.
- Never change the gas cylinder when a stove is still hot; wait until it has fully cooled.
- Only change gas cylinders when they are completely empty and store them away from camper and caravans.
- Only change cylinders in the open air.
- Keep flammable liquids (such as petrol and gas cylinders) outside and away from children.
- Regularly service and maintain all gas appliances to ensure they are working efficiently and reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure any gas pipe connections are secure. If you suspect a leak, turn off the main cylinder valve.
Cooking on BBQs and gas stoves whilst drunk or under the influence of drugs is not a good idea. If you’ve had a heavy day don’t risk it, there are always lots of places on site to buy food!
For more pitch perfect info, take a look at these websites
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
A site that covers all common accident types and how to make sure you're doing the most to prevent them.
The Camping & Caravanning Club
A great place to find best camping and caravan practices.
All festivals have slightly different rules. If you have any questions you should contact the organisers of the event that you are going to. Visit the event website for details of how to get in touch.
Festival Safe is aimed at people heading to UK festivals. Much of the information you'll find here will be useful wherever your event is being held, but if you are heading to an overseas event remember that rules, and in particular the law, can be different in other countries.