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UK Festival Survival Guide – What to Bring

Hello and Welcome!

As you may have known from my previous blog and Instagram posts, I have just got back from Isle of Wight festival. Not only did I attend the festival, but I went as a staff member on a food stall during the festival (I was volunteering, I wasn’t paid). Therefore, whilst the festival itself was 4 days (Thursday-Sunday), I was there from Tuesday-Monday. During this time I got a good idea of what to bring to a festival and thought I’d write this post to advise you if you’re thinking of going.

So without further ado, here is my extensive list of what I believe you need to bring if you’re camping at a UK festival. I’ll also explain why you need these items.

If you’d like a full list without the explanations separated by ‘/’ then it will be at the end of this review, so if you want to copy and paste it then you can from there.

  1. Tent / Sleeping Bag / Yoga Mat
  2. Camping Chair
  3. Blanket
  4. Warm Clothes
  5. Torch
  6. Ear plugs / Eye mask

All of these are for the actual camping and sleeping part of the experience.

In terms of the tent please DO NOT buy a single skin tent. I made this mistake and the second I unpacked it, everyone laughed. Single skin tents are basically useless in all situations. When it was hot you could really feel it, when it was cold, it came straight through. Luckily, it didn’t rain whilst I was away, but if it really chucked it down (like it tends to do in the UK) then my tent wouldn’t have stood a chance. Don’t take the risk and buy a better tent!

Of course a sleeping bag seems obvious, but people sometimes forget them! I took a yoga mat style thing to go under the sleeping bag and I’d recommend bringing one, whilst it still hurt to sleep, and I have countless bruises from sleeping on the ground, it would have been much worse than if I didn’t have it. Of course, the thicker the better, do whatever you can to cushion under you and minimise the discomfort.

Now a camping chair may not seem like a necessity. However, depending on how long you’re staying for, you’d be thankful for one. If you don’t bring one then there’s only one place to sit, you guessed it, on the floor. This provides no support for your back and does hurt after an extended period of time. I didn’t bring one and when I borrowed one, it was heaven.

A blanket and warm clothes may seem like a strange choice if you’re going to a festival in the summer, but trust me it gets cold at night. Being outside in a field, with no decent shelter means that when it gets cold, you can really feel it and boy does it get cold. Even though it was super hot whilst I was away, at night it was absolutely freezing. I ended up having to wear socks over long fluffy pyjama bottoms, a t-shirt tucked into the pyjama bottoms, with a jumper over that tucked in, zipped into my sleeping bag, with a blanket around my shoulders to shield my neck and head.

A torch is a must! Whether you’re trying to find something in your tent, getting changed, or going to the toilet in the middle of the night, it’s very important to have a torch – especially as your phone might die.

Finally, I’d recommend bringing ear plugs and an eye mask. Festivals are super noisy, whether it’s the music, or just loud neighbours, you’re guaranteed to get some use out of the ear plugs. Especially if you’re feeling a bit rubbish one of the days and want to go to sleep before things start to quieten down. Another important item is an eye mask. Camping out in an open area means there’s no shelter from the sun, so as soon as the sun rises, you’re going to be woken up. Whilst I was still woken early by the heat, having the eye mask definitely gave me a little extra sleep instead of being woken by the sun burning my eyes! Again this helps for if you go to bed before things die down, as there may be bright lights (depending on where you’re camping) that you want to block out with the eye mask.

7. Water
8. Food

Water may seem like a strange thing to bring but I went with eight 250ml bottles and used them all, despite refilling them a lot. As staff we had access to water taps around the outside of the festival, but if you’re going as a regular attendee, then you may not have this. Water is a must not just for drinking (especially when it’s hot) but also for brushing your teeth, and (if you can’t find a shower) washing.

Food might also seem odd, after all you’re at a festival so there’s going to be food right? Well, yes there is food but it’s very expensive. You may not want to be spending that much money on food, especially if you haven’t brought much money. Additionally, you might get hungry between meals and want some snacks. Bringing food that can be made with hot water (if you know someone with a kettle and the ability to boil it) is a good idea, or any kind of snacky food (e.g. breakfast bars).

9. Toiletries
10. Dry Shampoo
11. Plasters
12. Painkillers

Again this may seem obvious but make sure to remember your toothbrush and toothpaste. However, you also might want to bring some travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. Most festivals have showers that you can pay to use, which you may want to do. I did this as I was there for so long, so it depends on how long you’re there for and whether you just want to brave it through without showering. Alternatively, you could just wash your hair or wherever else using the water, and toiletries, that you bring. Either way I’d advise bringing them just in case you do decide you don’t want to go the whole festival without washing. If you are not going to wash then dry shampoo is your best friend! Other important things to bring are plasters and painkillers, especially if you’re like me and end up getting injured all the time!

13. Flip Flops
14. Towel

These two go hand-in-hand with the toiletries and showering. However, they both serve dual purposes. If you’re going to shower then make sure you bring flip flops and something to shower in (e.g. I bought a bikini), the floor in the festival shower may not be the cleanest and it’s better to be safe than sorry – also you probably don’t want to be showering naked in a field with a bunch of people waiting, if anything went wrong then it could be a little awkward. Of course you’d then also need a towel. However, both of these are also really useful for if it rains. Flip flops are easy to walk in when it’s raining and they dry much faster than trainers, or other footwear. They’re also good for just generally wandering around if it’s hot and you’re not really doing a lot. A towel would also be useful in the situation where you find yourself caught in the rain.

15. Newspaper

Once more this may seem like an odd suggestion but bear with me! Speaking of rain, if it does rain and your shoes get soaked, what are you going to do? Newspaper, that’s what. You can ball the newspaper up and put it into your wet shoes to absorb the water and help dry out your shoes, and use the newspaper to put your wet shoes on so they don’t get everything else soaked too. Plus, newspaper doesn’t take up much space when packing.

16. Sunglasses
17. Sun cream & After sun

Flipping over to the other side of weather, you need to be prepared for basically all weather when you’re at a festival – especially as we’re in the UK. Therefore, as well as items that will serve you well in the rain, you’ll also need items for if its sunny. I think my sunglasses were practically glued to my face the entire festival and I was extremely glad that I’d brought them with me. Another thing I was glad for was sun cream, I was applying it so frequently. Whilst I did get burnt, it would have been much worse if I hadn’t brought sun cream with me. One thing I didn’t bring however, was after sun. After sun would have been useful not only for my sun burn, but also I got some major chub rub (yes, my thighs touch) throughout the week and the after sun I have contains aloe and cactus extract which have helped to heal it since I got home – would have been good to have whilst I was there!

18. Bum bag / Cross body bag
19. Padlocks

I didn’t think I’d ever be promoting to buy a bum bag but here we are. As abominable bum bags are in every day life (I’m sorry if you like them – I’m sure you make them look cute), at a festival it’s pretty much a given that everyone has a bum bag. It keeps your personal belongings on you, and easy to access by you, but not by anyone else. It also allows you to have both your hands free. Bum bags are especially good at festivals as it makes it difficult for your items to be stolen from you, since the bag is always in your sight, and strapped to you. An alternative to a bum bag, if you don’t have one or don’t want one (for some reason I couldn’t find one that wasn’t super expensive), is a cross body bag that you can wear on your front, again so you can see it.

Along the same lines of safety, but more related to camping, I brought some small padlocks. I looped one through the holes in the zips on the inside of my tent when I was getting changed and when I was sleeping, which gave me peace of mind. I actually brought a pack of three (that I got from poundland) with me, and ended up giving the other two out to two other women I was camped with. I didn’t use this whilst I wasn’t at my tent as I felt it would imply that I had something worth stealing inside (which I didn’t) and I had all of my valuables on me when I wasn’t at the tent anyway.

20. Charger Pack

I had access to power so could charge my phone during my shifts, however I still found having a charger pack valuable – and it would be even more so if you don’t have access to a place where you can charge your phone. Charger packs are pretty affordable and they’ve saved me on so many occasions, not just in the festival but also in regular life. I would highly recommend bringing one if you plan on using your phone throughout the festival (just use your phone sparingly still, the charging pack won’t last forever).

21. Cash

I cannot emphasise this one enough! Please, please, please, bring cash to a festival. I can’t count the amount of times someone asked if we took card on the stall. It’s pretty rare for stalls at festivals, especially food stalls, to take card so be sure to bring plenty of cash. Since the event is in a field with loads of people around, card machines aren’t guaranteed to work, either because of no signal in general or because the signal is jammed by so many people being in the area with phones. Most festivals will have places to draw out cash but they will charge you a fair amount (I think the cash machines at Isle of Wight this year charged £2.70 to withdraw cash). It’s just better, easier, and less stressful, for you to have cash instead of hoping that places will take card. Also if you do decide to bring a card instead of cash, then if a stall tells you they don’t take card please be kind, don’t get angry!

22. Toilet roll / Tissues
23. Hand sanitiser
24. Baby Wipes

One of the most valuable items that I brought to the festival has got to be toilet roll and tissues. If anyone’s been to a festival before, you know that the portaloos don’t always have any toilet roll (or, to be honest, only extremely rarely have toilet roll). Therefore, bringing toilet roll and/or tissues with you, and always taking some to the toilet with you, means that you will never be caught without any toilet roll.

Another thing that the portaloos sometimes don’t have, is hand sanitiser. Trust me, you’re going to want to bring some with you for the moments where there isn’t any sanitiser, or for if you want to double sanitise – some of those toilets are truely disgusting.

Again on the topic of portaloos, they aren’t always the cleanest. People seem to have no consideration for others at festivals so it’s worth bringing some baby wipes with you to clean portaloo seats. They’re also useful for if you spill something on yourself, or need to clean anything else.

25. Rubbish bags

With most of these things I’m recommending to bring comes one thing: rubbish. Whilst some festivals are getting better with rubbish, it’s important to bring your own rubbish bags so you take your rubbish home instead of leaving it at the festival. Isle of Wight had no recycling bins and there was rubbish everywhere, please don’t be one of those people – recycle and take your rubbish home. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t throw rubbish on the ground and leave it in your own house (unless you live in The Sims), so why do it when you’re away.

Okay so this brings us to the end of this post on what I believe you should bring to a UK festival. Of course there are things that I missed that will be common sense (such as clothing and shoes), but I wanted to include some things that people may not think of, and things that may be forgotten.

Here is the full list of items as promised:

Tent / Sleeping Bag / Yoga Mat / Camping Chair / Blanket / Warm Clothes / Torch / Ear plugs / Eye mask / Water / Food / Toiletries / Dry Shampoo / Plasters / Painkillers / Flip Flops / Towel / Newspaper / Sunglasses / Sun cream & After sun / Bum bag / Cross body bag / Padlocks / Charger Pack / Cash / Toilet roll / Tissues / Hand sanitiser / Baby Wipes / Rubbish bags.

I hope you enjoyed this post – I’m sorry that there weren’t really any pictures and I hope you found it useful nonetheless! If you did enjoy this post then please give it a like, and if there’s any other festival related posts that you’d like to see then let me know in a comment (e.g. skincare to bring to a festival etc.). Finally, if you like reading beauty reviews and the occasional lifestyle post like this one, then please follow my blog – I post twice a week!

Love,

Charlotte (Multibendystraw)

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Check out my previous posts!

Kiko Milano ‘Velvet Matte Passion Lipstick’ Review
Revolution x Soph ‘Extra Spice’ Eyeshadow Palette Review
Revolution x Soph ‘Nude Lipsticks’ Review

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