Thursday, 19 May 2016

Festival Trolley - The best and the worst thing ever

I own a festival trolley. I don't even have the excuse that I have a toddler (or toddlers) that may need to rest their legs. I didn't buy it until DD was well past the toddler stage but it's a great investment...and I love my festival trolley.

But I also hate festival trolleys. They are large and cumbersome and while once maybe 10% of families at family festivals had one, I think that it's now closer to 80% and not everyone seems aware of any trolley etiquette.

I tend to see myself in 'trolley-mummy-mode' as one of the lucky ones, I have a built in sofa if I stop, somewhere to store all the stuff I need day to day, and at the start and end of a festival I can get my camping stuff to and from the car without too much effort, and without queueing for (or paying for) a hire trolley.

So let's look at the positives and negatives of owning a festival trolley. And also let's think about the responsibility trolley use (either your own or a hired one) brings with it at a festival.



Positives

I have saved money. I attend about 4 festivals a year on average. A festival trolley to hire, even just for the set up and packing up time is about £10 for 30 minutes. It invariably takes me 2 hours to get everything to or from my pitch, partly as I'm disabled and partly as I don't have to rush, but still, at £99 to own a trolley (which was what I paid) that's a big saving year after year. Plus I can use the trolley during the festival itself.

I save time (and effort). I don't have to queue for a hire trolley and sometimes the wait is long. Also as I'm not paying by the hour there is no stress to 'hurry up' I can take my own sweet time on the actual trundle to my campsite if I want to.

Transport. A trolley holds a lot, it saves numerous trips to the car and during the day it saves popping back to the tent. It's easy to bring umbrellas, coats, waterproofs, suncream, snacks, chairs...anything, without worrying how you will lug it about all day.

A trolley with a cushion in makes a fine temporary sofa (assuming it's not full of everything else you own) so it's handy to let down one side down when you need a rest, it also works well as a picnic table.

You can decorate them and look super fun, kids love them, many festivals have themes and dress up days (Camp Bestival even has a Pimp My Trolley event) so it's great fun to join in.


Negatives

You have to store it somewhere. At home if you have a garage or a large garden shed that's fine, but it's big and heavy, you are not going to pop it into a loft or have it in the corner of a lounge. At a camp site or festival if you decide not to drag it around with you all day then you need somewhere safe to stow it - so a large space in the tent is a good idea, although I sometimes use tent pegs to just fix it near the tent.

Not only must you store it but you must transport it. You need to be able to fit the trolley into your car along with all of your camping gear. The trolley does break down a bit but even so the smallest bit is pretty large.

It's heavy and if you take it apart for transport you need to put it together again which takes time.

Hills - Camp Bestival and Glastonbury suffer from hills , trolleys can be hard work on the way up and scary when fully laden on the way down!

The trolleys are not cheap to buy, while they easily save money in the long term, the initial outlay is large.


Responsibilities

IMO you need to be a polite trolley user. Here are my etiquette rules for the trolley user.
  • Trolleys do not have right of way, even if baby Tarquin is asleep in them on a Boden mini-duvet.
  • Trolleys hurt if you crash into people. Walk slowly and carefully and check your turns.
  • Trolleys will block the view of a toddler. Do not position them near the front of the crowd.
  • Trolleys are large and tricky in a crowd, stay near the back if you think you might need to leave early, or be prepared to wait until the crowd has dispersed before you can trundle your way out.
  • Not only in a crowd at a festival stage but in a crowded festival campsite, think about your route from your tent, if others camp all around you, you may find yourself trapped in a see of guy ropes with no exit! Camp near a pathway or fire break.
  • Trolleys get muddy, do not run over people's blankets as they sit picnicking.
  • Adults should remain in charge of trolleys even if children are playing with them, ensure they are not getting in people's way or causing injuries.


So - trolleys. Love them or hate them? Do you have one? Has this tempted you to get one?

I bought mine at a local garden centre but you can also buy them (various styles) from Amazon.

Garden Trolley - Green (several sizes available - mine is super huge!)
Garden Truck - Black
Folding Canvas Trolley (I often see these broken by the wayside at festivals!) - Red
Wooden Wagon - very cute to look at!

I'd love to know your 'trolley opinion' either on my Facebook Page or on Twitter.