No Fridge Required

Maybe you are off to a festival, maybe you are a minimalist camper who doesn't use EHU, but either way there may be times you are away from home, away from the power to refrigerate things, but you are not quite rich enough to eat out for every meal. What options are open to you?

As a camper that uses a cool box occasionally but never uses EHU I have a few ideas.


Let's start with breakfast.

On the first day you could splash out with a fry up of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, tomato and potato. These things will keep for a day if you can keep them cool - but I tend to just bring enough for day one.
Other things that you can pack for breakfast include lots of things that are individually packed, many bread based things go mouldy quickly in the moist summer heat inside a tent, so things that are packed singly are a good way to keep things fresh. The pound shop is a good source of camping food. My personal favourites are brioche, croissants, breakfast biscuits and cereal bars. It's worth taking some of the original 'individually wrapped food' though, bananas are great for breakfast and an any time snack. Oranges are also good here, and of course for drinks there are lots of individual juice cartons, and even flavoured milk and soya drinks or iced coffee cartons. Don't forget to pack tea and coffee bags and some longlife milk.
Copyright: seralexvi / 123RF Stock Photo

For lunch you might be out and about.

Why not look at taking some snacks like crisps, babybel cheese, mini cheddars, nuts and fruit. Drinks could include juice or water (water is readily available at all festivals - so just bring a refillable bottle) and maybe a gin-in-a-tin or a can of beer. Some festivals won't allow you to bring your own food or booze onto the site, but most kid's festivals allow snacks, and a single can of beer is usually allowed.

For dinner.

You'll probably want to pop back to the tent and maybe cook something. Tinned food is great for storage and there is a huge choice, from soup and the ubiquitous baked beans to more exotic examples like full English breakfasts and curries. My favourite is chilli (extra hot Stagg is just amazing) but as rice takes a long time to cook (and therefore a lot of gas) I tend to favour the almost ready pouch type of rice, you can mix it with the chilli - add a little extra water and cook it all together in one pan, real cowboy food! A can of  sweet and sour chicken would be nice with some noodles (also available in pouches). And of course, for noodle lovers there is always a pot noodle. If you packed some buns then you could have some hotdogs one evening, easy to cook and easy to eat - remember no glass on the festival site, go for the hotdogs that are vacuum packed.



So there are some tasty 'no fridge' meal ideas for you. You can also store eggs, potatoes (slice and then fry) and lots of other tinned foods (fruit and custard for example!) and carton foods too, but try and plan ahead - no one wants to carry more than they need and you might end up with a lot to cart back to the car if you over pack.(I'm speaking from experience) Some festivals now have places to leave unused food for the local food bank at the end of the festival.

Don't forget to take things like oil, tomato ketchup, salt as well.

Are there any great meals for a festival or no fridge camping that I've forgotten?

Ten Years of Camp Bestival

DD and I started our festival forays with Eastern Haze in Suffolk in 2007. 



Sadly that year Eastern Haze suffered dreadfully from bad weather and the organisers wound it up, never to return. But DD and I were hooked. Hooked on the mud, the toilets, the late nights, the friendly festival goers, the laughter and the music. So I looked about for a new festival, suitable for an eight year old and her mum to attend and I found Camp Bestival. Billed as a cross between a festival and a holiday camp, with a mix of music and kids activities it sounded perfect, and so it turned out. 



We went to the 2010 festival, and have been to every Camp Bestival since.

This year is the tenth Camp Bestival and the headliners have just been announced. (and yes I'm going to save that for later) It made me think back to previous year's headliners and who I would have picked for this year if I was asked to choose (I wasn't)



The first year of Camp Bestival 2008, which we didn't attend, was by all accounts a bit of a steep learning curve for the organisers. But the headliners that year included Chuck Berry, Flaming Lips, and Kate Nash.

In 2009 the headliners included Florence and the Machine, PJ Harvey, Will Young, Tinchy Stryder,  Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and Goldie Lookin' Chain, I confess I'm rather sad I missed 2009!

In 2010, the first year we attended the headliners included Madness, Calvin Harris, Billy Bragg, The Human League, Ellie Goulding, Tinie Tempah (who swore hilariously)  and The Cuban Brothers and it was brilliant! Madness were so much fun, my favourite memory of the festival was dancing with the kids, in the dark, with glowsticks all aglow



In 2011 we saw Blondie, Mark Ronson and the Business International, and Primal Scream. Other performers included ABC, The Wonder Stuff, House of Pain, Eliza Doolittle, Bad Shepherds, Easy Star All-Stars, though we missed a secret performance in the woods by Ed Sheeran!

In 2012 the headliners were  Kool and the Gang, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Hot Chip, The Happy Mondays, and Rizzle Kicks, and again we had a fab time dancing the night away.

In 2013 headliners included Levellers and Labrinth, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, The 1975 and Clean Bandit. But for some reason I recall less about the music that year - maybe we spent longer in the comedy tent.

In 2014 headliners James, De La Soul, and Basement Jaxx, were joined by Sinead O' Connor, The Cuban Brothers, Chas & Dave, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Wedding Present, and Charlotte Church. DJs include Boy George.

2015 saw us boogying to headliners Clean Bandit, Kaiser Chiefs (just loved being part of a huge festival singalong to Ruby, Ruby, Ruby) and Underworld. Also featuring were Ella Henderson, Professor Green, Wretch 32, Kate Tempest, Bob Geldof, Soul II Soul, Level 42, Alison Moyet, Ella Eyre, George The Poet, and Slaves, (who I hadn't heard before and they were great).

Last year, 2016, was one of DD's favourites, Jess Glynne, and we both loved Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim on Saturday night an amazing DJ set. Sunday's headliners were Tears for Fears. We had plenty of old school tunes too with Bananarama, DJ Yoda, The Cuban Brothers, & Rob Da Bank's Prince tribute, And of course every year that is any good features Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer.

So who do I think should headline 2017? Madness of course! And lucky me, because they are indeed going to give us a reason to don baggy trousers and dance in a field in 2017





Trust me - you really don't want to miss this. The lineup is spectacular as always and great value for money. I've seen Bootleg Beatles before too, lovely to feel part of the swinging sixties(I was born in 1965 before you ask)  And Mark Ronson is always entertaining. Arrive on Thursday, leave Monday and spend all the time in between relaxed and being entertained by the stars.



This years fancy dress theme is Popstars and Rockstars. I'm having a think...but feel free to add suggestions in the comments! 

Ticket Info:
Camp Bestival 2017 Weekend Tickets are on sale now via: Ticketline / 0844 888 4410
WEEKLY PAYMENT PLAN
The Camping Bestival 2017 Weekly Payment Plan is on sale now. Use our 30-week payment plan from £5 per week. Book online via Ticketline only.

CAMP BESTIVAL 2017 EARLY BIRD WEEKEND TICKET PRICES
Adult Weekend Ticket - £175*
Student Weekend Ticket - £165* / Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket - £105*
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket - £80* / Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket - £30*
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket - £10*
Babes in Arms (1 & Under) - FREE (but ticket required)*
*All tickets include camping from Thursday / Please refer to the Camp Bestival Ticket Terms & Conditions below

Car Parking - £20 in advance / Campervan Ticket (Field A) - £90
Caravan / Trailer Tent Ticket (Field A) - £100
T&Cs here before booking

Essential camping accessories for a festival

Today's top tips are around festival essentials and are from Rhian who blogs over at Rhian Westbury.

The first time I camped at a festival was Reading Festival in 2008 and since then I’ve done over 30 of them which is crazy considering I was never a fan of camping as a kid. There’s something about being relaxed and chilled with your friends knowing you’re going to be listening to a whole load of music that makes camping feel that bit more acceptable. Over the years’ I have made do with items which probably weren’t right for me, but also discovered some gems for camping at a festival so here’s some essentials you need.

A double skinned tent
This might seem like an obvious one, course you’ll need a tent when camping, but a double skinned one is what is important. UK festivals are notoriously unpredictable with their weather so you need as much protection as possible from the elements. These kinds of tents don’t have to be expensive but it’s worth while if you’re not sleeping in a pool of water.


An inflatable mattress
I managed to last until this year with just a carry mat and every year my shoulders and back would ache like anything but this year I decided to buy an inflatable mattress and it was the best thing I think I’ve ever bought. It was only about a tenner from argos but it meant that sleeping was so much more comfortable and I didn’t have the hard floor underneath me digging into my sides.

Portable phone charger
While the best option is to take a super old school phone which would hold charge for days on an end, most of us don’t want to do this and still want to be able to Instagram photos of what we’re up to so a portable phone charger is essential. Whether it’s because you’ve drained battery taking photos or phoning your friend during their favourite song you need power in case you’re split up from your party and need to see where they are.

A camping chair
For many people festivals are as much about the social side as they are the music so most people will want to go and grab some drinks and have a chill after the music has finished, There’s nothing worse than sitting on the floor when you’ve been on your feet all day and a simple camping chair can provide loads of comfort.


A headlamp
Festivals can get pretty dark at night and even if you think you know your way back to your tent from the nearest toilets things look totally different at night. A headlamp means you have your hands free (you’ll be thankful of this when you’re trying to hold it while on the loo) and it means you can see those pesky guy ropes on others tents so you don’t trip over.

If you’re planning to head to a festival next summer remember to pack for all weather conditions because you never know, and remember flip flops are never comfortable or fun to wear regardless of how hot it is. Have fun and enjoy yourselves.

You can follow Rhian over on twitter too

Camping with Children

Camping with kids. You all know that I take DD with me, and though she is now 17 we've been camping as a couple (of crazed fools?) since she was 7. But not only did we start when DD was already old enough to be useful (!) I also only had to cope with one child. Today's guest post is from Amy who blogs over at Eps and Amy who camped with two, and who started with a babe in arms! Here's her experience and advice.


Camping with children, the good, the bad and the ugly!

I have two children, now aged 5 and 8, and we first attempted camping when the eldest was just 9 months old. I bought a special camping travel cot and we get her used to taking naps in it a for a few weeks before we went. Unfortunately, once we got to the campsite trying to get her to go to sleep in daylight (tents are very see-through) and with a lot of noise going on around. In the end we gave up and had to take Bethany home.

Not one to give up, we tried again when Bethany was around 2 years old. That went much better! We had changed to a tent which had a blackout lined, it was "dark" but it was "dark enough" and although she struggled to settle initially we all had a reasonable nights sleep.

We have since taken Bethany camping every year and started taking Jack when he was about 2 years old as well. I love camping with the kids; the fresh air tires them out and they really enjoy running around.

Food has always been a bit of an issue with my children, they are fussy little monkeys. We now take a gas powered kitchen hob with us so we can make pasta and cook some vegetables, we also take little packets of cocktail sausages (apparently freshly cooked ones just are good enough).


Children's safety on the camp site can be a bit tricky, when they are small they can easily wander off and cars don't necessarily stick to roads around a campsite so can surprise children who aren't paying full attention. In order to get around this we position the cars and tents so they form a square around our site and used wind breakers to block off any more gaps. We also ensure we assign one child to each of us, it can be very easy to assume someone else is watching the toddler and for them to wander off.

I love camping with the kids, it is so lovely for them to be out in the wild a bit. But don't be afraid to cheat a little: take ready meals with you, put a potty in the tent for night time toilet visits (even once the kids are older), take iPads with you (great for entertaining the kids for an hour when they are tired) and don't worry if it doesn't work out for you the first time, give it a year and try again.
Camping with children can be hard work, but I think it's worth it! Take the kids back to nature, it's good for their health and good for their education.

You can also follow Amy on Facebook and Twitter

Charity Challenge, Walking Hadrian's Wall

A guest post and a cry for help from Phill at Corporate Dad.

The first day of the year, where many of you are hungover is probably the most inappropriate time to discuss getting out into the fresh air, picking out a tent and camping. Or maybe it's the best time, when you are all full of New Year's resolutions and energy.

Whatever the case, I need your help!

Having organised an 84 mile trek in May to raise money for charity and inspire my daughters to do something amazing, there’s at least one issue. I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to camping but I do know how to walk. One out of two isn’t bad, right?


Now I know for any kind of long trek there’s going to be a lot of weight to carry. I’m hoping that a minimum of 4 people are going to be taking part and then multiples of 4 after that. Seeing that we will have camping gear, eating things, clothing and food, we can then separate out into four equal bags.

We’re going to be starting May bank holiday and looking at the weather the average temperature for that time is at least in double digits. I hope that the weather will be on our side when it comes to the weather as we’ll need lightweight, versatile clothing and camping equipment.

So thank you to Naomi at Tents and Festivals for letting me put this out there:

“I’m a NOVICE please help!”

Being tent experts I’m hoping there’s some avid walkers and hardened campers here to offer up some advice and expert opinions on equipment, logistics, best things to eat and any preferred locations to camp along the Hadrian’s wall.

5-6 Days of walking, we anticipate 16 miles a day minimum and my understanding is that it’s a really pleasant walk from Newcastle to Bowness. Fairly downhill and of course, with a wall, fairly straight forward. That doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be difficult.


Here’s some of my major questions:

  • What type of tent do we need? Double shell or do we go light and individual?
  • Food and Cooking? Would you recommend cooking or go all dry ingredients and protein shakes?
  • Any ideal Camping Spots or just go rural?
  • How would you arrange the logistics of it all? Getting to Newcastle and then back from Bowness?

Fingers crossed that everything will go to plan, there’s a whole lot of training to be done and I can’t wait to get started in the New Year (when I’m finally over this cold). It’s for a great cause and there’s going to be a whole sense of achievement after not only for me and my group but hopefully for my kids.

This is an open trek so please do let me know if you’d like to join us in this adventure and if you can help out with any of the questions above please do comment, share to those that may be able to help as every little detail could be vital.

If you’d like to know more or join in come find more details here: Charity Challenge

Wishing Phill all the best for his trip - you can follow him on Twitter or on Facebook

Night night, sleep tight - Camping sleep mats review

For a long time I have searched for the perfect comfy night's sleep when camping. As I'm in my 50s the simple thin foam mat favo...