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Showing posts with label shop. Show all posts

Top 10 essential things to know, do or bring to, Camp Bestival

Top 10 essential things to know, do or bring to, Camp Bestival

With just over a week to go I realise the blog tips have become rather large and unwieldy for the novice festival goer (eg my brother, who is accompanying me this year with his family - an entire family of festival virgins!) So here is a mini list (with links to more detail where necessary) of the actual vital stuff you need to know.

crowded festival tents at camp bestival

  1. First off. While Camp Bestival is a music festival that is far from all it is. It was begun as a spin off of Bestival as a cross between a Holiday Camp, and a festival. They even have their very own Blue Coats! Of course this means there is loads to do, plenty of comedy, films, shows, circus acts, craft
    areas etc for children from as young as babies to teens. This year there is also a teen Den, just for those 13 - 17 to hang out. Perfect for the festival goers of tomorrow to get a feel for festival life away from their parents. As the site is a castle they also have a jousting area and the knights joust for your pleasure at various times during the weekend. On the last night there is a spectacular fireworks finale.
  2. Camp site. It is hilly. You will probably need a trolley to transport all your stuff from the car park. If you don't own one you can hire them at the festival. Take the tent and minimal stuff on the first trip, find your spot (it gets crowded) and pitch the tent. Be polite to your neighbours, make friends, share a glass of wine, you never know when you may need their help! Tents can end up very close together, consider earplugs if you are a light sleeper, I also take an eye mask as my tent lets light in very early! The walkways between the tents are well lit with suspended lights and these stay on nearly all night, it makes a trip to the loo relatively easy but can keep you awake if you pitch near them.
  3. Hygiene and Toilets - everyone panics about festival loos and while they can be bad, they are usually OK - Camp Bestival has very well organised toilet facilities. There are portable chemical toilets in the main camping
    area (these are often emptied, but in the early morning, don't camp too close or you'll be woken by the trucks arriving) They are kept pretty clean. There are washing facilities near them (cold water only). There are also showers and posh flushing loos that you can pay to use. And in the festival site itself there are compost loos, daunting at first (they have a long drop under the seat!) but actually pretty nice to use. Bring your own loo roll, wet wipes and hand sanitiser - make a small pack of these items to carry with you. Personal chemical  toilets are not allowed in the camping areas as there is nowhere to empty them. Ladies may like to consider buying a Shewee. While there are showers they often have long queues and cost extra. For 4 days I tend to just shower before I leave home, use wetwipes at the festival and shower when I get home again. Take lots of wet wipes.
  4. Do buy the programme, spend some time planning the stuff you really can't miss, try and spot times
    that you will be free for meals etc. leave space between acts if you can (unless they are on the same stage) as you need to move around the site, use the toilets and get drinks too! If you are a family, ensure everyone gets to see at least one thing they really love each day. Consult the map to plan travel between the tents/stages. Some tents get filled early so consider that in your plans, if you arrive late you may not get in.
  5. Food. There is lots to buy but it's not cheap. Balance meals out with meals at the tent and take snacks. You can cook on small portable gas cookers outside. Take things that are quick to heat to save time and gas, tinned food is a good idea, baked beans, hotdogs, chilli etc (remember a tin opener!). No glass is allowed on site so no jars of pasta sauce, baby food, or bottles of wine etc. Bringing your own alcohol is allowed in the camping area only (there are bars in the festival site) and not in glass, think bags of wine, tins of G&T and cans of beer. Take snacks (especially for kids)  eg individual cartons of juice (there is drinking water available at lots of locations) packets of biscuits, apples, dried fruit, croissants, cakes (individually wrapped are great!) packets of crisps etc. Don't forget to visit the WI tent for a cheap and cheerful cup of tea and a piece of cake, or maybe a sandwich.
  6. Weather. Most years it has been sunny. So come prepared. Bring light clothing and suncream, sunhats and flowers for your hair too (yes even the men). But be prepared for rain, bring wellies and a waterproof jacket. As it's a festival wellies, especially funky coloured ones, have become ubiquitous, many people wear wellies everyday regardless of the weather. This year with The Wild Things project there may be opportunities for messy play and tree climbing so you may want to bring suitable clothing for that too!
  7. Lulworth Camp Weather forecast © weather-wherever.co.uk
  8. Money. There is loads to spend your money on at Camp Bestival, from bubble wands to vintage
    fashion. Flower hair garlands and fancy dress. Try and stock up with the sort of things that will be popular with children before you arrive, it will save you £££s. Things to buy before you go include; glowsticks, bubbles, furry tails, flower hair bands, fancy dress, balloons, diablos, hula hoops, frisbees (soft ones!) and sponge balls. If you run out of cash at Camp Bestival, there are cash machines, they will charge you a fee and there may be queues. Lots of the shops will take cards though. There are both camping supplies shops (for when you realise you forgot the tent pegs) and basic grocers (selling fresh milk, fruit, bread etc) onsite too - they are cornershop prices rather than supermarket prices, but handy if you forget things or run out of anything
  9. Fancy Dress. This years theme is Circus. So anything from clowns to popcorn sellers, bearded ladies to elegant horses, the fancy dress ideas are numerous. You could even dress as a big top! Most people make some effort to dress up a bit. It needn't be elaborate, a red nose, a funny hat, but you may regret it if you don't join in. Some families go to extreme and amazing lengths with their costumes!
  10. Rubbish. There are lots of bins onsite, in the festival itself and in the camp site. Take some binbags and keep your rubbish in it, keep your space tidy. On the last day check you leave your space clean and tidy. It will take you 5 minutes to clean your area up and chuck the bin bag in the rubbish area, Don't leave it for someone else to do. Paying rubbish clean up crews puts festival costs up, help keep prices lower (and animals safer) by leaving just a patch of yellowing grass behind.
  11. Be flexible. Sleep when you are tired, eat when you are hungry. Wee when you are ....needing a wee! Don't stress over healthy food, or washing, or bedtimes. It is (sadly) only 4 days, just go with the flow and have an awesome time. 

See you there - say hello, you can buy me a Pims!

Don't forget that while there is a medical tent if you need antihistamines, Calpol or any other medicines it's wise to buy before you travel and bring them with you. Illegal drugs are of course still illegal - even at a festival

Choosing a tent

Various tents at a festival
It's a minefield... figuratively obviously, no one with any sense pitches up on an actual minefield.

There are so many styles of tent, so many sizes, so many prices, materials..how to choose the right one for you? Because there are so many types of people too! Those that like natural materials and minimalist camping, those who like space and an Electric Hook Up (EHU) for their TV.

I cannot show you every tent, not can I tell you which is right for you but I can tell you (from bitter experience) some of the questions you should ask, and give you some of my answers.

How long will you use the tent for at a stretch? A festival tent for a single person or a (friendly) couple can be very small indeed. No need for standing room or a space to eat, you just need a waterproof, relatively private space to sleep in. Grab a cheap festival tent for under £20 and you are sorted. A longer holiday or a holiday away form a festival and you will need a bit more space to stretch. If you are spending much time in a tent and don't need to actually carry it with you (tents for hikers is a whole other ball game) you need to be able to stand and ideally have some space outside of the sleeping area. Very Important if it rains and you are stuck inside all day reading.

And light! My first tent (which was free so no complaints) had no windows. Great in the evening, or on a sunny day, but during the day if it rained and all the flaps had to be fastened it was miserable. So I'd suggest a window (or two).

How large is your family? How many separate bedrooms do you need? and remember a bedroom that sleeps 2 will only just fit 2 beds into it, so if siblings are sharing it could be a tight squeeze. There are tents with pods that can add on as your family grows, or maybe you'd like your teen to have his own smaller tent. Keep in  mind that some camp sites charge per person, some per tent and some by a 'pitch' which can vary in size. The Camping and Caravanning Club have recently brought in a new larger pitch size to accommodate the newer larger tents and they charge extra accordingly. Check your 'foot print' so that your 'cheap' hobby doesn't turn into an expensive one.

nylon dome tent sleeps three 3
'Nigel' my nylon dome tent, sleeps 3
What material should you choose? My first tent was nylon. They are light and waterproof. But they can be chilly as they are very thin, or very hot when the sun beats down on them! My canvas (100% cotton) tent is better for temperature control. Cotton needs to weather in to become waterproof, the strands absorb water and swell to close the gaps, don't touch the canvas on the inside or you will wick the water in! (maybe not the best if you have an inquisitive toddler). Canvas smells best.

What shape tent should you look for? Dome tents with flexible poles are fairly common as are tunnel tents. As the poles are bendy they will flex in the wind, I've seen poorly guy roped tents blowing almost flat in a storm! Though of course they spring back, could be weird in a nighttime gale though.

Cabanon pyramide IV pyramid 4 tent
'Wilfred' my canvas Cabanon Pyramide IV, sleeps 4
In contrast my pyramid style (Dutch style) tent stands up to a real hurricane with out moving, once when we camped a tree blew down near the tent, while we staying strong! There are no guy ropes at all on the pyramid style and I rather favour it's sleek good looks.

So, look for height, can you stand and sit in a chair in the tent?
Materials - canvas is very strong, good for hot or cold but heavy, nylon is light but doesn't 'breathe' so you can get condensation  in the cold, it won't last as long as canvas and can be hard to repair. Nylon is cheaper. There are polycotton mixes available.

Look at style, 
  • Tunnel - gives you lots of inside space. I have little knowledge of how they perform in 'the field' though.
  • Dome, easy to put up, lots of height in the centre, check where the living area is vs the sleeping area! No one needs to stand up in bed, Tie your guy ropes tightly.
  • Pyramid - heavier poles, often canvas, heavy and can be very expensive. Last well, are very easy to erect.
  • Tepee - I know nothing, they look nice, I suspect they would be like the pyramid, though standing room awkward as pole in centre.
  • Bell tent. Terribly lovely. Very expensive and heavy.
bari 3 tent hand painted
'Barry' my cotton Bari3 tent, sleeps 3
Look at space. Do you want a bedroom each? Space for 'living'? and extra room for storage or the kids to play in?
Windows, where and how many. Also how easy is feeding an EHU in if you need one.
Inner tent. Some tents are single skin, except for a few drunken nights at a festival, or for those camping in warmer climes I wouldn't recommend them. I prefer a sewn in ground sheet as it gives some protection from spiders.
Erection (finally you can snigger) some tents erect outside first with the inner hung inside afterwards (my preference as you can quickly pitch in the rain and then sort out the inner in the dry) other tents have an erectable inner and then the other skin is pulled on over the top. It's personal preference but something to consider.

I won't go into extras like carpets...that's for another post.
Are you armed with questions? Full of ideas, go buy a tent!! And feel free to ask extra questions or add your own advice below. Thanks

You Dirty, Dirty girl...

Keeping clean at a festival. Ah to wash or not to wash, that is the question...

Many people queue for the showers at a festival. The shower queue starts early and grows as the day goes on. Many people don't mind queueing it seems, especially if they have nothing to go and see during the day, many young festival goers are clubbers in the real world and therefore quite nocturnal! But if you are a parent is it worth the long (and often boring) wait with you kids? Is it essential to shower at all - or even wash, after all most festivals are only a few days. Shower before you leave and shower when you return should suffice surely?

Oxford Playhouse at Wilderness Festival - Bath Time
 Ah but the smell, the joyous aroma of unwashed bodies that have been sweating in a field and staggering through vomit, clinging to a grimy portable chemical toilet in the fading twilight...

Camp Bestival
 Yes maybe you have a point maybe you will need a wash at a festival. But queueing for 2 hours? I really don't want to waste that sort of time! I have in the past washed body and hair in a large bucket of cold water by the tent, and that's OK if you are a) not shy and b) not cold (ie it only really works at a summer festival) So I was happy to try another tactic...The waterless body wash!


I received a free bottle to review from FilthyFox (what a fine brand name!) and the product is cheerfully called Pits & Bits so I think the clue is that it's designed for your, ahem, smellier parts rather than a total head to foot wash. I also had the use of some 'expandable wipes' which look ominously like enormous tablets - don't be tempted to put them in your mouth! (and keep them away for children) as they swell on contact with liquid to epic proportions, much larger than a baby wipe for example.

So on with the review. The liquid was squirted onto the expandable wipe by DD and we waited expectantly, gradually the wipe became the size of a large marshmallow and then Dd carefully unwound it, commenting as she did that the wash smelled nice and fresh.

Washing with the newly moistened wipe created a fine lather and then we dried off. Initially I was concerned that we felt a bit sticky, despite the 'no residue' promise, but as we warmed up and our hands dried properly it actually made our skin feel quite soft as if we had been using hand cream.

Would I buy it? I'm not sure, it smells lovely and works well but is it better that a pack of wet wipes? Maybe I need to get really filthy and stinky at a festival for a true test! It did have a better scent than baby wipes. I think kids would be encouraged to wash with it too as it is fun to watch the expandable wipes grow larger!

The Filthy Fox website has wipes, and also some truly excellent festival survival stuff! They even have a festival kit, with tent,bed and sleeping bag for under £30 Brilliant!

http://www.filthyfox.co.uk/Festival-Camping-Backpack-Kit.html


They have a 99p section too for all those silly little essentials. But my favourite item for festival and non-festival camping alike has to be this
This handy pocket sized survival tool is the perfect size for popping in your pocket or bag, with a range of useful tools to get you through festivals! The festival survival tool features a compass, bottle opener, can opener, serrated knife and more. A handy little gadget to keep with you at festivals!

as my husband said "Perfect for the drunk camper that gets lost a lot" Who could ask for more!

If you are off to a festival do Check out Filthy Fox first

Some 'Filthy' Foxes at Wilderness

Disclaimer - I was sent a bottle of Pits&Bits no water body wash for review, but all thoughts etc in this post are my own.

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