Showing posts with label toilet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toilet. Show all posts

Toilet Trouble at Festivals

The world of pain that is the festival loo. Whenever I mention festivals to non festival goers I get the same response 'oh but the toilets!'

It seems that the thought of exposing your buttocks to the elements in a tiny plastic portable toilet is many people's biggest festival worry!


Will the toilet be clean? Will it be safe? Will it be leaning, or have gaps around the door? Will the door lock? Will there be a queue? Will there be toilet paper? How will I wash my hands? Will it smell? Will it be .. *retch* ... 'full'?

So calm down, take a deep breath...actually no, maybe not that...

  • Festivals toilets are usually cleaned at least daily, sometimes more often, they are emptied and washed down very thoroughly. The toilet paper is renewed too. Of course it does sometimes run out, but fear not, you just need a bit of tissue in your pocket.
  • The toilets are supplied by companies that specialise, so they will be set on suitable ground, they shouldn't lean or wobble.
  • The doors usually have very simple, large plastic locks, they lock easily and you can see clearly from outside if the door is locked, with a red/green engaged and vacant sign.
  • Remember to flush before and after use to ensure everything is removed from the pan.
  • There may be queues at busy times, such as early morning and just before bedtime or after the last main stage act, but as the toilets tend to be in banks of a dozen or more the queues usually move quickly, and, at least in Britain, people don't tend to queue jump.
  • Most festival toilets don't have a sink or water to wash in, they have supply of hand gel, the sort used in hospitals. This is great for the occasional wee and poop but ideally you would want to wash your hands properly before eating, so look out for water points around the site, or carry wet wipes and use those, followed by the gel. I tend to pack my own hand gel too.
  • The toilets do not smell of potpourri. They do smell of chemicals and ...well on a warm day of human poop. It's a fact that everyone's poop smells. You won't die. If you feel really squeamish, use a scented wet wipe and hold it over your nose. Mostly your trip will be quick, compost loos smell less than the chemical ones and there is plenty of ventilation.
  • If there is a problem with them being emptied or it's been really busy then they can be full. Just try for another one or...read on!

For those really worried, there are some more 'personal' toilet options. Remember that there are no chemical toilet emptying points at festivals so you need to be able to dispose of your own ...waste ... properly. The options start with Travel Johns, a bag and urinal affair, for men and women where you can have a quick pee and (as in modern nappies) the pee is absorbed into a gel for disposal.

You can use a nappy in a potty if you have smaller children, using the same principle, they can pee (or even poop) onto the nappy which can be wrapped and bagged and binned.

Or opt for a portable personal toilet of the bucket or seat variety. A bucket can be emptied into a portable toilet although this is fraught with risk, don't spill it! Don't get any on the seat and where do you plan to wash it? not at the water points used for washing plates or tooth brushing, and you must not pollute the festival site. The better option is to use the seat style with bag and gel, or use the bag and gel in the bucket, that way you can simply double bag and bin it with the other waste.

So far we've been lucky, though we take the Travel Johns in case of emergency, we have never yet needed to use them. Good luck in your toilet travels!



Photo Copyright: terex / 123RF Stock Photo

This post is not sponsored but contains affiliate links.

Festival etiquette - a rant

dandelion clock gif

I have been to a few festivals this summer (as always) and I have been muttering under my breath on occasion as people seem to forget their manners totally when in a field. Yes I think you should be able to let your hair down and relax. Yes I think children should be allowed to be children. yes having a few drinks is fun, but there are limits!

So here are my top festival etiquette tips/rants about bad behaviour:

  • Rubbish. There are bins, if there are no bins near your tent use a rubbish bag. There is no excuse. I don't care if you are 17 and it's your first festival, I don't care if you are on the litter team and will clean it all later anyway, I don't care if your kid did it, I don't care if you forgot bin bags! (ask someone, loads of campers bring a roll or two) There is no excuse! You are on someone's land. There may be animals there next week. Litter clean up is expensive. At the least you are adding to the ticket price and at worst the land owner may decide never to allow the festival again. Tidy up - yes I'm judging you, you leave a mess you are a slob and don't deserve to be allowed to go to festivals
  • Gazebos. Some festivals have a no gazebo policy, some don't but however you look at it, with all the cramped tents and lack of space it's pretty selfish to bring a gazebo. Ditto loads of windbreaks to create a fence between you and the neighbours. It's not a campsite it's a festival. You should be spending most of the time at the festival and the little time you are back at your tent you will be asleep. I'm sorry if it rains and you get wet. People get wet at festivals. Gazebos are rude.
  • Water taps. There are often queues for water. The correct etiquette at the tap is to get your water, in kettle, bottle, jug, cup etc and move along! Children that are too young to carry the bottle they have been asked to fill should not be sent alone to the tap. DO NOT stand and brush your teeth at the tap (especially with the tap running!) DO NOT stand and wash your hair at the tap. I would think these things would be obvious but it seems not. No one waiting to fill a bottle of water wants to wait while you soak the ground by the tap and wash your hair, or watch you scrub and spit minty foam for 5 minutes. Fill your cup/bowl etc and move on.
  • Toilets. Festivals toilets may be 'nasty' it is not your job to make them nastier! Ladies, do not hover and spray the seat with wee - or if you do - clean it up! (and buy a shewee for next time). Men, check your aim. Flush before and after you use the toilet - flushing before ensures the toilet is slippery so that any ... solids ... slip away when you  flush afterwards. Flush! and clean the seat. Do not leave the toilet full of rubbish and old cans either. If there is no paper/hand gel, politely tell anyone queuing after you - in case it changes their choice of toilet.
  • Queuing. We are British, we queue. Do not queue jump, for food, water or toilets..or beer! Be polite, point out if someone is being overlooked at the bar. A festival should be friendly not a battle ground.
  • Children. Children love festivals, camping and the outdoors but not everyone loves your child like you do (I know, it's a shocker) If your child is bothering someone who is eating, sleeping, drinking, talking etc remove your child from the person's space and apologise. Often the person will tell you it's fine and to leave them, but always show you are aware. Even at a kids festival like Camp Bestival sometimes adults (and some children) need a moments peace.
Do you have festival rants? Do you hate parents that yell louder than the kids when they tell them off for noise? Do you hate judgemental people like me that dislike your gazebo? What are your festival moans? Do share on my facebook page or have a wild moan on twitter

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

The surprising joy of peeing and pooping at a festival

I already talked toilets at festivals here

But I'm revisiting with a few top tips.

Ladies, take a shewee (or similar - there are a few on the market) and you can (with a little practice) pee like a boy ie standing up! This doesn't sound exciting now, but when those loos start to get ... full, it will be more useful. Some portable toilets have a urinal in them and more and more festivals provide a 'female urinal' for those of us short on penises. It's lovely not to have to sit on a messy seat or hover over a heap of yesterday's curry.

row of brightly painted compost toilets at a festival


The top tip for Shewees (and their ilk though I only have a Shewee - with extension tube! size matters) is that you should practice before you need to use it - you'll need bladder control so you can pee slowly into the funnel to avoid overflows, and also carry a wad of tissue to hold where shewee meets flesh, just in case, you don't want a trickle down your leg because your 'seal' wasn't quite right. Practice in the shower.

But men, ladies and small children alike will not be able to get away with only peeing. So at some point there shall be a number two. Try and use a compost loo if you can as they seem to be not only more eco friendly, but more pleasant than the enclosed chemical plastic space of a traditional portable toilet

Late at night, in your tent, why not use a potty? Yes even the grown ups! Line the potty with a plastic bag, lay a cheap nappy in the bottom to absorb any wee and then do the deed, tie the bag and bin the lot. I purchased a ShitBox a few years ago which is a cardboard box with a hole, to use bags and cat litter in a similar manner! But I don't think they are still in business. There are similar ideas on the market though, such as these

Don't take any form of chemical toilet to a festival. There are no emptying points.

Take tissues/toilet paper, wet wipes and hand gel.

Happy pooping!

Not a sponsored post - seriously - no one is paying me to talk poo and pee!

Camping, fabulous (semi-wild) camping

So, DD and I met up with my brother and his children and we all went camping at Dernwood Farm. It's sort of wild. There are flushing loos, running (cold) water and it's pretty busy but it's just a field, no marked pitches and you can have real fires (which was one of the main reasons we picked this site and was a great addition to camping)
crochet bunting decorating a canvas tent
There is a long walk from the car park but that's a big plus as there are no cars on the actual site to worry about. No danger for the kids and no car noise. (and safety for the many toads on the site)
toad in the grass
We visited Hailsham Leisure Centre on the one day it rained and the girls had great fun on the flume and in the pool. We also did a quick bit of charity shop shopping. On  the Sunday we went to Hastings and the girls played on the extremely windy beach.
windy beach in summer with children in wellies
shingle beach in summer
carrying wellies up a shingle beach
hair blowing in the wind
On the Monday wewent to Heathfield for the french market (in full moustache mode), made candles, bought bread and generally had a fab time.
three children in fake moustaches
candles at a french market
making candles at a french market
garlic at a french market
Eiffel towers for sale at a french market
And every night was fire and marshmallow night.
toasting marsh mallows over an open fire
toasting marsh mallows over an open fire
eating a toasted marsh mallow on a stick
toasting marsh mallows over an open fire
open fire
Now we can't wait for our next adventure!

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...