Showing posts with label tuesdaytip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tuesdaytip. Show all posts

Festival Camping Tips

It's been quiet here lately as it's winter and only the bravest of us are still out camping (well, the brave and those with heating in their tent or caravan) So I thought I'd ask a few people to share some of their camping tales and advice. First off is Karen from over at Excuse This Honesty blog. And she has some excellent festival top tips, I'm not ashamed to say that the last one taught me something, it's genius and I'll be trying it out in future when I camp in summer!

Karen's Festival Camping Tips

Having attended several festivals over the past 10 years, I can safely say none of them have been the same when it comes to camping. Some years have given us conditions which have been wonderful to set up camp in – others … well, not so good.

The first thing I learned is to take an extra bag of tent pegs. No matter what I do, there's always going to be a tent peg that miraculously gets eaten by the ground – especially if it's muddy. I'd recommend picking up a pack beforehand and having them packed away in your rucksack – it will be much cheaper than buying them at the festival. (and I'll add to Karen's advice by suggesting using biodegradable pegs if the festival land will be used later for grazing animals)

Secondly, long guy ropes are something that I use rarely, especially as space is quite often an issue in a festival environment. When it's dark outside and people are trying to make their way through a sea of tents, guy ropes are just going to become a trip hazard. If you're wanting to put them up, shorten them as much as you can while still being able to put them in the ground, and pin them as close to your tent as possible – having someone stumble over one and fall on top of your tent when you are trying to sleep isn't fun! (This is a reason I use my dome tent at crowded festival sites, as the canvas ones I own rely on their guy lines to keep them up!)

We always take a tent which is bigger than what we need. Why? At a festival, there can be some waiting around between bands that you want to see, and sometimes all you want to do is sit at your tent for a few hours and take some time out. In 2012, we attended Download festival and the thunderstorms were incredible. Two of our friends took a giant tent which could fit all 10 of us in at once, making it a great way to stay sociable and have some games on the go while the storm passed!

Lastly, take a foil sheet and some pegs with you to attach to the side of your tent. I've never done this before when camping, but at Glastonbury this year, we saw many people doing it – including those we were camping with. By attaching the foil sheet (which you should be able to get at any camping store as they're used as a safety blanket, too) with pegs to the outside of the tent that will be affected by the sun when it comes up; you'll reflect some of the sun away, making the temperature inside much more bearable in a morning. Believe me, waking up a hot mess at a festival feels 10 times worse than being at home! (This is the best top tip I've heard in ages, I'm definitely going to be doing this!)

Follow Karen on various social media : 


Big thanks to Karen for sharing, I'm looking forward to more camping tips and tales over the coming weeks. If you have a story to share - email me Tentsniffer

Tuesday Tip - Phone Charging at a festival

Ah Tuesday. Time for a Tuesday tip.

This week I'm off to a festival and so are many others so I thought I'd refresh your memories about electronics in fields. We all love to get away from it all, when 'all' doesn't mean our mobile phones! I'm as addicted to the online world as the next person and so when I camp I have several options to keep my smartphone charged up (and my tent lit so I can read after dark)

An alternative to using apps and smartphones but still having the ability to stay in touch is of course to take a cheapy phone with a new preloaded SIM (no panic then if you lose it or drop it into the toilet)

For example the Samsung E1200 is available on Pay As You Go (PAYG) for just £5 (when you top up £10 credit) on Virgin. The 800 hours of standby battery life will probably last longer than you do and losing it won’t ruin your whole weekend. It’s the ideal festival phone!
Available from:
But assuming you really do need that power hungry smartphone... First off check your car, many cars have a charger (what was in the olden days the cigarette lighter) some will work to charge a phone via the appropriate cable when the car is switched off - some will not - so check yours. My Fiat for example loses all electric connection when the ignition is off, while my husband's Ford has 2 charging points (one in the boot) that work when the ignition is off.

But maybe 5 days of draining your car battery (and the trek to and from the car park) is not for you. In which case you could try taking a precharged battery power pack, the one I use will charge my phone about 4 times. There are various types and prices, in general the more you pay the more power you'll be storing. Check the output too as some smartphones (and tablets) need quite high amp ouutput. My power pack has two output options via two usb ports, 5V/1A and 5V/2.1A . These power packs need to be fully charged via a plug socket before you leave home.

A third option is a solar back up battery - these too can be charged prior to going away and then refreshed and topped up via the sun. The only problem with them is that to be able to get power on a dull day you need a fairly large solar array. The smaller versions are great but only really work on a sunny day, last year I tested a tiny one and it was hopeless, while my Sun Bell (light and charger) worked well, the Sun Bell has a larger solar panel and can be left to charge even under glass (eg in a car or a conservatory) , it provides a great light and also has a charger point.

Don't for get that some festivals (Camp Bestival included) also offer a charging option, this can cost money though, and you will need to be prepared to leave your phone with 'strangers'.

This year at Camp Bestival I'll be using a few of these options I expect! I normally take the solar lamp away fully charged and the battery back up, if the battery back up charge fails, I move on to the solar. Are you going to be mobile free at festivals this year? Or are you attached to your phone?

Oh and one last thing. The mobile phone signal at Camp Bestival (and many other festivals) can be quite terrible, so power or not, keeping in touch with home or your online friends can prove tricky!

Tuesday Tip - getting a warm night's sleep

This week’s Tuesday tip is about sleep again! No one is on good form unless they sleep well. So today I’ll give you a few tips on staying warm.
Staying cool is easy, you open up as much of the tent as you can and lay on top of, not in, your sleeping bag, wearing as little as possible. Staying warm is trickier. So here are my top tips.
Even in summer it can be cold at night so don’t assume you won’t need these tips just because you are camping in August

  • Use a quality sleeping bag, not the cheapest one you can get at the supermarket. Down is (apparently) wonderful if you can afford it. If not do unroll the bag early and give it a good shake to give it time to puff up. (air your bag during the day too to keep it dry and fresh) 
  • At home you are toastily sandwiched between an insulating mattress and a duvet. When camping it’s easy to forget that camping beds/inflatables/roll mats etc have little in the way of insulation. On a chilly night try adding something (blanket, silver sided roll mat) under you as well as over you. 
  • Don’t be afraid to take extra blankets or throws. There are many microfiber options that are both light to carry and good for insulation. They are also handy around the campfire of an evening for keeping your knees warm. 
  • Wear a hat. Even though lots of bags offer a hood option I find wearing a hat really helps on a cold night. I also like a warm neck so I sometimes wear a snood! But take care – I don’t want you to strangle yourself, a roll neck jumper would also work. 
  • Onesies are excellent for warmth, you can wear thermals under them if necessary and they prevent cool kidneys because they can’t ride up like a pyjama top would. 
  • Socks. Warm feet are an essential to a good night’s sleep – I reviewed some great socks a while ago. Pack some cosy bedsocks. 
  • Have a hot drink before bed so at least you start off with heat to spare! Getting warm once you’ve become cold is harder than staying warm from the outset. 
  • You could make a hotwater bottle (I tried that once, had a leak and have never done it again!) or use a heat pack (you can buy one off heat packs at chemists and online) 
  • But under no circumstances take smouldering BBQs into the tent to ‘use up the last of the heat’ they give off carbon monoxide which is a heavy gas that your lungs choose over oxygen, you will die in your sleep! They are not safe even in the living or porch area. 
  • If you use a tent heater (I don’t) ensure you read all the safety info and only use it as suggested. 
  • Keep everything dry – it seems common sense but being dry will keep you warm. If you are worried that the tent might leak on your sleeping bag while you are out all day, pack things into black bin liners as a precaution. 

DD having a hot snack before bed in the tent in October
Sleep well!

Tuesday Tip - eye masks and ear plugs

Sometimes sleeping in a tent can't be tricky, both at festivals, where it can be extremely noisy at night, or in a campsite with crying babies (not yours!) or lowing cows, assorted wildlife screeching or rowdy tent neighbours.

Nighttime needs to be peaceful and if it's not then a set of soft earplugs are your friend!
Do not use earplugs if you have children that may need you in the night, obviously, you need to hear them, but you don't need to hear the man in the next tent snoring like a dying hippo (this actually happened at Glastonbury and I've never been so grateful for earplugs).
So assuming you can safely be deaf overnight earplugs are excellent. I favour the soft ones that are disposable, you squeeze them and insert them and they expand into the ear canal, deadening all sound, they are great.

The second thing that can cause lack of sleep is at the other end of the day. Canvas (and nylon) can be pretty poor at keeping light out on a bright sunny morning, so in the summer when dawn is so early light can be a real waking problem.
I now take a sleep mask away and wear that at night (by now I can tell you are impressed at my sleeping gear) and it really helps with a lie in.
So that's this weeks Tuesday tip, ear plugs and eye masks to help extend your sleeping hours and ensure a restful camping trip.

Tuesday Tips – First in a series

It’s Tuesday and time for tip of the week.

This week – toast! 
Toast is a great comfort food, simple but effective with tea, coffee, hot chocolate, wine or beer .
Toast goes with anything and is (in my opinion) best with butter.
When camping bread is an easy food to keep to hand, both simple to store, and filling for adult and child alike. The butter can be more tricky, particularly if you are without electricity, but it will keep cool in a cool box assuming you have regular ice block changes or bung a bag of ice (£1 a bag at supermarkets) in it each day.

Toast is nice as a base for baked beans or eggs too. And can be eaten with marmite, or jam or marmalade or honey (all of which keep well without refrigeration). Thick slices are best when camping as they are less likely to break during storage and cooking.

As you know I tend to use a one ring gas cooker when camping and I’ve tried a couple of toaster types to go with it. Of course the best toast is cooked over a real fire, precariously hung on a long stick (or vintage toasting fork if you are posh) but for a gas ring the best is also the simplest. (in my opinion)

At around about £5 from most camping shops the single slice toaster is a little star!

It toasts super fast so that the toast is still fluffy in the middle but crisp and hot on the outside. Even cooking multiple slices is fast and easy. (Warning: the toaster is metal and gets extremely hot – not suitable for use by children or the inebriated – I often burn my finger when making toast)

I have tried a 4 slice model but found it slower than a sleeping tortoise and the bread just became dry rather than actually toasted! I threw the toaster away.

So today’s tip is, take a toaster camping, or if a real fire is allowed, cook toast over it. Also works well with bagels.

*Gluten free bread is also available at many supermarkets.

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