8 tips first-time festival campers need to know

Don't head off without reading these tips first.

Man pitching tent
(Image credit: Getty)

Festival season is almost upon us, which means great music, making memories and positive vibes only. If it’s your first time attending a festival, then let me tell you, you’re in for a real treat and to make sure your experience goes smoothly we’ve found some top tips that will ensure you’re prepared and have the best time ever. Trust us, there's nothing worse than being unprepared when camping, let alone at a festival.

Camping at a festival, of course, is pretty similar to regular camping. However, there are some slight differences to be aware of, like being even more picky about where you pitch and arriving even earlier to the site. Make sure you follow these eight tips and you'll be on your festival experience will be one that's unforgettable (in a good way).

1. Choose a larger tent

When picking your festival tent, think about how many of you are staying in it. If it’s just you, opt for a two-man tent, if there are two of you this will be way too cramped, and you’ll just end up getting on each other's nerves (even more so if you’ve had a couple of drinks). Always choose a tent that’s one person bigger than the number of people using it.

2. Practice pitching your tent before you go 

This a rule for any type of camping. Trust us, there’s nothing worse than finding your pitch spot, opening your tent and thinking, ‘what the…’ and if you’re with someone, it’s highly likely to lead to an argument. Practice beforehand to make sure you can assemble your tent with no stress on the day. 

3. Pack a camping mat 

No one has time to blow up air beds at festivals; that’s far too fancy and a faff, so a camping mat is key. Plenty of them are lightweight and small enough to pop in your backpack. Sleeping on the ground will just lead to a cold and uncomfortable sleep, so we definitely recommend getting one, along with a cosy sleeping bag.

4. Think wisely about where to pitch 

Arguably, the biggest predicament when you arrive. There’s no doubt you’ll want to be close-ish to the toilets, but equally not too close otherwise, you’ll have to put up with unpleasant smells. If you’re near a footpath it’ll likely be noisy, so it’s good to be aware before you pitch up your tent and realise it’s too late. And, also, arrive early, so all the best spots don’t get taken.

5. Take the right shoes  

It’s best to have (at most) two pairs of shoes when festivaling, but ideally, sticking with one pair and wearing them all weekend is best. Weather can be unpredictable, too, so bear in mind if it rains, the last thing you’re going to want on your feet is a pair of sliders. A pair of hiking boots will ensure your feet stay dry and comfy, whereas lots of people also opt for traditional wellies

6. Take some food with you 

Now, we’re not advising you to pack your breakfast, lunch and dinner, but festival food is expensive, so packing some non-perishable food is a good idea, even if it’s just snacks. If, however, you are attending a more ‘relaxed’ festival, then you could always take a camping stove.

7. Don't leave valuables in the tent

Keep them with you at all times. A bum bag, cross-body bag or a money belt is ideal for keeping your money and ID close.

8. Take a repair kit

It's handy to take spare tent pegs, guy ropes and duck tape, just in case anything goes wrong. There'll be nothing worse than opening your tent bag and realising you're missing pegs so you can't pitch up properly, or if someone accidentally falls into your tent and it rips. Be prepared so you can make quick repairs.

Most off all, don't forget to have fun! Festivals are somewhere to let loose and create some of the best memories. If you're planning to do any extra camping throughout the year, then make sure you checkout our ultimate camping guide.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.