We’re off to Camp Bestival this week! HURRAH! It’ll be the third time we’ve been to the amazingly brilliant family festival, which practically makes us experts, so in the spirit of passing on our knowledge, I thought I’d pull together a list of essentials to pack when you’re off to a family festival.
If you’re a regular camper, you’ll have a really good idea of what to pack for a camping holiday but for family festivals, there are a few extras that are worth taking along for a smooth (and fun) weekend.
Outdoor-use LED or solar powered fairy lights are brilliant at festivals – whether you use them to decorate your tent (handy when you’re trying to locate it in the dark) or you decorate a trolley with them (the ones lots of people use to cart their kids about in the evening) they’re really handy… and pretty. One top tip I got from someone else is to wrap fairy lights around a buggy if you’re taking a tot – this stops people from tripping over the buggy when it’s dark!
Phone charging bars
Yep, I know festivals should be about switching off from reality, forgetting about the outside world and losing yourself to the crazy fun you’re having…. so while it’s unlikely you’ll be updating Facebook every few hours or keeping track of breaking events on the BBC News app, having a fully charged phone is really handy. Even if it’s just because one of you goes off to buy more drinks at the bar and then you lose your way and can’t find the others, being able to phone and text each other is essential. We usually take four or five portable charging bars with us to use over the weekend.
Even if the weather is looking dry, PACK YOUR WELLIES. You know how our lovely British weather can change (or just be totally different to the forecast) and rain + lots of people in a field = MUD. Also remember to take thick socks too, to keep your tootsies comfortable. I’m taking these stripy wellies from Tu at Sainsbury’s.
If the weather is dry, you can sit on the grass no problem, but if it’s a bit soggy, it can be brilliant to have a picnic blanket (with a waterproof base) to whip out and sit on, when little legs get tired. It’s also really handy when you’re watching acts on the stage, as people ‘mark out’ little areas with picnic blankets. It’s quite a nice way of having enough space around you, and handy to sit on between acts.
We all know how easily sound travels when you’re camping, don’t we? And we all know how tricky it is to keep children quiet early in the morning, don’t we? So earplugs are brilliant for making sure you’re not woken up at 5am by someone else’s toddler shouting or singing a song from Moana at top volume. Also, take some ear defenders for little ones in case the music gets too loud – they’re also really handy if you’re staying out late to watch bands and your kiddos want to fall asleep on the picnic blanket next to you, or in your trolley.
For those late night loo visits, a torch is essential. You can get head torches which are pretty popular or just take a regular one, and remember where in the tent it is so it’s easy to find at 3am in the dark!
(Clockwise from top left) Picnic rug, anti-bac hand gel, baby wipes, wellies, sunglasses, First aid kit, girls’ t-shirts
Back to that unpredictable British weather – even in the height of summer, it can get pretty cold. So layers are your friend. Pack short sleeved tops, long sleeved tops, hoodies, leggings, jeans – basically lots of things that can be worn together when it’s chilly and then peeled off when it gets warm. The six-year-old feels the cold but never complains of being too hot, so I always pack loads of layers for her.
The ideal jackets are lightweight waterproof cagoules that fold up really small and fit into a bag – then you can sling them into your bag and fish them out if it rains. For really little ones, consider taking an all-in-one waterproof suit to keep them nice and dry.
Never go to a festival without them. Heck, don’t even go to the park without them. Yes, even though my child is nearly seven, we still have baby wipes in our house (thanks to being over enthusiastic with our bulk buying a few years ago) but they’re SO handy. At festivals, they’re ideal for wiping hands, faces and even bottoms.
Anti-bacterial hand gel
Staying with the hygiene for a moment – anti-bac hand gel is a saviour at festivals when you’re using portable loos and then eating food with your hands. I don’t think I need to spell out why… Most festivals these days have great hand washing areas near the loos but just in case…
Check whether you’re allowed to use a disposable BBQ at your festival campsite, but if you are, they’re a great way to cook your own dinner (or breakfast!) – chuck some sausages or bacon on, pop in a bread roll and you’re done!
First aid kit
Last year, at Camp Bestival, we had to visit the on-site hospital when the six-year-old injured herself (they were BRILLIANT with her) but for more every day ailments and minor injuries, it’s wise to have a first aid kit with plasters, antiseptic wipes, bandages, kids’ paracetamol, antihistamines, insect bite cream and Savlon. Plus, don’t forget the SPF!
Most festivals are awash with amazing food options – street food, mac n cheese, burgers, local produce…. but if your kids are anything like my six-year-old, you’ll want to have a good supply of snacks with you at all time (it also saves money too). Our snack bag usually contains raisins, apples, crisps, Bear Yo Yo, and a water bottle which we refill as we go along.
Glowsticks and bubbles
Nothing says family festival quite like blowing bubbles and waving glow sticks in the air, just as the sun is setting. It’s just magical. There are lots of places to buy these things, at a festival, but if you want to save some money, I suggest you take them with you!
Most of all though, I’d say take a sense of adventure and leave any desire for a daily routine at home! Family festivals are all about forgetting about the usual rules of family life, letting the kids stay up late and just having fun. For a brilliant comprehensive packing list, check out this one over on Space In Your Case.
This post has been commissioned by Tu at Sainsbury’s and as always, all views are my own. For details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.