Saturday, 28 June 2014

Camping and Festivals With Kids: What You Need, What You Don't And How to Enjoy it!

As you may know, our mad family have been asked to be Camp Bestival Bloggers this year. It means I'm starting to think about what we need for the time we're away, what we've brought before and then didn't need, and what to do so everyone has a grand old time. So, maybe its your first time camping or going to a festival, with or without kids, and you're not sure what you need? Read on and find out my top tips:

CLOTHES- What to bring, what to ditch
As Elder has already started to remind me the minute I started looking at eBay for my Festival Wardrobe, less is more, especially where a festival is concerned.

I have made the error before of bringing a massive suitcase full of stuff, which for the main part just gets left to crumple.

For us Mums, I recommend a good pair of boots or wellies, plus some flat flip flops or ballet flats which are comfy and don't take much room. The boots are handy if it rains, and also, on the loo run in the night so you don't step on a bit of rubbish in the dark, or the grass is wet.
I also swear by a maxi dress, a t-shirt or vest, shorts (if you're brave), OR one pair of jeans,and undies of course. Its definitely comfort that is all important.

For Dads, its a pair of trainers Elder swears by (just don't make the mistake he did several years back of wearing canvas ones. Leather is best for all weathers). A pair of jeans, a pair of shorts and a couple of t-shirts, with a hoodie optional of course.

For kids, bring a onesie- they are great for watching night time concerts as they can be worn with wellies, and then when they get tired you just tuck them in to bed without the fuss of getting changed. For Mini and Littlest, I bring a mix of shorts, jeans and tops, as well as something warm to put over the top.

Its advisable to bring a light waterproof jacket too, it can be chilly in the morning, and if in the UK you can never rely on the weather being sunny.

Forget having too much stuff, pieces that can be mixed and matched over the weekend are great, don't bother with fancy clothes that you'd rather not ruin with mud. And remember, most campsites now have washing facilities for as little as £2 a wash, so you can always give things a launder.

Before setting off with a tent you haven't used since you trekked round Europe in your gap year in 1995, put it up and check for leaks, holes and broken zips. There's nothing worse than turning up, setting up and realising your tent is ready for a bin, not a family of expectant campers.
Also, make sure you have all the pegs, poles and tags you need- or you could end up having to buy a tent at short notice for much more.
If you find any bits missing, you can always replace them cheaply on eBay.

Bring some colouring books for rainy days
If you are a new camper, don't buy a tent on anything other than how easy it is to put up. If you have never had to grapple with cross poles, and zips, and Velcro, get a recommendation from previous buyers on line for ease of use. Also, don't let price concern you- sometimes, the cheaper tents have less fiddly bits and are serviceable. Our tent has about four poles, but it also has a sleeping area and a living room too, and is big enough to fit us all in comfortably.

Do not do what we did the first time we went to Camp Bestival. We had no car then, so used a shopping trolley (minus the basket) for the tent and everything else went on the back of Littlest's buggy. Thus, we had nothing to cook on.

Food at festivals is not cheap. You are stuck there for several days and they know it. So, bring something to cook on, even if its a number of disposable barbecues. You can easily buy a purse friendly little gas stove from eBay. We even have collapsible pots and pans, and we take a rucksack that doubles as a picnic set.
We bring selection boxes for the kids breakfast,  3 in 1 coffee tubes, lots of tins of hot dogs, meatballs, corned beef, and beans, as well as pasta and bacon too.

A torch is a must for night time tent finding missions, make sure you try the batteries before you leave.

You can bring an air bed, we only bring a double one which is big enough for the Brats, but remember to bring a pump if you do. Otherwise, sleeping bags are essential and you can bring a foam bed roll, which doesn't take up much room but saves your back!

If you really can't be parted from some form of 21st century civilisation, or you are bringing a camera, its worth checking whether the festival you are off to has any charging stations. Some more modern campsites now have free wifi, but it can be sporadic depending on how many other people are trying to log on.

We find an in car charger a must have for phones, these are generally available in Poundshops now and you can get one with several adaptors to suit different phones. Most festivals wont have electric hook up (whereas campsites do but will charge extra for your pitch), and you can't park the car besides the tent, but in the case of Camp Bestival, the main music doesn't kick off until midday. That means you may have time to fill beforehand if your kids still wake up at 7am like mine.
A quick hour back at your car wont hurt- take it in turns to do the honours of charging.

For cameras, take a few extra SD cards as they soon get filled. Just look after them when you remove them, perhaps put them in the glove box?

DON'T LEAVE TECH OR OTHER ITEMS ON SHOW. Yes, you're at a campsite, its all friendly but sadly thieves can and will pinch anything if they have the chance. Just as you would when visiting your local shopping centre or parking outside your house, leave it on show, expect it to go. 

Overall, have a good time, make sure you bring plenty of spending money, try and see as many attractions as possible and join in with some of the crowd based circus acts and art.

If there is a theme (Camp Bestival's theme is Circus), then you don't have to join in, but believe me its fun! In 2010, we dressed as fairies and had a right laugh. Getting your costume sorted early will save your pounds, but, should you catch the costume bug late, there are plenty of stalls offering a plethora of items for all budgets.

THE ACTS: How to Catch Them Live
Do not make the mistake we made at our first Camp Bestival. We wanted to see Madness, the headline act. We had brought plenty of drinks for the kids. We had a buggy cover so Littlest could snooze. We were right at the front for the acts before. And then we decided to go and get something to eat and stretch our legs. 

Massive festival fail.

Headline acts are headline acts for a reason, and the crowds will appear out of nowhere. We ended up trying to get back into the crowd, and got so far before giving up. It meant I had a lovely walk back to the tent, whilst Elder- keen to see his boyhood heroes, dove back into the throng. Make sure to get there early, get a space, and stick to it. If one of you or the kids need the loo, don't all go together. Remember landmarks so you can plot your way back too. 

Are you off camping or to a festival for the first time? Or are you seasoned camper? Spotted anything missing above? Then comment below!

1 comment:

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