This year will be our second year at Camp Bestival, and we are incredibly lucky that we have been invited as Official Crew for the festival. Thanks to last years introduction to the festival, it’s now become the highlight of our year and we plan on attending every year from now on.
Although we’ve been camping before, we were complete novices to family camping and only had a rough idea on what we absolutely needed to bring (although we quickly learnt that Camp Bestival has an amazing stock of essentials in their main shop). Thanks to the UK being so unpredictable we had to pack for every eventuality, just in case, however as the week went on we realised what was essential and what wasn’t!
If you’re thinking of attending Camp Bestival this year and aren’t sure what to pack, here’s a quick list that we’d like to share to help you along the way so you don’t over pack, because trust me, you don’t want to be lugging up unnecessary stuff up and down that hill from the car park!
Unless you’re glamping, it’s likely you will need a tent. These days you can pick up a tent pretty cheap and it’ll do the job, but if you don’t want to run the risk of leakage or the tent being blown away I would recommend investing the money into one the same way you would a car.
When you do finally decide on a tent (or teepee!), make sure you’ve practised putting it up and taking it down at least once. It’s not always easy, and not all tents are the same. I would also recommend getting some extra accessories like tent pegs and guy ropes (in case it’s a bit windy).
Tip: Take an extra mallet so more than one person can help pitch.
Like your tent, invest in a decent blow up mattress. We took self-inflating mattresses last year and I’ll be honest, they weren’t that comfy and we vowed to take a traditional blow up bed next time. T had his lovely camping bed – I was so envious.
As well as your mattress, you will need sleeping bags for extra warmth. I saw some people bring duvets, but I preferred the thought of being able to roll things up tight for when we needed to lug it all back up the hill. A decent torch and/or lantern is also a must. We brought a wind up lantern which saved us a heap on AA batteries!
Tip: Don’t forget extra batteries for the pump and any other electronic equipment like radios!
Cooking & Dining Equipment (and Accessories)
After the tent, one of our first purchases was a gas stove; as making sure we had a hot cup of coffee in the morning was a priority. We have a little one that has a small aerosol gas can attached which you can replace. It’s only a one hob job but it does the trick for the three of us. If we were cooking bigger meals or had a larger party we’d probably buy two.
Alongside this, we also made sure we had a washing up bowl to put everything in once we’d finished eating (this also acted as a nice storage area for the cups and plates once clean), a foldable water kidney/jerry can, a camping kettle, and a set of pots and pans to cook with.
We also had a four-seater table to eat at, however once we placed everything on the table, we found that we didn’t have enough room to actually sit at the table and eat, so more often than not we sat on our camping chairs to eat and the table became a storage area.
Tip: Sporks are a great way to save space from having to carry lots of cutlery. Supermarkets are also perfect for cheap utensils.
As much as we would have liked to have had every meal out and about, we wanted to save our pennies for the extra activities on site and some treats, so we decided to settle on having lunches at the festival and some dinners when there was an act we wanted to see that was scheduled over dinner time.
Because we were basically on a little holiday, our usual eating habits kinda went out the window purely because we couldn’t store it. Things like fruit and vegetables were limited (bananas were only good for 2 days max) and milk came in little cartons for T and sachets for our coffees.
Breakfasts mainly consisted of beans with a bread roll, boiled eggs and frankfurter sausages, or porridge, but we also packed super noodles and soups for back up lunches/dinners. We also had a variety of snacking options for T, from malt loaves, oat/breakfast bars, crisps, BabyBels, and cartons of juice.
Glass isn’t allowed at the festival, so we took a few cans of drink with us for the evening when getting ready, as well as juice for T.
Tip: If you freeze cartons of juice or bottles of water before hand they act as great ice packs for your journey to the festival.
One of my biggest worries when attending Camp Bestival was the hygiene situation and what showering would be like, but after experiencing my first ever shower there last year I was pleasantly surprised. I found that less is more when cleaning; you really don’t want to be lugging half of Boots down with you in the morning, so I avoided things like hair product and aimed to get a lot of combined products that meant I only needed the one bottle. Baby wipes were also a must for toilet visits (we took biodegradable ones) as well as a good stash of alcohol gel and spare loo roll!
This year, Professor Scrubbington have kindly sent us some goodies for T meaning that we still have some luxuries from home, whilst also saving on some space. As with all their products, the soap comes out in a foam meaning you don’t need much – resulting in the bottles also being super light! The hair and body wash is one our favourite items, but we’re looking forward to trying the face and hand wash in a neat little pump action bottle.
Tip: Microfibre towels are great for absorbing liquid, meaning 2-3 people could potentially share the one towel (as long as your cubicles are nearby!). They’re also fab for spillages.
Although T is an amazing walker, there were times where he would become naturally tired of walking or standing. We preempted this and purchased a fold up wagon. As much as we would have liked a traditional, bright red, metal wagon, there was no way it was going to fit in the car. A fold up one also meant that it stored nicely in the tent.
Having the wagon also meant he could sit and enjoy his meals or watch Mr Tumble and Mr Maker in comfort. When mummy and mama weren’t finished listening to All Saints, he simply took himself off for a sleep under a blanket or rain coat.
I’m really tempted to decorate our wagon this year as having a plain wagon last year made us stand out like sore thumbs! We saw some fantastic wagons in 2017 – I can’t wait to see what effort people have gone to for theme this year.
Tip: A cheap way to add extra comfort to your wagon is lining it with a thin duvet or settee throw. We found T’s unopened cot bumper and found this lined the sides perfectly!
Whilst switching off is one of the lovely things about camping, for me I want to record these memories – especially as Camp Bestival will no doubt differ each year. So naturally, we’re going to be taking some tech with us. As well as our phones, we’ll be taking our GoPro and Sharon’s camera.
The lovely folks at Joby – makers of the GorillaPod – and LowePro – home to a variety of camera bags and backpacks – have recently sent me a Festival Kit to help me carry and protect our gadgets and accessories, keeping everything separate from our main bag. I can’t wait to test this out!
Tip: Make sure you purchase a charging pack before you attend. There are a number of companies to choose from, with some that actually attend Camp Bestival and have a stall available; meaning that when you run out of juice to charge your devices you simply replace it with a new one at their stand.
I probably don’t need to tell you what clothes to pack or to remind you to take all forms of wet weather gear, but learning from last year we now know that we probably didn’t need as many clothes as what we took. I for one lived in the same two pairs of shorts (you really don’t need jeans getting wet and muddy!) over the weekend with some wellies. The only thing I really changed was my top (sometimes) and underwear (obviously).
T was a different matter as he often dropped food down him or got wet and muddy – so we’ll probably take the same amount as we did for him – but we certainly didn’t need any extra shoes. He lived in wellies every day (with a hoody for the evenings) and his puddle suit when it was really wet!
Other fun stuff you might want to bring with you are glow sticks, UV paints, glow wands, and bubble wands (of course you can buy all of these at Camp Bestival if you need to save space).
Tip: An extra guy rope or two will act as a brilliant drying rack for tops and wet socks. Plus, make the most of the heat within the tent during the day to dry things from the previous day.
Looking at our packing list, I can’t wait to actually get packing and make our way to Dorset. I have no doubts that our list will change again next year or we’ll upgrade a few of our accessories, but for us, camping really is a home from home.
As Official Camp Bestival Crew we receive our tickets in exchange for promotion and coverage during the festival.
Call Ticketline on: 0844 888 4410
PRICES (ALL TICKETS INCLUDE CAMPING* FROM THURSDAY)
Adult Weekend Ticket – £197.50
Student Weekend Ticket – £185.00
Age 13 to 17 Weekend Ticket – £125
Age 10 to 12 Weekend Ticket – £98.75
Age 5 to 9 Weekend Ticket – £45
Age 4 & Under Weekend Ticket – £15
Babes in Arms (1 & Under) – FREE (but do require a ticket).
Car Parking – £20 in advance
Camp Bestival Ticket Terms & Conditions
Festival Programme Pack – £10 (reserve your festival programme pack to collect on site at the festival).