It’s July, so all thoughts in our household have turned to Camp Bestival. Wellies are being unearthed, circus costumes coming together and ‘essential’ bits and pieces keep jumping into my basket at Tiger Stores. Anyway, for anyone else heading off to a festival with kids this summer I thought I’d put together aÂ survival guide.
We’re lucky enough to own a share in a campervan, which I have to admit makes life a whole lot easier, but we also take our fabulous Pukka Tents bell tent which we use in place of an awning, giving us two living/sleeping spaces. The advantage of taking a van is that you literally drive into your pitch at festivals, so you can take as much stuff as you can fit. I usually do and end up not using half of it, so this year I’m going to try and pack lighter. If you’re in a tent pack as light as you can, so you’re not traipsing to and from the car for the entire first day. If you have room take a cart or trolley (still love our retro Radio Flyer wagon) or hire one -Â see ifÂ Mr Trolley is at your festival – to avoid aches and pains.
We don’t like to scrimp on comfort in the bell tent so we takeÂ inflatable mattresses for ourselves and Alfie (Aerobeds rock) and Kitty will be cosying up inÂ a Little Life Snuggle Pod. Although there are always myriad food options at festivals it’s a good idea to take some with you. We usually take cereal for breakfasts, eat lunch while we’re out and about and return to camp for tea, before wrapping up to go out again for the evening. We tend to stick to basics: salad, fruit, bread, cheese, eggs,Â pasta, pesto, jacket potatoes, gnocchi, noodles, beans are all good campingÂ foods. A good tip is to freeze a couple of large milk cartons and pop them in your cooler with the food (we have a Coleman Xtreme Cooler which keeps things cool for up to five days and has wheels and a handle for easy transportation) – they’ll help to keep the contents cold as they defrost and your milk won’t go off. Take plenty of snacks and drinks out and about with you at the festival to avoid having to queue when hanger strikes unexpectedly. We bought Camelbak water bottles last year on the recommendation of friends and they are brilliant – really seem to encourage reluctant water drinkers. Loving this year’s under sea design.
We have an assortment of battery and solar-powered lanterns for the tent (thanks, Tiger and Ikea), a bunch (what’s the collective noun? An illumination?) of torches and strings of LED fairy lights adorn the cart. As we’re planning on doing a lot of camping this year,Â we’re also packing Coleman’s LED Quad lantern, which has four removable panels that can be taken off individually and recharge when returned to the base. Solar lights that stick into the ground are widely available, can just be left out and areÂ useful for spotting your tent in the dark. A flag on an unfeasibly tall pole does the job in the daytime. It can obviously get chilly at night, so fleece onesies are pretty handy. Kitty will be sporting a red Kozi Kidz Nalle fleece suit and I’ve yet toÂ getÂ one for Alf, but they are all over the high street, or you can create your own design at The All-in-One Company.
Rain is only really miserable when you’re not prepared for it. Take wellies as a matter of course – even if it’s not raining they’re handy to slip on for after-dark toilet trips. Alfie is super-excited about his glow-in-the-dark Hunters – I’m pretty sure they’re going to be worn come rain or shine! Kitty is not such a welly fan (although she loves snow boots) so I’ve bought her a pair of Poco Nido’s fab short owl wellies, although it was a close call between those and CeLaVi’s elephant wellibobs. I’m gutted she is too big for this cloud-print PuddlePac all-in-one, but a lightweight packable mac is definitely a good idea – JoJo Maman Bebe has a large selection of colours and prints, plus packaway dungarees and trousers.
But let’s look on the bright side, it could be sunny. So, you’ll also need to pack suncream, hats, sunglasses et al. I’ve just discovered SunSense Toddler Milk, one of the few sunscreens that doesn’t irritate Kitty’s sensitive skin, which comes in a handy roll-on version that little ones can apply themselves (to a degree). Rash vests or UV suits are a good idea as there’s often little or no shade. I am loving this Mini Rodini hooded suit, which also comes in yellow, blackÂ and blue. Our shades of choice are Paxley, but I’m loving the Babiators Claire featured as festival sunglasses, because they are guaranteed against lost or breakage for a whole year! Having never really liked caps, they’re having a moment in our house (mainly because Alfie doesn’t refuse to wear them), so we’ll be taking our Breadnut snapback, although I’m coveting this Whistle & Flute trucker cap. We’re also big fans of Toby Tiger’s cotton sunhats.
If you don’t want to waste valuable festival time queuing (unless you’re sneaky and go at odd times), you won’t want to shower every day. We usually bung our Flexibath in so the kids can have a decent foot and face wash and wet wipes are an essential. My current favourites are Jackson Reece’s Kinder By Nature. Pack flip flops and, if you have room, a small roll-up bathmat for the showers as they get rather grubby. We’ve previously taken a potty to avoid night-time toilet treks, but now Alfie is older I think we’re going to invest in a Luggable Loo. I always pack hand sanitiser and loo roll, just in case the ones in the toilets run out.
Ear defenders are another must-have.Â We have bothÂ PeltorÂ andÂ Baby BanzÂ and they are both excellent. You are usually given wristbands to write your number on and put on children, but this year (because Kitty loves nothing more than running off) I’m buying a couple of Little Life ID bracelets, just to be on the safe side. Finally, you can never have too much glitter, fancy dress or bubbles at a festival – we’re taking Dr Zigs after Claire’s glowing review.