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Our festival camping essentials check list

festival camping essentials

Earlier this month we attended Cornbury, our very first festival that required on site camping and it’s fair to say we felt pretty clueless as to what to take. However after reading numerous posts, speaking to fellow festival goers, and having experienced festival life first hand we now feel pretty confident that we know what to take and what not to take with us this weekend when we visit Nozstock festival for the first time. In case you are feeling like we were here is our festival camping essentials check list to make sure you have everything you need to make your experience the best it can be.


Festival camping essentials

Tent – if you hadn’t thought of this already then you need more than this check list!

Blow up bed AND manual pump  – it is important to remember that there is unlikely to be electric on your camp site so take the manual pump with you or risk blowing up your lungs before the singing has even started.

Sleeping bags – otherwise you will simply freeze.

Torch   – perfect for finding your way back to your tent in the dark or for midnight loo trips!

All the wipes –  hand, body, deodorizing and face, you never know just how far your pitch will be from the toilette and the showers so best to have some handy, especially with kids. We found some great ones in the festival isle at Home Bargains.

Hand santizer – trust me you will use it

Cash – Not all festivals have cash points on site and some stalls will be cash only so make sure you have at least some cash on you.

Carrier bag/bin bags – again you may be miles from the nearest bin.

Trolley – We borrowed a trolley and it was an absolute god send for getting the tent and bags from the car to the camp site as unlike normal camping you can’t drive your car to your pitch.

Wellies – if your festival is in England then wellies are an essential regardless of what the weather report says.

Sun cream and after sun – It is Britain after all, you are just as likely to need sun cream as you are wellies and most likely both on the same day. We love the cooling cream from Balmonds as it is 99% natural and smells lush, they have a full range of skin salvation products that would be ideal for festivals and camping.

Power Bank – Again the lack of electric can leave you with no where to charge your phone with may be nice to go techno free for a while unless, like me, you use it to capture pictures all the time. We have the Recharge GP M series from by GP batteries which is brilliant as it comes with an adapter that is suitable for all smart phones and it can charge two phones at once. 

Storm Tear Aid – You never know what is going to happen whilst camping so I always shove a bag of the storm tear aid in with our tent just in case as there is nothing worse then finding you have a leak in your tent in the middle of a stormy night.

See the source image

Food and drink 

There will be food and drink a plenty at the festival covering everything from breakfast to evening meals as well as snacks along the way, so for this reason you could take no food or drink with you and still survive, however you will need a fair bit of cash if you decide to do this. Another option if to take a grill, BBQ or other cooking equipment with you and cook at the tent, however this means packing and carrying even more stuff. For us we decided to factor in eating in the festival for our evening meals, as lets face it festival food is amazing, and then took a variety of non cook food items for breakfast and dinner that we could nip back to the tent for. Here are my suggestions

Breakfast options

Non soft fruit such as apples that will keep whether in a cool box or not.

Breakfast balls such as these ones by The Protein Ball Co. which are delicious, healthy and do not need to be refrigerated or cooked.

Breakfast Bars – cheap and easy and usually loved by kids and adults too.

Croissants, pan au chocolates, pancakes  – as long as you don’t mind eating them cold which my kids don’t.

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Dinner/Lunch options

Bread or baps, we found that making sandwiches back at the tent was a quick and easy solution to lunch time that was cheap to do, required no cooking utensils and kept everyone happy.

Jam, peanut butter, and cheese slices  we popped all of these in a cool box with ice packs but knew that once the ice had melted these items would still be fine to eat as we were only there for 3 days.

Dunkers  – always a winner with our kids

Pepperoni  – again simple, quick and easy and doesn’t need cooking.






individual pots of jelly

and other easy to eat snacks that your family love.


Top tip – we froze our drinks before we left and put them in a cool box with ice blocks, this helped them to stay cooler longer and also helped keep the food items in the cool box colder too. The children loved having ice cold drinks on the first day, especially as it was a hot one and some were still half frozen like slushies.

Get more vits – we chose the Get More Vits orange and mango drinks as I knew the children’s diet wouldn’t be as healthy as it is at home and these drinks contain lots of vitamins and taste delicious so the kids didn’t bat an eye lid at them – winner.


Shaken udder milkshakes – again we froze these milkshakes so the kids could have some ice cold drinks. I also wanted to make sure they got their dairy and calcium fix over the weekend and they saw them as treats so everyone was happy. We tried the strawberry and chocolate ones and both were delicious and I will definitely be buying them again.

festival camping essentials

Water – we took a large bottle of water as we had heard water was expensive in the festival and it something I knew we would need. This worked really well and saved us a fair bit of money and reduced our plastic use as we just refilled our own bottles.


Optional extras

CO alarm – The FireAngel CO-9X Carbon Monoxide alarm is a handy little gadget that you keep in your tent and it alerts you if you have a carbon monoxide leak, which is brilliant if you are taking cooking utensils or a BBQ.


Face paints

Fancy dress

Light up toys – All of the above will be on sale at most festivals so if you want to save yourself a few quid then you could take some or all of these with you. 


cornbury festival

If you have any other festival camping essentials that you think we have missed of them be sure to let us know in the comments.


If you like the idea of a family festival but want to start with day time only festivals then check out our reviews of the BBC summer festival in Liverpool and Cheshire Fest near Manchester.

(Some of these items were sent for review and inclusion but all opinions are my own.)

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