Some seasoned festival-goers would describe festival camping as the most fun and amazing experience of their year, while others might describe a cold muddy mess they'd rather not repeat. The difference? Having the right festival tent, gear and friends.
The best tent for festivals isn't just any old tent. There are lots of details that make a big difference when you're preparing to ensure you'll be comfortable and your essentials are covered. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about choosing the right tent and gear for festival camping, and will also give you tips and ideas to make your festival campsite the envy of the entire campground!
The Best Tent for Festivals: How to Buy The Right Tent for Festival Camping
We really mean it when we say that the best festival tent isn't just any old tent. There are a lot of factors that make your festival camping needs important to consider carefully:
Protection from the Elements
Festivals can have harsh (often muddy or dusty) environments that your tent needs to protect you from. Even sites like parking lots are still exposed to the elements, and with many festivals occurring in summer, overheating in festival camping tents is a common occurrence that can be life-threatening.
When people think of festivals they think of the activities they'll be enjoying, but this doesn't mean your tent will only serve as a sleeping space. Your tent needs to be able to provide privacy and keep your belongings out of sight from strangers. There will likely be downtime you will want to spend in your tent to get out of the elements or more quiet activities, searching for falling starts with your friends at night in a stargazing tent.
Size and weight
You might not have to hike for miles, but don't underestimate the effort needed to transport and set up your tent. The last thing you want is a huge, heavy tent weighing you down if your campsite is a considerable walking distance away, or an unnecessarily large tent taking up your entire designated spot. At the same time, you don't want a tiny backpacking tent that can't be used for anything other than sleeping.
Most tents are either made of canvas or nylon material. Nylon is cheaper and lighter, while canvas is more expensive, less flimsy, more waterproof, and more breathable (important in hot weather especially). Knowing the weather conditions, especially factors like rain, dust, and temperature can help you choose which material is better for your festival trip. Additionally, the duration of your festival should influence your material of choice; nylon tents often do not hold up as well for longer periods of time, especially in windy & wet conditions.
If you're looking for high-quality waterproof canvas tents to keep you comfortable, browse our selection of canvas tents for festivals. We offer canvas bell tents in multiple sizes to suit a variety of needs and environments as well as canvas tent accessories.
Questions to Help Find The Best Camping Tents for Festivals
The qualities you'll need inyourbest festival tent can differ depending on factors like location, duration and much more. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to figure out what features your tent definitely needs to keep you comfortable throughout your trip:
What will the weather be like at the festival? Check the average temperatures, winds and weather patterns for the festival's location and time of year to get a good idea of the elements your tent needs to withstand easily.
How many people will be using the tent? Consider assuming your tent needs to accommodate an extra 1-2 people if you intend on inviting new friends to hang out at your campsite, and don't forget about the space you'll need for your belongings in addition to sleeping space.
How big is your campsite?As lovely as it is to have a huge tent to call home, you also want enough space at your campsite for things like a camp kitchen. Be sure you know how big your campsite is so you know your optimal tent size accordingly.
How far will you have to transport your tent to the campsite, and how much weight can you realistically carry for that distance? Don't forget to factor in difficulty in setting your tent up once you're there as well as the terrain and climate you'll be trekking through.
What is the atmosphere like at the festival you’re going to?All festivals can be fun, but campsite activities at iconic music festivals are very different than at local art festivals, for example. Try to imagine what your day will look like and what kind of activities your tent will need to have the functionality and space for.
Festival Tent Accessories to Consider
A fly cover is an additional piece of fabric that goes over the top of your tent. It's waterproof and provides extra protection against the sun. Fly covers are an important accessory for festival camping in hot or humid regions, especially in the spring and summer months.
A ground tarp is a waterproof piece of fabric that you put under your tent to protect it from the ground. It's important to keep in mind that even if the festival site is on pavement, there will likely be tiny rocks and debris that can damage your tent floor. A ground tarp will also help to keep your tent clean, dry and insulated.
Tent rugs are a must-have for any festival camper. Not only do they add a touch of home to your campsite, but they also help to keep your tent clean and mud-free. Tent rugs come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find one that fits your personal style.
Extra durable pegs
Extra durable pegs are a must for any festival campsite. The last thing you want is your tent blowing away in the middle of the night, or worse, collapsing on top of you! Make sure to invest in pegs that are made from high-quality materials and can withstand strong winds.
Duct tape is essential for any festival camper. If your tent needs any impromptu repairs or extra security for things like fly traps in high winds, it can be a lifesaver. You'll also likely find yourself using it around your campsite to secure a clothesline, for example.
Flags help you and your friends find your campsite easily while returning from festivities. You'll want a flag pole that is lightweight and easy to transport; many can be attached to your tent so you don't have to worry about them falling over in the wind.
Cleaning supplies are a must for any festival campsite. Bring along lots of garbage bags, paper towels, and wipes to keep your campsite tidy. It's also a good idea to bring along a broom and dustpan to help keep your tent and/or tent rugs clean.
Adding Comfort to Your Festival Camping
Portable power chargers
Imagine having one of the most memorable experiences of your music festival camping trip go unrecorded because your phone died. Portable power chargers keep all your necessary tech ready to go no matter where you are, and most can fit in your pocket.
You'll want to make sure you have some form of lighting, both for safety and ambiance. Lights are also a good way to make your campsite bring out a festive mood in the evenings and show your creative style. Be sure you know ahead of time what power source they'll need and how you'll secure them.
A good camping chair is a must. When choosing a camp chair, look for one that's lightweight and easy to transport, as well as comfortable and durable. Ideally, test your camp chair out before your festival so you know it's comfortable and has no problems when being set up and put away. Don't forget about sun protection in the form of a canopy or umbrella so you can enjoy your chair comfortably.
No festival campsite is complete without a good set of speakers. Look for ones that are durable, weatherproof, and have long battery life. It's also important to consider the size of your speakers in relation to how much gear you have to transport all-in-all.
If your campsite does not include a campfire pit, there are numerouscampfire alternatives for your festival campsite instead. If you decide on using any form of fire at your campsite, such as propane or ethanol fire kits, be sure to practice fire safety protocol to prevent damage or injury from interrupting your festival fun.
Create Your Camp Kitchen
One of the most frequently overlooked aspects of festival camping is the need to cook. If you're not up for eating out every meal, you'll need to plan and pack accordingly.
Invest in a portable stove
Bring along a portable stove if you plan on cooking anything more than simple sandwiches. Backpacking stoves are extremely lightweight and portable options if you're limited on space or your site is far away. And of course, don't forget the fuel!
Cookware and utensils
You'll need plenty of utensils beyond plates and forks, too. At the very least, you'll need a spoon and spatula in addition to a pan. If you're planning on cooking more elaborate meals, consider looking into camp cooking sets complete with multiple pots, pans and kitchenware that are easier to transport than standard kitchenware.
Kitchen Cleaning supplies
Bring your standard cleaning supplies for dirty dishes. You have limited water to clean with, scrubbing with baking soda or salt is an effective way to wash dishes with very little water.
Bring a cooler
If any of your ingredients require refrigeration, a cooler will allow you to keep them at safe temperatures. Dry ice is also a good idea if you're in a considerably warm place; getting both dry and regular ice can save you a lot of time and effort in replacing melted ice bags.
Consider A Festival Camp Shower & Toilet
If you haven't had to use festival porta potties before, consider yourself lucky. If avoiding them is a priority for you, there are plenty of portable camping toilet options for you to consider. Even if you don’t decide on investing in your own camping toilet, invest in your own toilet paper in case public toilets at the festival run out (they almost always do).
Setting up a shower at your campsite is surprisingly easy - practically any hanging camping shower can work with minimal space required so long as you have enough water for it. If you don't have any means to make your shower space private, a bathing suit can still allow you to enjoy staying clean without feeling overly exposed.
Make Your Music Festival Tent Easy to Find
Earlier we mentioned flags and flagpoles as great accessories for festival camping. This is because finding your campsite at a festival can be surprisingly difficult; it's a much bigger and more annoying problem than it sounds like, and is not something people realize is a concern until they've had the experience themselves already.
Make sure you can find your site by tying a flag or other easily visible decoration to it, and consider making it tall enough that it's visible from a distance. This will make finding your campsite at the end of a long day much easier, especially if you've had a few drinks.
It's also not a bad idea to have a backup plan for finding your site if your flag is lost or stolen; leaving a note with your campsite number and name at the festival's information booth is an easy way to make sure you can always find your way back. Before you set out to have fun, make note of signs or objects you can use as landmarks to help you find your way.
You've finally set up your perfect music festival tent. Now that you're settled in, it's time to start thinking about security. If you're leaving your tent unattended during the day, there are a few things you can do to keep your belongings safe.
First and foremost, don't leave valuables in your tent — this includes not just things like your phone and wallet, but also anything that could be considered valuable to other festival-goers, like medications. If you have items you can't take with you everywhere, a small lockable safe box can help ensure they don't become easy prey for thieves, which can be buried, secured to a heavy/grounded base, or simply tucked away and out of sight in your tent. Even consider a small TSA luggage lock to place on your tent door zippers to keep strangers out.
With these tips, you should be all set for an amazing festival camping experience! Whether you’re preparing for music festival camping or your next festival is all about your favorite hobby, remember to plan ahead, pack smart, and stay safe, and you'll be sure to have a great time. So what are you waiting for?
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Father of two aspiring glampers, husband to one inspirational wife, and Co-Founder of Life inTents. Continuiously striving to help make camping more comfortable.