tentfilter: tell me a good festival tent?
March 19, 2008 6:04 PM   Subscribe

What price-range/type of tent should I get for festivals? (uk weather)

This year, I am planning to go to various festivals/conventions with camping, with fellow students. I searched, but all results were about proper camping.

What kind of tent/gear should I be getting for festival camping in the uk? and most importantly, how cheap a 2-man tent can I get away with comfortably?
posted by Iananan to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Best answer: My advice on the tent having been to Reading and Glasto a few times (and camped lots elsewhere):
Expect it to piss down with rain (it should be waterproof).
Expect it to be very muddy (it should have some kind of porch where you can leave your muddy shoes/wet clothes).
Expect people to trip over and loosen your guyropes (it should sturdy enough to stay up well without guyropes - a generic dome tent is good for this).
Expect people to break into your tent by knifing through the door rather than using the zip* (don't spend too much on it).

Don't know what your budget is, but something like this would be cool as it has a big porch. You probably don't need to spend that much though, Millets and Blacks do cheap "festival tents".

For other gear, probably don't need a very expensive sleeping bag, but if your budget stretches to a therma-rest style self-inflating sleeping mat you will get a lot better night's sleep. They are SO much more comfortable than the old school foam mats. This one is good value; I got a cheap second hand one off eBay.

Oh, and take a cheap rubber mallet in case the weather does the unexpected and the ground is baked dry.

*Not sure why they do this but it happened to me. It's not like you can even lock a tent!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:33 PM on March 19, 2008

For something like this I would go with the second cheapest tent I could find, like the $60 ones from the supermarket. The only ones to really avoid are the ones with the woven polyethylene floors, but you might be able to get away with using one of those too.
posted by 517 at 6:54 PM on March 19, 2008

Response by poster: ooh, thanks a lot

the tent you suggested seems to be the same design/materials as this millets one, only this one is on sale... worth it?

I will look into inflatable sleepmats on ebay but 50 quid is probably out of my range for that
posted by Iananan at 7:02 PM on March 19, 2008

Festivals Are camping. Proper camping, where you look after your own needs regarding food and shelter.

I can't recommend a specific tent, because I'm still using a 2person tent I bought in the 70's, but I'm very experienced in back woods camping/canoeing and festivals.....

Make sure it has some of these features....
A waterproof floor [built in groundsheet] that rises 6" above ground level like a wall.
It weighs next to nothing — I've motorcycled across Canada with mine and taken it on many a canoe trip. I prefer a many purpose tent...although mine is a 3 seasonal tent [boo—winter with this is out], ask how many season is it. Spring Festival in the UK¿ I'd say 3 season, easily...cold and wet. Example. I like ones with vestibules — an area in front of the main sleeping space, covered, great for storage and wet boots.
My tent's ceiling is pure cotton [I don't think they come like this anymore], but gortex $$$ would be an equivalent today [something breathable/wickable] — so your snoring doesn't condense on the ceiling and drip down, soaking you... like a cheap plastic one would.
A waterproof 'fly' cover, that rests above the cotton/gortex ceiling, allowing air to circulate in between and hangs far over the door and entire tent [right to the ground], where you can sleep with the inside zipper door open without it pouring rain inside.
Two door flap [entrance] with separate screen door on zippers. I'm in mosquitoe and black fly country...
Bonus is a window[screened] opposite the door for nice air circulation when it's hot and steaming.

Don't forget the sleeping bag.

under Bedding
Get a Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad. Not the ones for your pool [ok, depending on your budget]. They fold really flat, yet expand by themselves when you open the stop cock. You can firm it up by blowing. Thin and insulating. You want cheap and cheerful¿

The Stove...the pots, the pans...
If I'm doing hiking or canoeing camping... a lightweight propane stove. Holds 1 pot, called a MSR Superfly LPG Stove. The propane canisters are what the pot holder screws into [canisters are small and lightweight]. Boils water in a snap — Hot and fast.
For festivals too, can't beat those freeze dried meals. Open the packet into hot water and you've a meal. Gourmet if you like. Bring your own Mac 'n Cheese [and tuna] — don't forget the can opener or you'll dull your knife. [been there].

The Water
I have a compressible 5 Gal. plastic water container. You need a supply of water...

The Lighting
Don't forget a head mounted LED light. You'll thank yourself. You'll have your hands free to hold your smoke and a bottle of vodka. You don't want to stumble over a cliff heading back to your tent in the pitch dark. really.

A knife... you just need one.
A big plastic tarp and enough cord. Makes a great gazebo stringing ends to trees.

Now, you may just need a crash pad after a day of festivaling, so you may not notice any weather or condensation soaking you...

Depending on your budget, a hammock and a tarp could suffice with a warm sleeping bag....

You didn't give me enough information.... so I covered a few bases.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:46 PM on March 19, 2008

Store your shit in the boot of your car. Forgot to mention....
posted by alicesshoe at 7:49 PM on March 19, 2008

I survived a wet Glasto, and a Reading, using the cheapest available tent. Cost me about a tenner, iirc. It'll likely get trashed anyway.

But for gods' sakes.... take a couple of torches.
posted by pompomtom at 8:07 PM on March 19, 2008

I have taken this tent to the last two Glastonburys and had no problems. Easy to put up and that price I just left it there at the end (there's a charity that takes all abandoned tents to use for emergency shelters). Don't spend a lot of money on stuff to take to Glastonbury - it's only going to get trashed. Also remember that a 2 man tent only really sleeps one person and their stuff so look at the three man etc.
posted by oh pollo! at 2:42 AM on March 20, 2008

Best answer: I'm a 5 time Reading veteran and was at Glastonbury before last.

Some things to think about:

1. Your tent is going to get fucking trashed; partly by you but mainly by other people falling over it / onto it / pissing on it / stealing from it.
2. You're going to spend almost no time in you tent at all. What little time you do spend in it, you'll be asleep.
3. Anything properly waterproof will cost real money. Good enough is good enough.
4. Argos sells mostly waterproof tents for under a tenner. This is not real camping.
5. You need a head-torch. No ifs, no buts.
6. An air mattress makes a huge difference. Inflate using a foot pump or a friend who plays the tuba.
7. Don't bother taking a camping stove and eating gear. You almost certainly won't use them and if you do, washing up afterwards is a huge pain. Lot of food there (some even cheap); eat that.
8. After lunchtime on the first day and certainly by the evening the toilets will be disgusting. The ones in the family camping field will be much better; use those.
9. Don't take drugs to the festival. Police sniffer dogs at the entrance to V, Glastonbury and others. You're a student, don't risk your future career. (Drugs conviction? Say bye bye to law, banking, accounting, management consulting, architecture, the police and armed services and almost all of the interesting careers. Yes there are exceptions made for youthful indiscretion but what a shit way to start out.)
10. It's going to be muddy. Take wellies - you'll probably wear them all weekend.
11. Take as much water as you can carry and drink as much of it as you can bear all weekend. The temptation is to get on the beers at midday and continue on all day into the night. You'll get dehydrated, tired and won't be able to carry on partying. You'll feel like shit the following day and won't be up for it so beer, with water chasers.
12. Magic mushrooms seldom are.
13. Take toilet roll, the loos won't have any
14. Light sleeper? Not planning on getting trashed every night? Earplugs.
posted by dmt at 4:51 AM on March 20, 2008

7. Don't bother taking a camping stove and eating gear. You almost certainly won't use them and if you do, washing up afterwards is a huge pain. Lot of food there (some even cheap); eat that.

My experience with food is that a) as above, camping stove & cooking gear won't get used/will be a pain to clean, and b) food on sale at the festival will be really expensive (like, don't count on finding 1 portion of food for less than £5). What my friends and I did was take food that would keep for a few days, involved minimal clean-up, and was easy to snack on throughout the day. In addition to that we'd usually have one bought meal a day.

the tent you suggested seems to be the same design/materials as this millets one, only this one is on sale... worth it?

Yeah that one looks pretty good and should last you a few festivals.

And definitely take plenty of loo roll.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 11:48 AM on March 20, 2008

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