15 family festival camping essentials

Are you heading to a festival with the family and wondering what to pack?

Maybe you’re looking for some tips for your first family festival or wondering what to expect?

Relaxing on the Gloworm Festival campsite
Relaxing on the Gloworm Festival campsite

If you’re looking for a full camping checklist, you can visit our post here, however keep reading to find out our top must-have items for camping with the family at a festival (in no particular order)… excluding the tent of course!

1. Trailer / trolley

The trailer has taken us on many adventures, but none so much as festivals. I was cursing the hard handle and rickety wheels as I dragged our camping equipment up steep, grassy fields back to the festival car park, but at the same time also being thankful not to be carrying each bit of equipment in my two hands – that would have been about 20 trips up and down that hill, not three!

Festival campsites can be quite far from the carpark
Festival campsites can be quite far from the carpark

Festival campsites, car parks and festival sites can be quite spread out, so coupled with tired legs from the kids, and carrying all your day stuff with you, the trailer is an absolute must-have for festivals.

“We’ll be getting one of them next time,” came the call from many first-timers, pointing out how useful the trailer is. Yes, Lily could walk a bit further than she said at times, but I do know she would have been much more exhausted by the end of the weekend without one – not to mention the little den we made for her to stay dry in the sudden downpours.

A trailer also makes a great place to eat your chips in a downpour!
A trailer also makes a great place to eat your chips in a downpour!

Younger kids used them as a place to nap, whereas parents with kids of all ages used them each day for children, blankets, packed lunches, chair storage and anything else they needed for the day.

Just please be mindful of other festival-goers in the dark – trailers/trolleys can be dangerous as people can’t often see them, even if decorated with fairy lights, so it is only really fair to get your kids back to the tent by darkness if they need to sleep by then, or leave the trailer at the tent!

Top tip: if you search “festival trailers or trolleys” you may end up paying more – head off peak to gardening sites to bag yourself a bargain, or in mid-winter camping sales.

Festival trailers are definitely an essential - bunting optional!
Festival trailers are definitely an essential – bunting optional!

2. Kids Onesies

Onesies are an amazing addition to any camping trip, even more so at festivals when you’ve trips to portaloos or are looking to keep kids cosy on the festival site into the evening.

Campsite games in her KidsOnesie
Campsite games in her KidsOnesie

We love our KidsOnesies unicorn onesie – it is soft, cosy, easy to fall asleep in, and great for dancing in! Temperatures can drop quickly when then sun goes down, so they’re great for keeping the party going, or lazing around the campsite in the morning.

We also find them affordable, in great designs, and wonderful customer service too.

Visit their website here

Keeping cosy in her trailer and onesie for our evening walk to collect drinking water!
Keeping cosy in her trailer and onesie for our evening walk to collect drinking water!

3. Bundle Beds

You can check out our full review of Bundle Beds here, but what a massive difference they’ve made to our festival camping experiences.

They’re a full bed in a roll, so you simply roll them out and sleep! They’ve been easy to transport to/from campsites in the roll, particularly when a freak extreme storm meant we had to abandon our tent, and so much easier than battling with air beds, pumps, sleeping bag, sheets, etc etc!

Chilling out on her Bundle Bed - did you know they have a super cosy 15 tog duvet too?!
Chilling out on her Bundle Bed – did you know they have a super cosy 15 tog duvet too?!

They roll up nicely to fit into the trailer too – but they also made setting up and packing up SO much easier, particularly being solo with a little one who just wanted to get out and dance 🙂

Read our full review here or visit their website here

4. Nom Nom Kids pouches

We have used the Nom Nom Kids food pouches on many trips, from storing cereal and tea bags to meal prep and making our packed lunches.

You can read more here about our camping hacks with kids, but we’ve only just realised how great they are for breakfast too – simply fill at home with your portion of cereal, seal up, then fill up with milk at breakfast as a bowl.

Breakfast from her Nom Nom Kids pouch - the milk stayed fresh in her Kelty cooler too
Breakfast from her Nom Nom Kids pouch – the milk stayed fresh in her Kelty cooler too

They’re then easy to rinse out and store flat to take home again for next time – no waste and no mess!

I’m always up for making trips as easy as possible, particularly when you’re carrying your weekend kit with you across a festival site (even more so when I’m on my own with Lily), so the simplicity of the Nom Nom Kids pouches for storage makes them a great addition to our festival camping list.

Find out more here

5. Hand sanitiser

Remember, at festivals you don’t often have actual running water, except to fill bottles, so washing your hands after portaloos (or basically when touching anything!) involves hand sanitiser.

I don’t know if it is just being extra-cautious with Covid rules, or just the normal ‘don’t touch ANYTHING’ I say on repeat to Lily, but we went through 2.5 bottles of hand sanitiser at Camp Bestival, then another 2 at both Gloworm Festival and Elderflower Fields!

The moral of the story is, bring plenty of sanitiser!!

6. Cooler box

The cooler box is one of the best purchases I’ve made for camping and I’m in love with this Kelty Folding Cooler.

Kelty Built Cooler Box
Kelty Built Cooler Box

It is big enough to store all your essentials for the weekend as a kind of camping cupboard, while keeping drinks and pre-prepped food cool. It means nothing melts or goes bad, even if your tent warms up and has handles in all the right places for easy transport.

We also love this one as it collapses flat when empty, but has super strong walls as well as drinks holders on the top, meaning it is a great side-table when in or out the tent and an amazing bedside table at night too!

The Kelty Cooler makes a great bedside table too!
The Kelty Cooler makes a great bedside table too!

You can find a similar model here from Absolute Snow.

Tip: fill with soft drinks to avoid paying expensive prices at festivals!

7. Camping toilet

You can buy all kinds of camping toilets, but we bought a simple bucket with a toilet seat-style lid from Amazon because it was cheap and easy to transport.

It makes such a difference on a festival campsite, with toilets usually quite far away – plus avoids dashes in the night to dark portaloos with kids!

We use eco-friendly biodegradable bags inside to keep it as clean as possible too.

8. Loo roll

There is rarely toilet roll in festival toilets, so ALWAYS bring your own!

9. Wellies

Even when it isn’t raining, festival sites can get muddy, especially around water taps, or spots where people generally gather. They’re also easy to slip on/off when going in/out of the tent, rather than shoes. Then when it rains, you’ll be living in them!

It's always handy to take blankets to the festival - day and night!
It’s always handy to take blankets to the festival – day and night!

10. Blankets

You can never have enough blankets at a festival, from cosy nights in the campsite, chilly early mornings in the tent or when the temperature drops at night, right through to needing something to sit on at the festival itself.

They’re great to just bundle into the trailer for days at the festival, whether the kids want something soft to cosy up in the trailer, something to sit on for a picnic, or even a yoga mat for the festival yoga – just prepare for them to get grassy and possibly muddy!

Breakfast pizza is best enjoyed when you've something to sit on!
Breakfast pizza is best enjoyed when you’ve something to sit on!

Our favourites are the Kelty Bestie blankets (one gifted from Little Trekkers, so we bought more as we love them!) and our two fantastic Passenger Clothing Turkish towels.

11. Travel mugs

Not only are they more eco-friendly than single use cups, but travel mugs are way easier at a festival for enjoying your hot drinks.

When at your tent, your morning coffee or evening hot chocolate stays warmer for longer (they definitely cool down quicker when camping!), and when you’re on the festival site, the cups also help your drinks be spill-proof, so you don’t lose a drop of your drink after queuing for 45mins for it 🙂

We love our adult and kid-sized Keep Cups!
We love our adult and kid-sized Keep Cups!

12. Toast’d Kits

(Toast’d Kit gifted) You aren’t usually allowed your own campfires at festivals, but it clearly can’t be a festival campsite without…. toasting marshmallows!

This is where Toast’d Kits come in – they come in eco-friendly packaging with an awesome little marshmallow toasting burner as well as delicious marshmallows, chocolate dip and sprinkles too. Everything you need, including the sticks, are in the box, so you simply light up the burner and toast away – plus you can cover the burner to use for another night too.

Toasting marshmalllows thanks to Toastd Kits (gifted)
Toasting marshmalllows thanks to Toastd Kits (gifted)

There is also a free-from gluten free/vegan kit, and a brand-new Smores kit, but they’re all 100% plastic-free and no campfire is needed!

Find out more here

13. Ear defenders

We love Lily’s ear defenders for festivals. Lily is quite sensitive to loud noises anyway, but I don’t want to damage her ears just because she wants to rave by the main stage.

She finds them super comfy and they roll up into a little bag into our backpack for storage.

We bought Lily’s about two years ago from Amazon and are from a brand called Zohan – you can check out similar models here.

Ear defenders are fantastic for kids at festivals
Ear defenders are fantastic for kids at festivals

14. Reusable wipes

We love reusable wipes for camping and they are a staple in our backpacks for festivals too – from wiping ice cream and cleaning off sand through to mopping up spillages and clearing up face paint, they have SO many uses!

15. Contact number band & walkie talkies

Some festivals give these out now for kids, but either way it is great to be prepared – you can order wristbands online (we found some for £1 on ebay) to put your phone number on, so if the kids get lost then someone can give you a call. For safety, don’t put their name on them too, particularly if it is visible.

For safety, particularly with slightly older kids, you could also get them to attach a walkie talkie to them (also useful if phone signal is bad), and also arrange a prominent meeting spot if they get lost.

While you’re at it, make sure you’ve packed a portable charger, as phone signal can drain batteries quickly too.

Keeping a contact wristband on means someone can call you if the kids get lost
Keeping a contact wristband on means someone can call you if the kids get lost

Related articles

Check out our full family camping checklist here

Check out our top family-friendly music festivals here

Check out our review of Gloworm Festival here

Check out our family camping hacks here

Check out our review of Camp Bestival here

Festivals are fantastic fun for all the family
Festivals are fantastic fun for all the family

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