Sleeping in hotels is for the weak. All the elements hate you and try to fuck with you, but YOU know you are a beautiful creature who deserves being woken up by neighbors blasting Frenchore at 3am. Your glorious existence will stand victorious over weather and land, and you will come home being praised as a true “weekend warrior”. But you also know: battle needs preparation.
Welcome to the ultimate AAN elite camping survival guide.
Tent, sweet tent
First off: make sure your tent actually has a thick and solid heavy-duty ground – if not (sorry) buy a new tent. Some cheap tents have their floors made of the same light material as the rest of the tent. This won’t work out in the SLIGHTEST rain. Also make sure all your shit (including you and whoever else is dwelling in your synthetic fiber home) actually fits in the tent. Then it’s time to waterproof your tent. Please do this outside or in a VERY well ventilated room. Get a waterproofing spray (can be found in shoe- and outdoor equipment stores) and make sure it’s suitable for synthetic fibers. Coat the tent twice, be extra careful at the seams and sides, let each coat dry for at least an hour. When pitching your tent at the festival grounds, make sure it’s stable and (hopefully) on a elevated or even ground. Bringing elastic cords and a good backpack ensures that you can carry all your stuff in one trip!
Ok, you have a sleeping bag, what now? The comfiest way to sleep on camping is an air bed. The air bed keeps you away from the cold (and probably also muddy) ground and next to that your back won’t ache like fuck the next morning. To make sure the air bed won’t get stung (and broken) by whatever is underneath your tent, its a good idea to place it on a lightweight foam mat. Don’t like it ‘luxe’? Foam itself can be a good option in dry weather conditions! If you want to keep extra insulated, you can buy “Space Blankets” (aka. First Aid Blankets) at the pharmacy or drug store and wrap yourself up in that too. If you’re a light sleeper, heavy-duty earplugs and a sleeping mask are recommended – festival campings tend to be a bit louder than your camping adventure with mom and dad.
Food & Drinks
If you don’t wanna spend token after token on the festival catering, you might wanna think about your festival diet a bit. Anything that can go uncooled is a ‘yes’ and can travel with you! Canned ravioli, soups, ratatouille – there’s so much to chose from! And (thankfully) lots of it is tasty cold too!
A classic meal day could look something like this:
Bringing your own food saves some cash and hey, you can maybe even get a favorite of yours! Don’t forget some plastic forks/spoons and to check if the cans can be opened without a can opener! Concerning Drinks festivals often have different allowances of alcoholic beverages per person! If allowed you can bring dry ice to keep them cool! Always check the website of your festival for more info!
Should be a no-brainer. Bring whatever you want, but make sure you know the weather. Don’t underestimate the cold nor the heat. Make sure you have enough socks and undies. And bring an extra outfit in case you get dirty (may it be mud or the inside of your best friends stomach). And please, don’t bring the “nice shoes” (i.e. the cool limited edition Nikes you just bought) or even sandals, bring the “I might be walking in 20cm of mud” shoes (aka. the high-top Nikes that already survived two festival seasons), better safe than sorry.
The filthy part, but yes. There are showers on most campings, and yes – you can use them. Daily. So bring shower gel or soap. For the “#fuckhygiene” squad there’s “shower in a can” aka deodorant. For the ladies: there are (often, not always) spaces with electricity and mirrors close to the sanitary and shower facilities, so bringing a hair dryer or straightening iron isn’t for nothing – but also isn’t really recommended. Bring clear, non-carbonated water with you in case you wanna do the “I’ll sit in my tent, brush my teeth here and just spit outside of the tent” (#yolo) thing. In case you really need to shave (may you be male or female): One disposable razor should be fine. Hygiene hand gel should be just as part of your bathroom bag like a travel meds collection (Ibuprofene, Imodium, Active Coal tablets,… – if you’re on any prescription bring it and how it to the festival security if needed!), furthermore it’s ALWAYS a good idea to bring tissues (aka. portable toilet paper). The rest is up to you!
Duct tape & garbage bags safe lives
Duct tape and garbage bags (y’know, the big black ones) are probably the most useful combination you will ever take with you to camping. With those two you can build a waterproof plane to cover your tent in heavy rain (or make an additional cover for the ground), fix your tent with duct tape, your stuff can be (somewhat waterproof) stored in the waste bags and MUCH more. Never leave without duct tape and waste bags.
Air bed on a two duct-taped lightweight foam mattresses to protect it from the ground
Tent ground of a thicker material than the rest of the tent
Empty zip-lock bag (used to store my mobile phone)
Backpack in a black waste bag and used clothing in another plastic bag
Be nice to the trees and people n shit
No one likes living on a wasteland. Not even for three (or less) nights. So place one of your designated waste bag outside of your tent and make use of it. Be (or try to be) a bit more quiet after 1-2am, some people really want to sleep. Do to others like you’d expect from them. Show respect for each other. Trying to be considerate doesn’t hurt.
Other stuff that might be a good idea but, eh, whatever
A small lock keeps your tent somewhat safe. A flashlight and maybe a multitool can never go wrong. Zip-lock bags are a fantastic way to store your mobile phone or other small stuff! Also an idea for your mobile phone: Battery packs! In case you don’t wanna borrow an air pump you can also bring your own (check the valves). Some other things also worth bringing are disposable rain ponchos, glow sticks (light source – and LIGHT SOURCE ONLY) and cool shit like a chill camping chair.
Have fun! Camping is part of the weekend festival experience and we hope you and your friends enjoy it to the fullest! May the sun kindly shine on your tents and the ground stay dry all weekend!
Pic 1: Defqon Australia 2013 (Q-Dance)
All other pictures: Qontinent 2014 (the author)