Green festival campsite with multi coloured tipis

The sun is out (ahem), rain is threatening to appear and farmers across the country open their fields to festival goers to enjoy music, camping and portaloos in a field!

You’ve spent a fortune on the tickets, don’t spend a fortune on equipment, clothing and food. ‘Festival essentials’ will soon add up, costing nearly as much as a holiday.

If you’re going to a festival, we’ve listed the festival essentials, as well as cheaper alternatives to ensure you’re not left out of pocket.


Part of the fun(?) of festivals is enjoying the great outdoors, getting a little too close to nature for comfort and pitting yourself against the fickle mistress that is mother nature. As tents and camping equipment aren’t cheap, we have some alternatives which could save you money and still keep you warm and dry.

Beg & Borrow

In some far corner of a garage or in someone’s dusty loft there must be a two man tent which once represented the innocence and adventure of someone’s childhood. Can you borrow it? Ask everyone you know, even put out a request of Facebook- you never know, someone may have just the thing for you.


Sites like Freecycle will let you post requests for items or search for items in your area and what’s more, they’re free.

Alternatively, sites like Gumtree and eBay may have cheaper, second hand tents. Make sure you check their quality; otherwise you may find a leak in the middle of a thunderstorm!

Be warned, you’ll need to keep checking these sites to find the best deals.


What’s the point in buying a tent if you’re only going to use it once? There are a few sites which now offer camping equipment hire, where you can hire tents for as little as £20 for a weekend for a 2-3 person tent**. You can also hire sleeping bags and cooking equipment. If you split the cost between a few of you, you can make some savings!

Tent Hire Sites

Camping Gear Hire


Camping Equipment

Outdoor Hire


Eat out of pots and pans, or take disposable plates and cutlery to save on the washing up! What’s more, there’s less to pack away and carry through a muddy field when you’re tired and emotional at the end of the weekend.

Make Your Own

Instead of lugging chairs with you to the camp site and worrying that they’ll get wrecked, make your own.

Stockpile newspapers for a few weeks (you can get the Metro free from any train station or bus station) when you have a few, stack 4/5 newspapers together in a wedge and cover them in a couple of plastic bags. Hey presto, a waterproof seat. It’s not glamorous but neither is festival camping, plus they can be recycled afterwards too!


Typically, when it’s festival time, that’s the time it chucks it down and there’s nothing worse than being cold and wet at a festival.

You could invest in a waterproof jacket, but ponchos are a great alternative and cost as little as 79p!** (although if buying online there’s a £2.69 delivery charge)

Useful Sites

If you really hate getting wet, you may wish to buy a pair of waterproof trousers. These cost around £5, depending on size and type.

Useful sites


The must have festival accessory, wellies now come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and make a good investment for any festival and for as little as £4.99** this is one expense you’ll be grateful for!

Useful Links


Glam looks for the festival and festival chic is everywhere, but do you really want to spend a fortune on clothing that’ll just get muddy, sweaty and ruined?

For the classic denim jean short look, get an old pair of jeans and cut them off at the leg where you want your shorts to come to. You’ve not spent anything on a new pair and you’ve got a pair which is just the right length for you.

For more help, watch this!

Alternatively, find pieces to customise at charity shops. Baggy t shirts and waist coats make excellent cheap festival essentials which you can customise.

Clothing must have– a warm jumper. It’s easy to get chilled when camping so make sure you have a warm jumper to put on so you don’t get chilled.


Festival food is expensive so it’s best to keep your provisions stocked up. Keeping cereal bars and flapjack on hand will give you energy and it won’t go off easily.

Whilst not necessarily the healthiest option, noodle and porridge snack pots are easy to prepare and offer a warm, quick meal.


Maintaining high personal hygiene levels whilst camping can be tricky. At a festival it’s near impossible. However, these must haves will help ensure you remain clean (ish)

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush
  • Wet wipes
  • Dry shampoo

Worth Investing In

It’s all well and good finding cheap festival essentials but there are some things you need to invest in for a festival. Mobile phones and iPods make rich pickings for thieves at festivals. Take bulkier alternatives which just do the basics- calls and texts. The chances are the older mobile phones will have a longer battery life too so there’s less chance of your mobile dying halfway through the festival, losing track of friends.

Festivals are noisy places and if you want to get any kip at all it may be worth taking some ear plugs so you can get some rest on a night/ early morning when you go to bed.

Whilst we all expect it to rain at festivals, sometimes it’s glorious. Make sure you have sun cream so you’re well protected from the sun and a refillable bottle of water so you can keep rehydrated.

Bin bags are a marvellous invention – they keep things dry and store things effectively. Make sure you have some handy for those just in case moments.

Do you have any tips for surviving the festival period? Share them below!
**Prices correct as of 15/05/14