Monday, 9 April 2018

What Tent Is Best For A Festival - Choosing a Festival Tent For Keeps


Happy Spring! I'm excited to introduce the first in a new series of Festival Essential guides that I am going to be posting over the next few weeks.

I've pulled together some of the best tent options I can find at every price point - please do leave me a comment if you have any questions or want to recommend a tent to add to the list. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase a tent after clicking one of my links I get paid a small commission but there's no change in cost to you.

Whether you are a seasoned UK festival goer or have your first tickets booked for this year, the main piece of kit you are going to need is a tent. There are a huge range of options out there, as long as you don't leave it to the last minute you should be able to pick up an amazing tent at a really reasonable price that fits all of your needs and more.

First, establish the basics:
  • How many people need to fit inside?
  • Are you going to have a large amount of luggage or any valuable items that you may want to leave at the campsite? 
  • Are you going to a small festival where you will be able to come back to the tent regularly or are you headed to something huge where you may not see your camp for days? (Boomtown, I'm looking at you)
  • How much space do you have in the car for a tent, or are you travelling by coach and foot? The weight of your tent is going to be extremely important if you are taking a greener travel option than driving!
  • What is your budget?



Let's start with something ridiculously affordable. Unlike regular camping, at a festival you may find your tent crammed with sweaty people you have just met, poking through your stuff and trying to borrow your glitter - and they are all drunk. This combination at any time of the day or night means people rubbing their body up against the interior layer of the tent and just in case you weren't a Girl Guide, that means condensation will be able to penetrate the outer skin of the tent. Once you have touched the skin, water will continue to come through in that spot until you completely dry out the tent. British mornings, even in summer, are dewy and damp and there is no chance of keeping any of your stuff dry with a single layer tent. Most cheap tents tend to be single layer but I've found this amazing bargain for £24.99.


Check out the full specifications and reviews by clicking here

Bonus features include mosquito netting across the vents (because bugs love your unwashed festival skin and high-alchohol blood) and taped seamed - you don't usually get this in a cheaper tent and it means that water can't seem in through badly sewn seams. Honestly, this tent is a total bargain if you don't need something for heavy use.

I hate pop-up tents. They are unstable and usually only have one layer (see above). If they make it through a festival weekend, they probably won't go back in the bag quite right and next time you try and get it out you'll get poked in the eye by a sharp piece of metal. I've hunted high and low for an option that won't get left behind in the camping field - because that's really uncool - and this is probably the best one I could find. A friend has something similar and it's so far lasted 2 years and 7 festivals but it's only ever used for one person.



If you want something that is going to last for several trips as well as 'regular' camping, and have room for everything you might want to take with you, you should look to spend a little more. As we sometimes have to store instruments and equipment in a tent, when it came time to upgrade from our trusty blue Eurohike 2-man, I knew I was going to be looking for something with a bigger porch. The Eurohike (linked here) did us well for two seasons and eight festivals but the zips on the porch finally gave way meaning we couldn't seal off the inner compartment from moisture or bugs and some of the poles were starting to poke through their casings. 

We upgraded to this beauty:



It might not look like much but after struggling hunched over in dome tent with a tiny, unsealed porch area for two years it was pure luxury.

It has all the features that I knew we needed and quite a few more - you have no idea how gleeful I was over having large pockets on both sides. I can kneel with a straight back in the porch and at the beginning of the sleeping area and the whole thing is sealed off from the elements, which made a real difference on the side of a Welsh mountain at the end of last summer in the torrential rain, let me tell you. If you want something waterproof, big enough to have a late night gathering of festival souls and easy to carry, pitch and pack away for under £150, make this tent your bitch.

Link to read reviews and see more images is here.

If we had a little more in the budget, I would have pushed for a bell-style tent. There are so many amazing polyester versions of the classic festival tent. I've found the one below which has some great reviews and seems to offer everything that you could need in term of waterproofing and ease of pitch. Having a tent like this means most of your possessions will become communal as people gather in the only tent with any standing room, but the payoff is worth it. All the space you could want and you won't get a hunchback like the rest of us dome-tent peasants. It's not double layered, but the extra room means that you are much less likely to rub up against the sides and there is an option to add an interior section as well.



Check out the 'Grand Canyon Indiana' here, along with reviews and sizing options.

If money was no object, I would go for something fun and traditional. All the tents I've included so far are made of polyester which is lighter and more waterproof than traditional canvas but I would cast those features aside in exchange for a rainbow bell tent from Boutique Camping. Check this beauty out:


Whilst definitely not as practical as some of the other options (you'll probably need some sort of trolley device to get it from the car park to the campsite!) you can't beat a bell tent for drawing you home after an evening of dancing. More room means you can bring things like foldaway beds, pop-up storage and even stuff to cook on. You can really pimp these out with flooring and flags, lighting and storage. If you know you are going to be going to quite a few festivals and you have the budget, one of these will last you forever if you care for it properly and it will feel like a home away from home with some personal touches. Don't underestimate the benefit of having a full length mirror if you can carry one as well!

Check out all of the reviews and options for these beautiful tent by clicking here.

Finally, I want to include possibly the very best tent I have seen online. I want this tent so much that I regularly trawl the Lotus Belle Facebook and other social media looking for competitions to enter to try and win one. It's wildly out of my price range, but the features are off the scale. I can dream, right? Lotus Belle tents are inflatable, fully waterproof and huge, they would be such an amazing basecamp for a weekend at a music festival or just to take all of your friends camping in luxury. Not going to lie, they are pricey, but if you end up buying one, please do invite me along for a glamping weekend!! You can check out their website by clicking this link. The lovely people at Lotus Belle got in touch to offer my readers a special discount code KATYCLOUDFD for free UK delivery on any of their amazing tents. You can also follow them on Facebook by clicking here.





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