A First-Time Festival Tent Buyer’s Guide

by Jules on April 5, 2013

Choosing a festival tent is a bit different to choosing one for regular camping expeditions. Whether you are going to Glastonbury, Roskilde or Coachella all that’s really needed is a basic model, because you’re going to be spending most of your time checking out the bands and exploring the sights and sounds of the site.

You also don’t want to spend too much on a festival tent. The tickets alone can be expensive enough, never mind the price of food and beer when you get there. Also, festivals can get pretty muddy, and your tent’s more likely to suffer damage as a result of that (as well as the risk of rowdy neighbours!). So people tend to opt for cheaper festival tents rather than risk ruining an expensive one.

Basic, budget tents are easy to come by these days, but when you go shopping for one bear in mind these festival-friendly features:

  • Weight – you’re probably going to face a bit of a trek getting to your festival campsite, and you’ll be carrying a fair amount of gear and supplies with you too. Make travel easier by opting for a tent that’s lightweight, compact, and not going to be a pain to travel with.
  • Pitching – you don’t want a tent that’s going to take you a whole weekend to pitch. Look out for pop-up tents that make it a cinch to put together. The less time you spend putting up your home away from home, the more time you’ll free up for having fun.
  • Size – there’s nothing worse than being crammed into a tiny tent, especially when you’re trying to stretch out and sleep. Look for a tent that’s definitely big enough for you, your camping gear, bag and supplies.
  • Eyecatching – how about trying to find your tent in a field that looks like this. So now you see the benefits of choosing a tent that’s distinctive! The brighter and bolder the better, especially when it comes to trying to find your tent in the dark after a few pints. Something like this bold and beautiful Eurohike tent from Millets is just the job – an eye-popping canvas that you can’t fail to miss, affordable, lightweight, and it’s a pop-up so it’ll pitch in minutes too.

Which size?

One and two-man tents are obviously cheaper, and they have another advantage – they’re much easier to pitch. If you’re heading to the festival as a group, then all chipping in for one big tent is a great moneysaving option.

However, remember that it means you’ll be stuck in the same tent with a group of people in a muddy field with limited (pretty much non-existent) personal hygiene facilities. There will be snoring. So if you don’t fancy sharing after all, you can always bring along a base tent or gazebo as place for you all to hang out together before you decamp to your separate tents you want a kip.

The weather

Your tent really just needs to keep you cool in the sun and dry in the rain. Look for a hydrostatic head of at least 1200mm to ensure a good level of waterproofing, and look out for tents with vents that keep air flowing, preventing condensation and keeping the tent cool.

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