So you want a festival trolley but you’re not sure which to go for? Whether you want to buy a ready made one or make one yourself, here’s all the information you need!
Please note that most of these are not tested safe for children to ride in unless they are modified and certified safe for children – check the small print if you are worried.
The small wooden wagon
Be warned they are much smaller than they look and will only fit one child. However if you have one child this is our favourite. It’s affordable, with large wheels that will go through mud, a ready made rain cover and sides that can be removed to pack into the car. You can also remove one side while it’s parked to turn it into a handy sofa.
Pros: Small, affordable, comes apart, no inner lining needed, comes with a raincover
Cons: Too small for large families, cheaper quality so won’t last as long as more expensive ones
Best For: One child
[Note: These are sadly no longer easily available online – look out for second hand sales]
The classic Radio Flyer
We love these Radio Flyers. They take up much less space in your car, and are light and sturdy, so great for moving your gear. However without a rain cover it won’t keep your child dry!
These used to come with a seat and harness, but sadly it looks like this has been discontinued, so we would question whether it is still suitable for smaller kids who may fall out.
[Note: Make sure you don’t accidentally buy the toy version, which looks the same but is only big enough for a doll!]
Pros: Small, lightweight, sturdy and stylish, built to last
Cons: More expensive, no rain cover
Best For: One child, small cars
The larger wagon
The Radio Flyer Classic ATW is larger and heavier but it will take more stuff/larger kids. If you can fit it in your car we recommend the version of the ATW with wooden sides.
There are cheaper versions available such as this Toby Wagon.
Pros: Spacious, sturdy, rain cover, seat and lining available, best for two small children
Cons: Takes up more space in the car, doesn’t comfortably fit more than one large child or two small children
Best for: Two small children
The foldable festival trolley
These folding trolleys are great if you have limited space in your car. You can get them with a shade canopy and a storage basket, which is extremely useful. Radio Flyer also make several different foldable ones now, with seat belts for younger children.
The canopy isn’t waterproof, but it would be easy to add a raincover (always make sure you check dimensions before buying one).
Foldable trolleys usually have solid wheels so are harder to pull, and won’t go through deep mud. But they will be fine for most festivals.
The Radio Flyer Off-Road 3 in 1 is perfect for festivals – with seat belts, bottle holders and off-road tires. It also converts into a bench which can be incredibly handy for muddy festivals.
If you are tired of pulling a wagon – the Radio Flyer Stroll ‘N Wagon can also be pushed like a buggy.
Pros: Lightweight, foldable and compact
Cons: Solid wheels, cover not waterproof
Best For: Two children, small cars
The garden trolley
A large garden trolley is the perfect thing for two or more children. With large pneumatic wheels and a tough frame they can take on pretty much anything. We have had three children sleeping in ours. It’s also fantastic for transporting your gear from the car. You will need to make a liner for it to keep your children comfortable, and make a rain cover too. However the frame is easy to attach to with cable ties and best of all, you can let your imagination turn it into more than simply transportation!
Pros: Incredible spacious, easy to adapt, the only option for large families, very good for transporting your gear
Cons: Needs some work to adapt, takes up more space in the car (although you can take it apart), can be heavy to pull (not good for hills!)
Best for: Large families, blinging!
Festival Trolley Essentials
A trolley or wagon is only as good as its accessories! We recommend making it into a home from home for your children – somewhere they will hang out, read, snack and sleep. A festival can be a busy, noisy place and having a little place where they are safe dry and warm can change your whole festival experience. We have tried festivals without a wagon (tired, whiny children) and with a wagon (happy, rested children) and believe me the festivals with our wagon have been far more fun and relaxing for us too!
Lining and cushions
Unless the wagon has a lining built in, you will need to put something in there for your children to lie on. We use an old foam sleeping mat, with an opened sleeping bag stretched over the top for comfort. Cushions and a blanket will allow the kids to rest and sleep while you’re on the go.
These days many wagons come with a rain cover, but make sure you check before you buy. It is relatively straightforward to make your own with either a small pop up tent or a piece of tarpaulin, although attaching them securely can be a problem. You’ll want to be able to remove the cover easily. We used plastic pipe of different sizes so the top arches can slot into the bottom pieces, so it can be removed completely. We cut up some pipe insulation to make the edges more comfortable.
Solar powered fairy lights will transform your wagon at night and make it easy to find. They are a must if you want to see the festival at night – it allows the children to play near you without getting lost. Remember to leave the charger out during the day to recharge them!
We use a string of 100 multicolour lights, which is plenty for a wagon, but if you have young children and are worried about them chewing on it you can get an LED rope, which is not so bright but much safer, easy to attach and allows for a more artistic decoration (you can make shapes with it).
You can also buy strings of decorative fairy lights which look gorgeous! Here are a few of our favourites:
A side bag
Any old bag will do – I had one which had already lost it’s strap so we attached that to the side. It’s a fantastic place to store the essentials – toilet roll, ear defenders, handwash gel and suncream!
Ok so not exactly an essential, but we put a few cans in our drinks cooler from our cool box. This allows us the luxury of cold drinks without having to buy them from stalls.
They make these ones that are great for beer, cans or babies’ bottles, depending on your needs!
My handy husband also found a use for our old plastic milk bottles; he cut two of them in half horizontally, and attached the bottom halves to the front of our wagon. These made drink holders for open drinks; very useful when we’re on the go.
Decorating your festival trolley
Try strings of flowers or bunting if you’re not particularly artistically inclined – these are easy to wrap around the sides. One year we attached windmills to the front of ours, which caught a lot of attention! How about attaching a small kite on a stick, or a bubble machine on the back?
The only limit is your imagination!
We are slightly obsessed with festival trolleys – please do share your creations with us!
But if festival wagons are not your thing, take a look at our general advice on carting kids round festivals.
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14 thoughts on “Festival Trolley and Wagon Guide”
TheEnchantedTribe.com does bespoke wagons with all of the accessories!!
Hi how do the canopy rods fix onto the festival wagons when there is no where for them to fix into , I have brows festival wagon on eBay ( did not receive what was illustrated in photos , and also received no instructions said it was brand new !!! ) also one end panel is missing can I but one from somewhere and can I buy cushion for it . Many thanks Diane
We used cable ties to attach them onto a garden trolley. This might not be possible with some of the ready made wagons. If your wagon is missing a piece maybe you should contact the seller?
Hi there, could you recommend the specific pipe used to create the arches for the rain cover?
Then what do you use for the rain cover itself?
I bought the pipe at B&Q after walking around and looking at which size pipes would fit inside others. In the end I found one (the arches) which is about 18mm in diameter, which fitted inside another I used as short lengths attached to the sides of the trolley. That way I could easily remove the top when packing it away.
I did find the pipes to be a bit bendy, so we also put a strengthening “rail” along the top, made from electrical conduit, secured with that ever useful Gaffer Tape (I never got around to making something more reusable).
The cover has always just been a piece of tarpaulin, initially just thrown over and secured with string around the bottom. I finally made a fitted cover, complete with draw strings and roll-up sides. But now the girls are too big to drag around in a trolley so we no longer need it 🙁
I really must get around to writing an article on creating a festival trolley, complete with pictures… sounds like a winter project to me!
How did you make a fitting cover please?
It was made from a piece of tarpaulin, attached to tubing with cable ties.
Thanks for this it’s great I just wondered how u stopped the smaller pipe coming out of the bottom of the bigger one?
Good question! We tied them on with cable ties which were threaded through a hole in the pipe. The top pipe then rested on the cable tie going through. Are you building one then? Please do share photos!
I am indeed I will post pictures – just re reading this post sat outside home base going to get the pipes – I’ve procrastinated enough and actually have to get this done before July
If you buy a garden trolley to convert, make sure the handle attaches to both the body and the wheel axle. Nothing worse than a snapped trolley first day….I speak from experience 🙁
Wise words Karen.
We bought a large Handy branded garden trolley, like this one (http://amzn.to/2xlZK3i), which did cost about £100 as far as I can remember. But it has lasted 5 years of festival abuse, carting camping gear and kids around with no maintenance.
Last year a weld in the steering finally gave up but it managed to keep working until the end of the season, so top marks for durability.
Have you found a new trolley?