Festival Wagons and Trolleys Guide

So many different wagons to choose from but 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!

Space Rocket Wagon

The small wooden wagon

Slant side festival wagonBe 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

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The Radio Flyer

41xofNKFBRLWe love the look of 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!

Pros: Small, lightweight, sturdy and stylish, built to last
Cons: More expensive, no rain cover, for one child only
Best For: One child, small cars

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The larger wooden wagon

41daU8YFB8LThere are several types available, some with straps to stop your children falling out. We don’t believe the straps are really necessary – not unless you’re planning to race them downhill!

However please note that 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.

You can buy these with rain covers so they are versatile and look great! You can also get added features such as baby seats and side pannier, and they come in a range of colours.

Pros: Spacious, sturdy, rain cover, seat and lining available, best for two children
Cons: Takes up more space in the car, doesn’t comfortably fit more than two children
Best for: Two children

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Classic Wagon With inside seat
and pannier
With removable
child seat
Pretty in pink!
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The garden trolley

417405_10151190884986138_1205645937_nA 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
Best for: Large families, blinging!

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Wagon Essentials

A 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

Sleeping in the wagon
Sleeping in the wagon

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.

Rain cover

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.

festival wagons

Lights

Solar powered fairy lightsfestival wagons 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:

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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!

Drinks cooler/holder

61ROuXruWcL._SL1050_Ok so not exactly an essential, but we put a few cans in here from our cool box, it fits nicely into the wagon, and saves us money at the bar!

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.

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Decoration

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!

But if festival wagons are not your thing, take a look at our general advice on carting kids round festivals.

 


5 thoughts on “Festival Wagons and Trolleys Guide

  1. 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?

    Many thanks,

    Matt

    1. Hello Matt,
      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!

  2. 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 🙁

    1. 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?

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