Do you want to camp as a group?
It is not the done thing to ‘reserve’ big areas for your mates. Meeting up a few miles away and arriving together on the festival site is the best way to camp together. If you know you can’t arrive at the same time then you could try giving your tent to the person arriving first so they can pitch up for you. Something like a Vango Beta that pitches fly first is great. The outside can be pitched in a few minutes – leaving you (or the owner) to complete it when you arrive later on.
Do you want family camping, quiet camping, or more tolerant general camping?
If you know the kids are going to wake up in the early morning then it makes sense to camp where all the other young families are. If your children are older and want to party then you’ll probably begrudge little Tommy wailing about his breakfast at 6am.
If it’s hot have the wind blowing towards the doorway for a cooling draft. It it is cold or wet
you will want the wind away from the door so that it doesn’t freeze you out or drive in the rain.
Do you want to be close to your car so it’s not so hard at lug all your kit to your camping spot?
Once you are pitched up, walking 20 minutes with only a daysack may be a small price to pay to be able to bring everything and the kitchen sink.
Do you want to be closer to the arena so you can pop back to your tent easily if you forget something or want to go chill for a little while?
Festival bars and food stalls can be very expensive so if you are on a tight budget you may want to have a couple of beers at your tent in the afternoons and a few camp meals.
Are you using a buggy or wagon?
Guy lines between closely pitched tents can make it impossible to navigate on wheels. Try to pitch on the edge of the area next to the path for easy access – otherwise you will never be able to get back to your tent without another person to help carry the buggy across the camp site.
Take note of where the floodlights are
while they may be very helpful in helping you find your tent in the dark, they are not very helpful for sleeping if you are right under them as it will feel like broad daylight all night long!
Same goes for the Portable loos
At first it seems useful to be close by so a quick wee is not a marathon expedition, but with the best cleaning in the world they will be minging by day 2, and don’t even get me started on the smell when they are being emptied!!! If you’re worried about being too far from a toilet, you could always get a travel potty, bucket, Pocketoilet or Boginabag or for emergencies.
Other obvious tips are to have a trial pitch of your tent at home so you know how to do it, and check it is all there and undamaged. If you can face it, try sleeping in it for a few nights a week or two before the festival to get the kids used to sleeping in their sleeping bags. It is also helpful to find out how cold it is at night and how many extra blankets you really need.
If you are camping with friends it can be nice to have a communal gazebo but do exercise festival etiquette and caution – if the campsite is crowded you are likely to irritate many of your fellow festivalers. When hanging out with mates you are also likely to be louder than you think, later than you think – so try to respect other campers and keep the noise down after 11 or 12 if you are in the family camping area (preferably earlier). If you know you want to party all night long then just head for the normal campsite instead.