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The GO Outdoors Guide To Choosing Your Festival Tent

Your festival tent will be your home away from home as you catch up with friends, enjoy seeing bands, and attempt to cook (and maybe get some sleep...)

Maybe you want a luxury tent that you can use again and again, or perhaps you need to adhere to a strict budget after forking out for the tickets themselves. 

From Glastonbury, to the Big Chill, or a party weekend at Creamfields, your tent will have to put up with a lot of abuse, and you want to have a tent that suits your level of experience when it comes to pitching, as well as your budget and your party size. This guide can help you choose the right tent for you. 

Festival Tent Sizes - And How To Choose The One For You

  • Tent sizes are measured in 'berths', which refers to the amount of people and luggage it can hold. 
  • Some tents are purely designed for sleeping in (usually at the cheaper end of the price range) and some tents offer more luxury and living space, such as canopies that extent the width of the tent, offering a sunbathing/cooking area. 
  • Consider your rucksack and gear as a person when choosing a tent, so if you have 2 people, you need the space for 2 people as well as 2 rucksacks. In this instance, a 4 berth tent will suffice for the minimum amount of room.
  • This is also why there are no 1 berth tents for 1 person, for a solo traveller, a 2 berth is ideal. 
  • A 2 berth will suffice for one person, and at a squeeze could fit in 2 people.  However, for comfort you will want more space- as much as you can afford. 
  •  From GO Outdoor's camping experiences, we suggest that 2 people can comfortably look at 5 berth tent for plenty of room.
  • Bear in mind the time you intend to spend away, so for longer stretches of time, look at bigger berths of tent.
  • As well as the berth of your festival tent, also look at the height. Make sure it is large enough for you to stand up in. This is more commonly found in dome style tents which are built on an A –frame, but check before you buy. Typically logos are used to indicate if it can be used for standing or sitting. 

Luxury Festival Tents

If it’s luxury your after then go for a tent that needs pitching. Whereas pop up tents hardly take any time at all, a pitched tent is a better solution if you’re planning on a larger tent design for your festival home as it stays standing. 

For luxury consider a dome tent, or a tunnel tent as these are typically larger and well structured to allow standing. 

  • A dome tent is ideal in shape to fight off wind and is easy to pitch. With an A-frame shape, a dome tent is able to accommodate plenty of people. 
  • When looking for the amount of people that can fit in a tent, look for the ‘berth’ – 2 berth will house 2 people comfortably, 6 berth will hold 6. 
  • A tunnel tent has plenty of inner space, but will need guy ropes and sturdy pegs in order to secure it. 
  • With 2 – 4 poles in a typical construction, a tunnel tent also combines both a living area with a sleeping area, which is also great for keeping your rucksacks and food in. 
  • Tunnel tents are more commonly used for camping rather than for festivals, however if you are travelling via car in a large party they can be good for offering everyone plenty of space. 
  • You can also share out the cost between friends, rather than all buying cheap 2 berth festival tents. 

Pop Up / Budget Festival Tents

  • Pop up tents are designed to simply spring into shape from a disc based flat design. 
  • Ideal for quick pitching, pop up tents are ideal for anyone without any camping know how.
  • Created with a single skin as opposed to a thicker double, pop up tents offer less protection from the elements than dome or tunnel tents, but tend to be cheaper. 
  •  Without the need to be pitched in the traditional sense with guylines or pegs, Pop up tents are ideal for pitching late at night. 
  • Try out your tent before you leave home as well so you understand the basics of how to get it standing. 

Festival Tents / Weekend Tents

  • These are specifically designed tents, ideal for weekends away and for festivals. Fit for purpose, these are ideal for use on one occasion, and are cheap enough tl leave behind. 
  • Usually a 2-3 berth style, these are usually single skinned, but come with guylines to make them pitchable on site. 
  • Designed to be easy to carry, these are usually under 5kg in weight, less than a crate of beer, and can roll up tight and small enough to be secured to the back of your rucksack. 
  • The designs of festival tents are usually fun and vibrant, from mock snakeskin to zebra prints to bright fushia, festival tents are designed to be spotted in a crowd and are cost effective, so you can pay less for your tent and not worry about it getting scratched or burnt. 

 Festival Tents - What's Your Budget?

  • Spend within your budget and don’t be tempted by big name brands if you won't be using it again. 
  • Also, bear in mind that even if you do indeed intend to use your tent again, it may get burnt or ripped, so make sure you don’t consider it a valuable before you take it on the campsite. 

How To Get Your Festival Tent Home

  • Tents sometimes form mold thanks to the humid mix of early morning condensation mixed with heat and general moisture. 
  • Ensure your tent comes back in one non-smelly piece that can be used next season by cleaning it down on the day you leave, and letting it dry thoroughly before packing it up. If it has windows, open these up to encourage venting. 
  • Scrape off any debris and mess before packing it up, and try and roll it/fold it loosely.
  • Store your tent in a dry and non moist area at home, such as a garage or shed. 

How To Find Your Tent At A Festival

  • You have three main options, to buy a tent with an eye catching design, at the risk of other people also having gone for this method, to pitch near a big landmark, or to modify your tent.
  • You can mark your tent using a marker pen or with a sheet of (old) bedding, or you can attach a flag, either with a pole to your camping area, or hung over your tent. 
  • Flags are not allowed near the main stage area at some festivals, so check before you go if it's okay to come on site with you.
  •  Make sure you pick a unique flag as well, as a union jack or an England flag may match with a sea of others who have had the same idea.