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Eating, Drinking and Cooking at Festivals

At festival sites, food can be notoriously expensive. Whilst a lot of stalls have exotic foods to suit all tastes, some of the more common food items, and even bottled water can be expensive. 

Here at GO Outdoors we recommend that you pack your own food for the week or weekend, so you can save money and enjoy the camping experience of cooking your own meals.

Pack your own food for the festival that won’t perish and won't be too heavy to carry so you can stay nourished and energised. 

You can pack your snacks in a cool box or a cool bag, dependent on how many people you have to feed, or food can be kept loose in your rucksack.(Keep it in a separate bag to avoid spills and spaghetti scented clothes for the festivals duration!)  

Take drinks with you, but always check the site rules before you get there so you don’t have glass or cans if they aren't allowed. 

Cheap and Quick Festival Food Ideas

  • Beans – With a ring pull style tin or can opener
  • Spaghetti
  • Packet soups to be mixed with water 
  • Packet noodles
  • Meat ( To be consumed when cooked on a BBQ on the first day, without letting it warm or overheat first)
  • Cous Cous 
  • Cereal bars
  • Milk for cereal - kept in a cool box for day one. This is a perishable that may need to be replaced. 
  • Crisps- Multipacks
  • Chocolate bars – Multipacks
  • Sausage rolls/Mini pies -These can be kept chilled and eaten without cooking
  • Cereal packs - Try mini packs which can be eaten direct from the packet, with milk or alone
  • Home made cakes, flapjacks or granola bars packed in foil or tupperware
  • Rice cakes with high energy toppings such as peanut butter and jam
  • Crackers with a variety of toppings
  • Biscuits in handy bags
  • Bagels for the morning 
  • Travel size speads such as mini jams and peanut butters
  • Apples and other non bruising fruit, or fruit kept in tupperware
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Chocolate (kept cool)
  • Bread ( A small loaf as it may not keep)
  •  Buns for hot dogs/burgers
  • Dried meats such as salami
  • Sauces such as Ketchup or brown sauce
  • Home made granola bars, high energy cakes or muffins are all great in that they can be chucked in a ziplock bag for eating on the go.
  • Cook up some pizza before and wrap it in foil to be eaten cold whilst you’re on the move. (Obviously this only works if you like cold pizza!)
  • Wraps and sandwiches are ideal for eating whilst on the move or travelling to the festival. 
  • Remember to use a ring pull style, or to take a can opener!
  • Avoid things that need to be chilled such as dairy past the first day as they may spoil in the heat. 
  • Avoid taking delicate fruit and veg which can get bashed about and bruised unless you intend to eat it on arrival or store it in a case
  • Don’t reheat meat or rice as this could lead to illness. 
  • Don’t forget that many camp sites don’t allow glass- so check your food stash before you leave and make sure it complies with festival rules. 

  • Make sure it’s been thoroughly cooked and the stand and staff look hygienic
  • Ask yourself if you would eat it at home.
  • Trust your instincts when it comes to the look and smell of food. If you don’t trust it, don’t risk it.
  • Try the onsite supermarket if you need some essentials, although bear in mind prices are higher
  • Make sure to choose something filling if you do buy at a stall, so look for high protein and high fibre (cous cous, a jacket potato with beans and tuna, tofu, any thing lentil/legume based) and skip the high sugar options.
  • Try and bring your own water rather than paying more at stalls for bottles-taps should be located all around the sites. 
  • Check your festival’s site for rules on glass and alcohol and adhere to these.
  • Drinks can be poured into bottles or jerrycans for transportation if glass if not allowed 
  • Bring squash if you don’t usually drink water to encourage you to drink, which is particularly important in the heat of the sun. 


Remember that most festival sites aren't keen on gas stoves, or meths. Your options are Multi Fuel Stoves, and Solid Gas. 

Multi-Fuel Stoves- What are the advantages?

Burn very hot and very fuel-efficient. 
Run on various forms of pressurised liquid fuel.
Some will work with various fuels, including diesel.

 What are the disadvantages?

 Quite complex construction. Expensive. Do not light instantly. Some fuels are volatile and need great care in use. Unless clean fuels are used regular cleaning will be required to maintain performance. 

Why choose multi-fuel stoves over gas?

They can operate at lower temperatures.
They can operate at higher altitudes.
They burn much hotter than gas stoves.
1 litre of water should boil in around 2 mins 30 secs. 

What fuels can be used? 

  • Unleaded Petrol.
  • White Gas (AKA Coleman Fuel)
  • Paraffin
  • Kerosene (AKA Aviation Fuel. Interchangeable with Paraffin) 
  • Diesel
  • Methylated Spirits

What parts do multi-fuel stoves have?

Fuel Bottle (sold separately)  -This must be a single piece of metal (including the screw-thread) to be suitable for pressurised use. Liquid fuels (other than alcohol) must be pressurised as they burn as gases, not as liquids.

Pump-A directional valve that compresses air into the fuel bottle, and lets fuel-loaded vapour into the fuel line. Built-in shut-off valve.

 Fuel Line- Leads vapour through to the generator tube. 

Generator Tube -Passes over the flame to pre-heat incoming fuel, permitting its use in colder conditions.

Priming Cup -Allows generator tube to be heated before the first ignition, often uses a wick to absorb the priming fluid.

Jet-This sprays the vapour upwards into the heating element 

Heating Element- A metal of varying shape that glows when heated, and serves to ignite incoming fuel. 

How do you operate a multi-fuel stove?

1. First, the correct jet (outlet hole) needs to be selected, depending on the capabilities of the stove. If the stove has them: G - (gasoline) – For unleaded petrol and white gas K - (kerosene) – For paraffin X - For Diesel (and everything else) 

2. Connect the pump, shut off the valve and pressurise the MSR bottle (no other bottle is suitable for pressurised use). Pump until it becomes stiff. 

3. Prime the fuel, as this permits vapour, rather than liquid, to be burned.  For touch-light fuels (those flammable at the touch of a flame – e.g. unleaded petrol), bleed a small amount through the fuel line, shut off the supply, and ignite. When the flame begins to die, let the fuel through again gradually.  For non-touch-light fuels (e.g. Diesel), use methylated spirits or burning paste in the fuel bowl, then let the fuel through gradually. Do not soak the priming wick in oil-based fuels!  Dirty fuels will require longer priming, and cold conditions will exaggerate this. 

4. Once the flame is lit, begin cooking. If the flame gets too low, input more pressure by pumping.

Solid Fuel

Solid fuel, more commonly known as Hexamine tablets is a widely available, lightweight fuel. 

Solid Fuel is highly inefficient as it is very susceptible to wind, has no way of controlling the heat output and is relatively expensive when compared to other fuels, it does however have an indefinite shelf life if stored correctly. 

Click here to see our full range of Stoves

Cookware List: 

  • Stove
  • Fuel source
  • Lighting materials (matches, lighter) – Plus spares kept in a dry environment
  • Pot – 1 per two campers 
  • Pan – 1 per two campers 
  • Cups (Per person) 
  • Plates (per person) 
  • Bowls (per person) 
  • Tumblers / Plastic glasses (per person) 
  • Cutlery including extra extras, allow two items per person. 
  • Food and sauces/condiments/oils, including seasoning and dressings
  • Corkscrew - Can be found on a Swiss Army Knife
  • Tin opener 
  • Scissors and a firm knife - for cutting meats or opening packets - A Swiss Army Knife may provide these
  • Stirring Spoon made from wood or plastic
  • Serving Spoon for items such as salads or sauces
  • Skewers or prongs for toasting with
  • Plastic bags for rubbish storage, or an area to chop on 
  • Cloths to strain food through or tidy up 

How To Save Weight

  • Use pan lids as plates/bowls
  • Invest in a spork- a fork/spoon hybrid
  • Ensure your pans stack into themselves
  • Prepack your food
  • Take a multi tool where possible
  • Carry less and wash up more
  • Cook 'one pan' meals!
  • Attach your pans to your rucksack via straps