Words: Charlotte Philby
Image: Stephen Leslie

Taking kids to festivals is one of the highlights of being a parent. It’s also potentially one of the most disastrous experiences you will share as a family. Follow our top tips to ensure your weekend in the field follows the right path…

“However much you think you’re going to need, triple it”

Forewarned is forearmed. The golden rule when it comes to kids and leaving the house is: however much you think you’re going to need, triple it. So, pack enough for three outfit changes a day. Clothes that layer up easily – leggings, shorts, vests, etc – are ideal. Your wee ones are going to be scrambling through a hell of a lot of detritus over the next few days so don’t take anything you’re going to be heartbroken for them to batter beyond repair.

“A wheelbarrow will serve you well in lugging your bags across site, and escorting worn-out kids from A to B”

Transporting hot/damp/restless kids from the car-park to your campsite takes a lot of patience and manpower. For the latter, take a small cart/wheelbarrow which will not only serve you well in lugging around bags, but also once you’re settled in can be used it to escort worn-out kids from A to B across the site (see above image for details).

“Take more wet-wipes than you can carry”

A nice rug to lay out on outside your campsite, disposable or reusable cutlery and crockery, a ball, a massive flag to signify where your tent is among the sea of green awnings, and a bottle of Pimms are also essentials on our packing list. Also, take more wet wipes than you can carry. They’re useful for everything. Also, don’t forget hand sanitiser, dry shampoo (for you and them), plenty of water and snacks, and lots of those little plastic bags for disposing of nappies/dirty washing/general disgustingness that threatens to deluge your camping environment.

“Wellies will protect little limbs while wading through empty cans”

Footwear-wise, wellies are the dream for little feet as they’ll not only defend against lurking mud-baths, but also against potential scrapes with all that rolling around in the grass, wading through empty cans, etc. Hats also essential, for all weathers. And a basic first-aid kit, just in case.

“The key to happy family camping is as much creature comfort as possible”

In terms of tents, don’t imagine you’ll all be able to curl up in a one-man tent. Regardless of what anyone tells you, the key to happy family camping is bringing in as much creature comfort as possible. That means buying/renting/borrowing/staling a proper family tent so that you can all get as much shut-eye as possible (which is to say, not much at all), with nice sheets, pillows and a duvet.

“Take measures to keep the kids occupied while you catch some ZZZs”

For the same reason, take an eyepatch to dull the morning glare while you kip, and ear-plugs. If your kids are early risers (and they’re kids so they will be), take measures to keep them occupied in the morning while you try to get a few minutes extra ZZZs: iPads, books, snacks all permissible.

“Etch your contact details onto your kids’ foreheads and hands”

If you’re going with enough friends, try to alternate nights out – and then let each other sleep in the next morning. Make sure you decide a meeting point, should any of you lose eachother – and etch your contact details onto your child’s forehead, clothing, hands, etc.

“Don’t peak too soon”

Finally: don’t peak too soon. Being wrecked at 3pm with a child or two to tend is never ideal. No matter how good an idea it seems at midday…

This article was originally published on 25th June 2015

More in Travel

The Lives of Others #6

By , 23rd July 2018
Education, Features, Regulars, Travel
Georgie Higginson moved from the UK to Uganda 14 years ago. After losing their daughter to stillbirth, she and her husband were inspired to build a lodge on the banks of the River Nile, overlooking Murchison Falls National Park - an area once occupied by LRA rebels

Global Village #6

By , 9th July 2018
Design, Features, Regulars, Travel
Designer Kate Pietrasik lived in London, Edinburgh, New York and Byron Bay before moving to a town near Biarritz when her daughter was four years old. She reflects on life as a 'blended family', running her own business, and the joy of being rootless

Global Village #5

By , 21st May 2018
Regulars, Travel
When Rosalind Miller's daughter was born, the medical student was determined having a child wouldn't stop her moving to India to carry out her PhD field work. She reflects on swapping London for a local community in Bangalore with a toddler in tow

Global Village #4

By , 14th May 2018
Education, Regulars, Travel
From Scotland to Costa Rica (via East London, New York and Mexico). Mother-of-four Abigail Pilcher talks multiple relocations, opening – and closing – a guesthouse, and how a holiday to Turkey inspired the move of a lifetime