Stuff to take to Glastonbury (other than the obvious)
Tent, sleeping bag, clothes… you should probably pack these, but here are a few more esoteric (or unnecessary) items that I seem to pack each year:
- Take a crap phone like a Nokia 1100. The batteries last forever and are replaceable so you can take a few and swap them around. You only need calls and texts at a festival, and you won’t be tempted to waste time posting to a social network when you could be having fun. They’re cheap and they’re bombproof, so no cracked screens or tears if it gets lost/stolen/falls into a toilet. Sign up to SMS alerts on Twitter (yes, notifications by SMS are still a thing) and follow the @secretglasto account to find out who is playing what secret sets and where.
- A headtorch. These are nerdy as hell but a) are very useful for having your hands free when you’re rummaging through stuff in your tent in the dark in a hurry to get to Shangri-la, or trying to find your way back to your tent at night, and b) they let you pretend to be one half of Orbital.
- Not a physical item, but if you don’t want to lose anything to theft/drunken mistakes then use the property lockups. They’re free, run by charities (so leave a donation at the end of the festival), and you can dump whatever you want in them. I leave a big zip-lock bag there at the start of the festival with almost all of my spending money in it, my normal phone, earphones, my credit/debit cards etc, and then treat it like an ATM, withdrawing cash at the start of each day and collecting all my real-life stuff when it’s time to leave the farm.
- At £13 per kilogram, it’s the most expensive toilet roll you’ll ever buy, but these super-compact, sealed rolls of Andrex are pretty useful. I think you can get them cheaper on sites other than Amazon. Toilet wipes are as useful, but make sure they’re fully biodegradable (baby wipes aren’t) or Eavis will get in trouble with the companies that hoover up the contents of the long-drops then flog it for manure.
- An S-hook, carabiner, or anything vaguely clippy to attach to your bag. When you use a long-drop you can hook your bag onto the latch to keep it out of the way and within reach. This has the advantage of keeping your bag off a surface that someone has definitely urinated on at some point. Now only against a surface that someone might have pissed on. An alternative is just to stick the latch through a hoop on your bag which is probably better than carrying around a metal hook attached to your bag all day, but is a bit more fiddly.
- Good (preferably waterproof) walking boots and merino wool socks. No one is happy with wet feet, and walking boots are much more comfortable to walk in than wellies. They also get stuck in mud less, so you spend less energy trying to extract yourself from that sticky half-dry/half-wet mud. The merino wool keeps your skin really dry but also warm, even if your feet get wet from rain or sweat. You can get good value ones from GoOutdoors. Putting on a fresh pair each morning is such a good feeling. If you do take wellies then take long socks too to avoid welly rash on your calves where the top of the wellies rub your skin.
- Similar to the above, I’d take some micropore tape or plasters in case you start to get blisters.
- Take a self-inflating camping mat. They’re less bulky than foam mats, and less useless than blow-up lilo style beds if they get a puncture. The Alpkit ones are great. As well as letting them self-inflate, it’s a good idea to blow some extra air into them as they’ll seem to deflate slightly overnight when the air inside them cools.
- Bin liners. Bring loads and use them for everything. Sit on them to keep your butt dry and free of mud, put dirty (and gross) washing in them to keep your tent a little bit less minging, use them inside your rucksack to waterproof it, and take your muddy boots on and off by sticking your feet in the bag, taking the boots off through the plastic, and then stowing the boots away in your tent where they won’t cake everything with filth. You can get a roll of thick garden ones from Poundland.
- In fact, just take half of Poundland’s summer seasonal aisle. Their water carriers are decent but a bit leaky if not kept upright (buy two so you can share with your group — less trips to the taps), and you can get a pack of tent pegs for a quid which will be handy when someone’s tent turns out to have come with/been re-packed with half the pegs it needs. They do a £1 head torch that won’t rival the Petzl one I linked to earlier, but it does have a pretty jazzy strobe function…
- I always seem to take a load of cereal bars and then never eat them, so don’t go crazy with taking food unless you want to spend really frugally while you’re there. But, take apples if you can! They’ll keep better than other fruit and they seem to make your mouth feel a lot fresher after a few days of dehydration, boxed wine, and warm lager.
- If you’re a fussy sleeper like me then think about taking an empty pillowcase. It takes up no room, but you can stuff it with clothes and it’ll make a pillow that will save you from neck ache in the morning. Earplugs and a sleeping mask are also great for light sleepers, trying to sleep when you’ve come back to the tent after dawn always feels really difficult for me if I can’t shut out all the light and noises.
- Booze is always a tradeoff between dragging a load of weight from the gate to your camping site, and running out of drink and spending time and money buying drinks from bars. If you’ve got limited space then spirits are the most efficient option. You can buy mixers there, or in a pinch take some squash decanted into a small bottle, or some of that super concentrated stuff that comes in a tiny bottle (Aldi do some). It takes up hardly any space or weight but it will make do as an emergency mixer with vodka and water when all the nicer mixers run out.
- An (empty) fabric conditioner bottle. This is more of a tip aimed at the gentlemen reading, but the large volume of these bottles, the discrete opaque wrapping, leftover fragrance, and the wide neck makes these an ideal vessel for early morning Comfort™ breaks when there’s no chance you’re getting out of your tent and facing other people, the elements, and a maze of guy ropes… Just make sure you empty it into a long-drop or urinal and not anywhere else. Don’t bin them unless they’re empty or some poor person doing recycling volunteering will have to empty it out.
- If you’re a practical sort then this one inch handy roll of duct tape on Amazon could be pretty useful. Use it to patch leaks or stick broken things together. Wrap it round the bottle caps of your spirits after decanting them into plastic bottles and it will make sure they don’t leak in your rucksack. Stick empty beer cans to empty crate of beer boxes to fashion an impromptu Daft Punk costume, that sort of thing.
If you’re looking for more general packing ideas, try Tort’s Glastonbury FAQs.