The coolest festival camping gear for 2017
Have you sworn off camping after nightmares involving leaky tents, icky coffee and evil beds? Maybe these high-tech gadgets and camping gear will change your mind…
Kidly Ear Defenders
If you want to bring your little ones to a festival, give them a pair of these. These funky ear cans mean your tiny terrors will actually want to wear them. Plus they’re lightweight and flexible so they’ll survive whatever misadventures your kids get into.
Easycamp Tempest 500 Inflatable Tent
Thanks to its inflatable poles, this five-man tent takes less than 15 minutes to pitch. The windows, complete with toggled curtains, let in plenty of light and give it a ‘home-from-home’ feel. When packed, it measures almost a metre in length and weighs 15kg, so take a trolley if you’re planning on hauling it more than a short distance.
Filson Heritage Sportsman Bag
Filson bags don’t come with a lot of tech, but this is the only bag we’ve heard of that could outlive you, as every one comes with the company’s lifetime guarantee. The robust, water-repellent canvas, wide straps and thick leather make this bag feel equally at home on the campsite as in the office.
$395 (£309 approx), filson.com
Cinch Pop-Up Tent
Pitch up in mere minutes with this four-man pop-up tent that springs to life out of its bag. Solar panels keep a battery pack charged up, which you can use to power lanterns and charge your gadgets. Additional kit like LED tent pegs, reflective guylines and a mirror that hangs from the frame make this the smartest tent we’ve seen.
Compact and nattily designed, this portable espresso maker is just the ticket for the coffee-loving camper. It uses a nifty pump to produce the pressure needed to make a proper espresso and produces a rich, smooth-tasting cup of joe. Don’t rest it on its side after using it like we did, or you might end up with coffee dregs all over your sleeping bag.
Crua Tri Tent
The Crua Tri comes with a thick, highly waterproof outer shell, and a separate cocoon-like inner that you clip in. All this means it's a heavy beast that tips the scales at 30kg, but it comes with its own wheely bag, making it easy to lug from car to campsite.
The inner is made from a patented insulation material, which makes it feel like you're camping inside a cosy blanket fort. It was a typical British summer's day when we put it up (re: rather cold and breezy) but inside all was warm and still, with noise levels drastically slashed. Inside, there are plenty of pockets and windows, while the vestibule is roomy enough for two chairs and an assortment of bags and boots. The tent completely cuts out light, so no pesky sunbeams woke us up at dawn – you can actually enjoy a lie-in!
It's a bit tricky to set up as it doesn't come with instructions, but two of us managed it in 30 minutes. It easily sleeps up to three people (even those over six-feet tall), and is wheelchair accessible to boot. Nature, bring it on!
A decent camping mat is essential if you want to get a good night’s sleep under the stars, and you could do a lot worse than this one. Simply spread it out on the floor and wait for it to puff up all by itself. When you’re done, the whole things packs into a stuff sack about the size of a roll of kitchen paper.
Perfect for those who can’t bear sleeping bags, the Bundle Bed features a self-inflating mattress, pillow, duvet and sheet, all wrapped up in a handy roll. The bedding is made from moisture-wicking material, so we didn't get any of the nasty clamminess that can come with sleeping in a tent, and the snuggly 15-tog duvet kept us cosy all night long (even when suffering with chilly queasiness from festival food). It's incredibly easy to assemble, deflate and re-roll (we managed it while seriously sleep-deprived, sheltering in a tiny tent from the driving rain). Its strap makes it easy to sling over your shoulder for transportation, but it's too heavy and bulky for hiking – best to keep it at base camp.
Big Agnes Sentinel 30
Ideal for couples, the Sentinel sleeps two people. It uses a unique system that lets you slot an inflatable mat into the underside, holding it in place and providing extra insulation. With a soft shell and zips at either side, it feels more like the duvet on your bed at home than a sleeping bag. Plus, the water-repellent down filling will keep you snug when the temperatures plunge below freezing.
$369.95 (£290 approx), bigagnes.com
Airgo Stratus 400
Setting up in a busy field can send shivers down the spine of even a seasoned festival goer, so speed is of the essence. The Airgo Stratus 400 is pretty foolproof, so even the most novice camper can get this up and going inside of ten minutes, and the inflatable poles make it easy and quick to pitch and pack away.
It's a bit of a beast weighing in at 28kg, so don’t expect to go hiking with it on your back, but you’ll be pleased you brought it in the boot when standing tall in your inflatable home from home.
From £499.99, gooutdoors.co.uk
Though this may fill you with a sense of nostalgia, we chose this phone because it’s built for purpose. With little in the way of frills, other than Snake, the phone will last you up to a month on standby. We used it over a weekend in London and only saw the battery drop by 40 per cent. There’s a camera for selfies, and if it’s anything like it’s predecessor it’ll put up with a fair few knocks too.
Every bit of tech seems to have an app these days and this lantern is no different. Hook it up to your phone via Bluetooth and control the powerful light’s brightness and colour remotely. It features two USB charging ports for when your phone is out of juice, and turns on automatically when you approach it – a welcome feature when you are staggering back from the local hostelry in the dead of night.
This power bank will charge your smartphone three times over – exactly enough to get you through a festival weekend. It’s pocket-sized and has two USB slots – so if you’re getting into the festival spirit you can help out a friend in need.
Whether you’re pitched around the campfire or rocking out to the headliners, you’re probably going to want to take some video, but inevitably your smartphone can record only so much. The Dokicam is a 3K 360-degree camera that will capture everyone’s faces, so you’ll never have to choose between taking a shot of the band’s finale or the embarrassing disco dad dancing behind you. You can even livestream it if you have enough signal (or power) in your phone.
Festivals are about partying hard, but the relentless pace of three days in a muddy field can take its toll, especially in the morning. There is much to be said for the restorative powers of a fresh cup of tea, but while you’re waiting for that to kettle to boil taking in a good breath of fresh air could make all the difference. Oxygen Boost is 95 per cent pure oxygen in a can, which should get your brain cells firing and improves recovery time… you know, for all that exercise you’ve been doing. It also comes in lots of fancy flavours – our favourite is grapefruit.
Tent poles are a pain in the proverbial, so why not ditch them all together and just use an entirely inflatable structure. That’s the idea behind the Heimplanet Cave, which weighs in at a festival friendly 4.8kgs for 2-3 happy campers to have their tent up in minutes. It’s five-point design also makes it incredibly tough when it comes to resisting downpours and high winds.
From €650, heimplanet.com
Sitting on a sodden floor and waiting for the band to start is a rite of passage for most at festivals, but the SitPack, a single-legged stool that packs down to little over the size of a tin of pop, means there’ll be no muddy bums this year!
From £41.24, sitpack.com
Shunting heavy camping equipment through a field is never a great start to the weekend, but that can be made significantly easier with a trolley. The Micro Wagon folds up small, has big wheels for navigating bumpy terrain, and can carry around 95kgs, just enough for a lazy nipper.
Krumholtz UL2 mtnGLO® with Goal Zero
This tent is incredibly light to carry, making it a great choice for those who want to just sling their stuff in a rucksack and get outside, without the hassle of a trolley or car. It comes with a Goal Zero solar panel that charges a battery, so you can run the included fan or lantern, or juice up your devices. Funky LED lights are integrated into the tent body, offering plenty of illumination for getting dressed, eating or reading (or just holding your own mini-disco). We had the whole shebang assembled in 15 minutes flat, but we can’t help thinking it’s a bit ‘compact’ for two people, plus kit. Oh, and bring a sleep mask – those walls block no light!
$649.95 (£500 approx), bigagnes.com
Now we’re really glamping. This battery-powered wireless projector is meant for the great outdoors. Its rubberised housing makes it splash proof, drop proof and heat resistant so it’s okay to pick up after use. It’ll run a film at 720p for three hours from a USB input (your phone) or HDMI outputting sound via Bluetooth to a speaker. Now you just have to find a surface to project on…