Ah, festivals. A great excuse to don a pair of wellies, hang out with friends and listen to some killer music. There’s nothing quite like the festival experience. Naturally, for the full experience you’ll need somewhere to stay, so you’re probably in the market for a tent that will serve you well at a festival.
Many festivals last for a number of days, so you may be fancying making a whole holiday out of it. If that’s the case, it’s worth getting a spacious tent that you can lounge around in and really enjoy the excursion. But what makes a good tent for a festival, and where do you find one? Well, that’s an easy question to answer! Find the answers right here along with our picks of the best tents for festivals.
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Best Tent for a Festival - Reviews
This tent isn’t just a pretty face. Though it comes with a unique design, this tent can fit 2 people comfortably . It’ll easily keep you dry from adverse weather, and keep you nice and cosy all night (and day!) long.
The tent withstands bad weather well, as we’ve said, but it’s also quite easy to set up, and equally as easy to pack away. It’s waterproof, and has a 2000mm puncture-resistant mesh so it won’t break easily. It’s incredibly durable due to the tent’s fiberglass skeleton that’s totally windproof. It’s easy to enter due to the large D-Frame doors and it also has windows you can close fairly easily too. It comes with a mesh that also protects from bug bites and brings in a little extra ventilation during the summer months. You can even remove the rainfly during the warmer weather if you want to.
There’s tonnes of space for any gear you have to bring with you too, including some internal pockets and it comes with a spacious bag to carry the tent in that you can also put extra stuff into for more storage. It’s a little heavier than a lot of other tents on this list for that reason, but it’s well worth the extra weight for a high quality tent that will withstand even the toughest of storms and give you a really fantastic camping experience.
If you’re looking for a tent that’s easy to pitch, this is your guy! The Decathlon Quechua 2 Seconds XL Tent sleeps 2 people, and is fairly lightweight so it’s easy to carry around with you.
This tent has anything you could ever need for a festival tent. Firstly, it’s in the name - this tent takes a whopping 2 seconds to put up! Furthermore, it pitches without pegs if you’re super in a rush though this may not be the best idea if you would like to come back to your tent still being where you left it. It can be a bit tricky to put away afterwards, but otherwise it’s a solid contender for more reasons. This tent can withstand a lot of weather conditions, including a Force 6 gale. The tent comes with a Fresh and Black fabric which blocks the sun easily when you’re trying to get some daytime napping in.
It also comes at a pretty affordable price, allowing you to focus on buying the rounds for your friends and a couple of extra snacks at the nearby burger van!
This tent does what it came here to do: it gives you shelter with no extra fuss. All you need to do is take this tent out of the bag and peg it in. No problem!
This tent is also ultra lightweight for easy transportation if you’re walking around with it. It’s also very breathable due to the sports mesh ventilation points included in the tent. It has a sewn in groundsheet too, so you don’t need to worry about being covered in mud when you wake up in the morning. It has a hydrostatic head of 3000mm so it’s pretty waterproof, and the fabric is completely fire retardant.
Sure, the tent requires certain techniques to get it back in the bag after your fun is done, but it comes at an affordable price and it does the job well.
The ideal solution to your festival camping needs, this bad boy is incredibly spacious, easily fits 3 people inside and it will last a long time. Weather resistant, especially against heavy rain, this is a great tent to take to somewhere that it rains a lot. Glastonbury, anyone?
The tent has a hydrostatic head of 4000mm, which is pretty incredible as far as waterproofing goes. The groundsheet is also in a bathtub style that keeps water strictly OUT of the premises. It’s pretty durable and is very easy to put up, so it’ll last you a good couple of festivals without giving you too much of a headache in the meantime. The tent doesn’t come with a blackout though, so unless you sleep well in the sun we’d suggest buying something to keep the light out.
This is an incredibly affordable tent especially considering how long it’ll last, so if you need something long lasting for a potential hiking trip this is also a bargain.
The Best Tents for a Festival - Buyers Guide
So what makes a good tent for the festival season? There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a new tent.
How much you need to spend on a tent depends heavily on the exact purposes. Yes, you need something that will last you throughout the festival period, but do you want something that’ll last you for just that weekend or do you want something durable that will last for future excursions and festivals?
You need something comfortable, naturally. There are a lot of extra little luxuries that you can get with a good quality tent that are well worth your time investing in for a brilliant weekend that you’ll remember for years to come. Think of it as a home away from home - you don’t want an uncomfortable home and will have problems down the road, do you?
Ultimately, it comes down to what you can afford. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a tent that you don’t mind leaving behind because it’ll get covered in food and drink, but if you intend to use it again or if the weather is bad it’s worth investing in a higher quality tent.
This is possibly one of the biggest considerations for a festival tent. Chances are if you’re going to a festival you’ll be going with a large group of friends, so you'll want enough room to sleep and bring some items with you, but also enough room that you could sit around with your friends and still have room to stand up.
If more than one person is sleeping in a tent, you also need to consider this. Usually, if a tent says that it can house 2 people, you should go for a 3 man tent and so on as the amount of people increases.
You should also keep in mind how much extra space the tent has. Areas like porches are great for relaxing with friends and also help when there’s bad weather. Extra areas are also handy to keep supplies in. Some tents will also have areas like a gear store or external storage system that’s worth considering.
There’s nothing more irritating than spending hours trying to set up a tent and failing to epic proportions. It can put a dampener on the whole excursion, which is most definitely something you want to avoid. A lot of modern tests have anti-frustration features to help make life easier for you.
Certain brands come with much fewer parts so it’s not too fiddly. Some tents come with things like color coded poles that help ensure you’re putting the tent poles in the right place for easy setup and less irritation with trying to fix the tent to the ground. You could also consider looking for an elastic band on between the rods which help to keep the poles together.
If you’re going to an area plagued with bugs, this is pretty important. Double-walled tents tend to be better to protect from bugs, as is having some extra mesh to prevent bugs from getting in.
There’s no way of 100% predicting the weather, so you need to be prepared if it rains. It’s best not to be soggy in a rave! With this in mind, you should try to select a tent that’s waterproof and that you can use in the event of rain.
With waterproofing in mind, it’s worth knowing what materials are commonly used in constructing a tent to see what’s best for you.
PVC - This is incredibly waterproof, but it’s also heavy. It’s quite durable and long-lasting.
Polyester - It’s harder for these tents to fade or get baggy when it rains, and they come with a waterproof coating usually
Polycotton - This is very durable and also soft and long-lasting, and can be coated with waterproof coatings
Nylon - considered the best materials. It withstands rain rather than absorbing it. The only issue is that it can be damaged by the sun.
When selecting a tent, you should check that it has a minimum Hydrostatic Head of 1,000mm up to 5,000mm, as this makes it waterproof. The higher the hydrostatic head the more waterproof the tent will be. Some tents are also ‘single skin’ whereas others will come with two layers, an inner and an outer, for extra protection from water. These are called ‘double-skin tents.’ If you choose to go with a double skin tent, ensure that the layers aren’t touching because this can negatively impact the level of protection you get from it.
Pop Up Tents: Should I Buy One?
If you’re going to the festival yourself it would work in your favor to use a pop up tent. A pop up tent is a tent that has the poles already assembled and they’re fitted into the fabric of the tent. They’re ideal for people who have never set up a tent before. It’s going to be very difficult to set up a traditional tent with poles if there’s nobody else with you as it’ll require another set of hands. With that being said, pop up tents are small, don’t have black out fabric which is irritating when you’re up until the small hours of the morning at a festival, and they aren’t always consistent in quality.
With that being said, it’ll probably suffice for a festival that you’re only using for a few nights, but if you want something that will last beyond that you’d be better off getting a traditional tent that’s durable enough to last.
What do I need to look for in a tent for a festival?
So there’s a few additional things you should be looking for in a tent for a festival.
Firstly it’s pretty important to ensure that the tent has blackout fabric. As previously said, the chances are that you will be staying up until crazy hours of the morning, likely not even waking up until the afternoon. The later in the day you sleep the brighter it will be. For this reason, you won’t be awoken by the sun or the sounds of drunken party goers making a lot of noise.
You should also look for a tent that has a thick groundsheet sewn in. You’ll be able to avoid any mud seeping through, or any disgusting bodily fluids that come from people being too lazy to wait for a portaloo! With a good quality groundsheet you should be able to keep yourself and your belongings nice and dry.
On a final note, try to opt for a tent with security measures. Tents with zips on the inside and outside are your best bet to give you that added extra feeling of security while you’re asleep. Tents with two zipper tabs also allow you to padlock them when you’re not at camp too, keeping your belongings safe.
Extra Festival Essentials
In addition to your tent, here’s a few extra things you should consider bringing with you for a better camping experience. A camping table and chair set will make eating much easier and give you somewhere to relax during your downtime. For sleeping, you should consider getting an inflatable airbed so you’re not just lying on the groundsheet, just for a little added comfort.
Some extra lighting such as a torch will be super handy, especially when roaming about at night. There are some cheap models out there, such as wind up torches as they are not battery powered but still last a long time. Some water storage containers are also handy, as are some picnic sets with disposable cups and plated. Finally, it could be worth bringing a hot water bottle with you to keep you warm during the night.
So what do you need to know when setting up for a festival weekend of camping?
Clear off the pitching area - make sure your tent isn’t placed on top of any stones, animal manure and glass otherwise, you’re going to have a rather unpleasant evening.
Clean the tent - Make sure you remove any mud from the tent and wipe it down after using it. If you do this and allow the tent to dry properly you’ll avoid any extra damage and repel any unwanted smells.
Don’t cook - do not attempt to cook inside your tent. Even if it’s raining, this is not advised. Fumes from a stove or barbecue can easily knock you out and make you dizzy, and there’s always the risk of the tent burning down.
Practice pitching - this should not be as much of a problem in a pop-up tent but if you practice pitching the tent at home you’ll know how to do it without much fuss when you’re at the campsite, saving any extra stress.
Repair kits - if your tent is damaged you can take a repair kit which usually includes fabric to seal up any holes in the tent caused by weather damage or other kinds of damage. Bringing some seam sealer is also a good idea.
It’s also worth bringing a fire blanket, blankets and pillows, a first aid kit, paper and pen, toilet rolls and wet wipes. There are actually kits out there designed for the festival-goers that cover all of these items to it’s worth looking into.