11 alternatives to camping
There are a lot of good things about festivals. You get to see bands you love, find out all about previously undiscovered artists and laugh at the ones you hate, all in the company of friends old and new.
But then, when the night’s pleasures end, you have to get in a tent. And it’s horrible. So here are a dozen alternatives to camping that you might want to consider as this year’s festival season rolls around. You’re welcome…
Stay at a nearby Hotel
Anyone who has ever woken up in a tent has, on some level, regretted every decision that led to them sleeping outside under a flimsy sheet of just-about-waterproof canvas.
One sure-fire way to avoid these mornings of regret and backache is to simply find the nearest hotel to the site of the festival you’re attending, book yourself a room and look forward to a nice, comfy bed at the end of a hard day’s standing around watching stuff.
Plus, you get a proper breakfast, as opposed to half a tin of lukewarm beans scrounged from the tent pitched uncomfortably close to yours.
There is only one thing that middle class festival-goers clad in designer wellies and overpriced sunglasses have in common with Mongolian nomads, and it’s not a predilection for stuffed vine leaves.
The humble yurt, centuries old portable homes to the wandering people of Mongolia, have become an increasingly popular way to spend a couple of nights at a festival site, a pre-built home-from-home that makes you feel at one with nature, but not too much. Mud in the hummus is nobody’s idea of fun, after all.
Now this may not be a way of completely avoiding camping, as you’ll still be sleeping under canvas, but at least you’ll be able to avoid the worst aspects of dealing with tents, namely getting the damned thing up.
Many festivals now offer a bespoke pre-pitched tent package, where everything you’ll need for the weekend is ready and waiting for you when you arrive, so that all you have to do is drink until you forget you’re sleeping in a tent. Hooray!
There’s a reason that the camper van has been the standard form of transport for hippy types since the late ‘60s: they’re basically custom built for festivals.
A mobile home, with beds on board, heating, ample room for days worth of food and booze and, if you’ve got a particularly advanced version, your very own toilet. Festival heaven basically. Turns out those hippies really do know what they’re doing after all…
For some folks, festivals represent more than an opportunity to walk around a heavily branded enclosure for two or three days being held hostage to flagrantly over priced food and drink.
They’re a chance to commune with nature, to get in touch with your ancestors, and pretend you aren’t worried about your mobile phone tariff. What better way to do all that than to sleep in an authentic (ish) native American tipi! They’ve become the temporary home of choice for the Glastonbury cognoscenti of recent years.
This one is strictly limited to festivals with a wooded area somewhere on the ground, as you’re going to need a pair of handily positioned trees if you’re to set up that rarest of sleeping arrangements, the hammock.
Popular with sailors and people with big gardens, hammocks are light, easy to set up and insanely comfortable. You’ll be the envy of everyone waking up in a sleeping bag, without a doubt.
Popular with the British Army back when it thought red tunics made good camouflage, the bell tent is essentially still a tent, but in direct contrast to the cramped, airless things most folks camp in, they’re enormous, airy and tall enough to jump around in. If that’s the sort of thing you look for in a temporary shelter, then the bell tent is for you.
According to an ancient English proverb (probably), sleep is for the weak.
And certainly, if you visit pretty much any festival, you’ll find a small but determined group of saucer-eyed revellers doing their very best to keep the part rolling to the morning and beyond.
While we wouldn’t advise this as a sensible, healthy course of action for people who value their mental and physical well being, there’s no denying it’s a highly effective method for steering clear of camping.
Have you got a knack for palm reading? Feel uncomfortable in any house that doesn’t have wheels?
Then the gypsy caravan might be right up your street. You might be thinking that one of these old-school mobile homes (and associated horse) don’t make the most convenient festival home, but think again – you can hire one (ok, sans horse) from the good folks at V Festival for example.
The ultimate in festival convenience, simply dress for any weather eventuality, enjoy yourself, and when you’re all partied out, go to sleep.
If you’re lucky, morning might find you in front of a still-warm fire and the prospect of breakfast. The flip side is slightly grimmer – no one wants to wake up next to (or upside down inside) a portaloo, but that’s the risk you take. Exciting, eh?
The Home Festival Experience
The only sure way to guarantee you are surrounded by creature comforts such as cold beer, comfy seats, bedding and indoor heating is simply not to leave your home.
Most major festivals have some kind of TV, radio or internet coverage these days, so simply put your feet up and take it all in at your convenience. If you want the authentic festival experience, simply invite a dozen strangers to stand a little bit too close to you in your front room while you do so. Then kick them out and go to bed. Perfect.