LADYLAND X MOTHER OF ALL LISTS:
HOW TO SURVIVE A FESTIVAL WITH KIDS
We’re going to Camp Bestival! Can’t wait, a festival specifically designed for families, with an awesome line-up. And the perfect excuse to wear glitter as an adult, eat food from trucks and let the kids get bit feral for the weekend.
We’ve teamed up with Clemmie from Mother of All Lists who has all the tips for surviving a festival with kids. Head over to her site to see her definitive list, and keep reading here to find out what to pack.
Gone are the days when my luggage was basically: cut-off jeans, 50 cans of cider and pop-up tent… I now have two kids and a husband in tow, and as much as I love getting back to nature, there are some things I really can’t live without. My kids are 3 and 5, so they are out of nappies, if you’re taking a baby, there will obviously be a mountain of nappies to add to this list (you can never have too many – keep some in the car too where it’s dry). I also haven’t included clothes because, that’s obvious. So here goes…
Each adult needs a backpack with everything you’ll need for the whole day without having to schlep back to the tent because someone forgot their jumper. The Camp Bestival theme this year is Space, so this Tiba+Marl silver changing backpack is pretty perfect. These are the bits you’ll need for the day.
- Raincoats, for everyone
- A small umbrella
- Toilet paper – keep it in a plastic bag
- Hand sanitiser
- Beanies for everyone – it gets COLD! More cold than you’d think. Also bring tights or leggings for little legs. Lots of little layers are good.
- A hip flask – or a thermos for your booze of choice.
- Wipes – for literally everything.
- Ear defenders for the littlies if the music is too loud.
- Bottle of water, plus this flavoured Robinson’s squash stuff to make it more interesting for kids, you just need a few drops to flavour it.
- Kid snacks – Ella’s pouches, even for older kids (it’s better than carting around an actual squashed banana in your bag), rice cakes, muesli bars, anything that will stave off a tantrum.
- Vaseline and glitter! – There will be a moment when you’re queuing for beer and the kids start to drive you nuts. That’s when you crack out the glitter and give everyone a tribal disco make over.
- Glow sticks – useful for two reasons. They transform tired kids into delighted kids, plus it’s easy to identify them in the dark after a few drinks… Clemmie has some good tips on how not to lose your kids too!
- A baby carrier – not just for babies – my husband carried a sleeping 4 year old in our Ergo Baby last year!
- A tent – the bigger the better. Make sure it has a porch section that is separate to the inside so you can sit and drink wine in shelter after the kids go to sleep.
- Spare tent pegs – you cannot have too many.
- A mallet – always useful, everyone forgets to bring one (they will want to borrow yours, write your name on it so you get it back.)
- A lantern that hangs up – you need to be able to light up the tent hands-free to deal with ‘incidents’ in the night – kids, nappies, accidents.
- Spare batteries for the lantern.
- A headlamp.
- A wind break – this is for safety more than privacy, so kids don’t run off between tents and garotte themselves on a guy rope.
- A fold up bath – good for washing kids and dishes, also doubles as a small pool if it’s hot.
- A water canister – one with a tap on it is good.
- Elastic straps with hooks – good for attaching things to other things, which you will need to do at some point.
- A wagon, or a buggy that’s good off road (ie: not a Bugaboo Bee) – we bought our red wagon last year and it is fabulous for carting kids around the festival as well as stuff to and from the car. It has a cover for the rain and can fit two kids in sitting up, but only one lying down. If you want a bigger one, there are some great folding ones on Amazon which will fit two sleeping kids, but they aren’t as cute. You can always jazz it up though.
- Bunting – or decorations for your campsite, tinsel, flags, ribbons, make it fun!
- Wellies – ESSENTIAL.
- Air mattress – don’t get a cheap one, and get one with a battery operated pump
- ReadyBeds for the kids – they double as a blow up mattress and a sleeping bag
- A duvet – not a sleeping bag, an actual soft, fluffy duvet. Bring it in a vacuum packed bag to make it take up less room.
- Real pillows – your back and neck will thank you on day 3.
- Blankets – keep them in a bin bag so they don’t get wet, bring spares.
- Towels – not for showering (ha! showering, that’s cute). For drying stuff like chairs, hair, hands.
You need to make sure everyone has something to sit on if the ground is a giant mud pie. Especially toddlers. There is nothing worse than having a kid on your lap for 4 days.
- Ikea highchair – best highchair ever. The legs come off so it’s easy to transport. It also keeps toddlers contained while you put up the tent etc.
- Fold-up chairs – adult and kids size
- A fold-up table – these roll-up ones are great, they are the easiest to transport. Don’t get one where the chairs are connected. They are uncomfortable to sit on and a bit of a faff.
- A plastic coated picnic rug – This one that rolls up is ideal. Great for babies to roll around on, take it with you for the day if it fits in the buggy/wagon.
Bring toys and games for things to do in down-time. Aside from a few bedtime books and the regular favourite teddies, here are a few other ideas:
- Nothing made of cardboard or fabric which will get wrecked in the rain.
- Inflatable things are great for the campsite – a beach ball or a blow up dinosaur is always fun.
- Crafty things – last year we all made plaited wool headbands for our crew. The kids loved making them, which kept them occupied while we sorted stuff out and when they were all wearing them it was easy to spot them in the crowd. Double whammy!
Unless you are actually covered in vomit (yours or someone else’s) you have no reason to shower for four days – just go with it. Everything can be cleaned with some sort of wipe and disposed of in some sort of bag.
- Baby wipes – for bodies, babies, adults, everyone. Get 5 packets.
- Waterwipes – for wiping spoons, cups, plates if you can’t be bothered doing actually washing up
- Anti-bacterial wipes – for pottys, surfaces, highchairs, things toddlers will lick.
- Toilet paper – keep it in a plastic bag.
- Potty & potty bags – this folding one is genius. Not just for kids too, for the whole family when the port-a-loos are hideous.
- Dry shampoo and a tangle teaser – figure out a hairstyle that looks good 4 days in, I go for the topknot.
- Toiletries and make-up, maybe some glitter too?!
- Ear plugs – ESSENTIAL
- Bin bags – all of the bin bags.
- Resealable plastic bags – great for snacks, wet clothes, things that are gross, muddy stuff and pooey nappies in your day pack.
A “SICK BAG”
I have one of these in the car all the time, but it’s particularly good for camping to have everything in one place if someone spews on themselves, or suddenly gets ill. It includes:
- Anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.
- A plastic bag – for sick clothes.
- A spare top, pair of pants and nappies (even for older kids, if they have the runs).
- Thermometer, Calpol sachets and spoon.
- Any other regular medication, asthma puffers etc.
- Antiseptic gel for cuts and grazes.
- A small bottle of water – for drinking or cleaning
FOOD & COOKING
I really love festival food, but when you’re with kids you need to make sure you’ve got things they actually like (turns out not every three-year-old is a fan of Goan fish curry). Plus, you want things that are easy to grab in the face of a hangry tantrum.
- Chilly bin / coolbox / Eski – Use frozen peas as an ice pack and an ingredient. Handy!
- Camping stove – most festivals won’t let you use a gas BBQ unless you’re in the campervan area.
- Oven mit
- Lighter – no one smokes anymore, they are hard to find!
- Washing up bowl, cloths, detergent
- Chopping board
- A big knife
- Plates, cups bowl
- Small tupperware to keep leftovers.
- Saucepan and wooden spoon.
- A stove-top teapot – water boils faster in one of these than in a saucepan, so when you wake up in that no-one-look-at-me-until-I’ve-had-some-tea kind of mood, it will be 3 minutes quicker.
- Mugs for tea
- Teabags & mini long-life milk – in a plastic container so they don’t get soggy – ESSENTIAL!
- Booze of choice and a thermos to chill it in.
- Bottle opener & corkscrew
- Condiments, salt, pepper etc – don’t forget oil to cook with.
- Ikea clippy clips – to re-seal bags of kid snacks.
Some food ideas – these are our go-to middle-class camping meals.
- Avocado on toast with a fried egg …I did say “middle-class”.
- Pre-made shackshuka with a fried egg – make the sauce at home, bring it frozen.
- The Loch Ness Sandwich (invented while camping on the shores of Loch Ness). Consists of a pitta pocket (they don’t go stale if you keep them sealed) with a sausage (the monster) in a lake of mushy peas and ketchup… you don’t need plates for this!
- Halloumi and veggie kebabs
- Veggie tacos – use a butternut squash instead of meat. Check out Hungermama’s recipe.
- Pasta – kids effing love pasta
ONE MORE THING…
There is one hugely important thing to pack, which isn’t pictured here for good reason – IT NEVER LEAVES THE CAR…
- A bag with a new outfit including socks, underwear and shoes for every family member. There is nothing more lovely than knowing your ride home will be in dry socks, mud-free. And the inside of your car will be saved from looking like an outtake from Saving Private Ryan …on the inside at least. Do not use it until you leave, no matter how tempting it is three days in when you’re covered in mud.
And don’t fret if the forecast looks like rain. Last year we went to the Green Man festival and it rained the whole time but we still had loads of fun. In fact I think it was more fun because we had the kids with us and rather than huddling in a beer tent waiting for the rain to stop, we were out there jumping in puddles in our wellies as a family. Some of my favourite memories.
Good luck, hopefully we’ll see you there!
Photography and styling: Emma Scott-Child