back to article Top 10 tech essentials for the festival season

According to the calendar, Summer is icumen in, which means it’s time to stand in a muddy field and listen to the sonic outpourings of the latest beat combos. Personally, (Live Aid and Stevie Nicks at Red Rocks being two exceptions) I’ve yet to see an outdoor concert that held a Zippo to a good indoor event but they seem to be …


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  1. EddieD

    Biolite stove..

    "There is a slight whiff of more money than sense about this thing, but I still want one."

    Me too.

    Not so sure about the GoPro though - mine, as I have already stated via this organ, is very temperamental. Also, unless you're about 6 inches from the stage, the wide angle lens is going to reduce the already ant-like figures performing to positively atomic proportions. I'll just stick my compact in my pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Biolite stove..

      I treated myself to one of these and all I can say is wow!

      The total lack of ash even after burning a fair number of fir cones (>20) to make my morning coffee while at Download Festival last weekend was surprising to say the least. It is very fuel hungry though and it turned out I'd only brought enough fuel for 2 mornings.

      I didn't want to charge my phone from it for obvious reasons but it didn't take long for the LED indicator to show it was ready to charge if needed.

      Overall though, very pricey and here in the UK, the likelihood of finding suitable fuel on the go is low so you'd have to bring your own. Charcoal/Coke aren't recommended by the manufacturer either.

      1. AdamT

        Re: Biolite stove..

        I'm probably being a bit dense here but, why didn't you want to charge your phone from it?

        1. kmac499

          Re: Biolite stove..

          Plus ca change..

          I dimly remember tales of a Russian Radio power by a thermoeletric generator back in the 20s.. So the word of the party could reach the peasants on the non eleectric collective farms..

          A quick Google took to me to

          But you're right I want one as well..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Biolite stove..

            I'd rather make a hobo stove, leave my mobile at home and enjoy the festival.

      2. EddieD

        Re: Biolite stove..

        I live (and camp) in Scotland - on the places I go I don't think that lack of fuel would be a problem - I could probably fill a rucksack with pine cones in half an hour, it's just the weight that's the problem - 1kg is 1liter of drink :)

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Hang it from the cross-member of your tent?

    Tents still have cross-members? (Or ridge-pole, as we called it when I was a sprout).

    Mine has external carbon fibre struts, nothing inside but me.

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re nothing inside but me

      Isn't that a bit lonely?

    2. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Hang it from the cross-member of your tent?

      You have to be very carefull hooking things over ridge poles - in a single skin tent the pressure point can cause an annoying leak.

      Most tents worth buying have a couple of fabric loops sewn into the roof for hanging lanterns from.

  3. Mick Stranahan


    I'm still using a (very old) Vango Force 10 which has a cross pole.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      Re: Tents

      Cracking tent!

      1. El Presidente

        Re: Tents

        Vango force 10? Great tent. Until you have to de-snow it and carry it down off Blencathra in a sodden Karrimor rucksack, wearking a smock.

        In February, in the dark, with an owl etc..

        However good old school stuff was I much prefer new lightweight kit.

    2. Getriebe

      Re: Tents

      Another thumbs up for Force 10. Mine spent may a year as base camp in some part of the Alps. Faded like hell, but still OK. My wife loaned it to the daughter of a friend. Said bint left it in a field at some festival. Much wailing and crying. Arse.

  4. Chazmon

    10 things to get stolen during the festival season

    The lamp is cool and I'm a sucker for LEDs however it requires 8 hours sunlight, IE 8 hours left outside where some passing rapscallion can nick it.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: 10 things to get stolen during the festival season

      Unfortunately I have to agree with that never leave anything in your tent you would care about if it was stolen.

    2. PastyFace

      Re: 10 things to get stolen during the festival season

      Quite. I'd consider myself a gadget tech enthusiast but part of the reason I go to festivals is for an escape from all this guff...

      1. VinceH Silver badge

        Re: 10 things to get stolen during the festival season

        Sod festivals, it's better to eff off for a walk somewhere remote to get away from all this guff... and other people. Far too many of those things at festivals.

    3. stucs201

      Re: 10 things to get stolen during the festival season

      Indeed, mostly completely not needed at a festival.

      The stove? A heat source can be good, but the price of this thing will buy a *lot* of disposable BBQs. True they won't charge gadgets, but you don't need that...

      Device chargers? Why? A festival isn't a particularly safe place for expensive gadgetry. True a phone is handy to work out where friends are to meet up. However the old S40 Nokia out of the drawer will do that job just fine, won't get stolen, will probably survive being dropped in the mud and has a battery life that should last the entire festival (if you have doubts then take a spare charged battery). You don't need net access on the phone - if you find yourself wanting facebook you've gone with the wrong friends.

      Video camera? Why? You've gone to a live music event. Why watch it through a screen. Enjoy it for what it is. A stills camera however can be handy for photos of your mates (if you've taken a truely ancient phone that doesn't have one) - again the battrery on this ought to get through the entire event.

      Speakers? Why? See the above comment about being at a live music event. If you really want evening entertainment in the campsite then find someone who has taken an accoustic guitar.

      Waterproof case? This one makes sense. Keeping stuff dry can be important, but not gadgets - the personal supply of loo roll for when the toilets have none is far more important. A cheap re-sealable plastic bag will suffice though, and may even be overkill if kept in the pocket of a proper waterproof jacket (the only even remotely expensive thing you should consider taking).

      Lantern? Yes you'll need light, but personally I'd take something with a 2 or 3 D-cells in it (they'll run LEDs for ages) rather than having to faff with solar charging.

      Icon? The only truely essential thing at a festival!

  5. James 51 Silver badge

    That solargo backpack looks good.

    1. AbelSoul

      Re: That solargo backpack looks good.

      Indeed it does.

      So much so that in a fit of can't-really-afford-it-but-I'm-having-it-anyway-impulse-buy-madness, I just ordered one.

      Might get here in time for Glastonbury, might not.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: That solargo backpack looks good.

        Good for holidays in sunny places too. Might be tricky disasembling at security is main draw back.

  6. D@v3

    4G EE at Glastonbury.

    Just to say, that seeing as EE are one of the bigger sponsors of Glastonbury, the signal will probably be reasonable at least, due to temporary infrastructure (although, of course, with the number of people on sight, weather it will be of any use is hard to say).

    I know they are providing free 4G powered Wi-Fi in some areas.

    They also have a deal where if you buy a (relatively low powered) charge bar from them (EE), you can use it to charge your phone, and drop it into one of their tents, and get a 'new' fully charged one in return. Yours to keep at the end of the festival.

  7. Tim 11

    my own festival survival kit

    - 24 pack of stella

    - wad of cash (a lot less than most of these gadgets cost)

    - Nokia 6100 (10 day battery life)

    sorted :-)

    1. GregC

      Re: 24 pack of stella

      What do you do on the second day?

      1. El Presidente

        Re: 24 pack of stella

        "What do you do on the second day?"

        Wander round looking for his lost wad of cash after passing out after 8 cans of pish.

      2. stucs201

        Re: What do you do on the second day?

        Go to the real-ale tent for some proper beer?

  8. Lamont Cranston

    Solar powered lantern?

    Who needs a lantern when it's sunny?

  9. Rob

    Another Rucksack

    If you don't want to buy another rucksack the Gorilla from Power Traveller also has an optional fold out solar panel that you can attach to your rucksack to charge the hefty 6 x 3500mAh with a range of 5V - 24V and has enough connectors that you can charge more devices than you would want to take to a festival. We have a complete ban on buying any more rucksacks, I'm drowning in them.

    Probably one of these most used bits of kit in our house (besides the devices that have been used and need charging of course).

  10. davemcwish


    Backpack looks good. I've got the combination of Powermonkey Extreme and Spidermonkey that works well. Even when not camping, or if I've got a leccy hookup, the Spidermonkey obviates the need for multiple power adapters.

  11. Tiny Iota

    "There is a slight whiff of more money than sense about this thing, but I still want one"

    But what about the stove the iPhone's plugged into?

  12. Mike Flex


    "SanDisk's Connect Wireless Media Drive is a neat alternative and can stream to eight devices and has an 8-hour battery life. "

    To my mind the 'festival season' is in 6 months time but for people who do want to shell out several hundred quid to sit in a mudbath and listen to live pop music isn't it rather defeating the point to take your own music with you?

  13. Paw Bokenfohr

    UE Boom

    Totally vouch for that one; great sound for the size, micro USB charging, lasts for 10+ hours, can pair them up if you have two for even more volume.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Kids today!

    WTF is this crap?

    Festival essentials:

    Several cases of cheap ass loopy beer, some for you, others for the random's you meet.

    Portable case stove

    frying pan


    stuff to put in the above.

    couple of changes of clothes

    Toothbush and toothpaste

    That's it I think!

    When food goes off / runs out either a) sell your soul to buy some 2nd rate food from some cockney in a burger van, b) crash with someone else and exchange beer for food.or c) just don't eat for 2 days.

    Festivals are about having fun, not posting on bloody facebook

    1. Hardcastle the ancient

      Re: Kids today!

      What is this "change of clothes" and "toothbrush" of which ye speak, strange person?

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Kids today!

      Kids and their damn gadgets. Why, in my day we had real gadgets, the sort that worked reliably for years without recharging and could take a real beating and rarely were stolen. Like flint & steel. Or a good knife - remember knives?

      Get off my ... oh, you're not on my lawn, are you? You're off at some rubbish festival. When I were a lad we didn't muck about with festivals - we sat around complaining about having nothing to do. Built character.

      (OK, I admit I'm a bit tempted by Robot Head. But only because Yotsuba&! is brilliant.)

  15. Mike Wilson

    Holy Fucking Shit

    A hundred and fifty quid for a camping stove? Get out of here. And keep it topped up with twigs for three hours to charge a typical smart phone? I don't think so.

    1. RNixon

      Re: Holy Fucking Shit

      They run $130 in the US for the stove itself, more if you want a grill attachment or a custom-fitted pot.

      Charging a phone is the demonstrated use, but charging an LED flashlight, or a handheld GPS unit is a more 'realistic' use for the thing - especially the GPS. I used to go on some long backpacking trips, and would have loved to have this at the time, even with that weight.

  16. Kevin Reilly

    Basic fone

    One o them 15 quid Tesco jobs from Samsung with a sim card from Asda,Giffgaff or similar. Battery goes for months on a charge and you can divert your poshfone to it for when it dies. Also good to flash & loss of it is not the end of the world.

  17. The Nameless Mist

    Tech @ Festivals

    FFS the last thing you want to do is take a load of easily lifted tech to a festival.

    Take a basic phone and use a PAYG number for emergency comms.

    Make sure your SO / Maters (and if necessary parental units) know the number.

    Take a nice simple digital camera if you must; you can grab a respectable 16Mp one for less than £50.

    Put a posting up (restricted to friends only) saying that you're offline for a few days while you get pissed and party down to music at the festival.

    Then go have fun.

  18. Keir Snelling

    I'd recommend an Anker battery pack.

    They do a variety of models, the latest having IQ charging, to automatically detect higher charging capacity devices like iPhones, and provide the maximum current for them, without the need for a trick USB lead that shorts two of the pins.

    Google's MMARG Ingress has really driven the need for battery packs, and the whole community of players nearly unanimously agree that Anker are the brand to go for.

  19. Colin Ritchie

    Hmm Solar Bag.

    Sod festivals, that bag is going on my back as my Ninja's new bikelock holder. The No Fear one I have worn to death over 12 years has had it and can't charge my tat either.

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