A little bit of preparation can fend off those camping horror stories


Ah, the festival season, it creeps upon us again. As we drain our bank accounts preparing for our excursions, remember that good experiences come with good preparation.

After many years of trials and errors, or simply watching the woes of others experiencing everything from heat exhaustion, running out of food, alcohol poisoning or simply sleeping a few too many nights in a lawn chair outside the tent, I’ve accumulated a few tips and tricks that make for a much more enjoyable festival experience. If you’re camping, these survival tips might come in handy.

Three square meals a day

Although it seems like a no-brainer, along with water and a couple hours of sleep, this is our best defense against exhaustion and fatigue. Our body is a shuttle to some of the most amazing experiences of our lives; we must take care of it.

Hard boiled eggs are ideal. A healthy breakfast is not complete without some sort of protein (even though there’s nothing wrong with greasy bacon). Perishables are tricky, but hard-boiled eggs aren’t too fragile and only need to be kept cool. There’s nothing like a quick and easy breakfast after an eventful night. Just peel yourself out of your sleeping bag, wobble your way from the tent to the cooler, suck a few eggs past that sandpaper tongue and you're good to go!

Just like breakfast, I like things simple, but it’s not smart to sacrifice nutrition for simplicity. Having a pre-made quinoa salad is a great way to get a good intake of vegetables as well as the benefits of quinoa, including fibre, vitamin B, magnesium and potassium. Simply cook one/two packets of quinoa, mix in diced vegetables, add a little dressing and as long as it is kept sealed in the cooler, it's good to go.

Try some dry ice

We’re not at festivals to wow elementary students with science experiments, but dry ice is a life saver. Lining the bottom of your cooler with dry ice can save loads of money on ice bags. Last year at the Winnipeg Folk Festival a friend of mine filled the bottom of her cooler with dry ice and only had to fill the remainder of her cooler with regular ice one time - in four days. Needless to say, I kept my cheese strings in her cooler.

Be kind to the staff

It’s easy to forget that without the undying efforts of volunteers and festival coordinators, some of the best times of our lives would not be possible. Be kind to all of the staff. From the girl who checks your wristband, to the guy who checks the porta-potties at night to make sure you’re not passed out in one. You don’t have to be their favourite person on the site, they just have to like you better than the trouble-makers next to you, in which case having the staff on your side can be very handy.  

Get to know more people

Go explore! Meet the people around you and make connections. They may have resources you can use or vice versa. Your company is the gift that gives back. At the same time, stay connected with the people you know. Its good to have an anchor of people you came with that you can trust, and sharing memories together is an amazing way to build relationships.

Have a plan

In the midst of a festival it’s easy to lose track of everything that’s happening. Familiarize yourself with the events going on beforehand, that way if two of your favorite acts play at the same time you can at least do some debating and make a decision beforehand. It’s always good to have too much to do, rather than run out of things to do.

Pace yourself

You know what I mean. You don’t want to be the person sleeping outside the tent...

Part of the series: The 7th Annual Summer Festival Guide

Published in Volume 69, Number 27 of The Uniter (June 3, 2015)

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