How to Survive a Wet and Muddy Festival

Unfortunately, not all festivals are bathed in sunshine. Whilst people show up ready to be washed in sunlight, many festivals are cursed with terrible weather. We’ve all seen those pictures of submerged tents, muddy pile-ons and seas of miserable faces…

But being Scottish, the wet and the mud comes as second nature to us. So to help prepare you for the inevitable weather at your next British music festival, we’ve created a handy list of easy ways to keep yourself dry. By following our simple guide, you can prevent the rain from spoiling your (so-called) summer experience, both out and about in the festival grounds as well as back at your tent after a long day of gigs and giggles.

The Basics

Check the weather before you leave and prepare accordingly. This may seem obvious, but many people forget and pack for a music festival with the hopes that it will be sunny. Even if wall-to-wall sun is predicted, it’s still worth bringing along a waterproof packaway jacket and a pair of Trespass waterproof wellies just in case. You wouldn’t want a sudden shower to put a dampener on your weekend…

Bin bags are probably the most useful and versatile things at a festival. Great for rubbish, keeping your muddy stuff separate and you can also use one to cover your rucksack and stop your bag getting soaked. One can even cover you too if you’ve inevitably forgotten a jacket.

When wellies are the thing that you’ve left behind, bin bags can also be taped over your feet to improvise. This may not be the height of fashion, but it’ll prove much better than soaked trainers.

Anyone who has been to a wet festival knows that no matter how careful you are, you just can’t avoid the mud. Baby wipes and toilet roll are must-haves for cleaning yourself up after a muddy day in the field. They’re also great to have on-hand for when the portaloos inevitably run out of toilet paper. Baby wipes are a quick replacement for a shower, and when you get muddy, they’re a godsend. Take the cardboard tube out of your loo rolls to make them more compact, and store them in a sandwich bag to prevent the paper from getting wet.

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The Tent

If you’ve only recently purchased your tent and it has never experienced wet-weather conditions, you might want to take it out for a test run. Even if your tent has been well worn-in and experienced a good few washes, it’s still a good idea to make sure the waterproofing remains intact and provides full coverage. If for some reason water isn’t beading on the surface, give it a good spray with waterproofing tent spray, and its waterproof protection will be good as new.

When you get to the festival, endeavour to set up camp in a smart location. If you don’t, you could potentially find yourself with a damp or submerged tent as well as soaked belongings. While it is often difficult to land prime real estate on the camping site, there are certain spots you need to avoid, so it may be worth showing up a little earlier to stake your claim.

One of the best pieces of advice you’ll hear is to pitch your tent uphill. Water runs downhill and pools at the bottom causing a section of the campsite to get waterlogged. If the rain is heavy enough, this area can turn into a makeshift swimming pool, which isn’t good to be in, no matter how much you usually love them.

Another handy tip is to keep your sleeping bag and rucksack in the centre of the tent as water will typically pool at the edges. Keep a bin bag in one corner where you can store any wet items without getting anything else damp.

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The Outfit

While you may have carefully planned a selection of funky outfits for the festival weekend, the rain will simply laugh in the face of your shorts, T-shirts and trainers. Still bring all of these with you, but make sure you pack a few precautions, too.

Wellies have transcended from a festival necessity to a fashionable accessory. You’ll definitely be needing a pair for when paths have been churned into muddy seas, and they’re also great protection from general festival grime coming into contact with your feet and legs (and will save on a couple of those baby wipes, too).

A rain jacket is essential, but don’t feel like you need to go for a heavy-duty raincoat. A lightweight packaway jacket is ideal and won’t take up much room in your bag. Another classic festival accessory is the waterproof festival poncho. They offer instant relief from the rain and are compact enough to fold into your pocket when not needed.

If you can, set aside an area to leave wet clothes or boots before getting into your tent, such as a tent porch or spare groundsheet. Whatever you decide, make sure you’ve taken off your muddy gear before setting foot in the sleeping compartment at the end of the night. Wrap things in bin bags (if you’re not too inebriated), so mess can be kept to a minimum.

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We wish you the best of luck with the wet weather, and have everything crossed in the hope that sunny spells will be heading your way!

Take a look at our festival essentials checklist and
the festival advice section for some more general tips on how to survive and make the most of festivals this summer.

Written by: Natalie Green