Best Glastonbury Festival gear 2011
It's not long now until Glastonbury kicks off and with it a summer full of festivals. You've bought your tickets, you've cadged yourself a lift but what you could always do with is that little bit of extra kit to keep you comfortable in your three days out there in the elements.
As ever, Pocket-lint has been thinking ahead so that you don't have to. After all, you've a schedule of which bands you'd like to see to write down and let go to pot the minute you sink your first alco-beer. So, here are some A1 ideas of gadgets, bits of tech and camping kit to take along for the rock 'n' roll ride.
Petzl Tikka Plus 2 headtorch (£39.99)
Festivals can be dark places, and guess what? That Eurohike tent you bought for £20 in Tesco isn't a one-off. The admittedly expensive Tikka Plus 2 headtorch from Petzl is our favourite - it’s very bright (50 lumens), its red and white LEDs reach 35 metres, and the battery lasts 140 hours.
I suppose it also keeps both hands free in case you happen to need to roll a "cigarette" in the dark, though it’s not something we’ve ever done at a festival, of course.
Light My Fire Spork (£1.95) or Mealkit (£14.95)
If doughnuts and warm lager don't appeal, and your budget doesn't stretch to £8 per hotdog, take your own food. Then let the magic of Spork takeover and deliver you delights like damp cake, tinned fish and warm-ish soup.
It cuts, it pokes, it ladels - though if you're going eat a prope’ meal, you kinda need two Sporks - and this complete mealkit that comprises two plates, cup, box and a board-come-colander. Now if they could only sort out a table and set of dining chairs to go with it, you'd be laughing.
Horizon Welly Boot Socks (£7.99)
It always rains at Glastonbury; the water collects at the bottom of the valley and floods a couple of first-timers’ tents, and then traders start selling wellies for £40-a-pair. It is the way of things. Now techically speaking this is just an item of clothing rather than a gadget but it would be wildly remiss of us not to include them. We don't want you coming home with welly sores.
Instead, go armed with a £5 pair of wellingtons from any supermarket and these extra-long socks from Horizon that won't fall down over the many miles you trudge. By Sunday the lakes of mud will have turned to glue, so pack a pair of trainers or cheap flip-flops, too.
Vango Dart 200 pop-up two-man tent (£55.00)
Last year’s national craze is this year’s must-have; Vango’s technologically improved pop-up range is ideally pitched (sorry) at those who are as familiar with camping as they are with 17th century sanitation (enjoy!).
Weighing a paltry 2.2kg despite packing a sewn-in groudsheet and including a small muddy shoes-friendly porch, this two-man Dart 200 needs only popping-out and pegging down. The pop-up function will save your lungs for the 10 minutes of hell needed to inflate the same brand’s Deluxe Flock Chair (£13.50) - super-comfy inside or out, great in the sunshine, and also available as a figure-of-eight double seat - though Vango’s Venice Chair (£20) might be more suitable for those who really rather watch Elbow with a bit of err, leg room.
Festival App (free)
It doesn't really matter which you're going to but most festivals have their own apps these days if only to save them the printing costs of making programmes and guides for over 100,000 people. You're probably best to download the thing before you go given that reception, let along mobile broadband, might be a tricky thing to get hold of while you're actually there.
Do be warned though that any app that requires data to work is probably best not relied upon. You can get the Glastonbury 2011 app courtesy of Orange for iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia just here.
Snugpak Travelpak Lite sleeping bag (£34.95)
Built-in zip-over mosquito net, secret security pouch, inside drawstring; this superbly designed sleeping bag is not only relatively cheap, but really well designed. Warm enough for festival nights (though not advised for winter), and really soft to the skin, the mummy-shaped Travelpak Lite measures just 12x14cm when in its squeezebag, and weights a mere 850g.
So, you've got toastiness, small size and really quite inexpensive as well. What more could you be looking for?
Kiva Convertible Poncho (£20)
Forget storm shells or pac-a-macs - you need something durable that will keep the rain off during the long wait between Paul Simon and the Wu-Tang Clan. Safely stowed in a flat rugby ball-shaped zip-up complete with bum bag straps, the Kiva poncho has arm vents, poppers down both sides, a drawstring hood and a front pocket.
If Amazon doesn't get it back in stock try here. Yeah, you might look like a bit of an idiot but far less so the the soaking wet people when it just won't stop raining.
Snugpak Antibacterial Travel Towel (£8.95-£23.95)
Some folk love ‘em, some hate ‘em, but we can't think of a more suitable place for a trek towel than in a festival goer’s backpack. We tried Snugpak’s 62x80cm towel (£12) and found it more than enough for the odd face/hand wash – and actually fine for a shower as long as you're not the shy type.
Made with Dr Bacty advanced antibacterial impregnated fabric and arriving in a wet-friendly stuff sack for travel, ours dried within a couple of hours. Available in blue or olive.
Karrimor Jaguar 55-75 rucksack (£170)
Talking of backpacks, bigger is better for festivals; that yomp from the car/coach park to your final resting place is long, arduous and exceptionally sweaty. The last thing you want to do is repeat it, so something like the Karrimor Jaguar in men’s or women’s designs should do nicely.
As well as being among the most comfortable rucksacks in our experience, Karrimors tend to be sturdily-made and, most importantly, have plenty of straps to tie pots ‘n’ pans too. Plenty of clever clogs campers try to strap backpacks on a sack truck, though avoid folding versions - in our experience the wheels get jammed with mud before the first ice cream van rest stop.
FreeLoader Classic (£39.99)
With apps, maps and chaps all demanding your smartphone-based attention at the modern festival, running out of juice before the event has actually kicked-off is a social faux pas akin to nakedness.
OK, so maybe not at Glasto, but it’s nice to have a 124g FreeLoader on hand; it uses solar power to charge-up its eight-hour battery before attaching to all manner of gadgets. Also puts two hours’ life into an iPad, but don't, just … don't!
Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone (£69.95)
The idea of strapping a battery to an iPhone seems crazy, but the Mophie Juice Pack Air acts as a protective case and merely adds a bit of chunk to the Apple gadget. More importantly, fully charged it adds around 80 percent to the iPhone’s life.
If you rely on text messages and don’t surf the net during festivals, it could get you through the whole weekend without having to waste time at an Orange charge-tent. Available for both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.
Griffin USB Reserve Power (£35)
If you don't want to have to think about juicing-up your smartphone while you're on-site, this recharge pack might suit, especially for those without an Apple flavoured handset. Not much bigger that a couple of USB sticks, the Griffin USB Reserve Power takes around an hour to fill-up from any USB slot, ready to restore about 50 per cent of a smartphone's charge a few days later.
Of course, if you'd rather, you could always just admit what you need a buy yourself a spare battery for your mobile phone. Just don't forget to charge it up before you go.
X-mini Happy MP3 player & speaker (£50)
Extravagant, perhaps, but this tacky-sounding gadget is one of our favourite festival frivolities. Acting as a regular MP3 player playing tunes from a 2GB SD Card, when twisted it concertinas out into a quite brilliant-sounding speaker.
Just about pocket sized, the X-Mini Happy also able to play tunes from any MP3 player or phone using a retractable mini-jack. Make sure that if you're going to go down that route that you take along one of the power options above or those night time beats back at camp are going to cost you your talk time the next day.
Berghaus Tech Hooded Jacket (£50)
Even if the heavens don't dampen your festival fun, camping can be cold. We've used this Berghaus fleece not only in evening but as emergency nightwear to take the edge off the 3am freeze; the snug fitting, wind proof hood is a godsend wherever it's used, while this fleece packs down to half the size of most to easily fit in a daysack.
Berghaus also make some decent zip-off Navigator trousers perfect for the four-seasons-in-a-day British weather. Ok, so it's not wildly rock and roll but there's nothing stopping you spray painting the thing or getting your favourite band printed onto the front.
Aerobie AeroPress Coffee Maker (£32)
Brown mud with water. As well as being a description of Worthy Farm after the festivities, it’s also the state of the farm’s coffee. Skip the queues and brew your own with the portable Aerobie AeroPress filter coffee machine; just add hot water, wait 30 seconds, and… curse your lack of muffins.
Best served with biscuits, early morning bacon sandwich and boiling water from a chimney-shaped...
Kelly Kettle (£42)
The Kelly Kettle is a 2.5 pint, lightweight, aluminium camping kettle. (That's around 1.4 litres in new money.) It's basically a double walled chimney which stores the water in its wall cavity hence giving it a large surface area in contact with the sides of the flue.
What you do is fill the bottom with twigs (or whatever), light it and the heat boils the water in minutes. Not all festival sites allow fires but you're not likely to get rumbled with the small blaze contained in the base of the kettle. Keep 'em peeled, though, eh.
Camping stool/chair (from £5.99)
If it's a muddy one, and it usually is, your legs are going to be killing you after a half a day's trudge and your bum just yearning for somewhere to perch itself. Shelter and seats are always at a premium, so the best thing to do is take a chair of your own.
The stand camping ones - complete with beer holder - are an obvious favourite but the cheaper and more portable camping stool is well worth a go too. They're smaller and come with a little bag and strap for you to sling over your shoulder while you don't need it.
Craghoppers Top and Trousers (£25 & £35)
Ahhh, got wet through and cold watching the Kaiser Chiefs, did we? Just want to curl up in your tent in your only-slightly-damp sleeping bag and read tech news on your re-charged iPhone? Super-soft and impregnated with anti-mozzy stuff, this quick-drying polyester top and drawstring bottoms clothes make great pyjamas as well as general camping clothes.
They're also rated UPF 40+ sun-protective and wick moisture – just in case you want to wear in the Queen of the Stone Age moshpit. Available for men and women in various sizes.
TravelJohn Disposable Urinal 3-pack (£5.45)
In all our visits to Glastonbury we’ve not once persuaded our other halves to use the She-Pees, yet the TravelJohn is getting us excited. Have you seen the queues for the loos when the headline acts are on?
Sold with the slightly alarming ‘leak proof!’ claim, TravelJohn takes the pee and turns it into solid matter instantly. Nice. Very handy if you can't face a 3am trip to the toilet.