Enjoy the wonder of camping under the stars plastic-free!
We've covered plastic-free festival alternatives for food, drink, personal care and apparel in parts 1 to 3 of our Plastic-Free Festival Guide. Here we offer some plastic-free options for when you bed down in the early hours!
Use what you already have if you can or ask to borrow camping equipment from friends (you’re way more likely not to abandon it after the festival if you have to return it to them!) . You could also check out your local Library of Things to rent camping gear. However, if you’re keen to invest in some plastic -ree camping gear, then here’s what we’ve found!
If you’re looking for tents made from more natural fibres, then cotton canvas bell tents are a nice option. Most will still come with a plastic ground sheet, so not completely plastic-free but certainly a more durable and reusable option. Bell tents tend to be a bit heavier but we took our cotton bell tent to Wilderness Festival many years ago and it worked just fine! Opt for one made from 100% cotton canvas (some are made from a poly cotton blend!). Cotton bell tents tend to be durable, breathable and let’s face it, they look cute! Check out Andes Camping and Bell Tent.
Make sure your tent is completely dry before you pack it away… or at least dry it out as soon as you get home as mould and mildew can quickly take hold and damage and rot the tent.
You could also see if the festival you are attending allows you to reserve a Kar Tent - a waterproof cardboard tent designed to last for several days and can be easily recycled at the end.
Naturalmat have teamed up with Camping With Soul to create these wonderfully comfortable natural camp beds from cotton, organic wool and recycled denim. We personally own two of these and use them every year. They can velcro together to form a double bed and they also work well as bed toppers the rest of the year!
Pure Earth Collection makes a natural latex foam camp bed covered in organic cotton which has been designed for kids but could work for adults too! Mark is 6ft and can fit comfortably on it! Super useful for any friends who sleep over the rest of the year.
Alternatively, Nordisk makes a wooden frame camp bed with a cotton canvas sling that neatly folds up
Look for a sleeping bag made from natural materials. Not only does this avoid plastic, but the natural materials are breathable and potentially provide better sleep.
We found this organic hemp sleeping bag on Etsy:
Catch up on some much needed quality sleep after dancing all night. An eye mask will help block out the daylight if you need to catch up during daylight hours. Try this plastic-free eye mask from Plastic Freedom which is made from bamboo, including the wadding.
Whenever you eventually crawl into your sleeping bag, make sure you’re not kept awake by thumping background music, neighbouring tents or even your camp mates with some plastic-free earplugs. We searched high and low for some that were completely plastic-free, and these Loop Quiet 100% silicone ear plugs came pretty darn close but they do come with a plastic carry case.
Looking for a plastic-free back pack to carry all your camping gear festival kit? This backpack by Gandy’s International is made from 100% waxed, water resistant organic cotton. It has adjustable straps to match your load, and has both internal and external pockets including a zip-up valuable pocket, internal pouch and 15” laptop sleeve.
Portable solar charger
Because you’ll still want to have enough battery to call your parents for a lift from the train station at the end of it… or a taxi! Many festivals now have phone chargers in lockers you can rent, but if you need something portable then try this solar powered phone charger. We actually own this one and use it all the time! The product itself isn’t plastic free, but it is very well built and work well. You could see if you can find one second-hand.
Bimble also make an insect repellant that comes in a recyclable metal tin.
Or, you could DIY your own insect repellent using this recipe from Zero Waste Wisdom
Super handy to have attached to your keys or in your purse or wallet in case you find a tick camping out on you!
Leave no trace!
The Association of Independent Festivals says that around 250,000 tents are abandoned at music festivals across the UK every year, resulting in the equivalent to 875 tonnes of plastic waste.
Where you can, please remember your reusables and take home everything you brought with you.
REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE…RESPOND!!
Send some feedback to the festival organisers - tell them what you loved and what you’d love to see them do better next time, especially when it comes to plastic waste. Suggest ideas if you have any and feel free to mention Bottlecup too! 😉