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Your Guide to Festival Camping in a Van

Tuesday 3rd September 2019
By Ely Power
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By Ely Power
Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

There’s nothing like live music in the sunshine and nowhere does it better than the land down under! Australia is home to heaps of awesome music festivals, most of which are van-friendly. 

With each passing year, you’ll see more and more campervans at music festivals around the country. The idea of a cosy double bed, extra storage space and sometimes even a private bathroom can be too appealing after a long, muddy frolic. But there’s more to it than pulling up in a Volkswagen Kombi without any prior research or prep - Especially if you’ve opted for campervan hire. 

Don’t ruin your weekend with an easy mistake when you could be having the time of your life! Before you hire a van for Splendour In The Grass, Blues Fest or Big Red Bash, make sure you know the do’s and don’ts of festival camping. By the time you’ve finished reading our handy guide, you’ll be set to get this show on the road!

As a holidaymaker, Camplify helps you find the perfect RV so that you can experience the joys of caravanning - without having to own one yourself. Interested? Learn more about Camplify for hirers here

When you plan your weekend

Festival Ready
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Actually Read The T&Cs

Let’s get the boring part out of the way. It’s worth taking the time to read the music festival’s terms and conditions - Just imagine rolling up in a retro campervan, only to be turned away as your favourite band takes the stage!

First things first, make sure that your festival of choice allows campervans. If so, confirm which camping sites are available and if any vehicle restrictions are in place. You’ll also need to find out when and where to park your campervan once you arrive (You often have to set up camp in the afternoon or evening before the festival kicks off).

Choose The Right Van

Of course, the price is a critical factor when choosing a campervan rental so set a budget and stick to it. The beauty of van hire is that it never has to break the bank, especially when the cost is split between mates! 

Once you’ve agreed on a price range, make sure the vans you’re looking at have enough berths for the whole crew - Sleeping in a warm, comfy double bed is indescribably better than throwing an old sleeping bag on the floor! You’ll also want plenty of room to store your festival gear, plus a little kitchenette for late-night snacks, and maybe even a fridge to keep your beer cold. 

And before you book that rental, consider your festival’s location, landscape and facilities. If you’re partying off the beaten track, hiring a van with off-grid capabilities like solar power could make all the difference! 

Know how to use your van

Make sure you understand how everything works before you set off - You don’t want to be fumbling around for the light switch at the end of the night, or unsure how to fill up the gas tank when you’re worse for wear the next day. And if the weather takes a turn, you might just get stuck in the mud! So you’ll need to get to grips with your tow point, where it is and how to connect it.

Thankfully, when you hire through Camplify, the van’s owner will give you a comprehensive, in-person handover. They know their vehicle like the back of their hand, so feel free to ask as many questions as you want. And if something comes to mind after you’ve driven away, simply send them a message or give them a call for some expert advice. 

Pack Some Snacks

Music festivals are bursting with delicious cuisine from around the world, so you won’t need to stock up on a vast amount of groceries. That said, why not make the most of your campervan’s facilities? If you’ve got a fridge, pack some brekkie essentials like milk, bacon and eggs. It also wouldn’t hurt to store some midnight snacks, just in case the rumbles strike after the food stalls have shut down for the day!

Leave The Forbidden Stuff At Home

For obvious reasons, many festivals don’t permit glass within the event grounds. Please don’t forget this when you’re loading up your RV with Aldi’s finest wine. But hey, you should know that by now if you’ve already read the terms and conditions on the festival’s website!

Bring All Of The Necessary Tickets

Check, double-check and triple-check that you have brought all of the required tickets before you hit the gas. For many festivals, you will need to bring both a standard entrance ticket and a separate ticket showing that you can park in a designated camping area.

When you pull up to the campsite

Everything you need in your van
Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

Make Sure You’re Fully Charged

Usually, music festivals don’t offer powered sites or allow generators. To avoid any rotten food, freezing nights and dead devices, ensure that your battery is 100% charged before you hit the road (this might seem like an obvious step but it’s a lot easier to forget than you think!).

Bring Your Power Bank

To conserve as much energy as possible, bring along any power banks you own. That way, you can charge your phone and any other electronics without eating into the van’s battery life. 

Trust us, little moves like this will go a long way when it comes to lasting the whole weekend! And let’s face it, is there anything worse than watching your phone die after being separated from friends in a crowd of festival-goers?

Park At A Strategic Site

Before you get excited about that parking space by the main stage, think about your exit. Vacating a festival always takes a good bit of time (particularly if the weather hasn’t held up), so don’t make it more of a hassle than it already is. Try not to set up camp at the bottom of a hill, even if it boasts some great views of the stage - Those smiles will disappear when you’re last to leave the festival after being swamped in the mud!

Level Up

While most festivals are spread across a flat open space, this isn’t always the case. To be safe, make sure that your rental van includes some levelling ramps - When you’re only getting a few hours of sleep a night, the last thing you want is to be woken up by a sudden fall to the ground!

Make Your Van Stand Out

Once the hordes have settled in, your camping site will become a sea of nondescript campervans and motorhomes. And finding your rental van will become all the more difficult once night falls.

To avoid getting lost in this maze of vehicles, come up with a bright idea to make your home away from home stick out from the crowd. Our advice? Fly a multicoloured flag or a vivid pair of boxers from a flagpole and you’ll be able to spot your van a mile away!

When the festival is in full swing

Time for the fun
Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash

Be Smart With Your Keys

It goes without saying that your group will spread out and separate as the festival goes on, so the chances of heading back to your campervan at the same time are at an all-time low. To avoid lengthy waits in the crisp night air, it’s worth asking your hirer for a spare set of keys. 

And whatever you do, never leave these keys out! If someone has discovered them and stolen the vehicle, you can wave goodbye to any insurance coverage. And our hires are one-of-a-kind campervans, so believe us when we say it’s just not worth the risk.

Lock Up At All Times

On a related note, never run off into the festivities without locking up your campervan. With so many unattended belongings strewn about, festivals are a thief’s paradise. So, test all doors and windows, and don’t leave any valuables on show. 

Nothing is more dejected than returning to a ransacked campervan at the end of the day. Not to mention the stress of dealing with stolen property from the campervan itself - As mentioned above, insurance claims are void if the vehicle was unlocked.

Turn Off When You Head Off

You’ll be spending most of your time outside and your van will be running on its leisure battery, so it’s important to be conscious of how much energy you’re wasting. Remember to unplug your devices and turn off all the lights and air conditioning before you leave. That way, you won’t have to worry about draining your battery before the weekend wraps up!

Get Rid Of Your Waste Properly

Have some decorum, people! Please don’t dispose of your waste in any old field. If the music festival allows motorhomes and campervans, it will provide a proper waste disposal site for grey-water. 

There’s a strong possibility that you won’t be able to drive straight up to this facility, so work out a way to transport your grey-water in advance. The festival will also supply fresh water for tank refills, so remember to bring a water carrier of some sort!

Keep It Clean

Festivals are a dirty business. That’s a fundamental fact. However, the last thing you’ll want to do after a weekend of festival camping is scrub down the inside of your rental van. And the alternative is paying extra for a cleaning fee. 

Luckily, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you minimise the mud:

  • Set some newspapers down on the floor. This will serve as an extra guard against dirt and grime, saving you lots of clean-up time!
  • Leave your filthy shoes at the door (either in a bin bag or plastic box) and change into clean clothes the second as you climb inside. 
  • Step away from the glitter! These tiny plastic sparkles are not only horrendous for the environment, but also impossible to remove. Sticking to every single nook and cranny, they will be shining from various surfaces months after the music festival. So for the sake of the van’s owner and any subsequent hires, please don’t do it. 

On the flip side, don’t get too caught up in keeping everything spick and span! Festivals are inherently grimy so you’ll have to expect a little muck here and there. Just try your best to leave any mud at the door.

You're festival ready! 

Party time!
Photo by Stephen Arnold on Unsplash

Now that you’re equipped with all of our music festival camping tips, it’s time to rock ‘n’ roll. And whether your festival of choice is Party In The Paddock, Lost Paradise or Beyond The Valley, Camplify has your rental van covered. Simply sign up and scroll to find the perfect RV for your festival camping trip.

So what is Camplify? 

We are Australia’s largest caravan hire and RV sharing community, helping connect thousands of holidaymakers with RV owners. 

What does that mean?

Essentially, we provide a unique sharing service where owners of caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes, and campervans list their RV for hire while not in use. 

As a holidaymaker, Camplify helps you find an RV that is perfect for you so that you can experience the joys of caravanning - without having to own one yourself.  Interested? Learn more about Camplify for hirers here

To find out how Camplify can work with you and your RV, register today here.

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