This may be my last entry…
This is my last post before I head off to Donington Park for Download 2015. I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant and that I’ll have an amazing time but how I can be sure that everything will run smoothly? Because of my survival kit of course!
The most important thing to remember is pack as light as possible but don’t miss any essentials. My pack this year features the following:
Boots: These won’t count against the overall weight of my pack because I’ll be wearing them. I go with as sturdy but light a boot as possible but it needs to look good – walking boots aren’t going to cut it. For this reason I use Magnum Panthers
It’s really important to wear those puppies in so buy them well in advance. Importantly, they are built for comfort so even the wearing-in process is a pleasurable experience.
Tent: Even as a married man I like to go as small and light as possible. Usually, if Mrs CthuIu is with me, I go for a 3.5 berth tent (like my brilliant Vango Beta 350) but this year we are each taking a Eurohike Tamar 2 which are eye-wateringly cheap but awesome tents. They are (despite what you may read) 3000HH which means they are exceptionally Britain proof but roomy enough to not feel claustrophobic. The plan is that we will sleep in one and use the other for storing our kit. Don’t be afraid of theft – it’s incredibly rare.
Sleeping gear: I can’t stress how important it is to have a good sleeping bag. Buy the best that you can – they will last a long time so you can think of them as an investment in comfort. I will however point out that mine is a bit crap – it’s a Eurohike 2-3 season bag which is not as warm as I would like it to be but it was cheap when I bought it and it’s been reliable. I don’t worry about it too much though because of my two secret weapons – an army surplus wool blanket and a festival Honcho. All three combine to make a very luxurious, if not scratchy, sleeping experience.
You won’t want to sleep directly on the ground sheet though – it’s just too hard and cold – so I recommend a good roll mat like my Vango Trek self-inflating mat. I recommend against air beds – they are prone to punctures and deflation and they can be very cold for at least the first night. Self-inflation mats are much better. The trick is to open the valve and leave it open all day – don’t blow into unless you really have to. By the time you go to bed it will have inflated as much as it needs to for you to be really comfortable (just remember to close the valve before you lie down).
Noise protection: Festivals are noisy 24 hours a day so I always carry ear plugs. I fully recommend Spark Plugs by Moldex from Snorestore. They are incredibly comfortable to sleep in and block enough noise to let you sleep (even if Mrs CthuIu is snoring right next to you).
Hygiene and self preservation: Your not going to have an accident at any point obviously but someone might so get yourself a good First Aid Kit. You should also expect to be dirty 99.9% of the time so pack some wet wipes so that you can keep on top of the hygiene. I also keep some Vaseline 2-in-1 antibac and hand cream with me too – it keeps chapped hands at bay and allows you to tuck into the ‘delightful’ festival food with germ-free fingers.
Speaking of which only eat food from reputable vendors – it’s a simple rule but it should help you avoid food poisoning which can really put a damper on the festivities.
It’s usually a good idea to do some cooking yourself. I helps to avoid the crazy vendor prices and give you a bit more control over your diet. To this end I take my Trangia which allows simple but delicious food to be made on the cheap.
Misc: While there are usually phone charging services on site I tend to prefer to manage it myself. I take my usual smartphone with me – it’s insured and any temporary replacement wouldn’t be. To keep it going for the whole period, I switch off the mobile data as much as possible and keep use to a minimum. When the time comes to top up I then use my RavPower battery pack which has enough capacity for 4 full charges of my phone.
Potentially the most important piece of equipment I take is my Victorinox Scout Swiss Army Knife it has just about everything I need to fit any situation – corkscrew, can opener, bottle opener, screwdriver etc. It’s a great piece of kit I wouldn’t leave behind.
Of course there are other considerations but these are the most important pieces of survival kit I take with me (expect maybe a lighter – that’s great for a whole number of reasons)!
Thanks for reading, now get out there and have fun!