Camping, Bushcraft & Survival

Why Your Choice Of Tent And How You Use It This Summer Could Make You A Bad Person

It's estimated that over a quarter of a million tents get left at UK festivals every years

Summer, it’s fair to say, is well and truly on its way. Beer gardens are filling up again, people are reuniting their Ray-Bans with their face, and music festival posters are popping up all over the place. Regular campers, who love music, will see this time of year as a big chance to once again combine their passions for the outdoors with their passion for drinking lukewarm cider and singing along to Elbow.

There is, of course, another breed of festival-goer; they’re the type of people who buy a one-off “festival tent”, sleep in it for a couple of nights and then just leave it in a field for someone else to clean up. When you consider that the average tent is made of plastic equivalent to 8,750 straws or 250 pint cups, this obviously has a negative knock-on effect for the environment.

“The average tent is made of plastic equivalent to 8,750 straws or 250 pint cups”

It’s estimated that every year more than 250,000 tents get left behind at UK festivals. A staggering number, we think you’ll agree. Because of this, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) have urged shops to stop marketing tents as single-use items. A combination of their often low price tag and the label “festival tent,” they argue, give the impression that you only need to use them once.

Paul Reed, AIF’s chief executive, has come out and said there’s a major misconception when it comes to what people think happens to their tent after a festival: “I think many people believe they’ll go to charities and the reality is that most won’t – they will go to landfill with no other option.”

Festivals such as Boomtown Festival, hosted in August in Winchester, will be implementing strict rules when it comes to people abandoning their tents (and littering in general). Anyone caught breaching the rules of the festival’s Eco Camp, which will see a concerted effort by organisers and festival goers to keep the site clean, will feel the force of a warning system. If rules are continually breached, the offender may be asked to leave the campsite.

Reading Festival, one of the country’s biggest (iconic Nirvana gig in 1992 ring any bells), have a policy where they openly advise / encourage people to buy a durable tent to use again year after year.

With environmental issues more of a hot topic than ever before, it seems like festivals and a gradually increasing tide of festival-goers are waking up to the importance of sustainability and the harm of single-use plastics. Many of us, of course, have been guilty of buying a cheap tent, and ditching it after one festival. The importance though of investing in outdoor shelter that can be used repeatedly is clear.

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