Back in 2020 we enjoyed our first dip into van living. We rented a high roof VW Transporter called Homer from Quirky Campers, and spent a week travelling around the Lake District and Scotland to see how we’d feel about living the van life. You can read all about that first experience here! Fast forward to 2023 and we now have a high roof VW Transporter of our own, the interior of which we designed ourselves before having it converted into our little home on wheels. We’ve always felt great love for Quirky Campers for giving us that initial experience of van life, and helping us decide that it was right for us (as well as inspiring us for the exact van we wanted!). When Camp Quirky tickets came on sale we jumped at the chance to attend the festival with our own tiny home, to meet others living this lifestyle. Well… It’s safe to say even with high expectations, we were completely blown away! Here’s everything you need to know about this small but mighty festival:

What is Camp Quirky?

Camp Quirky is a ‘handmade campervan festival’ hosted and organised by Quirky Campers. Around 3,000 people attended the 2023 event, with 600 dogs! Over the weekend there are a wide variety of talks given by van lifers from all walks of life, workshops, stalls, wellness activities, live music and performances to enjoy. All ages are welcome and there’s something for everyone!

What to expect

The 2023 event was the first time campers had been given the option to upgrade their tickets for early arrival on the Thursday. We chose to do so and we’d highly recommend it, as it gave us a whole extra day to settle in and get our bearings, and avoid the arrival queue on the Friday! We were surprised to discover over the weekend that we were in a minority of people who live in their campervan full time – though as Quirky Campers are a campervan rental company, with their own list of recommended conversion companies, it makes sense that the festival attracts weekend warriors or those in the process of converting their home on wheels.

Arrival at Camp Quirky

Upon arrival at the main gate, we were given our wristbands, a Camp Quirky sticker, a map of the layout of the festival, and a sweet card to put in our window inviting others to come and say hi if we wished to show off our van! We thought the latter was a nice touch, and we enjoyed talking to people and taking a look around their set ups throughout the weekend when we saw the green card in their window. There’s an accessible parking area (closer to the main area where everything takes place) and Camp Queerky – a space for LGBTQ+ campers to park amongst other queer campers. We were glad to park up a day early and get a spot closer to the main area, and having the extra day at the festival was great as we spent Thursday wandering around the site to explore before the crowds arrived. Even though a few areas were still setting up, we got to chat to a few people we knew – like Country Road Campers, who rented us Floyd via Quirky Campers back when we were still deciding what van to buy, and NicRoams, a full time van lifer who we’ve been following on Instagram for years!

On Friday, the first official day of the festival, a steady stream of vans, motorhomes, cars and all manner of quirky rigs arrived on site, and in the afternoon the festival began with a welcome talk from the team at Quirky Campers. Once the majority of campers had arrived, the atmosphere became electric and we spent the rest of the day talking to other campers. Later on, the first talk of the weekend kicked off – a van life influencers meet and greet. Linzi, a member of the Camp Quirky team, hosted a Q&A session and we got to chat with Camper Vibe, NicRoams, FindingOurAdventure and Alex Frood to find out more about their various adventures. With the arrival of the final vendors, the Quirky Campers area filled up and we got to have a nose around dozens of campervans that are available to hire through the Quirky Campers website! Seeing all the beautifully crafted vehicles gave us lots of inspiration for re-decorating our own tiny home…!


On Saturday and Sunday, we spent the days cramming in as many talks as we could, with tents divided up into four categories: Conversions, Van Life, DVUK (Diversify Van Life UK) and Sustainability, as well as the main tent. Across all tents we enjoyed talks with topics like ‘mental health and van life’, ‘beginners carpentry’, ‘secret road recipes’ and ‘van life essentials’. One of our favourite talks was from Compact Camper Company – a duo who set out on their self-named “Long Loop Rally” in their converted micro-camper, covering 30,000 miles over 41 countries in 109 days to raise money for charity. Hearing the tales from their adventure was so incredible, we left feeling inspired to plan a big challenge of our own! Another highlight for us was hearing how Camper Vibe turn their adventures into income – as fans of their YouTube channel, it was a privilege to hear them speaking so openly about how it all works behind the scenes. It was amazing to see our friend Steve, the owner of Homer, and Roamer, talking about powering off-grid adventures with his Roamer batteries – we plotted up early to get a front row seat!

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Stalls and food

In between catching as many talks as we could, we spent our time walking around the site and perusing the many stalls on display. Everything from laser-engraved wooden wares from Laser + Grain, to hand-carved decorative ornaments and colourful tye-dye clothing. Quirky Campers had their own merch tent, where you could buy Camp Quirky 2023 t-shirts, hoodies, bottle openers, dog bandanas and more! There was also a general shop (simply called ‘The Shop’) selling all those little things you might’ve forgotten or run out of – teabags, toilet roll, washing up liquid, first aid kits, thick socks, torches, water jugs, tent pegs… We’re sure it became a life-saver for many campers!

As well as providing last minute kitchen bits for those with a fully set up campervan, Camp Quirky also hosted a wide variety of food trucks – so no need to cook in case you’re staying in a tent or a partly-converted build! With our full kitchen back in our van, we stocked up with enough food for the duration of the festival… Only to get tempted and end up eating at the food trucks a few times over the weekend! There was everything from burgers, pizza and tacos to crepes, ice cream and cake, with all dietary requirements catered for. We especially enjoyed Nina’s – a fully plant-based menu of burritos and tacos!

Evening entertainment

In the evenings, the festival really feels like camping with friends as a giant campfire is lit, and the live music begins. Every evening the main tent was filled with happy campers and the bar, selling a limited edition Nomad Nectar beer, had a queue out of the tent – luckily it moved quickly! There was a £1 levy on the Camp Quirky branded plastic cups when you ordered a drink from the bar – you could return the cups to get your money back, but we chose to keep two for souvenirs of the weekend. On Saturday night we enjoyed watching the fire show, and on the final night we stayed out a little later to watch the live comedy to round off the festival, with friends old and new.

The only part of the festival we didn’t manage to squeeze in between chatting to other campers, talks and enjoying just wandering around the site, was the craft and wellness space. This area provided activities like workshops for carving wooden ornaments, massage and sound therapy. We also missed the 8am yoga sessions in the main area on Saturday and Sunday, which we had been planning to attend, but cramming so much into the weekend meant we prioritised slower mornings! We’d have loved to sit in on more than five minutes of the have-a-go dog show too – a new addition for Camp Quirky 2023 – but we had to dash to get to another talk.

Things to know before you go

  • Phone signal is patchy at best. We arrived on the Thursday and were pleasantly surprised to have full 4G signal. Come Friday, once everyone else arrived, this was was non-existent as thousands of people shared the signal! No matter what network you’re on, be prepared to go off-grid for a few days.
  • Awnings are welcome! Stewards specifically asked each camper if they had an awning and spaced out each vehicle accordingly, so you can comfortably set up an awning and chairs outside your van no matter where you get parked.
  • Dogs are more than welcome at Camp Quirky! With 600 dog tickets sold for Camp Quirky 2023, this meant that there was 1 dog for every 5 people! As real dog lovers we LOVED that this was the case, and we met so many lovely furry friends and their owners over the weekend. Just make sure to be a responsible owner if you are bringing your pooch – pick up after them and keep them under close control. On the Saturday night we spent twenty minutes reuniting a lost dog with their owners, who may have had a bit too much at the bar…!
  • Toilets are the compost kind. Festival toilets are never going to be a five-star experience, but we were surprised at how well-maintained the toilets were. There were multiple lines of cubicles across the site, and unless you went to one late into the night they were always in a good state. Speaking of waste, there were also a couple of chemical disposal points for those with on-board toilets.
  • Showers are limited. At Camp Quirky 2023 there were a few solar-powered cubicles, though as we weren’t lucky enough to have a lot of sunshine throughout the weekend, the use of these were limited.
  • The site is relatively small, and it’s flat! So wherever you end up parking, walking to the main area only takes a few minutes, and you’ll get a good night’s sleep as the field is surprisingly level – which is great if you’re like us, and don’t have levelling blocks!
  • Drinking water is free! There are multiple freshwater taps scattered across the site which can also be used to fill a bowl for washing up, as there are no washing up facilities (more on that below).
  • Help is at hand! Stewards are everywhere across the site all weekend, ready to answer any questions or provide help when needed. (It was a steward we had to call on to put an announcement over the PA system to reunite the lost dog with their owner!) When it came time to leave the festival on Sunday, with some patches of churned up grass meaning a few motorhomes and vans got stuck in the mud, stewards were on hand to tow the drivers out. We even pitched in, along with a few other bystanders, to help push a motorhome before it sank in too deep! This was the vibe at Camp Quirky: everyone we met throughout the weekend was super friendly and happy to help.

What to bring to Camp Quirky

Depending on your set up – whether it’s a fully set up motorhome, partially converted campervan, or tent – you might not need all of these, but here’s a few things to consider bringing:

  • Food. If you have the capacity to cook your own meals, whether in a full camper kitchen or on a gas camping stove, consider bringing a few meals. While the food trucks are completely heavenly, and cater to all diets, they get busy in the evenings (a friend told us they were quoted a two hour wait for pizza!). Besides that, you can easily spend hundreds of pounds on food for the weekend – think a burger and chips for £16. If you’ve got multiple mouths to feed, that cost adds up quickly! Support the food vendors where you can, but have some back up meals just in case.
  • Cups and mugs. Camp Quirky uses absolutely zero single-use plastics for the festival, with food vendors using plates and cutlery made from recycled materials. However, you may like to bring a cup to the bar, or a mug to the hot drinks tuk-tuk. This also means you can fill up your cup with fresh drinking water from one of the taps as you move around the site. If you want to go the extra mile, and have washing up facilities in your van, you could also bring your own cutlery and plates to the food trucks too!
  • Dish washing items. Speaking of washing up, there are no washing up facilities on the site. You can grab freshwater from the taps and wash up at your van or tent, but you’ll need to bring a bowl and your own washing up liquid and sponge.
  • Water jug or bucket. You can’t park up next to the water taps, so unless you have a freshwater tank onboard your van you’ll need to bring bottles, jugs, a bucket or some kind of vessel in order to collect water from the taps.
  • Cash. While most vendors will accept card, you’re at the mercy of patchy WiFi signal for payments to go through. We didn’t have any problems, but it’s good to be prepared as there aren’t any cash machines on site.
  • Chairs! We spontaneously bought two fold-up chairs on our way to Camp Quirky and it was the best decision we made that day. There are multiple seating areas across the site, and specific chairs set up for each talk, but the latter are limited. To ensure you don’t have to stand throughout an hour long talk, bring your own chair to guarantee you get a seat!

Advice for first timers

A few things to help you navigate Camp Quirky as a first timer – as we were this year!

  • Look at the schedule of talks before you go. In the weeks before the festival, Camp Quirky released a full schedule of all the talks taking place over the weekend. This meant we could plan our days around talks we were really interested in seeing, with speakers we felt we could benefit from hearing.
  • Arrive early. If you’re able to arrive on the Thursday, take the chance to do so as you’ll have more time to settle in before the talks start on the Friday, and you’ll have a whole extra day at the festival!
  • Spend time walking around the site to meet people. By far our favourite part of Camp Quirky was the people we met, and most of these encounters happened when we were just strolling around the site! We met a surprising amount of people we already knew – either from their company name or Instagram and YouTube – and it was fab to put faces to names and make new friends.
  • Plan what to bring around your needs. As well as checking out our list of what to bring above, think about the things you can’t go without for the weekend. If you love nothing more than a cuppa every morning, but don’t have a kitchen in your van, consider bringing a mug, saucepan and camping stove, or cash to spend at a hot drinks stall. Equally if you like to shower every day, but the solar showers aren’t open, consider bringing fresh clothes, baby wipes, deodorant and perfume to help you feel fresher!
  • Pack appropriate clothing! We saw lovely sunny photos of Camp Quirky 2022 – everyone was wearing sunglasses and shorts – but Camp Quirky 2023 was a little different! We spent most of the weekend in hiking boots to combat the softer post-rain ground, and coats against the wind. Take the time to look at the weather forecast and pack accordingly!

Is Camp Quirky worth it?

We’ve seen a few comments online about the price of Camp Quirky tickets. Full disclosure – for two adults and a campervan, with early arrival, our festival tickets cost us £219 in total. This is by no means a small amount of money, but in our opinion it’s well worth the cost! Just in terms of what you get for your money, from the talks and performances, to the safety and maintenance of the site, and the chance to meet thousands of like-minded people – it’s an experience we’ll never forget.

Our favourite part of the weekend was talking to other campers, hearing their stories and sharing ours, whether it was at a talk or just in passing on the site. We made firm friends, saw existing friends, and even made IRL friends out of Instagram friends when we met up with fellow pet sitters Retired and Inspired, who we’ve been mutually following for years, and enjoyed a walk around the dog walking field with them and their sweet doggo Gus. We got a tour of a converted school bus and a converted furniture removal van, we saw converted army trucks and horse boxes – all jaw-dropping in their creativity. We met HUNDREDS of dogs and their owners, and even found Alfie – Our Van Susan’s van bunny who became somewhat of a local legend over the weekend, as we excitedly asked other campers, ‘Have you seen the van bunny?!’.

All in all Camp Quirky was a fantastic weekend full of inspiring talks, good company and lots of laughs. The organisers did a wonderful job of pulling off such an incredible event! We’re already planning for Camp Quirky 2024 – we hope we’ll see you there!

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