In the Spring of 2023 we attended our first van life festival! After a long conversion process on our high top VW Transporter, we headed to Camp Quirky to experience a weekend of music, talks, shopping, good food and meeting like-minded van lifers from all corners of the UK. We spent some time really considering what we would need for the weekend in the days before the event, knowing that we wanted to be fully prepared for our first van life festival experience. Depending on your vehicle – whether you have a fully set up motorhome, converted campervan, or a micro camper – you may not need all the items below, but these are our top things to consider bringing to a van festival.

Water jug or bucket

Once you’re parked up on a sprawling field at a festival, it might not be possible to park up next to water taps. If you have a freshwater tank on board, we recommend filling it before you arrive then using a dedicated vessel to top up your supply. We used our Colapz foldable water bucket to top up our on board freshwater tank so we could drink and cook in our van when needed. This 8 litre bucket is one of the most useful items we store in our camper, and it collapses flat to save valuable space in our tiny home! You might also consider bringing a similar receptacle for your waste water too, unless you have a waste water tank on board, so no dirty water drains onto the grass.


If you have a cooking area in your van, and are capable of storing cupboard food items and/or fresh food, we highly recommend bringing food for at least a few meals while you’re camping at a festival. Whether you have a full kitchen set up in your motorhome, or a simple gas camping stove in your micro camper, it will save you SO much money at a festival where vendors have a captive audience. Of course, eating food from these vendors is part of the experience, especially when there are an array of options to choose from! While eating from food trucks is a delicious way to treat yourself, and they usually cater to all diets to a certain extent, they get busy in the evenings (a friend at Camp Quirky told us they were quoted a two hour wait for pizza!). There’s also the cost to consider – you can easily spend hundreds of pounds on food for the weekend – as it’s not unheard of for a burger and chips to cost £16. If you’ve got multiple mouths to feed, food costs add up quickly! Support the food vendors where you can, but have some back up meals in your van just in case. We packed breakfast food for each day and enough items for a couple of lunches and dinners, so we had the option to cook in the van if we wanted to.

Dish washing items

Speaking of food, there may not be washing up facilities on site at a van life festival. No matter your set up, you can get freshwater from taps and wash up any items back at your van, but you’ll need to bring a washing up bowl, washing up liquid and sponges. At Camp Quirky there was an on site shop selling household items like these, but in case the van life festival you’re attending doesn’t have one it’s best to be prepared and bring your own.

Cups, mugs and cutlery

Everyone has seen post-festival pictures where the aftermath of a camping weekend is a sea of plastic strewn across fields. Most festivals are now beginning to ban the sale of single use plastics – Camp Quirky had absolutely zero single-use plastics at the food trucks, with vendors using plates and cutlery made from recycled materials. At the bar, there was a £5 charge for the decorated CQ plastic cups containing drinks, which attendees could return for a refund after finishing their beverage, or keep as a souvenir! Still, you can do your part to fight waste at a festival by packing your own cups, mugs and cutlery – all of which you probably already have in your van’s kitchen drawer! We loved bringing our Yeti tumblers around the festival with us to easily fill up water from the taps as and when we needed, and we brought out our Yeti mugs when we bought hot drinks from the stands. Yeti products are insulated and have lids to keep the temperature of the liquid controlled – they are another van life essential for us! If you want to go the extra mile to tackle waste, and have washing up facilities in your van, you could also bring your own cutlery and plates to the food trucks too!

Money – the paper and coin kind

While most vendors will accept card payments and Apple Pay these days, at a festival you’re at the mercy of hundreds if not thousands of others using the phone signal, which affects the WiFi signal that card readers use. When we arrived early for day one of Camp Quirky, we both had full 5G signal. By the Friday evening, once everyone had arrived, we couldn’t get a signal on our phones at all. We didn’t have any problems with card payments not going through at food vendors or stalls, though some did take a little longer than usual, but it’s best to be prepared for issues to occur. It’s very unlikely that a festival will have cash machines on site so bring a bit of money with you just in case.


We spontaneously bought two mid-range, fold-up chairs from Decathlon on our way to Camp Quirky and it was the best decision we made that day! If the van life festival you’re attending is hosting talks, live music or any event on a stage, they will most likely provide seating – but it will never be enough for the amount of attendees. To ensure you don’t have to stand throughout an hour long talk, or even just to make sure you have a comfy spot to sit around a campfire, bring your own chair to guarantee you have a seat!

Support our blog

Enjoying this post? Support our blog by donating as little as £1 to our running costs! Thank-you! Click here to donate

Flag or banner

This one is especially important if you’re attending a van life festival in a white motorhome with no discernible markings! Even if you think you have a good sense of direction, or will be able to find your vehicle by locating the standout vans nearby, having a flag or banner to be able to quickly identify where you’ve parked in the sea of vans will save you a lot of time! This is one thing we didn’t consider before attending Camp Quirky, though luckily for us hundreds of others did and we ended up using the flags on their vans as markers to find our own!

Cards or stickers

Chances are you’re going to meet dozens and dozens of wonderful, like-minded van lifers at any van life festival. When you can’t rely on patchy phone signal to swap social media handles, consider getting cards or stickers made up before you go, featuring your contact details or IG handle – the latter is a popular collecting hobby in the van life community! We received so many beautiful stickers from our weekend to display proudly in our home on wheels. It’s a fun way to swap details and ensure you stay in touch with the fantastic people you meet at the festival!

Portable power station

If you usually rely on electric hook up for your motorhome or camper, you might want to consider investing in a separate power station to give you power while you’re at a festival, as it’s unlikely there will be any hook up points. This is also a good idea if you have solar panels to provide you with power, but the forecast shows inclement weather for your festival! The technology has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years and now there are some great options for portable battery stations which can also come with USB, 12v and 230v sockets.

Traction mats

These are an item that you hope you don’t need to use, but you’re glad you have them when you do need them! On departure day of Camp Quirky when the weekend had seen light rain, not to mention thousands of vehicles churning up the grass, we saw more than a few campers getting stuck in the mud with their wheels spinning. Placing a traction mat underneath your tyres will help you get out and onto more solid ground! Luckily for those who got stuck, they were out again in no time thanks to a few prepared motorhomes carrying traction mats.

If you like this post you might also like…

All Posts