A festival-goer's guide to keeping your stuff safe this summer

Simple tips and tricks to protect your belongings

5 minute read

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Festival season is upon us, which means travel, tents and the time of your life. But how can you keep your valuables safe when you're dancing the night away in your wellies?

Travel writer and blogger Lucy McGuire shares some top tips to stop your stuff getting damaged or stolen this summer.

  • 13 tips to help you stay secure this festival season
  • What to wear and how to pack for festivals 
  • Why it's a bad idea to lock your tent

The festival survival basics

Take very little worth stealing

'Keeping your belongings safe at a festival is simple if you have little worth stealing,' says Monica Stott (@TheTravelHack), who loves festivals and blogs at The Travel Hack

‘Try taking nothing more than your phone and your debit card – and your ID if you're lucky enough to get asked your age – and keep it with you in a small bag.’

Get a tent with a porch

‘When buying a tent for a festival, invest in one that has a separate porch,’ says Miriam Zendle (@mzendle), a writer and avid festival-goer from London. ‘Having an extra compartment to unzip will put off potential thieves.’

Waterproof your valuables

Protect your valuables

Invest in a waterproof phone cover

‘No one wants to return home from a festival having damaged their phone, so invest in a waterproof cover,’ says travel writer Patricia Carswell (@girlontheriver).

‘It protects your phone if it rains, if someone throws a pint over you, or even worse, if you fall in the mud.’

Protect your possessions with bin bags

‘Get proper cases for things like cameras and phones, but also take bin bags to festivals,’ says writer Anna Matheson (@annamatheson), who’s a festival regular. ‘If your tent leaks, you want to know that things are protected.’

Hide your most valued items

Put your valuables in your sleeping bag

‘When you go to bed, put your valuables in the bottom of your sleeping bag or in your pockets,’ says journalist and festival fan Suzanne Bearne (@sbearne). ‘Having things stolen from your tent is rare, but it does happen.’

Watch your pockets

‘When you’re at a festival, it’s best not to keep valuables in visible pockets,’ says Jo Hoare (@jojolizzy), author of Festivals: A Survival Guide. ‘There have been cases of people being pick-pocketed or having their pockets cut open. Get a secure bag or inside pocket that can’t be seen from the outside.’

Take clothes with hidden pockets

The best festival tech

Buy clothes with secret pockets

‘If you want to go one step further than hiding your valuables, buy clothes with hidden pockets,’ says Jen Lowthrop (@Jlowthrop), a festival regular who blogs at She Gets Around

‘Clothing companies like Clever Travel Companion make t-shirts and shorts with hidden pockets that opportunist thieves can’t easily see.’

Try a tent finder app

‘With the Boutique Camping tent finder, all you do is take a picture of your tent, along with other important locations you want to remember, and your GPS locates them,’ says Ollie Mundy, co-owner of Boutique Camping (@weareboutique). ‘If you’re at a festival and need to find your tent or even your car, the finder’s simple interface helps you out.’

Beat the thieves

Don’t lock your tent

‘You might think it’s a good idea to lock your tent but actually, it’s not,’ says travel and festival blogger Vicky Philpott (@VickyFlipFlop) of VickyFlipFlopTravels. ‘It attracts more attention and looks like you have something worth stealing. Keep your valuables on you at all times but trust your tent will be fine.’

Use a bumbag

‘I’ve been doing festivals for eight years and my advice is to carry a bum bag.’ says Pally Kaur (@Pally1581), a senior consultant at Cherish PR

‘Have it with you at all times – even when you’re sleeping. Knowing your valuables are safe will help you really immerse yourself in the experience.’

Lock up your valuables at festivals

Use the festival facilities

Use a lock-up

‘Use the lock-up services,’ says Catherine, a development campaigner for Yorkshire CND (@YorkshireCND). ‘CND and Friends of the Earth groups offer a 24-hour lock-up service at Glastonbury. You can use them for everything from bikes and buggies to car keys and phones.'

‘The service is also available at a large number of other festivals including DeerShed and Shambala.’

Report stolen valuables straight away

If you do lose anything or have your valuables stolen, report it immediately to the security staff. If you're eligible to claim on your insurance, you'll need a police report. Before you go to any festival, you should check what your home insurance and travel insurance cover. 

So whether it’s you or your children who are off to a festival this summer, remember: pack wisely and plan ahead so you can immerse yourself in the experience. Oh, and don’t forget the face glitter.


Follow travel writer and Lucy McGuire on Twitter @LucyAMcGuire for more packing tips and holiday planning guides.

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