My favourite time of the year is fast approaching; knee-deep mud, a legendary line up and traditionally wet weather can only mean Glastonbury is upon us. Of course, just like every year, there's a chance that we may see some sunshine over the weekend, which leads me to the dilemma I have each and every time I pack for a festival. What on earth do I take?!
I should probably be honest at this point... the yo-yo of weather icons appearing on my weather app at the moment has actually softened the blow of failing miserably to be one of the lucky lot who bagged tickets for this year's Glastonbury.
However, in 2011, having hit refresh many-a-time on the ticketing website and being successful, the impossible task of trying to predict Somerset's weather forecast struck fear in me and led to the chaos of rucksack space-economising. Do you pack an extra jumper over second pair of shorts? Dare to squeeze in a pair of flip flops? Bother with sun cream when it means sacrificing a can or two? It was a stressful experience, and not something I enjoyed as I packed the hour before my ride to the West Country arrived!
In the magical whimsical bubble that is Glastonbury, you'll find you try convincing yourself that the weather will be as happy and smiley as the people all around you. But, like it or not, English weather is something that will continue to chop and change, so here are my five vitals to ensure you still enjoy your festival experience this summer...
1. Remember your jacket. Lightweight or heavy, for potential winds sweeping across the Arcadia Spectacular, a waterproof is a given. The sun did make an appearance in 2011 but I was still thankful for my trusty highland jacket from The North Face. If it rains this year, the stress of fitting it in your bag will be long-forgotten when night temperatures have well and truly set in and you're making your way over to the Shangri-La, smugly dry and warm!
2. Invest in sleep stuff! Granted, you may not plan to spend a lot of time in it, but a decent sleeping bag is a must for when the inevitable crash comes. I was thankful for every penny I spent on my high end sleeping bag last time, and it's got me through many a festival or long weekend since.
3. Layers, layers, layers. Yes, stay optimistic and pack a few light t-shirts, but make sure your trusty hoody and/or your thick woollen jumper finds its way into your 'definitely taking' pile. Having the option to take off layers, rather than not having an option to put any on, is an advisable move. I'd also suggest layering up on socks as no matter how much body heat there may be in your tent or how much festival buzz is keeping you toasty, the dewy fresh mornings are extra fresh in the middle of a Somerset field. Think of your feet too - Icebreaker does some fantastic socks which are cushioned and have an anti-blister seam - perfect for long days in cheap wellies!
4. Pack a torch. Rushing from the John Peel stage to the Pyramid Stage to catch the clashing artist set times was certainly part of my agenda and I'm sure will be on yours. The large city that is Glastonbury festival is an array of activity and light until early hours however, from past experience (and with a couple of ciders consumed), navigating the field terrain or locating your socks in a chaotic rucksack when the dancing is over proves very difficult in the darkness.
5. Take a liquid pouch. It sounds bizarre as it's not as if you're hiking to a desert, but a tip I picked up last time at Glasto is using a liquid pouch (such as the ones Platypus do - or even an old Capri Sun with a screw top!) for any liquids you want to carry during the day; water or otherwise. The fact that it fits in a confined space much easier than a hard bottle is a major plus when leaving your campsite for a day of exploring, plus it's a re-usable and greener option, which keeps Mr Eavis happy!