How I got 9 tents for free

I am very proud by the fact that we own 10 tents. Yes TEN.  We have pop ups, we have single berths, double berths and a huge 4 berth with a porch. And they were all FREE! (Well, apart from my original one which I purchased a few years ago).

How? I hear you cry. Well, we take them from festivals.

No, no we don’t steal them from unsuspecting punters while they are occupied by the entertainment; we wait until the end of the festival.

Most festival goers will leave the site on a Monday morning but we hang around and wait for the masses to leave, then we begin to look for tents that are clearly abandoned. It’s quite obvious which ones these are; ones that have half fallen down, ones with no other belongings around, ones with only rubbish sprawled all over the tent floor. After eyeing up the tents we ask anyone who is near the tent if they know whether the people have left. If we are confident that the tent has been abandoned, we take it down, collect the pegs, strap it to our sack barrow and move onto the next.

Each year, Glastonbury festival creates around 2000 tons of waste and in 2009 that pile included around 400 gazebos, 9,500 roll mats, 5,500 tents, 6,500 sleeping bags, 3,500 airbeds, and 2,200! Despite festivals bombarding punters with email and videos encouraging them to take their belongings home, it doesn’t work.

We go to a lot of festivals and I can completely sympathise with how most people think and feel on the Monday morning when it’s time to leave. It’s horrid. Your hair is a mess, you are either too wet or too hot, you have a thumping headache, need the toilet and it’s time to leave. There’s a long journey in the car or on the bus ahead and the last thing you can be bothered to do is to dismantle a tent and attempt to get it into the ridiculously small bag it comes in. Then there’s the thought of dragging it across several fields then up and down endless rows of cars while you try to locate your own. I do get where these people are coming from but I think they are mad.

The biggest tent we claimed is a Coleman and is worth £200 and it came with the additional porch worth £40! It’s crazy what some people discard such valuable commodities because they simply can’t be bothered with the effort. 

Even more shocking is what one sometimes finds in tents. Poo. It must be because they get so drunk and haven’t time to reach a toilet or time to queue so they just go in their own tent-yuk! D found and amazing tent at the last festival we went to. He scouted around for signs to confirm it was abandoned and when he popped his head inside it had a large pile of slop in it! Even more disgusting, D spotted another guy packing that tent down a while later. D warned him about the tents contents and the guy said he had cleared it up! 

We have acquired many other items from scavenging at festivals including camping lanterns, gas cookers, a huge bean bag, cans of beer, tinned food and many camping chairs. A friend even gained 3 pairs of trainers a hoodie and a vest from the last festival we went to! As long as you can see past a bit of mud, then a festival field is your oyster.

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.