The Science of the Car Boot

Photo by Andrew George on Unsplash

‘The Science of the Car Boot’, you’ve got to be kidding! A boot is a boot, nothing to it! Right?

Not so fast!

Let’s start with the obvious: Car manufacturers bring out new models every year, update existing ranges and modify vehicles to be electric. So, the first step is to identify the year of your car, particularly if there was a change for the year in which your car has been registered. In that case you must verify the shape of your loading area, checking if it has the new or old shape. And don’t forget to count your seats: A vehicle with 5 seats has a totally different boot shape then a 7-seater with the third row folded down.

If your vehicle is fully electric, a plugin hybrid or a self-charging hybrid, chances are that the boot looks slightly different compared to a combustion engine car, because the batteries are usually housed under the boot floor.

Now that we have established the basics, let’s get down to the details: There are load covers, dog guards, D-rings, recesses, plastic dividers, storage nets and bars, spare wheels or space saver wheels, foam inserts, speakers and rear seats & tailgates that can be manual or electric. And don’t get me started on floors! Fixed or variable, high, middle, or low, left in or removed. Now multiply all of the above and you have an infinite number of possibilities.

Luckily, if you are buying a car boot liner from the The Hatchbag Company, all the work has been done for you! All you need to do is to select your vehicle and follow the easy step by step process to select your product. Info sheets, provided for every vehicle, will help you to identify the options, just compare the images with your boot.

Once you have selected the correct boot liner, you can be reassured that it will fit your car like a glove and that it will give many years of protection.

Have a look now: Car Boot Liner from the Hatchbag Company

Hatchbag, the Perfect Xmas Gift

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

A “Sumo Squats Game”, a set of “2 Upside Down Wine Glasses”, an “Igloo Hedgehog Home”, “Name a Rose Bush” and a “Meerkat Encounter for Two” are all popular Xmas gifts this year!

Even if you are not looking for something unusual or if the lucky recipient is one of those people who are impossible to find presents for, spotting an appropriate present can be difficult. A good approach in situations like these is to go for something practical, something that adds value and is long lasting.

A fully tailor made car boot liner, available for all popular car makes and models could be just what you have been looking for. The PVC boot protector comes in a range of colours and fits the loading space like a glove, providing complete protection for pet owners, workmen or sports enthusiasts.

It is simple to select the correct product online, just go to The Hatchbag Company. The order process is an easy-to-follow step by step process and there are handy guides to identify the year of the car and the options in the boot, if necessary.

A car boot liner from the The Hatchbag Company is useful for dirty hiking boots after a late autumn walk, wet or muddy sports equipment, or even to take the Xmas tree to the recycling centre when the festivities are over. Dog owners will particularly appreciate it all year round.

A car boot liner as Xmas gift is sure to be valued, treasured, and shows that you care!

Halloween 2021

It’s that time of year again, when children pick their favourite costume, everybody stocks up on sweets, and scary stories are told…

Halloween is originally a Celtic custom, originating mostly from Ireland, was then popularized in America, and transformed into a more child friendly event. Over the last few decades, it has become widely celebrated in Europe and thus coming almost full circle.

Today it’s a hugely anticipated event, when the little ones get to dress up, eat their favourite candy and play the odd prank or two. Costumes are available from all the popular animation films, well known fairy tale characters and all the scary creatures that roam the night. Elsa and Anna from Frozen are perfect for two sisters, Spiderman and Superman are always top of the list for boys and Zombies, Skeletons, Mummies, Monsters, Witches and Wizards are ideal for a fright.

Obviously, a pumpkin is also part of the tradition, and these days many farms put on special events, where you can pick and carve a big vegetable. Make sure you bring your wellington boots, rain gear and maybe even a flask with a hot drink. It’s autumn and sure to be cold and muddy. Also consider to provide some protection for your boot space to get it all home without creating too much mess in the car.

A general boot mat, boot protector or an improvised blanket might do for light use and dust. For mud, dirt, damp or wet items and things that might touch the sides of your boot, you need some better protection, such as a custom-made boot liner, individually crafted for your vehicle. That way the entire boot space is covered, and with additional extras, you can also shield the inside of your boot door, the top of your rear seats, the bumper and even the entire loading space with rear seats folded, if an extension is added.

If you wish to get yourself a great solution to protect your car boot visit our boot liners page:

Amongst all the fun, food and frolicking let’s not forget one of the most important aspects of Halloween or any other tradition for that matter: it’s a perfect reason to get together, be it with family, friends or just some acquaintances. It’s a good time to catch up and have a good chat about what has been going on and what the future might bring.

Happy Halloween Everybody!

More than a third of Brits never clean car boot

Car boot

More than a third of Brits have confessed to never cleaning their car boot, despite experts advising to clean car interiors once a month, research shows.

In a recent survey conducted by boot liner manufacturer Hatchbag, 27% of respondents admitted to cleaning their car boot just twice a year, while another 7% said they only clean their vehicle’s boot yearly.

According, a car’s interior should be cleaned monthly. Although 17.8% of people claimed to clean their car boot once a month, 36% said they never do.

Claudia Finamore, commercial manager at Hatchbag, said: “Cleaning inside your car, including the boot, monthly will ensure you keep on top of any mess. If you use your boot frequently, you may need to clean it more often.”

In the study, nearly one in 10 respondents said they clean their car boot once a week.

Claudia added: “Empty your car boot before cleaning it and then hoover up any dirt, crumbs and dust.”

In a separate poll from Hatchbag, one in eight respondents said the boot is the area of their car that gets the dirtiest. Muddy shoes, mud from pushchair wheels and dog fur were commonly cited as the top causes for creating the most mess.

“For any dry mud marks, use a brush to loosen the soil before vacuuming,” Claudia continued. “A rubber brush or gloves can also help remove dog fur before hoovering. Use an anti-bacterial spray to remove stains from other pet mess.”

In the poll, 80.6% of respondents admitted they do not clean their car interiors as much as they would like to, with more than half of this percentage blaming it on a lack of time.

Claudia explained: “To minimise wear-and-tear and make future cleaning easier, fit a wipe-clean boot liner to the walls and floor of the boot. Before installing it, prep the non-Velcro friendly surface of the boot (plastics trims) with Autoglym Intensive Tar Remover using a lint cloth to make sure any silicon traces are removed and the Velcro tabs are adhering correctly.”

Other preventative measures include wiping down any items, such as sports equipment, before storing them in the boot and regularly decluttering the boot.

Without routinely tidying the car boot, it is easy for dirt, litter and storage to accumulate until it requires an intensive and time-consuming clean.

Is Your DIY Project Affecting The Value Of Your Vehicle?


When it comes to tackling household renovations—such as redecorating or carrying out simple building projects—the DIY approach is often the most cost-effective solution. The advancement of online tutorials enables anyone to try their hand at trades previously left to the professionals, and in many cases, it is possible to achieve an effective result.

What the manuals don’t tell you, however, is the hidden costs associated with ‘doing it yourself’. Not all projects go to plan, resulting in wasted materials and less-than-desirable finishes. Also, the surrounding areas can become damaged if the correct tools and equipment aren’t used and lack of experience can sometimes result in mess and spillages, particularly when transporting materials to and from the DIY supplier.


Protecting your vehicle from DIY damage

Transporting materials home from the DIY store can be a particular bugbear for DIYers, particularly if they are having to use the family car as opposed to a trade-specific van. The very nature of building materials means that there is a risk of damaging the vehicle’s interior and tailgate during transportation.

Whether you are a professional tradesperson or someone who likes to do DIY projects in their spare time, your vehicle will inevitably be damaged in some way due to bulky materials, dirty tools and oily machinery. As a result, you must protect your car from damage. Here Hadyn Leon from construction company Stone7 shares expert tips and advice for ensuring that your vehicle remains damage-free when transporting materials…

1. When transporting building materials make sure that you cover as much of the car’s interior as possible.

2. Old sheets and towels provide some protection but they tend to slip around and don’t stop liquids from seeping through. Bin bags can help with this but can easily rip. It is well worth investing in a boot liner that is fitted to the specifications of your boot so it will stay in one place.

3. Loading and unloading the car is a prime time for creating scratches and scrapes, especially if you are working in reduced light at the beginning or end of the day. Protect the bumper of your vehicle with a padded tarpaulin or choose a boot liner with an integral flap that can be folded out over the bumper.

4. Poor weather conditions can also result in bumper damage, especially if your hands are wet and cold and you lose grip of bulky items. Again, the more padding you can create over the bumper area the better.

5. When transporting timber remember to protect the backs of the passenger seats and headrests, especially when slotting posts in through the length of the back of the vehicle. Splintered wood can cause irreparable damage to upholstery so keep a stash of old towels, flat cardboard and blankets to hand to create a buffer around awkwardly shaped items.

6. Consider the weight of the items that you are transporting if you are using a vehicle designed for domestic use, it’s not worth compromising the suspension!


7. It’s not always convenient but where possible it is worth ‘double bagging’ bags or sand or cement—even if you just loosely wrap a bin bag around them. Loose sand is almost impossible to get out of carpets and can causes scratches if it rubs against delicate items.

8. If you do have a spillage of any type, try to tackle it straight away. The longer you leave it the harder it will be to remove and you may risk it transferring onto other materials.

9. Don’t underestimate how dirty your clothes will be! There’s no point protecting the boot of your car and the ruining the driver’s seat upholstery with oil or paint-covered clothes. Again, old (clean) towels and sheets can be a godsend, or invest in some disposable seat covers, typically used by mechanics.

10. If in doubt pay a little bit extra to get things delivered, you could well find that it’s far less than the cost of repairing or cleaning your vehicle!

Embracing the winter getaway

family on beach

Taking a holiday during the winter months no longer consists of jetting off to sunny climes or hitting the ski slopes. Increasing numbers are choosing to stay closer to home and enjoy the British coast and countryside for their out-of-season breaks—and why not, when we have so much amazing scenery right here on our doorstep?

Time to celebrate

Out-of-season UK breaks offer many practical benefits, particularly when families and groups of friends want to spend time together at Christmas or over the New Year. Not only do spacious holiday rentals make it easier to accommodate large parties in terms of bedrooms and bathrooms, the fact that it is a neutral space means that no one has the responsibility—or cost—of being the sole hosts.

Christmas and New Year are popular times for people book UK getaways to enjoy a Christmas Day beach walk, New Year celebration in the local pubs, or simply to relax with family without the stress of hosting in their own home.

We see quite a variation of Christmas and New Year guests. Our large, more spacious properties are popular with multi-generational families or groups of friends, whereas some of our cosier cottages or traditional fisherman’s cottages are ideal for couples. Emily Mercer – Coast and Country Cottages

couple on beach

Avoiding the crowds

One of the best things about heading to popular tourist spots in the winter months is the lack of people! Large stretches of empty beach, pubs with plenty of free tables—even better if they are by a roaring fire—and traffic-free roads… what’s not to love?

Although many people associate the beach with long, summer days, beach breaks are also popular during the winter with visitors who want to make the most of fewer crowds, emptier waters and stunning, undisturbed scenery. Watersport enthusiasts enjoy the quieter waters in the out-of-season months, so you can often spectate surfers trying to catch a wave and people on paddleboards or kayaks exploring the coastline.

The countryside is particularly popular out of season, offering an abundance of walking routes for keen hikers. Many of our holiday homes dotted along the coast path are booked out during the autumn and winter months, with those looking to enjoy a break from city life, or simply seeking fresh air and incredible views. Emily

family playing in the snow

Travelling with pets

A family or group holiday isn’t complete without the four-legged members, thankfully travel companies are recognising that dog owners want to include their pet in the fun and as a result, more and more holiday lets and hotels welcome pets with open arms.

Dog-friendly Christmas escapes—where all members of the party are encouraged to put their feet up—are beloved by couples and families alike. Hotels that cater for all the family—two-legged or four—are particularly popular for those looking for a very special Christmas away. Nicky Burton – All Four Paws

Our team are all dog lovers, so we completely understand the increased demand in recent years to include your pet in your holiday plans. Around a third of our properties now accept pets, and we have found that this can really help to extend bookings out of the traditional peak season. Often couples holidaying with a dog would prefer to visit outside of the school summer holiday period. Emily

hot drinks infront of fire

Embracing the outdoors

Although it can be tempting to spend your break hibernating in front of a roaring fire, getting out and about to explore the local area is well worth the effort. There’s every chance that you will stumble across some unexpected find on your travels, even if that simply happens to be the local pub!

As most beaches lift their dog restrictions from 1st October every year, the golden shores become a haven for families enjoying time with their four-legged friends. There’s nothing more refreshing and relaxing than heading to the beach for a blustery winter walk, before returning to a local pub with a burning log fire.

With so many fantastic pubs and restaurants in the region—several of which are positioned on the coast paths—visitors often see the winter months as a chance to work up an appetite by walking, before indulging in a hearty roast dinner or seafood dish. Emily

dog wearing coat

Prepare your pet

The coast and open country can be susceptible to the best and worst of the weather so make sure you take plenty of layers, waterproofs and sturdy footwear. Although dogs are protected by their fur, they can still suffer from the cold so they will also need to be shielded from the weather with a warm coat. Many dog owners transport their dogs in the boot of the car when venturing further afield, so make sure you create a cosy space for them to cuddle up in while in transit with plenty of dry towels and blankets. A wipe-clean bootliner will help prevent mud, sand, water and dog mess from transferring into the carpet and also prevent the dog crate from damaging the car’s interior.

Country escapes are loved by dog owners in the winter months and our own four-pawed guru Rigby adores a seaside walk, even in the chilliest of conditions—it’s a great way to blow the cobwebs away!

When walking on colder days, invest in a dog coat that not only covers the dog’s back but their chest too. A coat is great for keeping smaller dogs warm while they patrol the long grasses and it will help control any mess they pick up. Make sure you pack lots of cosy blankets and a drying robe to wrap up your dog post-walk to ensure they don’t catch a chill. Nicky

walking boots

A portable boot room

Although exploring the great outdoors is a big part of many UK breaks, holidaymakers also like to enjoy smart meals out, visit local attractions and indulge in a little retail therapy. To avoid having to tramp around in waterproofs and muddy walking boots 24/7 it is worth stashing clean footwear and smarter outerwear in the car for a quick change when out and about. Again, a bootliner can be an absolute godsend for preventing mud, sand and moisture from transferring from outdoor wear into the car’s interior when soggy items are removed. Using the boot as storage space for dirty footwear throughout your stay will also prevent soiling the flooring of the rental property and potentially incurring cleaning charges.

South Devon isn’t just for outdoor enthusiasts during the winter; with a number of renowned health spas, vibrant Christmas markets and boutique shops, there is something for everyone. Emily

car boot filled

Everything but the Christmas fairy

Packing for a break that spans the festive season can be a bit of a headache, especially when all of Santa’s secret goodies need transporting. A roof box is a good way to create more space and a protective bootliner will help luggage and parcels from damaging the boot, and vice versa.

If you are also bringing your own Christmas tree and decorations do not underestimate the mess that will be left behind in the boot. It’s highly likely that you will still be finding pine needles and glitter for the next 12 months—a good reason to invest in a bootliner if ever there was one!

How the right car accessories can save you money and cut costs

car accessories

The only way to legally use a mobile phone while driving is by fastening it into a phone mount and positioning it so that it can be easily seen, without restricting the view of the road. However, this may be news to motorists as our recent survey revealed that only one in ten drivers have a phone mount in their vehicle.

When asked what car accessories they had/used, only 10.5% of motorists said they owned a phone mount. But, more than a quarter of drivers admitted to using a USB port—predominantly used to charge a mobile phone—highlighting that motorists may be unwittingly breaking the law with their phone usage.

The most widely used car accessory was a Sat Nav, with 32.8 drivers relying on the device to navigate the streets. However, with many smartphones having built-in navigation technology, stand-alone systems may soon be a thing of the past. With this in mind, motorists need to brush up on the laws surrounding mobile phone use because using an unsecured phone while in transit—even for navigational purposes—could incur fines of up to £1000, plus six penalty points.

Drivers attempting to sidestep phone laws by wearing a smart watch are equally at risk of receiving a careless driving penalty of £100 plus three points. Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said:

“If you were involved in a serious accident and it could be proved you were on your smart watch, it would be an aggravating factor that would lead to a longer ban or higher fine in court.

"Driving requires your complete attention so any distraction from a smart watch could be fatal.”

inside car

It’s all about the gadgets

The survey showed that technical gadgets are by far the most commonly used car accessories, with a further 10.1% of motorists using dash cams for additional peace of mind.

Surprisingly, products designed to keep the car interior clean and clutter-free such as back seat tidies and bootliners were less popular, indicating that motorists aren’t considering the future value of their vehicle.

Figures from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) revealed that 91% of new private cars sold between April 2018–April 2019 were purchased on a finance deal, many of which on a ‘PCP’ arrangement where the vehicle will need to be returned at the end of the term. With this in mind, maintaining the condition of a car’s interior with a protective bootliner is essential to ensure that the vehicle commands the highest possible trade-in value.

Which of these car accessories do you have/use?


USB Charger port

Phone mount


Backseat tidy/tablet holder




Family Festivals Guide – Part 2

Making the most of your festival experience with children

kids at festival

Image source: Tunes in the Dunes

In recent years the UK festival scene has grown and grown. So much so, there are now events happening in fields, castles and beaches across the country throughout the entire summer. With the diverse range of acts on offer, there is something for everyone—not least young families.

With the right planning, festivals can be a relaxing rather than chaotic experience. They are also a great chance to spend time with friends and family. In Part One of our festival series, Jack Keery from Deer Shed festival and Tommy Job, founder of the Tunes festivals, shared advice on what to pack and what to expect. Here, they share more top tips on making the best of the experience with a young family.

Family-friendly festivals

Historically, the thought of taking small children to a festival would have been laughable. However, the increase of child-friendly events has put festivals on the calendar for families. Jack believes that festivals should be fully inclusive for little ones: “Say no to ‘children’s areas’. Kids aren’t zoo animals, and the best family-friendly festivals will ensure their whole site is safe and secure, so your kids can run wild!”

Tommy shares his advice on taking kids to a festival:

  • Decide on a meeting point once you arrive, or make note of where the box office is. In the unlikely event of your family getting separated, you’ll all know where to meet one another.
  • Youngsters can get tired out pretty easily at festivals. Pull-along wagons can come in handy after a long day exploring the festival grounds.
  • If the weather is hot, it’s important to seek out some midday shade.
  • Most of all, festivals are magical events for families— embracing the atmosphere, listening to brilliant music and relaxing together is what it’s all about.

Pitching up

Camping is a great way to immerse yourself in the festival spirit and can be great fun, especially as a group. A few small things can make a huge difference to the camping experience, such as:

Top tips for festival camping

  1. Arrive nice and early to pick your plot. There is nothing more stressful than trying to squeeze a tent into a crowded field, and there’s a reason why there is a big empty space downwind from the portaloos!
  2. Ask about family areas. Designated zones are often a bit quieter and more child-friendly.
  3. Choose your pitch carefully – stay away from toilets but within sight of a recognisable landmark. Try to keep away from the main thoroughfares unless you want to be kept awake all night.
  4. Identify your tent with a flag, bunting or a sign—in a sea of tents it can be tricky to identify which ‘blue one’ is yours. Or, you could invest in a remote control tent finder, which lights up to help you spot your tent in the dark.
  5. If you are with a group, position tents to face each other and pitch them close together to ensure no one else can squeeze into your spot, and make sure to leave enough space for guy ropes. You could always create a boundary with windbreaks or tape to prevent revellers from wandering through your ‘camp’. This is also a good way to deter thieves.
  6. It may seem sensible to lock your tent but this actually has the opposite effect and highlights that you may have belongings worth stealing. The simple rule of preventing theft is not to take anything of value with you.
deer shed

Image source: Deer Shed

Something for everyone

Aside from the music, many festivals cater for younger visitors with quiet zones, science tents, movie areas, bubble parties and even group bath-times. With so much on offer, it can be difficult to work out how to fit everything in. These tips should help:

How to make the most out of the festival experience

  • Have a good look at the music line-up and the children’s events to create a schedule that keeps everyone happy.
  • Prioritise your preferred acts and try not to overschedule the day—you don’t want to risk a dreaded meltdown just as your favourite headliner is about to start.
  • Keep in mind that festivals can be tiring for little ones­—factor in plenty of down-time between events.
  • Once you have identified which acts will be playing when and where, think about how long it will take to travel between stages. In larger festivals, this may involve a hike across a field or two, which can be tiring for little legs.
  • Lightweight strollers are great for napping on the move but can be very difficult to push across a muddy field. If possible, bring a buggy with all-terrain tyres or consider a sling or backpack-style carrier for smaller children.
  • Although festivals are great for trying different types of food, some children may prefer more familiar flavours. Bring some favourite snacks from home just in case. Packets of dried fruit and pureed fruit pouches are a good way to squeeze in a couple of the five-a-day.
family at festival

Keeping clean

It’s no surprise that festivals generally involve getting dirty, which for many people is part of the fun! Pre-planning can help keep the grime at bay, as Tommy advises: “Make sure you have lots of water, toilet roll, (biodegradable) face wipes and baby wipes. Also, come prepared with bags to put rubbish and dirty clothes into.” 

Jack suggests looking out for festival eco-hygiene packs, which contain everything you need to keep clean at a festival without hurting the planet.

Puddle suits, waterproofs and wellies are a must for small children, plus plenty of lightweight layers to adapt to the unpredictable British weather.

If you have access to your car during the festival, the car boot is a great way to create additional storage. A wipe clean bootliner will stop your car’s interior from getting wet and muddy, especially when it comes to packing up your filthy tent and belongings. Keep bin bags in the car ready to stash soggy clothes and muddy boots. 

Festival safety

Every parent’s nightmare is their little one getting lost in the crowds. It can be very tempting for them to wander off with so many exciting things catching their eye. The following precautions will help ensure that they are safely reunited:

Six top tips for keeping children safe at festivals

  1. Make sure that children have your contact number with them. If possible, include the numbers for a couple of the members of your party in case phone batteries die or signal is poor.
  2. It is well worth investing in a secure kids ID bracelet before you go. Waterproof, personalised wristbands are available online and will reduce the possibility of details getting rubbed off.
  3. Explain to your little one what they should do if they get lost—find a police officer, festival steward or a ‘mummy with children’.
  4. It’s also a good idea to point out a recognisable spot to head to, such as a particular food stall.
  5. Dressing your child in bright, distinctive clothing will make them easier to spot and also to describe to others.
  6. Kiddy backpacks with integral reins can also be useful for keeping tiny tots close.
rubbish at festival

Keeping the outdoors great

A big problem for festival organisers is the vast amounts of litter left behind once revellers have departed. With this in mind, think about bringing reusable bottles or cups for drinks and make sure you leave nothing behind when you pack up.

Aside from general litter, a surprising amount of tents are left behind at the end of festivals. Contrary to belief, discarded tents are not donated to charity and will generally end up as landfill. A main reason people leave their tents is because they don’t know how to pack it up properly, so make sure you practice beforehand. If you do plan on leaving yours behind, ask the organisers about drop off points — but the tent must be in good condition and complete with all parts.

To help combat waste, festivals such as Deer Shed are championing Drastic On Plastic, an initiative where food and drink traders are prohibited from selling single-use plastic bottles, cups straws, cutlery and serve ware. Instead, traders only serve meals with compostable cutlery and trays. The Tunes festivals have even incorporated beach clean up events into their schedule, ensuring the festivals create no environmental damage to the coastline.

Family Festivals Guide – Part 1

Top tips from the experts on what to pack, plan and expect

kids at festival

Image credit: Deer Shed

For many families, the festival season can be the highlight of the year, and for good reason! Fresh air, great music and the chance to chill out together can be a welcome escape from the restrictions and routine of ‘real life’.  

Revelling in the great outdoors, however, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. One of the main reasons why people shy away from festivals is the thought of getting wet and muddy. This was confirmed in our survey of the British public, which revealed over 54% of people would be put off visiting a festival because of bad weather.

Although we’ve all heard ‘horror stories’ of other people’s camping disasters and festival washouts, these are few and far between in comparison to the thousands of families who enjoy a wide range of festivals year after year.

It’s all in the planning

As any veteran will tell you, the secret to a successful festival is in the planning. Arming yourself with the right equipment, knowing where (and how) to pitch up and having a good idea of the acts and events on offer will make a huge difference to your experience.

There are three golden rules to festival packing:

  1. Don’t take anything that you would care about losing/ruining.
  2. Don’t over-pack; you’re unlikely to use it all and it can be a long walk from your car.
  3. Take a tent at least ‘one man’ bigger than you need—two man literally means two people with no room for belongings—and practice pitching and packing it away before you go.
people at festival

Advice from the experts

To find out more about what to pack, plan and expect from different types of festivals we decided to get some advice from the experts: Jack Keery from Deer Shed festival and Tommy Job, founder of the Tunes festivals.

Read on for their expert tips on ensuring that you have the best possible festival experience—come rain or shine:

What to pack for a field-based festival

People attending a field-based event need to come prepared for the possibility of mud.

Jack Keery from Deer Shed Festival shares his top ten packing essentials:

  1. Reusable water bottle and reusable hot drinks cups. Check if the festival runs reusable cup schemes at the bars and hot drinks cups (at Deer Shed you pay £2 on top of your first drink but take home a branded cup as a festival memento) and top up at fresh water standpipes around the site.
  2. Earplugs/ear defenders:Protect the kids’ hearing! Quality music at festivals can really blow you away, but that doesn’t mean it has to blow your eardrums.
  3. Eye mask:People always pack warm layers in anticipation of chilly British summer nights, but often forget that the sun blazing through a thin tent wall can cause quite a rude awakening at daybreak. You need your beauty sleep, after all.
  4. Torch:Vital for those midnight toilet visits.
  5. Sunglasses and sunscreen:It’s great to soak up the sun but make sure that you protect your skin and eyes - even at British festivals!
  6. Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, anti-bite cream and insect repellent:People sometimes forget about the presence of pesky bugs at festivals so keep them at bay with a handy spray and treat any bites as soon as you can. Wet wipes and hand sanitizers can be a godsend, too.
  7. Cooler box for food and drinks:Keep your snacks and drinks fresh and cool.
  8. Gas stove:Providing it adheres to event restrictions (cylinders at the Deer Shed Festival, for example, must be less than 2.7kg in gas weight). There are lots of local and international food traders at most festivals, but it can be nice to have bangers on the campsite for a change.
  9. Sling:For carrying the really little ones around, so you can remain hands-free.
  10. Poncho/anorak and wellies:Just in case, obviously! Every year we pray for no rain. Sometimes our prayers are answered…

Image credit: ‘Tunes’

Top packing tips for a beach festival

Tommy Job, founder of the Tunes festivals suggests packing for a beach-based festival in a similar way as you would for a general beach trip. Here are his top tips…

  1. Swimwear is a must, along with sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses and towels.
  2. Reusable water bottles are great for keeping hydrated.
  3. Don’t forget a picnic blanket, plus buckets and spades for little ones.
  4. Dress in brightly coloured clothes and wear eco-friendly glitter so you’ll be sure to stand out from the crowd.
  5. As British weather can be unpredictable, bring waterproof ponchos in case of summer showers.
  6. Although most festivals have card machines available to make purchases, it’s always handy to have change, especially when there are so many amazing food traders serving a variety of tasty treats.
  7. Last but not least, lots and lots of (biodegradable) baby-wipes to help keep little sticky fingers clean! 
car surf board

Everything but the kitchen sink

Once you’ve got your tent and have stocked up on camping essentials, there is the small matter of deciding what clothes to pack. The unpredictable British weather can make packing for a festival a bit of a dilemma—especially when trying to pack light—and as our survey suggests, the idea of spending a weekend feeling cold and wet is less than appealing.

Layers are key for the UK weather, with decent footwear and a good waterproof coat in case of a downpour. Try to resist the temptation to pack for a month and leave anything you don’t want to get ruined or that is tricky to get in and out of—such as playsuits and dungarees—at home. Biodegradable glitter and bright coloured accessories will help embrace the festival vibe—not to mention make it easier to spot other members of your party in the crowds.

To make things easier, our comprehensive packing list covers everything that you could need for your festival trip: [download here]

Festival Essentials – Downloadable Packing list


    Festival tickets! Print them out in case your phone dies.


    Phone and charger/battery pack

    Enough cash to stash around your person (plus a money belt or bum bag)

    Credit/debit card



    Folding chair

    Sleeping bag, roll mat and an empty pillowcase (pad it out with a hoodie)

    Blanket for wrapping up in when sitting out at night

    Earplugs— the only way to guarantee some sleep

    Sleep mask—essential if you don’t want to wake up with the sun


    Wet wipes and antiseptic wipes

    Toilet roll and hand sanitiser

    Paracetamol, hayfever tablets, any personal meds, bug spray and a small first aid kit

    Toothbrush, toothpaste and chewing gum

    Towel (microfiber towels dry quickly and don’t take up much space).

    Dry shampoo, towel off body wash (no water required)

    Tampons and deodorant

    Sun cream, glasses and hat

Eating and drinking

    Refillable water bottle

    Non-perishable food—e.g. dried fruit, bread, pot noodles, nuts and biscuits

    Small cooking stove and pan


    Light, waterproof rain coat or poncho

    Jumper or hoodie for the evening

    Quick-drying legwear – avoid jeans

    Wellies, comfortable shoes/boots

    Spare socks and underwear

    Completely dry set of clothes in a watertight bag

    Decent rucksack (don’t bring a suitcase, they are heavy to carry and won’t wheel through mud)


    Flash light, preferably a head torch

    Bin bags for wet/dry clothes, sitting on, rain protection and for under sleeping bags

    Duct tape for tent mishaps

    Noise reducing earphones for kids

    Disposable cameras (don’t waste your phone battery)

    Picnic blanket and toys for a beach festival

    A sledge, trolley or wheelbarrow to help transport your gear to your pitch

And what NOT to pack

  • Glass—if your festival permits you to bring your own refreshments, choose cans or plastic.
  • Gazebos won’t make you very popular with other campers and are heavy to transport.
  • Candles, Chinese lanterns or fireworks can be incredibly dangerous in a festival environment.
car boot fully packed

Travelling to and from the festival

For many families, it is easier to travel to a festival by car, not least because of the amount of luggage you will need. If you have access to your vehicle during the festival, your car can provide a useful space for keeping belongings dry—just make sure anything of value is kept out of sight.

Our top tips for taking your car to a festival:

  1. Make sure you have enough fuel for the journey there and back. You may find yourself stuck in heavy traffic when leaving the festival, so don’t rely on being able to fill your tank as soon as you leave the site.
  2. Keep bin bags ready and waiting to fill with muddy clothes and camping gear.
  3. Invest in a wipe clean, padded boot liner to protect the car’s interior from mud, water and scratches from lugging bulky camping gear in and out.
  4. Have a set of clean, dry clothes and shoes in the car so you are comfortable on the journey home.
  5. Leave extra snacks and water for welcome refreshments.
  6. Keep a phone charging lead in the car -- your battery will almost certainly need a boost.
  7. Entertainment for tired children will help while the journey away.
tents at festival

And finally, what to expect when you get there

Many festivals—especially family-focussed ones—are jam-packed with activities alongside the performances. Before you go it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the itinerary and work out what is on offer and when. Don’t forget to factor in travelling time between stages and attractions as some festivals can sprawl over a vast area. Often festivals have an app that allows you to check the acts to want to see and avoid any clashes. Some die-hard festival-goers have even been known to devise a spreadsheet to ensure they make the most of every minute!

Tommy Job, advises festival-goers to take a much calmer approach:

Make sure to leave plenty of time beforehand so you don’t feel stressed upon arrival. It can be overwhelming karting many bags and camping gear along, especially with little ones tow, so the more you can prepare at home the better. Pack something small that will keep them entertained if you do have to queue at the box office. If you’re camping, pitching a good distance between the bathrooms and main entrance is beneficial. The Tunes camping grounds are relatively small, so it’s easy enough to navigate your way around. Check on the performance times before you get there so you don’t miss your favourite acts.”

Something for everyone

Aside from the headlining acts festivals often have areas designed purely for children, as Jack Keery explains:

It’s hard not to give information overload when you’re talking about what’s on offer at Deer Shed because there is so much to do for every member of the family! The festival site is a plethora of performances, activities, spectacles and good vibes. Visitors can experience magical and immersive theatre, walkabout performances and art installations or even attend a baby bubble rave before taking your tot to our group bath time.”

For more top tips about making the most out of your festival experience, read Part 2 of our festival guide here…

Top tips on transporting gardening equipment without ruining your car

dirty boots

Gardening has become an increasingly popular pastime for people of all ages, with little wonder. Aside from the feeling of satisfaction that a beautifully maintained space provides, ‘growing your own’ is also a great way to get fresh produce at a fraction of high street prices—with the added benefit of eliminating unnecessary packaging and chemicals.

Whether you are a weekend potterer, allotment fanatic or a full-time professional there is one element that all gardeners can agree on—it can be a very messy job. No matter how careful you are it is almost impossible to prevent dirt and mud from soiling everything you touch, not least your car.

Transporting plants, soil, wood chippings or gardening tools—not to mention the inevitable trips to the recycling tip—can make a real mess of your car boot. Soil can quickly become ground into the carpets and sharp tools, twigs and brambles can easily tear and scratch the interior and bumper as it’s being loaded in and out.   

Expert advice on protecting your car

To find out how the experts manage to keep their cars in tip top condition while driving between jobs, we spoke to professional gardeners Jane Hicks and Tim Taylor.

Do you find that your car boot quickly becomes dirty due to transporting tools and plants?

Jane: Yes, I’m a garden designer but like to plant up the gardens I design. I tend to alternate between having surveying equipment or planting tools such as spades and garden forks with compost and the odd plant in the boot, so practicality is the key for me. The main requirement when choosing my recent car was whether I could fit my wheelbarrow in the back!

Tim: Definitely, I am constantly cleaning out loose earth from the boot of my car and wiping it off the backs of the seats. Compost bags can easily split when they are being heaved in and out of the boot, especially if they are pushed in beside tools. Also, if tools are wet as well as muddy they can leave a real mess behind.

Have you experienced permanent damage to your car boot?

Jane: Yes, trying to fit too much into the boot especially when in a hurry has caused soil to spill everywhere, plus scratches and breaks to the interior.

Tim: Unfortunately, yes. Tools have scraped against the walls when I haven’t loaded the boot carefully and timber fence posts have also ripped and scuffed up the carpet.

How about damage to the paintwork/bumper of your car?

Jane: Continually moving things in and out of the boot between surveying equipment and planting tools—especially when working in bad weather conditions—can cause scratches and muddy smears.

Tim: I never store equipment in the car overnight so I have to load my mower, hedge trimmer, tools etc. in and out every day. My boot and bumper have several dents from trying to load tools and equipment too quickly, especially when they are wet and slippy. I learned the hard way so now I always try to ensure it is protected, even when I am in a rush.

car boot with wellies

Do you currently use anything to protect your boot from damage?

Jane: A boot liner, and when the back seats are folded down a mat which fits over this area as well. I bought them both from the car manufacturer so they fit the space properly and they have been brilliant as I can carefully lift the mats out of the car, shake off soil and hose them down as necessary.

Tim: I have tried all sorts of ways to protect the boot—blankets, tarpaulins, etc—but they just slide around and can easily rip. I now have a padded boot liner which is much better, it also covers the back seats (when folded down) and also has a flap that covers the back bumper, which is a godsend when loading and unloading.

If you use your vehicle for both personal and business use do you find it easy to make the transition between the two?

Jane: Yes very easy. The rubber boot mat stays where it is and I just roll the extender bit for the back seats up and put it in the boot. Then I simply put the back seats upright and fit the boot shelf back in place.

Tim:  It’s not too bad, I try to keep the mess restricted to the back and the boot so when the seats are folded back in place it’s pretty clean. I wipe down the liner and give it a quick vacuum once a week.

plants in car

What do you find creates the most mess in your car?

Jane: Plants that fall over and spill soil everywhere are the worst but if I’ve been working in the rain, it’s very difficult to keep anything clean with sticky mud covering tools, waterproofs, gloves and boots.

Tim: Loose compost, it gets everywhere! At the end of the day, mud is part and parcel of the job so it’s all about damage limitation.

Top tips for transporting gardening equipment

  1. Keep shallow plastic storage boxes in the boot for when you are transporting plants. This will keep them upright and contain any leaking water or soil. Tim
  2. Use a hose to clean off muddy tools and boots before loading the car. Jane
  3. Protect the rear bumper of your car when loading and unloading bulky tools by using a bootliner that has a bumper flap. Tim
  4. Leave mud to dry before vacuuming it up. Jane
  5. Wrap the head of dirty spades, forks etc. with old towels to help contain the dirt and stop sharp edges from causing any damage. Tim
  6. Transport single plants in a bucket in the foot well of the back seat; if you have several plants use a crate or a cardboard box lined with plastic to stop them falling over. This will help prevent damaging the plant and spilling soil everywhere. Jane
  7. Keep an empty plastic trug in the boot to store muddy boots, gloves and outerwear while in transit. Pop in a pair of clean shoes for a quick change. Tim
rubbish in boot