Festival season is looming on the horizon, like a large and pale dancing man silhouetted against a set of dazzling floodlights, whose sweat-sodden skin shines and catches the light like a salmon flashing in the brook.
If you're heading there this year, or anywhere without reliable electricity, then you're going to need the right tools for the job. Here's our pick of the best festival gadgets around, from disposable phones to augmented tents.
1. The New Nokia 3310 – £50, nokia.com
Forget lugging a power bank around and pick up the Nokia 3310. This resurrected classic costs just £50 and has a battery life that will easily last an entire weekend on a single charge. If you’re the sort of feckless klutz who never fails to lose your handset down the portaloo, or you’re worried about having your phone swiped, this disposable alternative is the way to go.
2. The New Nokia 8110 – £70, nokia.com
Assuming you can give the Tinder habit a break for a few days, there’s really no reason to bring your smartphone with you to a music festival. Mud, thieves, accidentally hurling it over a 15ft tall fence during a big dance – any number of terrible fates may befall your device. So bring along something cheap and bright yellow, such as the resurrected Nokia 8110. Its slide-down cover makes you feel 1994-important, while its 4G connectivity ensures you’ll be able to receive garbled instructions from your friends who’ve become lost somewhere in the other side of the field. It will also last forever on a single charge.
3. Beoplay A2 Active – £299, beoplay.com
Bang & Olufsen’s portable bluetooth speaker is both dust and splash resistant, so it will hold its own against a spilled pint of cider or – if you’re at a more adventurous festival – a biting desert zephyr from the west. With 24 hours of battery life, top sound quality and the ability for up to eight people to connect at the same time (no more battling for control), it’s the classiest way of bringing the party back to the tent.
4. Beoplay P6 – £349, beoplay.com
The Beoplay P6 is a high-end portable bluetooth speaker and boasts a “pearl blasted aluminium grille”, which the boffins at Bang & Olufsen claim helps with sound dispersion. We can’t be sure that it really works, but it does mean you’ll very likely be the only person on the Isle of Wight with a pearl blasted anything. In either case, the P6 speaker sounds as good as it looks.
5. Samsung Gear 360 – £349, samsung.com
The spherical camera design and alluringly chamfered handle of the new Gear 360 makes irritating the person standing behind you at a concert easier than ever. Just hold it up and it will record in every direction at once to create a 360-degree video that can be watched back on a Gear VR headset at home. Or at least, that’s the idea.
6. Tile Mate / Tile Slim – From £23, thetileapp.com
Attach one of these to your keys, backpack or anything else you’re likely to misplace, and you can track its last known location using your phone. Use the app to make a tile ring out, and let the audible chirping guide you back to your waylaid item. The slim version is about as thick as two credit cards and fits inside your wallet, leaving you with no excuse to ever lose anything again.
7. Polaroid OneStep 2 – £110, polaroid.com
When Polaroid finally stopped producing film for its vintage instant cameras, a company called Impossible stepped in to sell its own Polaroid-compatible film to hobbyist photographers, eventually creating its very own retro instant camera too. When in 2017 Impossible finally acquired the rights to use the Polaroid name, it created the OneStep 2. Your iPhone will snap better shots, but that’s hardly the point. The slowly developing polaroid pics are infused with insta-nostalgia, and the OneStep 2 is a cute souvenir machine as much as a conversation starter.
8. HP Powerup Backpack – £170, store.hp.com
Though it looks like a regular backpack, the HP Powerup Backpack is full of wires and batteries that are capable of fully charging everything from a phone to a laptop. Organised inter-pocket cable-routing eliminates tangles, and you can recharge multiple devices at the same time. Never again must you endure the horror and shame of a low battery warning.
9. ECEEN solar backpack – £79, eceen.com
Harness the ancient power of Earth’s oldest and hottest friend – the Sun – with this solar panel enhanced backpack. The ECEEN range is beloved among hikers and draws just enough energy from the sun’s rays to slowly recharge mobile devices while on the go. It even squeezes out some voltage dregs on cloudy days.
10. Anker Powercore+ 20,100mah – £32, anker.com
If you’ve been bingeing YouTube videos on the train, or simply own an iPhone that’s more than 12 months old, chances are you’re going to need a spare battery to keep you juiced up until bedtime. Anker makes some of the best around, and the PowerCore+ 20,100mAh is as reliable a backup charger as they come: fast, slimline and able to recharge most phones several times over.
11. BioLite Camping Stove – £135, bioliteenergy.com
Remember that scene in Waterworld when Mel Gibson pees into a filtration system to create fresh drinking water? Well replace drinking water with electricity and Mel Gibson’s putrid urine with twigs and you’ve got the BioLite camping stove. With the help of our old friend science, it converts fire into just enough energy for your phone to load a couple of Snapchats. Truly, our ancient cavemen and women ancestors would be honoured to see their invention finally put to good use.
12. Kindle Oasis 2018 – £230, amazon.co.uk
For those moments during the festival when you really need to just hide inside your tent and stare at a gently backlit screen for a while and not think about anything other than the collected works of Baudelaire, there’s the Kindle Oasis. It’s the best ereader in town, with Audible integration so you don’t even have to open your eyes, and can instead beam the spoken words into your tired ears.
13. Cinch! Pop Up Tent – $349, cinchpopuptents.com
The Cinch pop up tent comes with LED lanterns, LED tent pegs and light reflective guylines (useful to prevent tripping when stumbling back to your sleeping bag in the dark), as well as a solar power pack to charge all of the gear on the rest of this page. Thank you, the sun.