In the early 2000s my wife and I were huge festival goers and ravers. We would attend festivals all over the country and even go abroad to hear great music. Most of the time we had great experiences but there was one that I recall for all the wrong reasons; we got robbed at Reading Festival in the UK. Our tent was ransacked, money taken, and even our house keys got stolen.
From that day onwards we were determined to never let this happen to us again. I developed a set of festival security tips and a method of how to keep our tent secure. Festival friends of ours also adopted our means of securing a tent, and our guide was even published in a popular music magazine at the time.
I recently stumbled across the magazine, so decided to re-publish the guide on Outdoorasaurus. It was originally titled “how do you not get robbed at a festival” and the festival security tips still work to this day.
Below you can see an edited version of that guide which will help you to secure your tent at a festival, where to hide your money, and how to avoid being the victim of crime.
Festival security tips + how to secure your tent
Are you about to go to an incredible festival for the weekend? You might be camping out at night while partying during the day. As you get ready for an amazing weekend, you might be worried about security at the festival.
Whilst getting your belongings and money stolen from your tent at a festival is thankfully rare, with thousands of people around, there is always a chance that it could happen to you.
There will always be a few undesirable beings who see festival goers as potential victims. With your guard down and inhibitions running free, you make an easy target for opportunist criminals.
Follow these festival security tips below. They will let you better keep your tent secure, your money hidden, and your belongings safe from greedy thieves.
There are many ways to secure your tent during a festival. This could range from leaving valuable belongings at home, getting a locker at the festival to even making a beer can alarm system outside of your tent.
1. How to hide money at a festival and keep secure
Consider leaving valuables at home and don’t take excess money with you. Keep the cash you carry with you to a minimum, and if you can spread the cash out between you your friends. That way if one of you gets robbed, you still have a cash reserve.
One of the things we always do at festivals is hide money under the tent. We place it into a Ziploc bag and dig a small hole under the tent and stash it in there. It works really well, as thieves don’t go under the tent, they go into it.
Just don’t let anyone see you doing it – it’s best done after dark!
When sleeping in your tent, don’t leave money or valuables in the porch area. Push them to the bottom of your sleeping bag when you bed down for the night so no hands can reach in and rob you.
2. Use a security locker
Most modern festivals now have lockers that you can rent. If you think that this could work for you, then you could leave your valuables in the locker while you’re out and about.
The only problem is that lockers can be quite expensive to rent and can also be very small. They might only be big enough to secure your phone and wallet. Therefore, only take thinfs that you feel are really necessary to the festival.
3. Lock valuables in your car
If the festival lets you go to and from your car then this will be the most secure place you can keep your money and valuables hidden.
Many car parks will be far away from the campsite though so exercise some common sense as to whether this will be practical or not.
Thieves could still break into your car, and if you need something that you left in your car, it could take a while to walk there. Rather leave anything important to you at home, and small things that you need like your ID, cash, and phone, you can take with and keep in a bag or in your pocket.
And at the very least, keep any valuables in your car out of sight. For example, under a seat, in the boot, or a glove box.
4. Don’t put a lock on your tent
Whilst this might sound counter-intuitive, it actually makes perfect sense when you think about it.
Consider a thief walking through a festival campsite. Of all the tents, if they see one with a padlock on it, it’s going to be a big sign to them that there’s something in there worth stealing.
And padlocks on tents are ineffective. The thief can simply cut the tent canvas and steal your valuables.
Don’t use locks. It increases your chance of getting robbed at a festival.
There’s also a safety consideration to take.
When you lock your tent from the inside at night this assures you that no one can get into your tent while you sleep.
This can be dangerous though; let’s say a fire breaks out, or if you need to get out of your tent in an emergency.
5. How do you not get robbed at a festival
I’ve just told you not to use a padlock on you tent. I hope that makes complete sense to you. But there’s also another way you can deter opportunist thieves…
Leave your tent in a big mess. Leave things lying all over the place.
If you are a bit OCD, this could annoy you the whole week (like me) but this will make it harder for criminals to find what they want.
It takes time to search through things, and if everything is a mess, then chances are they won’t find what they are looking for with ease.
This could deter them enough to move on and leave your tent alone. If your tent is perfectly neat, it will be easy for a thief to grab your bag and run.
6. Make friends near your tent
On the day that you arrive and start to pitch your tent, make friends with those around you. By doing so you can build your own small security team who can all work together to keep things safe.
When you are back at your tent, you could keep an eye out on their tent and vice versa.
If your neighbors notice anyone who looks out of place, or if they don’t recognize the person going into your tent, then they could question them.
If everyone works together to keep things safe, the chances are that things will remain safe.
This is one of the most effective ways of securing your tent at a festival, so you don’t get robbed or become a victim of crime.
It’s kind of like a neighbourhood watch scheme for the weekend!
7. Spread out your money and valuables
In addition to the earlier tip on how to hide money at a festival, there are also some other ways you can secure your festival tent and valuables better.
For example, you could also hide cash in different parts of your tent. Hide different amounts in different places like your pillowcase, under your camping mattress, in your bag and so on.
This means that in the event that if someone did break into your tent, they wouldn’t steal all your valuables as it might be harder for them to locate them in a short amount of time.
You could also hide your valuables in a can, or in some kind of bottle that looks like junk. Some places also sell little safes that are made to look like normal everyday items. Like a deodorant bottle or a hairbrush.
8. Make a beer can alarm system
If you really feel like being creative, you could always make an alarm system out of beer cans. This could help warn you when you are sleeping that someone is trying to get into your tent.
All you have to do is string the cans together and tie them to the zipper of your tent.
If someone tries to open your tent, the disturbance will make the beer cans clang together and this can deter a thief or warn you.
9. How to stop after dark intruders
Another problem that happens often at festivals is having someone stumble into your tent in the middle of the night. This could be an honest mistake, as many tents look the same, especially in the dark after a lot of beer and whatever else has been consumed.
To help with this, change up how your tent looks when compared to other festival tents. Maybe buy a tent that looks completely different from normal tents, you could also add ribbons or novelties to it to make it look different.
If someone dangerous does walk into your tent, scream as loud as you can. There are many people around, so someone will hear you. Have a torch nearby to shed some light on your intruder too.
Nobody has time to be a victim of crime when it comes to having fun! There is so much that you can do to enjoy a fun-filled and safe festival! Always be vigilant and stay alert, with the right kind of steps, you can be sure of an awesome time…
But there are things you need to consider; you might be wondering where to keep your ID and money while you sleep at night.
You could also be wondering if using a padlock to secure your tent is a good idea?
Another thing to consider is if your belongings will be safe while you are out and about partying.
And lastly, what to do if someone stumbles drunkenly into your tent while you are asleep?
I hope that this guide on how to keep your tent secure at a festival and not got robbed has given you some interesting festival security tips.
I would love to hear any more ideas you might have?