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Top tips for camping with your car at Splendour

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Updated 9 Oct 2019Rowan Johnstone
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We’re fast approaching this year’s Splendour in the Grass music and arts festival. Splendour comes around every year in July and has grown to become one of the biggest music events in Australia, catering for all kinds of different music tastes.

It always attracts a massive crowd and the 40,000 or so available tickets usually sell-out within a matter of minutes of being available.

The most sought after of these is the three-day ticket with the added camping pass on top. You have the option of camping next to your car, which is the ideal way to go. It means you don’t need to lug your camping gear around and also provides a secure place to store your valuable stuff whilst you’re inside the festival.

I’ve camped at Splendour a few times now, and in doing so, have picked up a couple of things that can make your stay a whole lot easier. Although my first Splendour was a few years ago now, here’s a few car related things that I wish I knew before rocking up on Thursday morning to set up camp for the first time.

Where do you start?

Style

The outfits at Splendour are all about style and standing out, so the same goes for the car you take, right? Wrong. Splendour is dirty! If it rains, there will be mud everywhere! If it doesn’t rain, there will be dust everywhere! Both of these will get on your car and inside of it, despite your best efforts.

On top of this, there’s the drunk people - including you, most likely. It’s a festival, so drunk people are part of the package, but we all know that at the best of times, drunk people aren’t great at walking in a straight line or knowing what the hell they’re doing. Now imagine them trying to navigate their way through a maze of tents and cars in the dark on the way to and from their campsite?

Yep, it’s not gonna be great and your car may become the victim of an accidental scratch or dent because of this. If you’ve got the luxury of choosing which car to take to Splendour, go with the one you care the least about, even if it isn’t the most stylish.

Safety

I’m going to assume that most Splendour attendees don’t live nearby - a lot of us travel a decent way to get there. So, if you’re camping with your car, getting to the festival will call for a road trip. Before you get going, it’s really important that you get your car checked out to make sure it’s up to the drive. Nothing will ruin your Splendour weekend more than breaking down six hours from home in the middle of nowhere.

You’re going to be loading up your car with more weight than it’s probably handled in quite a while, so getting a mechanic to give your car a service and a safety check will give you that piece of mind, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Remember, AutoGuru can help youfind a great mechanic closeto you for a great price. A pair of jumper leads tucked away somewhere couldn’t hurt either.

Space

Over the course of the weekend, you’ll come to appreciate having plenty of space, and it all starts with the car.

First of all, the space inside your car is important. Is it big enough for all your gear or will you need to start culling some stuff? Are you willing to sacrifice some things? Can you organise to borrow a friend or family member’s slightly larger car? Can you jump in with someone who’s got a huge amount of space?

Now, before you and all your friends cram into someone’s 4x4 rig, there’s something else you need to consider, and it’s something that could see first-timers get caught out. It costs $65 to purchase a vehicle pass to camp with your vehicle at Splendour. However, Splendour offers a $30 refund on your vehicle pass if you arrive with three or more people in the same car.

In light of this, only taking one car makes sense, right? Well, sort of. The thing is that in past years, when you camped with your car, the space you were allocated equalled just over the length of your car plus maybe three or four metres of width. That ain’t heaps.

And it doesn’t seem like you’ll be given acres of space this year either. The Splendour website says: ‘Please remember that space is tight in the campgrounds so please don’t bring the kitchen sink’.

If past years are a guide, it will quite literally be bumper to bumper with the cars in front and behind you. So, four or five people in one car just isn't realistic for the size of the camping spot you’ll get. Forget about putting up that gazebo you brought for shade and, depending on the size of your tent, you might have to go without the camping table and chairs too. It’s not uncommon to only have enough room to pitch your tent.

Assuming the 'camping with your car' system is the same as in recent years, the key to more camping space at Splendour is taking more cars. In the past, I did this by getting a group of 8 or 10 friends together and arriving in four, five or more cars. That way, we'd be lined up behind each other and could spread our camping space out along the length of those cars.

Remember to all arrive at the same time though! You can’t save a spot for a late-arriving pal. As the Splendour website states: ‘Friends that stick together, camp together!’.

The only downside of more cars and fewer people per car is that you won’t get your $30 rebate, and you’ll have to buy a separate pass for each car. But, hopefully, you will get that extra space, and that extra length will mean you can cram all your tents to one end and have enough room for some social space and some tables and chairs. Your campsite will be the envy of all!

Alternatively, you can use your mate’s limo, get everyone inside, get your $30 rebate and still have heaps of room . . . because we’ve all got a mate who owns a limo, right?

Remember though, if you happen to camp next to an unlucky group who crammed 10 people into a car (that’s not a limo) and are stuck with no space to set up their campsite, show a little sympathy and offer them up a little bit of yours. You’re going to be stuck next to them for four days, so may as well make friends!

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Written ByRowan Johnstone

On weekdays Rowan can be found in the AutoGuru office, driving content and growth with the rest of the marketing team.

On weekends you’ll probably find him in the garage with his father restoring a 1958 Ford Star Model Customline or enjoying a cruise through the Gold Coast hinterland on his Suzuki GSX-R600.

Despite his passion for being behind the wheel (or handlebars), Rowan looks forward to the day when he can commute to work in his own driverless car.