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Ethical Checklist: Festivals

As the festival season gets going in the UK, we have put together a handy guide to help you pick the most ethical essentials for your festivals, camping or outdoor holidays.


Before you rush out for the cheapest disposable option, think about whether the companies you’re buying from care as much about the environment as you do. Just don’t forget where you pitched your tent and you’ll be able to use it again next year. 

Our outdoor equipment guide gives you the low-down on different brands, and the outdoor shops guide reviews 11 different places you might buy a tent.

And if purchasing a tent is not an option, you could check out local hiring options if you have a local  'library of things' or other similar community schemes.


Sleeping bags, rucksacks and outdoor clothing

Things to look out for when buying camping and other equipment like sleeping bags or padded jackets is whether the brand using down (from geese, ducks etc), non-animal alternatives, and what animal welfare standards they follow. Our article on the use of animal down has more information on this topic.

Other issues include the use of perfluorochemicals (PFCs): persistent and highly toxic chemicals used a lot in outdoor clothing particularly for waterproof coatings.

Our outdoor equipment guide gives you information on different brands including what they're doing about PFCs. The outdoor shops guide reviews 11 different places you might buy outdoor or camping equipment.

Remember you might not need to buy new items: repairing or using second-hand clothing or equipment can be just as good. Our outdoor clothing and equipment guide give tips on these and where you can get things repaired.

Woman and man sitting in a studio in outdoor clothing with tent behind

Food and drink

Tinned foods are a festival favourite, with baked beans surely the top of most people's lists of what to take.

Ditch the unethical Heinz, for an organic brand. Our shopping guide to baked beans gives you the low down on 25 brands, and don't forget the bread and butter/margarine as well.

If you fancy something sweet, our biscuits guide will have you munching away to keep you going through the long summer days and nights.

For drinks, our shopping guide to ethical soft drinks will help you choose the best options for you, and you may also want to check out the beer guide as well.

If you're stocking up at a supermarket, check out which one you'd prefer to use based on our ethical guide to supermarkets.

Baked beans on a plate with white toast
Image from

Keeping clean and sun-safe

Our shopping guides to ethical soap, shampoo, and toothpaste will keep you eco-clean whilst you're camping out.

Depending on your budget, we recommend looking for organic options, ones that don't contain harmful chemicals, and which have less packaging e.g. solid shampoo bars. Our guides give you the information on these and other issues such as animal testing and workers' rights.

And even without a heatwave in the UK, make sure you are covered with an ethical sunscreen

Image: sunscreen

Daily essentials

Don't forget daily essentials like toilet paper and washing up liquid.

In both cases we recommend avoiding or reducing plastic packaging where possible. Our shopping guides also highlight issues such as the use of harsh chemicals, and recommend buying organic if possible, and without bleach and with recycled fibres for toilet paper.

Photo: rolls of toilet paper

Ethical shopping guides to other festival essentials

You might also want to look at guides to other things like batteries, digital cameras and travel insurance, before you hit the festival circuit.

Ethical shopping guides

We have over 100 ethical shopping guides. These give you information on the major issues for each product, recommended buys, and information about the brands and companies behind the labels.

From batteries and beer to vegan cheese and washing machines, our guides give you all the information in one place so you can make the best decisions for you when you come to buy.

See A-Z of shopping guides