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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 June 2008, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Festival Gadgets 2008
By Jim Reed in the Newsbeat garden and Maddy Savage at the Pinkpop festival

It's June, it's cloudy and it's wet. It can only mean the festival season is here again.

Festival-goers in a tent


Before long, thousands of us will be struggling with old tents, crates of warm lager and heavy wellies.

For years, technology has been promising to make our lives easier. But how do the latest festival gadgets perform in the real world?

We've taken a selection to the Pinkpop festival in the Netherlands.

Festival accommodation

Old-style tents with heavy metal poles are still a classic feature of any music festival.

Pop-up tent
Could old-style tent poles become a thing of the past?

But the price of lighter, pop-up models has come down over the last few years. Even the larger ones are on the market for less than 50.

Our tent comes pre-packed with all the plastic poles included and needs less than five minutes to set up.

Scott and Nick from Portsmouth were impressed.

They said: "I think it's a great piece of kit... In the dark, in the sun, if you're a bit drunk, you just throw it out and it's all done for you."

But the real challenge is always getting that "quick pitch" tent back in the bag. Ours ripped and had to be chucked out before we could get it back on the bus.

A new product called the Myhab is more substantial.

Created by a 24-year old design student, it looks like a futuristic dog kennel made of plastic and waterproof cardboard.

Myhab
The Myhab provides something a bit more substantial

It is much bigger than the average tent and comes with foam bedding and a lockable security box.

You can reserve one in a special area of nine festivals this summer, including T in the Park and Reading.

The price, at 240 for a weekend, is bound to put some people off, although it does include access to hot showers and special loos.

Festival recharging

So, the accommodation is sorted. What about communications?

Tom from Portsmouth thinks a mobile is essential.

He said: "Having a phone at a festival is probably the most important bit of kit you need.

"I've already lost my mates twice but I managed to find them purely because I had a phone."

Even if you keep your mobile out of the mud, the chances are it will run our of battery by day four.

If the queues at the recharging tent are too long to tackle, you are left with two options: sun or wind power.

Wind-powered fan
Avoid the queues and use the wind to charge your phone

Tom tested out a solar-powered charger (you can buy them for around 50) for Newsbeat.

"It hasn't really done much," he said. "It does work and with the right weather, it could do wonders."

Carla had more luck with a wind-powered charger (which came in at around 40).

"I've been charging it for 20 minutes," she said. "My phone's gone from 'out of battery' to a quarter full."

Festival hygiene

A solar-shower (for about 5) is small enough to fit in your backpack and designed to give you a decent wash if you fill it up from the tap. But you do have to get half undressed in front of the whole campsite.

The Travel John and Whiz Freedom (both under 10) are perfect for the really desperate. The powdered chemicals in the disposable bag turn solid when you pee on them.

Expanding knife
What every boy scout needs - an expanding knife

Tom stepped up to the plate for Newsbeat. He said: "I wouldn't buy one because the gents' urinals are usually pretty free. But the female population might find this product useful.

"Having been at the festival for a couple of days now, I know the queues can get excessive."

The trusty penknife

No camping trip is complete without the latest and most advanced penknife it is possible to get hold of.

New for 2008 is the Miss Army Knife which is bright pink and comes with a nail file, tweezers, a mini knife and a corkscrew.

The real boy's toy this year has to be the Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife.

At just under 500 it is expensive and too large to ever use. It's packed with seven blades, three types of pliers, a saw, a wrench and a laser pointer with a range of 300 metres.



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