On The Wagon: The Radio Flyer

As far as essential festival gear for parents goes, a pull along wagon is up there with baby wipes and wellies. In fact, leave home without it at your peril, warns Lydia Gard. Besides, once you’re back at home you might find it’s the best thing you ever bought…

Last year, I got caught up in a friend’s festival spirit and before I knew it we were at Camp Bestival. It has gone down in history as the most ace weekend ‘in my complete entire life’ by Oliver (6). Presumably because you can eat pies, watch clowns and go on a helter skelter in a single day. Naturally I have promised we will return this year.

But I’m not going to pretend my own experience was as brilliant. I ended up carrying his 2 year old brother on my shoulders so that he could see the magician and catch a glimpse of the band. And after several hours of traipsing across fields, queueing for food or loos and trying to sleep on a camp bed, suddenly hauling a small (tired) child around with the rest of our festival supplies felt like one injustice too many.

But seasoned festival families around us all had one piece of essential festival gear that we lacked. Something that would turn us into the cool and collected brochure family that we hoped to be: a festival wagon. I stopped a happy-looking bunch and ordered a Radio Flyer wagon as soon as we got home.

The Radio Flyer wagon

Here’s the skinny:

  • The standard Radio Flyer (93b Ranger Wagon as pictured) has a moulded steel body, back support and seat belt.
  • It’s sturdy, well balanced and easy to manoeuvre with a steel handle and solid rubber wheels (meaning no punctures).
  • You can sit two toddlers or one under-8 year old inside it, or more pressingly, 2 coolboxes and a small tent.
  • It is good looking, retro, and has a touch of vespa-chic about it.

In our house it’s become invaluable. Apart from being pulled around the garden with children, tools and, occasionally, a dog in it, our Radio Flyer has been gainfully employed to cart toys and snacks to the local park, take bottles to the recycling bin and carry shopping from the car. Over the winter it migrated indoors and became a mobile library which can be dragged between the kids’ bedrooms. Practical and pretty.

Radio Flyer wagon uses

But the one thing it doesn’t have is depth, an essential factor for festival success. So instead of taking it to Bestival this year, I’m upgrading to an All-terrain wagon.

Big Red Radio Flyer wagon

With bigger wheels (mud/puddles), higher sides (more children/gear and less chance of tipping out tired toddlers) it ticks all the boxes. If you have the creative flair, I’m told that the done thing is to customise them – from mini tents/shades to extravagant paint jobs and in some cases, hot rod wheels. Each to their own. I’ll just throw in a couple of Ikea sheepskins and maybe find a way of attaching a cool bag to the outside edge for easy access to drinks.

If nothing else, it will be easier to cart them back to the B&B. Camping? I didn’t promise that.

Lydia Gard is the editor of Mr Fox. She has two boys aged 3 and 6. Follow her on Instagram @mrfoxmag