Your weekend in the California desert will be ruined if you show up unprepared. Day-time temperatures at Coachella regularly exceed 100 degrees, so it’s important to stay cool and hydrated.
Aside from safety, the most important part of Coachella is the experience. The following suggestions and packing checklist will ensure that you have the most hassle-free experience possible. Enjoy
If an item or tip is listed here, I highly suggest you bring it!
Pop-up Cabana - The centerpiece of your campsite will be your shade structure. I suggest (several) EZ-up cabanas with tarps attached to three sides (secure with zip ties). This will allow for maximum privacy and shade but also allow a breeze to enter the area. In fact, you can even use your cabana as your sleeping place. A tent blocks the breeze and tends to turn into a sweat-box by 8:00 am each morning. Unless you plan on doing Bikram Yoga in your tent, you don’t even really need one.
Battery Powered Mister – The ultimate tool for keeping cool. Don’t let the price scare you, if you and your friends split the price, it’s actually very affordable. I have a different the O2 cool, which works great and is similar to this model.
Cooler with dry ice - Wrap your dry ice in newspaper and DON’T touch it with your bare hands. If wrapped properly and the lid is kept on your cooler, the dry ice should last all weekend. I suggest coolers with a drain at the bottom which will allow you to fill up your mister with cold water . Also, make sure to freeze all of your drinks and water bottles so that they’ll last over the weekend (and serve as extra ice to keep your cooler nice and cool).
Water. Water. Water. And, Water.
Solar Shower - Fill up your solar shower with the melted water from your cooler and use it as a refreshing shower. I have this 5 gallon Stearn’s sun shower. It’s cheap and gets the job done.
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KIND bars - I used to be a trail mix type of guy, until my girlfriend introduced me to KIND bars. They’re the most filling meal you can get for $2 because they’re packed with protein. They’ve got plenty of nutrients to keep you going all day. I’ll keep one on me even when I go into the festival grounds just in case I feel like a snack in between sets. Stock up on these, they’ll go quick.
Pre-cut Watermelon and Frozen Grapes - Not only will the watermelon fill you up, but it will also keep you hydrated. Frozen grapes will do the same.
Vitamins - Taking a multi-vitamin every morning will help you keep your energy and health during this long, long weekend.
Plastic Utensils - A must if you plan on bringing food to cook.
Pedialyte Powder - This applies for all camping and traveling excursions. Adding Pedialyte to a water bottle will keep you hydrated with electrolytes and is sugar-free (sugar in a sports drink can actually make dehydration worse).
Propane Grill - If fruits and snacks aren’t enough to keep you full, you might consider bringing on a propane powered stove so you can cook some eggs and more wholesome foods. The Coleman Road Trip Grill is the highest rated on Amazon and can be picked up for a good price.
Splurge - Visit the food stands in the campground and spend some cash on really tasty pizzas, gyros, hotdogs and vegetarian dishes. All of the food stands are run by local Coachella Valley residents and you’ll be supporting the local economy.
Aspirin - Just in case.
Portable speakers - My group always brings portable Logitech iPod speakers so that we we’ll have some music 24/7. Remember to pack extra batteries and respect your neighbors at night!
Cornhole, football, horse shoes or ladder toss: Any of these can be made in to a fun drinking game. Bring at least one of them.
Deck of cards - Life lesson #324, always bring a deck of cards when traveling.
Face wipes - Thousands of people tramping over grass + dry weather = lots of dust. Keep the dust off your face with Neutrogena or Olay face wipes. Also, you can soak a wash cloth in the cooler water and use it to cool of your face and neck.
Hand Sanitizer - Order a few of these small bottles of sanitizer. It’s nearly impossible to find a sink with clean running water in the campgrounds.
Toilet Paper - Don’t be the Coachella newb that realizes there is no toilet paper in your porta-potie… only after it’s too late…
Auxiliary Items - Hammer, zip ties, flashlight, nylon rope, pocket knife and SUNSCREEN. It’s also a good idea to bring a power strip, so that you can charge multiple appliances at the campground charging station.
Sleeping Bag and Air Mattress - This is an obvious necessity for your campsite. You don’t necessarily need a thick sleeping bag, as it stays fairly warm at night. I would also suggest bringing a thin blanket just in case it gets too hot at night for the sleeping bag. The air mattress I use comes with a battery powered pump for easy inflation.
I would also HIGHLY recommend a travel neck purse to keep your money and ID safe. You can wear it under your shirt throughout the day. I take one of these
with me whenever I travel, and I recommend you do the same. Losing your money (or getting it stolen from your campsite) is never fun, especially at Coachella when you’re miles away from the closest bank.
This should go without saying, but I hear horror stories every year of people that have left their wristbands at home. So, be sure to pack your wristband, ID and the credit card you bought your wristband with.
Did I forget anything? If so, please add it in the comments section. And be sure to follow me on twitter and this post on Facebook if you found it helpful. It would really help me out!