Heading to Coachella this year? If you’re attending the music festival and camping, congratulations–you’re in for an unforgettable experience!
Now that you’ve started planning your desert weekend experience, it’s time to get serious about your Coachella packing list. Before you can begin having fun, it’s important to think through the logistics of camping at Coachella.
If you’re wondering what you should pack for Coachella, this post is for you. If it’s your first time camping at a festival and confused about where to start? We’ve got you, too.
Here’s your essential Coachella camping packing list to grant you the most fun and comfort from your 3-day experience!
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WHAT TO EXPECT WHILE CAMPING AT COACHELLA
Coachella is located at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. Being so deep in the desert, you’re in for a very, very warm camping trip–yes, even in the month of April. Sorry, I’m not even going to sugarcoat it for you. I’m telling you this early on so you can mentally prepare yourself for it!
Aside from the warm weather, there are a few other things you can expect while camping at Coachella. Keep reading to find out more about the camping rules and what to expect within a typical day at the campground.
- Sites are 30’x10′.
- One vehicle per site allowed/required.
- Unlimited friends/tents per site – also, all Coachella attendees may enter the camping area, even if they are not staying the night
- Sites assigned in order of arrival.
- Vehicles searched on check-in.
- No ins/outs with your car.
- No exit Fri-Sun 9pm-2am – if you need to leave early, make sure you plan to do it outside of this time window.
- Passenger cars, trucks or vans only.
- Additional vehicles must purchase Camping Companion Parking – this is usually about half the price of a regular camping pass.
- Campers 21+ may bring one case of beer cans or box of wine.
- There is free WiFi in the Connected Lounge as well as USB and AC charging stations throughout the camp.
- If you need to buy something that you forgot to bring or need to buy more food to cook, you can head to the General Store. They sell ice, food, toiletries, camping supplies and more.
IN THE MORNING
Upon waking up to the dramatic warmth from the sun, you’ll begin to see other festival-goers and campers heading towards the shower facilities. The best time to shower is early in the morning. And by early, I mean before 8am (if you can wake up by then). Any time after that and you’ll have to wait in long, long lines. Despite the long lines, they actually move faster than expected.
IN THE DAYTIME (BEFORE THE FESTIVAL)
Before the festival, you can expect people to be cooking breakfast or grabbing breakfast at the food vendor area. This is a good time to fuel up, get ready for the day (get dressed, put on your makeup), refill the ice in your coolers, pack your bags for the festival, and start drinking!
If you’re up for it, head to the main village area to get in a free instructor-led morning yoga class.
IN THE DAYTIME (DURING THE FESTIVAL)
A lot of people tend to skip the first portion of the day either because it’s so hot out there or because there is no artist performing that interests them. Expect a lot of partying, grilling, eating, and drinking at the campsites!
You’ll find people socializing, playing games, drinking, throwing around footballs, inviting other groups to party with them, and more. From about 11am to 4pm is the most lively time at the campsites!
AT NIGHT: AFTER THE FESTIVAL
Though the festival has ended, that doesn’t mean the party has to stop! You can expect random people DJing at their campsite and even dance parties that sprout up from the music played throughout the campsites. There is even a silent disco after the festival officially ends for the night.
COACHELLA CAMPING PACKING LIST: FOR THE CAMPSITE
Our packing list below contains things you should definitely bring for Coachella camping. For a full list of things you CANNOT bring, check out Coachella’s car camping page here.
1. Car camping pass
Seriously, don’t forget this. I have heard a lot of horror stories where groups have driven hours to get to Coachella only to remember that they forgot to pack their festival wristbands and car camping passes. Big, catastrophic uh-oh.
2. Camping chairs
You’ll want somewhere to sit when you’re not in your tent. Camping chairs are perfect and simple, but make sure they have cup holders for your drinks!
Alternatively, you can bring tufted floor pillows if sitting on the ground is more your thing.
Another option for seating is to get an inflatable couch. In fact, you might want to bring both for yourself just so you have multiple seating options. These things provide even more relaxation because you’ll feel like you’re resting in a hammock (as opposed to sitting up straight in a camping chair).
The Chillbo Shwaggins Inflatable Couch comes with elastic anchor loops to allow you to stake down your portable hammock when it’s windy. It also has large side pockets to hold books, glasses, snacks and an ice cold beer! Plus, they come in a lot of fun, unique colors.
3. Foldable table
A foldable table is a must-have for Coachella camping. This is where you will place all your food and drinks. If your group plans on playing games, it’s best to have a table to do it on so you’re not all straining your backs playing on the floor.
4. E-Z Up Canopy
You cannot think of camping at Coachella without one or even two canopy shades. The canopy will essentially serve as the centerpiece of your campsite–it’s where everyone will come together during the day to shield themselves from the beating sun and heat.
What you’ll find is that most campsites will pair their E-Z UP canopies with tarps or tapestries hung up on the sides. This will allow for some privacy as well as some much-needed shade, but it will also allow for breezes to enter the area. Don’t forget to pack some clips to help hang these up!
5. Tapestries or tarps
As stated above, bring tapestries, extra tarp, or light blankets to hang up for shade. Tarps, bedsheets, and blankets from home will be your most affordable option, while colorful tapestries can be an affordable and really fun way to spice up the aesthetic of your campsite! Consider some of these unique patterns/designs, or explore the expansive tapestry options here:
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to expand your campsite’s shaded area, you can create more shade between your car and your canopy. You’ll just need to bring extra sheets for this.
6. String lights
Spice up your campsite with some fun battery-powered string lights! Not only will string lights provide you with extra lighting at night, but they are so festive and will make your campsite easier to find in the dark.
String lights come in so many fun decorative shapes and sizes, so have fun with it! Here are a few that will help your campsite stand out from others:
7. Lanterns / headlamps
While it is usually really sunny and bright at Coachella during the day, it gets pretty dark at night. If you need nighttime lighting for your campsite, bring something like this battery-powered LED camping lantern.
Bring a personal headlamp too in case you need to build your campsite late at night, look for something in your campsite at night, or if you need to use the bathroom at night. Being hands-free while doing these activities is crucial!
Some people swear by sleeping out in the open, but we recommend sleeping in a tent for privacy and protection against the elements (dust, dirt, etc.).
If you don’t already have one, we recommend getting something that is both affordable and easy to set up and take down. The Coleman Cabin Tent was designed with a super cool feature in mind– instant setup within 60 seconds! If you want to share a tent with your friends, the 6-person tent offers enough room for two queen size air beds.
Having said that, it is important to note that the tents will become virtually useless by 8am. Due to the intense warmth during the day, what you’ll find is that a tent will block most breezes that come by. It will essentially turn into a sweatbox by each morning until nightfall.
We recommend getting out of there as soon as you feel hot because it’s only going to get hotter as time passes! That means if you need to change for the day, get it done early in the morning so you won’t need to crawl back in there until it’s cool again.
9. Air mattress / inflatable sleeping pad
For maximum comfort, go with an inflatable air mattress paired with a blanket or two. This is a good choice if you are not going to be camping with that many people and have more room for a larger tent.
For a more compact option, bring your sleeping bag paired with a lightweight sleeping pad.
Whichever option you choose, these will be good investments as you can often use them in your own home, on future camping trips or even backpacking trips.
10. Sleeping bag
Because it’s so warm in Indio, California, you can get away with any type of sleeping bag in terms of warmth factor. Nothing fancy is needed.
I would also recommend bringing a thin blanket in case it gets too hot at night to be inside your sleeping bag.
11. Eye Mask
Absolutely necessary to shield your sleeping eyes from the bright sunrises of Indio, CA! An eye mask is also great if you are rooming with others and you like your privacy when you sleep.
Very, very necessary. Do you know how many people you’ll be camping with? Thousands! There will be so much noise all throughout the night (due to late-night partiers) and in the morning (hello, early risers). A good set of earplugs will grant you a decent if not a good night’s sleep!
These earplugs by Mack’s are my absolute favorite.
Pro Tip: Earplugs are also good to bring into the actual festival because the music can be LOUD. Wearing earplugs is better for your ears.
13. Reusable Water Bottle
There will be lots of water refill stations inside the campsite and festival.
For something more durable that keeps your water cold for hours upon hours, Hydroflasks are my favorite for everyday use. These will probably be your best option because you will most definitely crave ice-cold water!
14. Battery-powered fan
If I had to bring just five top essentials to Coachella camping, this would hands-down be at the top of the list.
As a matter of fact, bring 2-3 of these battery-powered fans, because everyone will want to plop themselves down in front of a fan during the day. One is never enough! (Especially if you are with a group of individuals who need to apply a lot of makeup for the festival!)
15. Floor mirror
Speaking of applying makeup, don’t forget to bring a floor mirror! This will come in handy when the girls need to do their makeup or when everyone is getting dressed for the festival.
Any cheap, college student floor mirror from Target or IKEA will do!
16. Propane Stove or Camping Griddle
Cooking your own food is part of the camaraderie and fun of Coachella camping! It’s always a good idea to cook at least 2 or 3 meals during your Coachella camping experience. Planning the menu with your friends can be really fun, not to mention it’ll help the group save a ton of money collectively.
For a simple 2 burner option, go with the Coleman Triton Gas Camping Stove.
If your group is serious about meal-making, go with something more standalone such as the Camp Chef Explorer that comes with detachable steel legs and a 3-sided windscreen.
Along with your propane stove, you’ll also need to bring along any pots and pans you plan on using.
Don’t feel like cooking? You can always head to the food stands in the common campground area. Here, you’ll find lots of really great food options such as burritos, pizza, sandwiches, gyros, and even vegetarian options. But be forewarned, it won’t be cheap!
For Coachella, you’ll really want something with the power to really keep things cool. For us, this is the YETI Tundra 35 Cooler.
This cooler is an item that many outdoor enthusiasts yearn for in their lives, but not many pull the trigger on due to its heftier price tag. Bue one thing is for sure, with this cooler, your drinks and food will stay cold for days no matter where you are. It will most definitely hold up in the Coachella heat and save you money on having to replace the ice.
How expensive can ice be, you might think. Think $10 per bag expensive! A Yeti Cooler might be expensive, but they are so worth the investment. Plus, given their durability and high-quality build, you’ll be able to use them in your everyday life for many years to come.
The best things to stock your cooler with are as follows:
- Fruits – pre-cut watermelon, tangerines, frozen grapes
- Pasta salads
- Vietnamese sandwiches – our personal go-to lunch meals
- Coconut waters
- Frozen water bottles – to keep cooler cold for longer
- Beers / Hard seltzers – make sure it’s all in plastic containers, no glass is allowed at the campgrounds
- Any perishable foods you plan on cooking up (butter, eggs, meat, etc)
Aside from the food you’re planning on cooking, don’t forget to pack some snacks for midday munching! Some of the best snacks to bring to Coachella are chips, cookies, crackers, trail mix, King’s Hawaiian rolls, Rice Crispies bars, etc.
Basically, anything that won’t melt from the warmth of the sun. Not the healthiest, but it sure will be nice when you’re drinking and relaxing during the day!
19. Things to eat with
Utensils, paper towels, napkins, cups, etc.
Most people go with plastic and disposable-everything, but if you’re really looking to make a difference in the world, you can bring reusable utensils to lessen your plastic waste and carbon footprint!
Alternatively, you can go with a compostable meal kit as it’s better than all the plasticky options out there.
20. Portable speakers
You will want to bring a high-quality pair of portable speakers. Everyone else will be playing music, so you’ll want something that will be loud enough so other campsites’ music doesn’t drown your music out.
We like the JBL Charge 5. Its long lasting battery delivers up to 20 hours of playtime and the built-in power bank lets you charge your devices without taking a break!
Pro Tip: If you do plan on listening to music at night after the festival ends, do remember to lower the volume to respect your neighbors. Not everyone likes to stay up until 3am, so turn the music down and allow others to get a good night’s rest.
21. Power strip
It can be a really good idea to bring a power strip so that you can charge multiple devices at the campground charging station instead of having to wait for a bunch of them to open up.
22. Solar shower
If you are camping at Coachella with a large group and the majority of the group has decided that showering every day is a must, it may be worth it to invest in a solar shower. With a personal camping shower, all of you can skip the crazy lines at the shower facilities and ultimately shower any time, any day!
The Advanced Elements Summer Solar Shower is an affordable option that has a large 5-gallon capacity and is designed to heat water fast in the warm sun. You can even fill up the shower with the melted water from your cooler for an extra refreshing shower!
For something that provides a bit more privacy, invest in the Green Elephant Camping Shower Tent to pair with your solar shower. Your group can even use this when not showering for changing purposes! While this is not a Coachella camping essential, it does provide added privacy and comfort.
23. Baby wipes / body wipes
Baby wipes will come in handy for a lot of reasons. First, they are great for wiping excess dust off your body at the end of each festival night. Secondly, they can also be used for post-poop purposes!
If you want a body wipe that’s actually meant to replace a shower, we highly recommend Goodwipes Really Big Body Wipes. While obviously, it won’t completely replace a real shower, I always feel way cleaner after using these. Plus, unlike baby wipes, you won’t smell like a baby’s bottom after using them!
For the body and butt, DUDE Wipes Flushable Wipes are great for both guys and gals.
24. Shower supplies
If you plan on showering at Coachella (yes, some people can go days without showering, only relying on body wipe showers), bring along some travel-size toiletries.
Don’t forget to pack them in a waterproof bag or container so that it’s able to get wet in the shower (there is often no dry rack to put your stuff inside the shower).
25. Shower slippers / casual slides
Bringing a pair of waterproof slides or sandals is smart because you’ll be able to wear them around the campsite when you want to skip the shoes as well as get them wet in case you plan to shower.
The Birkenstock Arizona EVA Sandals are our favorite because they’re stylish enough to wear in your everyday life too.
26. Other Toiletries
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, makeup, deodorant, dry shampoo, hair ties, etc.
Don’t forget to pack deodorant if you tend to smell when sweating!
27. Hand sanitizer
At the Coachella campgrounds, it’s nearly impossible to find a sink with clean running water. Even at the portapotties, there are bottles of hand sanitizers in place of portable sinks. Bring one large bottle of hand sanitizer for the group to share. This can be left on the communal table so that everyone has access to it at all times.
Since you’ll be using hand sanitizer so much, it’s best to get a non-drying natural hand sanitizer to prevent flaky, dried-up hands. We love the following:
28. First aid kit
Always necessary for any type of traveling or camping! You can either make your own or buy one that’s premade.
Either way, you’ll for sure want to have ibuprofen (for hangovers or other mishaps), bandaids, alcohol wipes, allergy pills, Immodium, Pepto-Bismol chews, AZO for the ladies (due to the lowered hygienic conditions, UTI’s are not uncommon at Coachella), eye drops, lip balm, a sharpie, tape, and extra contact lenses (if applicable).
Think about the ailments you typically suffer from and have to deal with on a regular basis and adjust the contents of the bag as needed!
29. Rolls of toilet paper
The #1 rule of Coachella camping–never assume there will be toilet paper in your portapottie. Always bring some with you when you go! You don’t want to be that guy who realizes there is no toilet paper when it’s already way too late.
30. Trash bags
You will generate trash, so be sure to bring something to hold it all.
31. Quick-drying towel
Travel towels are probably one of the best inventions for efficient travelers and campers. They are light, super packable, and quick-drying. Definitely very useful if you plan on showering! This one is a great option if you’re in the market for one.
32. Electrolyte Packets
Emergen-C packets or Liquid I.V. Hydration Packets are a must for Coachella camping. These are a great way to support your immune system and overall health on a trip. They are light, take up no space, and are very easy to pack!
Adding Pedialyte or Liquid I.V. powder packets to a water bottle will keep you hydrated and replace your body with electrolytes.
33. Powdered Greens
I’ve gone to enough Coachellas in my life to tell you that you probably won’t be eating too many greens at Coachella. Don’t let that stop you from getting the proper nutrients!
I’d recommend bringing Amazing Grass’ Greens Superfood Blend or Nutra Champ’s Super Greens Powder Premium Superfood to make sure you get the nutrition you need while camping and partying.
34. Massage ball
A massage ball is a Coachella camping packing list essential if you know your body gets tired or achy from prolonged standing or walking.
They are great for rolling your feet, legs, or back on after a long day of dancing! If you’re serious about getting that tension relief, you can even consider bringing a travel-sized foam roller!
Trust us, these are clutch items to have at your campsite. Even if you don’t end up using it, someone in your group will!
35. Board games
You’ll have a lot of time to kill while camping, which is half the fun of it! Bring board games to keep yourselves entertained. We recommend the following:
If you have more space in your cars, you can even bring things like:
- Cornhole (this one has LED lights for nighttime use)
- BucketBall (life-sized beer pong)
- Ladder Toss
- A simple football to throw around
COACHELLA CAMPING PACKING LIST: FOR THE FESTIVAL
36. Coachella tickets / wristbands
Just like the car camping passes, DO NOT forget these before you leave the house for Coachella.
37. Hydration Pack
A dedicated hydration pack can actually save you a ton of money inside the festival. There will be water stations all throughout the festival, meaning you can refill your water for free all night long. CamelBak backpacks are our favorite–these backpacks usually will have secure zippered pockets too, perfect for keys, phone, or other essentials.
Alternatively, you can also buy water at many food and alcohol stands. The drawback of this: not only will you have to wait in line, but you’ll also have to spend money on water, of all things!
100+ degree weather and the hot desert sun–sunburns are calling your name. Protect your skin with both body sunscreen and face sunscreen.
For the face, we are absolutely obsessed with the magical Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen. No white-cast, no greasy film!
39. Fanny Packs
I love using fanny packs at music festivals because of how hands-free they are. They won’t weigh you down at all and because you wear them in the front, it’s a lot harder for thieves to get to. These fanny packs by Vibe Festival Gear were literally made for music festivals–they come in a bunch of unique patterns so find the one that fits your style the best.
If fanny packs are not your thing, good alternatives to the fanny pack are:
40. Neck pouch / wallet
If you’re a savvy festival goer, then you already know that music festivals are a pickpocketer’s wonderland. Hundreds if not thousands of people get their stuff stolen all the time at festivals. You don’t want to be that person.
If you think any of the above bags are too risky to keep your important possessions in (money, ID, credit cards), get yourself a neck pouch. These can be easily tucked and concealed under your shirt so even if your main bag gets stolen for any reason, you’ll still have your most important items with you.
We recommend Zero Grid’s Travel Neck Wallet because it also has RFID blocking which is crucial to protect against unwanted credit card scans and personal information theft.
41. Portable phone charger
Three to four days of camping at Coachella means your phone will inevitably run out of battery at some point. While the campsite area does have charging stations where you can re-up your phone on battery life, these charging stations are not so ample in the actual festival itself.
You don’t want to get lost and/or deal with a dead phone while trying to find your friends, so consider a portable phone charger an absolute essential and bring one along with you!
Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many campers, festival-goers, and travelers alike!
42. Sunhat / Sun Visor
If sunglasses are more your thing, too bad, we still recommend wearing a hat! Sunglasses won’t protect your skin from UV rays, but hats will.
Want your whole squad to match while protecting your faces from the harsh sun? Check out this multi-pack of colorful visors–they come in a lot of other unique colors too!
43. Cooling towels
Cooling towels are amazing because they can be used in so many ways–as a neck cooler, as a cooling bandana, or a chilled headband. Once, I’ve even had to put it over my head and eyes because the heat was too much for my eyeballs while walking into the festival!
They work so well because the towel regulates the water inside to ensure water retention, acting almost like an air-conditioner. And just like sweat on your skin, when water evaporates, it cools. It’s one of the best things you can bring with you to Coachella if you can’t tolerate heat as well as others.
If you don’t want to invest in an actual cooling towel, you can always bring a regular towel and soak it with cold water to get that cool towel effect (though it won’t stay cool as long as an actual cooling towel).
44. Personal neck fan
These things have saved my life at multiple Coachellas throughout the year. Trust me when I tell you–there are times where Coachella is as breezeless as can be. If you are not one that copes well with stifling heat like me, pack a battery-powered portable neck fan!
45. Face mask or Buff
For the inevitable dust. Not only is the Coachella Valley prone to high winds and dust storms on occasion, but there will also be thousands of people trampling over grass all weekend long. This paired with the extremely dry weather means that a lot of dust will form.
Expect your legs and even your face to be covered in dust particles. You’ll definitely want to wipe yourself down with body wipes and face wipes by the end of the night!
A face mask can help alleviate some of the dustiness and prevent you from breathing it all in. (Yes, you can expect dark boogers by the end of the night.) We like bringing our Buffs because they can be used for so many things other than as a face mask. Definitely a good investment.
46. Light long sleeve shirt / sweater
If you’re the type to run colder, you should consider bringing along a long sleeve, sweater, or flannel that can easily be tied around your waist. Coachella may be stifling hot during the day, but it can get pretty chilly at night. I will almost always bring an extra layer into the festival with me just in case.
COACHELLA CAMPING ESSENTIAL TIPS
- Get there on Thursday morning for your best chances to be near the front by the festival gates. If you enter too late at night, you may have to walk a lifetime to get to the festival gates (I know this well from experience).
- Become friends with your neighbors–you’re going to be living next to each other for the next few days, might as well get friendly and party together!
- Bring and drink plenty of water. For an extra boost in hydration, bring hydration packets or even bottles of coconut water (it’s such a refreshing taste when hot).
- Keep your ice chest (and snacks) in the shade. Why try to melt your ice faster than it needs to?
- Bring at least one set of warm clothes. Remember you’re in a desert so it can get pretty cold at night. Always bring something warm for the nighttime. At the very least, bring one hoody and a pair of sweats or leggings.
- Know what your camping spot address is, especially if you don’t have a completely decked-out campsite. It will be dark at night, meaning it will be harder to find your friends and your campsite. There are “street” numbers to help you, but taking a picture of your surroundings never hurts.
- Don’t forget your portable charger! You don’t want to be one of those people stuck in front of the scarce charging stations for hours at a time.
- Bring cash! Not just to buy things inside the festival, but also to save your poor legs after the festival ends. If you have cash on you and really can’t want anymore, you can pay for one of the pedicabs and get back to your camping spot in no time.
- Be aware of the threat of wind! Campsites can easily be destroyed if not set up and monitored correctly.
- Tip #1: Take down any tarps and lower your E-Z UP canopies before heading into the festival. If the wind happens to pick up, it’ll sweep underneath any tarps and shoot any canopies up in the sky. Seriously, I’ve seen full-on built canopies flying around in the sky (where it landed, not entirely sure, but I wouldn’t be happy at all if it landed on my car).
- Tip #2: Stake everything down, and then make sure it’s staked down correctly.
- To beat the crazy, crazy traffic leaving Coachella/Indio, CA on Monday, either leave Sunday night after the festival ends or before the sun comes up on Monday morning. We’ve done both and have gotten back to Los Angeles in under 2 to 3 hours.
And that wraps up our Coachella camping packing list. We hope this has better prepared you for your ultimate music festival camping experience!
Ultimately, you’re going to want to pack things that you normally would for any car camping trip. The thing you’ll need to keep in mind the most is this–be prepared for sun and heat during the day, chillier weather during the night, dustiness, and even potential windiness during your 3-day Coachella experience.
Most of all, stay cool, drink lots of water, make memories, and have an experience of a lifetime! Oh yeah, and don’t forget your wristbands and camping passes!