Coachella Camping Checklist – Tips + Essentials to Bring

Get ready to enjoy the Coachella experience stress free with this Coachella camping checklist! Coachella is just around the corner and if you’ve decided to camp, then you need to spend some time packing and preparing. 

After winging a few festivals, and spending way too much money buying stuff I didn’t pack, I figured it was time to actually make a specific festival packing list. It does vary a bit from a normal camping packing list in that there’s ALOT more going on, and ALOT more that goes into the events and how you dress. Things like a hydration pack and immune system drops will be WAY more important when camping with thousands of people vs at your local state park.

What To Expect at Music Festivals

Music festivals are a one-of-a-kind experience filled with music, food, and fun. You can expect to be surrounded by thousands of other festival goers, all there for the same reason: to enjoy the awesome music!

There’s going to be alot going on – your favorite bands at different stages, food lines, bathroom needs, non music entertainment (slip n slides, rides, karoke etc!) and keeping yourself healthy enough to enjoy all of it.

Don’t worry though – there are plenty of security guards, maps and shuttles that can help you get to where you need to go. I would recommend taking some time looking at the official Coachella website info page, as well as following their socials so you can keep in the loop about line up updates or other changes.

people having fun at a music festival
Source: Monkey Business Images

Coachella Packing List – Needs

The festival grounds are busy and you could potentially be camping far away from easy access to your important items. If you’re car camping or tent camping, you’ll especially have to take into account your available space vs what’s fun to bring.

Here are some essential items to pack for the festival weekend – extras will be in the next section (just in case you are trying to budget and figure out what you can afford to bring).

  • Wristband + Camping Pass – Activate the wristband ahead of time, and make sure the sticker pass is with you!
  • Valid ID – If you want your 21+ wristband, then you’ll need a current ID! 
  • Tent + Stakes and Mallet – Make sure it’s large enough for the number of people in your group. Check the weather to see if you’ll need a rainfly.
  • Sleeping bag and pillow  – Gotta get some good sleep! 
  • Sunscreen + Hat – It is SCORCHING during Coachella (over 100 F sometimes!) so all measures should be taken to be safe from the sun
  • Dust Mask or Bandanna – Inhaling all the dust from the crowds can get you seriously sick. 
  • Baby Wipes – Always a good idea to clean on the go
  • Trash Bags – Grocery bags work well for in the car, but it’s also nice to have something a little more heavy duty for general campsite stuff (like the paper plates and cups). They are usually handed out at security, but it’s good to bring extra.
  • Hand Sanitizer – Keeping healthy means enjoying the festival more
  • Cute Clothes + Comfy Clothes – Everyone knows to pack the fun stuff, but make sure you have something to sleep in that won’t get ruined!
  • Toiletries – Toilet paper, lip balm, body wipes, face mask, toothbrush + toothpaste, hairbrush, hair ties, make up
  • Ear Plugs – Just in case you feel like sleeping and your neighbors feel like partying
  • First Aid Kit (just in case!) – I also love to bring oregano drops, Vit C and hydration mixes to stay healthy. Blister band-aids can be good just in case your cute shoes mess up your feet!
  • Portable Phone Charger – It’s also a good idea to bring one a portable charger brick  so you can be charging your phone in your pocket, on the go if needed!
  • Portable Speaker – You’ll be hanging at camp more than you think, and music of course sets the vibe. Try to be respectable. =)
  • Credit Card – Many places do take Venmo and Apple Pay nowadays, but it’s good to have other forms of payment if needed. It sucks to not be able to buy stuff =P
  • Comfortable Shoes – You’ll be standing in long lines ALOT, especially for some of your favorite bands if you want a good spot. To avoid having painful feet at the end of the night, you may opt to bring a pair of comfy shoes just in case the beautiful high heels or platforms don’t end up working out.
  • Basic Warm Clothes – You woudln’t expect it, but the temps can drop quite a bit at night. A jacket, hat, and mittens if you get cold easily make things way more comfortable.
  • Cooler – A classic Igloo is good or just pick up one of the styrofoam ones on the way if you have to. If you can prep ahead of time, it’s helpful to either get a bunch of ice or freeze some water bottles to keep things cooler inside.
what to pack for coachella camping list

Coachella Extras to Pack

In addition to the essentials mentioned above, here are some things that, while not *needed*, I’d call “festival essentials” as they really help make the whole experience way better.

  • Camp Chairs or Inflatable Camp Couch – Lightweight, easy seating that’s quick to set up and take down is handy
  • Small Propane Stove (Propane Bottle Must be Less Than 20 lbs!) – You can eat bars, sandwiches etc, but sometimes it’s really nice to cook out with everyone.. after all, it is camping! We have a chuck box that has all our kitchen stuff in it that packs super easy and works well for tail gate cooking.
  • Air Mattress or sleeping pad for added comfort
  • Folding Table – Whether you’re prepping food for a large group or just want to have a place for beer pong, it’s handy to have (if you have the space) since there’s no picnic tables at the campsites.
  • Portable Fan – It is *very* hot, and having some moving air can bring a ton of relief.
  • Headlamp or Hanging Lantern – After a long day, the last thing you want to do is try to find stuff in your tent with your phone flashlight (that’s currently on red!)
  • Canopy Walls or Tarps – These create additional shade and privacy. A simple tarp is fine, but there are so many cool tapestries you can use as well to really create the aesthetic/vibe for your campsite.
  • Small Bike – Take a look at the festival maps (which I recommend familiarizing yourself with ahead of time) and you’ll see that there’s a bit of distance between the actual festival and all the camping. A bike saves a ton of energy and time!
  • Pop Up Shade or Canopy – This extends your camping space and keeps the sun off of you. By 11 AM, both a tent and car will be pretty hot and stuffy, so it’s nice to have somewhere else to hang out between sets.
  • Portable Shower Setup – While they do offer shower facilities, it can sometimes just be easier to pop up a privacy tent and shower at camp. If you care about taking a *warm* shower, consider buying a solar shower bag. Have it warming up in the sun while you’re gone, then enjoy a shower when you get back later in the night!
  • Fanny Packs – Smaller than a backpack, closer to your body than a purse, and so great to prevent pickpockets. They also hold your stuff way better than pockets.

Good Tips for First-Time Festival Goers

Attending a music festival for the first time can be overwhelming, , and the Coachella festival is arguably one of the biggest there is. It’s easier if you can find someone to go with a group of friends, but it’s not impossible to have a good time by yourself even if it’s your first year. 

  1. Plan ahead: Make sure you research the festival beforehand and familiarize yourself with the schedule, map, and any rules/regulations. Have tickets and IDs ready, and be aware of the items you’re not allowed to bring so you’re not forced to throw it away there.
  2. Bring a reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is key at music festivals and bringing your own cuts down on plastic water bottles (as well as being a way to show off your awesome stickers on your cup!) It might also be helpful to bring those powder hydration packs for your drink.
  3. Arrive early to set up camp: In order to claim a good spot (and it’s so large, it can sometimes be hard to even find the right place to camp!) arrive early! 
  4. Make friends with your neighbors: Besides things just being less awkward, isn’t part of the reason you came to make new friends? =P It can also be helpful to know your neighbors so that you feel more confident about leaving your stuff out.
  5. Pace yourself: Take breaks and stay cool – there are certain tents that have AC and seating (The Yuma, The Sonora etc VIP if you have it). Again, make sure to wear a bandanna when you get to the dancing and crowds to avoid “Coachella Sickness.
coachella camping checklist printable

FAQ About Camping at Coachella

Do I need a car camping specific pass or will the wristband work?

You do need to purchase a car camping pass, however it is separate from the wristband. There’s a crazy amount of variety in the camping passes – everything from a simple tent spot to a pre prepared VIP yurt!  

Check this car camping set up ideas post for some ideas on how to set up your own rig.

How big are the car camping spots?

Each spot is 10×30 ft.’ If you have a small enough car, that means there’s room for a tent camping area for more space.  

What is the best time to arrive to get a good camping spot?

You’ll hate to hear this, but it’s all about arrive early… like REALLY early (around 3 AM!). Keep an eye on all Coachella related accounts for when they open the gates to make sure you don’t miss anything. There’s also a camping pass called “preferred camping” that ensures you get a decent spot no matter what time you arrive.

Is there wifi in the camping area at Coachella?

Well.. yes, but like all places that get crazy busy, it can be pretty slow. Luckliy, you can take the shuttle (free to use!) to the shopping center where it’s better quality and there’s things like a general store and cute coffee shops.

Can I bring my own food and grill to save some money?

Yes! Propane stoves are super handy for this (remember, no bigger bottles than 20 lb!) and it’s seriously a great way to save money and ensure you eat some decent food.

Feel More Prepared? Download Your “Camp Coachella” Packing List!

While I would love you to keep coming back to this page to look at the lists and such, I know that’s annoying so I made a printable packing list you can use instead! It has all the essentials, plus a spot for tips.

For planning purposes, think about writing meal plans and other notes on the other side of the paper so that all your important info is in one place!

Download PDF Coachella Camping Checklist

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