2018 Coachella Essentials - What to Pack (And What NOT to Pack)

Coachella 2018 is just around the corner now! If you’re preparing for the festival, whether week 1 or week 2, and aren’t sure what to pack - we’ve got you covered! This document was created to outline all the Coachella essentials you’ll need for the event, the campgrounds, as well as what you shouldn’t be packing (there are a lot of confiscations at this event). See the breakdown we created with the help of @Cheshirecatbagan below:

coachella essentials - what to pack and what not to for camping and festival

Coachella Essentials: Inside the Festival

  • Festival Requirements - Mandatory items for entry into the campgrounds & polo fields
  • Personal Items - Inside Coachella - Items recommended once in the venue

Coachella Essentials: In the Campgrounds

  • Personal Items - Recommended for use on the campgrounds
  • Camping Equipment - Supplies for the campsite itself
  • Supplies / Provisions - food, drinks, cutlery, disposal, etc.

Coachella (Non)Essentials: The Restrictions

  • What you CAN’T Bring into Coachella

Coachella Essentials: Inside the Festival

Festival Requirements

    1. Official Coachella App (Android / iOS)
      1. This app is required to activate your wristbands for the festival, and should be activated upon arrival to the campgrounds.
    2. Wristband
      1. Guard your wristband with your life. It contains an RFID chip that is scanned upon entry into the initial campground check-in and for entry into the Coachella venue.
      2. It’s important to note that once you tighten your wristband, you CANNOT loosen it again without cutting it off. So make sure you have approximately 2 fingers’ worth of space in your wristband for comfort. Keep in mind that these wristbands will be on your wrist for 3-4 days, so make sure you’re comfortable with the tightness since it’s not adjustable.
      3. Wristband IDs are unique, and are assigned to a single individual when you activate them.
    3. Car Camping Pass
      1. Car Camping passes are linked to the wristbands that they were ORIGINALLY ordered with.
      2. Car Camping passes are placed in the upper right-hand corner of the windshield of your vehicle
      3. They too, are equipped with an RFID chip. This is how security detail determines whether or not the original purchaser of the car camping pass is present for the festival.
      4. Referring back to section 1.c.iii, the person who has the wristband(s) linked to the car camp pass must be in the vehicle that is using the car camp pass. Few guards would let this slide, but better to be safe than sorry.

Personal Items: Inside Coachella

Note: Some of these items can also be used at the campsite as well, but I’m noting them in this section since you’re more likely to use these items inside Coachella.

    1. Attire
      1. Dress for the heat. Wear breathable and comfortable clothing that you don’t mind sweating a bit in. It’s possible to look good for instagram and wear weather-appropriate clothing.
      2. Hats: acceptable
      3. Footwear: Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be walking a lot, so you don’t want to end up with blisters on your feet, especially for a 3-4 day festival. You can wear flip-flops / sandals, so long as you don’t mind your feet getting stepped on. Chances of that happening at Coachella are pretty high.
      4. Night: Oddly enough, it can get a little chilly at night. Last year I survived with a pullover hoodie and track pants / gym shorts in the evening and I was fine.
      1. Wallet / Something to hold your ID and methods of payment
        1. They have food, drinks and souvenirs on the polo fields, so make sure you’re able to pay for goods!
        2. Your ID will be required for gaining access to the Beer Gardens. They serve beer, cocktails and wine, so make sure you bring your ID if you wanna get your tilt on.
        3. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but make sure you keep your wallet safe. Coachella is prime pickpocketing territory, and I’d hate for anyone to fall victim to this, let alone someone from my group.
        1. kaleidoscope glasses coachella 2018Sunglasses / Diffraction Glasses
          1. It’s bright and hot. Sunglasses are dark and cool. Diffraction glasses are also pretty damn cool for the lights at night.
        2. Fanny Pack or “Medium” backpack
          1. Alternative to wallet and pockets.
          2. Note that important items should be guarded VERY carefully. Even fanny packs can get pick pocketed (It’s happened to me and my group many unfortunate times)
        3. Camelbak
          1. Probably one of the items in the desert.
        4. coachella essentials what to pack bandanaBandana
          1. It’s not just for style and fashion at Coachella, it actually serves a purpose. There’s a lot of dust that gets kicked up into the air due to a mass of people moving around combined with the wind. Bandanas limit the amount of dust you inhale.
        5. Power Banks / External Batteries
          1. Realistically speaking, your phone will die. If you’re going to be taking pics, sending snaps, posting on instagram and whatnot, you have to be able to supply your phone with power for 3-4 days.
          2. I have 2 power banks and a solar-powered bank, but I can’t promise that I’ll have enough power to supply for everyone for the entire weekend. I’ll help out for sure, but I’m just letting you know to be prepared.
        6. Portable Power Protein
          1. Walking around in the hot sun all day will get exhausting, so you’ll need to fuel your body as you go along. What worked for me last year were a few KIND bars in my Camelbak to snack on whenever I needed and got the job done. KIND bars may not be for you, but just make sure you have something to snack on for that burst of energy.
        7. Battery-Powered Fan
          1. It’s no secret that it’s going to be hot over there, so if you need one of these to cool down for a bit, feel free to bring one.
        8. Pocket Flashlight
          1. It’s uncanny how many people drop their stuff at Coachella at night. Then again, when you’re jumping up and down out of excitement something’s bound to fall out of someone’s pocket. You can be that hero who helps that person and they will forever be grateful. Seriously, it’s just positive vibes all around and a tiny flashlight is all it takes.
        9. Ear Plugs
          1. It can get loud at some of the sets, so these can be used to reduce the decibels and save your hearing while still being able to listen to the music.
          2. At night, you can use these if you’re a light sleeper since it’s not uncommon for people to party through the night.
        10. Locker reservation
        11. Cell phone charger (Portable)
        12. Advil
        13. Camera
        14. Chapstick / Lip Balm
          1. Don’t want our lips looking and feeling like reptiles now, dot we?

      Coachella Essentials: In the Campgrounds

      Personal Items - Recommended for use on the campgrounds

      coachella essentials in the campgrounds sun hatNote: Some of these items can also be brought into the Coachella grounds as well, but I’m noting them in this section since you’re more likely to use these items at the campgrounds before getting inside.

      1. Toiletries - Coachella campgrounds have showers so bring the essentials
        1. Shampoo
        2. Body wash
        3. Conditioner
        4. Deodorant
        5. Towel
        6. Eyedrops (these are also allowed inside the festival)
      2. Personal Care
        1. Ladies, bring your makeup if you want, but don’t expect it to be there by the end of the day.
        2. Guys, bring hair product, cologne, etc. to get you right for the day.
      3. Medication
        1. If you require prescription medication, make sure you bring it with you.
        2. “Supplemental” medication may include Excedrin, Tylenol, Advil and Vitamin B12.
      4. Oral Hygiene
        1. Self explanatory. But just so we’re on the same page, bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and whatever you need to keep that mouth fresh.
      5. Skin care
        1. Lotion / Moisturizer - It’s gonna be hot out there in the desert. Bring whatever you use so you don’t dry up out there.
        2. Sunscreen - Hello desert.
      6. Pocket Tissues
        1. In case you need to wipe anything up
        2. Also, you don’t want to end up in a porta-potty with no toilet paper, right?
      7. Baby Wipes
        1. If you’re feeling a bit musty, use some to freshen up.
      8. Hand Sanitizer
        1. Always handy to have on hand in case getting to a sink with soap is out of reach.

      Camping Equipment- outlines supplies for the campsite itself

      coachella essentials camping suppliesNote: These may not all be necessary for everyone, but often come quite in handy for a long weekend camping.

      1. Tent
        1. This will vary based on predetermined sleeping arrangements. Some prefer to use their vehicle instead.
        2. It’s important to keep note that the car camping spaces are 10 feet by 30 feet, so be conscious of how large of a tent you bring.
      2. Sleeping Gear
        1. Sleeping Bag, Pillow(s), thin blanket, air mattress, cushions, etc. Whatever you need to get the well-needed rest between days.
      3. 10 x 10 EZ Up Canopy
        1. At Coachella, there’s never too much shade. The EZ up canopy will provide a good amount. Ideally  take 1 per car.
        2. Also go for the canopies that have straight-legs as opposed to angled legs. This is so there’s no encroachment onto any neighboring campsites’ 10 x 30 area.
      4. Party Table (1-2)
        1. We’ll at least need 1 table to put stuff on like food and other items
        2. The other table we’ll use for beer pong and other shenanigans if necessary ;)
      5. Grill, Spatula, Tongs, Knife, Towels
        1. For easy whipping up some food before going in and when we come back to the camp.
      6. Propane Tanks
        1. These will be used to fuel the grill. 2-25 lb propane tanks should suffice for the weekend.
      7. Large Coolers (3)
        1. One cooler will contain perishables (food)
        2. One cooler will contain flavored drinks / alcohol
        3. One cooler will contain water. You’ll need the whole thing too.
      8. Plastic storage Bin
        1. This will hold food that would typically not need to be refrigerated
      9. Lawn Chairs
        1. Everyone bring one each, unless you don’t mind standing the whole time at camp or sitting in a tent / car. I’ll bring about 3 just in case.
      10. Portable Shower Tent w/5G Water Bladder
        1. This was referenced back in section 2.b.i
        2. If you don’t want to use the showers at Coachella, I plan on bringing a portable shower with a water bladder that holds up to 5 gallons.
        3. The portable shower tent can double as a changing room if necessary.
      11. Tarp
        1. Amount will vary, but is a very versatile thing to buy. Fasten is as a wall to the EZ ups for more shade, or use it as a base for your tent(s).
        2. Make sure none of the sides of the tarp exceeds 10 feet.
      12. Flashlights / Lantern
        1. Useful when navigating the campsite at night, unless you’d rather use the flashlight on your phone instead. I’ll be bringing an LED lantern.
      13. Rubber Mallet
        1. In case we need to hammer anything
        2. Rubber is important because a typical hammer will get confiscated.
      14. Plastic Stakes
        1. This will be variable, depending on how many tents are going to be brought
        2. These will also be used to secure the EZ ups.
        3. “Plastic” is important because metal stakes can/will be confiscated.
      15. Duct tape, Zip-Ties, Bungee Cords
        1. Not absolutely necessary, but you’ll never know if we need these items.
      16. Cards / Games
        1. To kill the time.

      Supplies / Provisions - food, drinks, cutlery, disposal, etc..

        1. coachella essentials drinking water packing campingDrinkable Water
          1. Above everything else, you can’t enjoy Coachella if you’re getting dehydrated or suffering from heat strokes in the middle of the festival. This is priority #1.
          2. HELPFUL TIP: Water bottles can be frozen before departing in order to reduce the sublimation rate of the dry ice (below).
        2. Utility Water
          1. Water that will be utilized for various reasons such as brushing teeth, portable shower water or camp cleaning and refreshing.
        3. Dry Ice
          1. 10-20 pounds of dry ice per large cooler should last the weekend.
          2. See if you can reserve before hand and pick up before leaving to the festival
        4. Pedialyte
          1. Electrolytes to help recover from shenanigans.
          1. Beer
          2. Vodka
          3. Whiskey
          4. Sake
          5. Margaritas
          6. 4 Locos
        6. Taco Meat
          1. Everyone loves tacos, yo.
        7. Tortillas
          1. Corn AND Flour for the aforementioned tacos, or if you just wanna nom on some tortillas for some reason
        8. Burger Patties
          1. I mean, it’s burgers. Why not?
        9. Burger Buns
          1. For the aforementioned burgers. These should be bought pretty close to when we leave in order to retain max bun freshness.
        10. Hot Dogs
          1. Dogs for the dawgs.
        11. Hot dog buns
          1. Just like the burger buns, we’ll buy these pretty close to the date in order to retain freshness
        12. Cutlery & Dishware
          1. Plastic spoons, forks and knives
          2. Paper plates and/or bowls
          3. Disposable cups
        13. Paper Towels
        14. Large Trash Bags
          1. We are a group of civilized individuals, not savages. Let’s keep the campgrounds clean.
        15. Condiments
          1. Who wants dry hot dogs and burgers? C’mon now.
        16. Kraft singles
          1. In case you want cheese on your burger and/or hot dogs
        17. Chips
          1. Nacho Cheese (no glass jars!)
          2. Salsa (no glass jars!)

      Coachella (Non)Essentials: Restrictions

      What NOT to Bring to Coachella (Inside Festival as well as Camping)

      coachella essentials what to bring camping festivalAbsolutely DO NOT bring the following:

      1. NO Aerosol Products/Aerosol Cans
      2. NO Air Horns
      3. NO Audio Recording Devices
      4. NO AVPs or MODs or Liquid Refills for E-Cigs
      5. NO Bicycles, Skates, Scooters or Skateboards
      6. NO Chairs or Coolers
      7. NO Chains or Chain Wallets
      8. NO Detachable Lens Cameras
      9. NO Drones or Remote Control Aircraft, Cars or Toys
      10. NO Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia, Marijuana, Marijuana products
      11. NO Fireworks, Explosives or Road Flares
      12. NO Flags
      13. NO Flyers, Samples, Giveaways or Promotional Items
      14. NO Glass or Metal Water Containers
      15. NO Glow Sticks or LED Gloves
      16. NO Guns, Ammunition or Tasers
      17. NO Hula Hoops
      18. NO Hoverboards or Segways
      19. NO Instruments
      20. NO Kites or Sky Lanterns
      21. NO Knives, Weapons or Sharp Objects
      22. NO Laser Pointers
      23. NO Massagers
      24. NO Metal, Steel or Aluminum water bottles
      25. NO Outside Food or Beverage
      26. NO Pepper Spray or Mace
      27. NO Pets or Other Animals
      28. NO Selfie Sticks, Tripods or Narcissists
      29. NO Sharpies, Markers or Paint Pens
      30. NO Stuffed Animals
      31. NO Tarps
      32. NO Tents or Sleeping Bags
      33. NO Toy Guns, Water Guns or Sling Shots
      34. NO Totems
      35. NO Umbrellas (parasols okay)
      36. NO Video Cameras

      coachella essentials 2018Advised NOT bring the following:

      1. Anything that melts
        1. Stick deoderant, chocolate, soap, etc
      2. Shoes you care about
        1. it's dusty - don't bring shoes that you care about getting dirty


      That concludes our list! What are you bringing to Coachella 2018 that we missed? Let other festival goers know in the comments!!

      1 comment

      • Kanet

        I am old and have a tiny UV umbrella for non venue areas. Not allowed?

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