10 Things You Must Pack for Coachella, According to Festival Regulars
Congratulations, you’ve done it. You bit the bullet, bought the ticket, and are headed off to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in sunny southern California. This year’s headliners — including Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, and Radiohead — are sure to entertain, but one teeny, tiny thing can throw off your entire music-going experience: poor planning.
A scorching sunburn, a cough that lasts for days, or tired, aching feet can (and will) ruin your festival experience. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and pack accordingly so you’re ready for anything the festival gods may throw your way.
We went straight to the source — Reddit’s Coachella community — to ask the experienced festival-goers for their packing recommendations. Here are a few of their top must-haves.
A simple bandana is the ultimate Coachella accessory and for a good reason: The average wind speed in April in the Coachella Valley is 29 MPH, meaning all that dust will be whipping up into your face. Protecting yourself from the harsh dusty winds is crucial for maximum musical enjoyment.
Pack a simple vintage-style paisley banana to go with just about anything, or as one Reddit user suggests, upgrade to a linen scarf for a lightweight alternative. Better yet, invest in a statement piece like the one we found from designer Megan Mussari.
To buy: apprvlnyc.com, $25
A Fanny Pack
You'll be covering a lot of ground at Coachella, so packing light is a must. What better way to schlep around your must-have items than with a totally over-the-top fanny pack?
As our Coachella experts stated on Reddit, the festival is really all about having the best time of your life. So buy something that will help keep your stuff organized while also being as outrageous as possible, like this tie-dyed and fringed masterpiece from California designer MrNiceDye.
The lightweight cotton fanny pack can easily fit your portable charger, collapsed water bottle, sunscreen, and camera without the heavy burden or boring look of a backpack.
To buy: etsy.com, $35
A Point and Shoot
The rules on Coachella’s website are clear: No detachable lens cameras or professional cameras of any kind are allowed on festival grounds.
And you know what? We are totally okay with that, because that means we’ll get more unique, festival-worthy shots by packing a vintage Nikon or going with the wildly popular Instamax.
Nikon’s FG-20 film camera is currently going for about $120 on Amazon and Ebay (roll of film not included) and will leave you with misty, old-school cool photos that will never require an Instagram filter.
The Fujifilm Instax, which sells for about $60 on Amazon, will also give you social media worthy photos, but without the wait. In fact, the compact camera will print your photos in seconds. All you have to do is — well, you know — shake it like a Polaroid picture.
A Collapsable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is imperative in the desert. The dry, sunny heat can be deceiving when it comes to your thirst. Stay ahead of any hydration mishap by bringing a water bottle along. But be warned: The good folks at Coachella have strict rules on what kind of beverage container can enter the grounds.
As the rules note, no metal, glass, steel, or aluminum bottles will be allowed in. The easiest solution is to invest in a collapsible water bottle like those from Vapur. The containers come in a variety of sizes.
To buy: shopspring.com $12
Like the wind, the temperatures in the Coachella Valley can soar well into the triple digits in April. Nearly every user on Reddit’s Coachella page suggests slathering on a good layer of sunscreen to protect against the harsh desert sun.
After applying once in the morning, toss a Raw Elements sunscreen stick in your bag for all-day protection without the risk of spilling sunscreen all over your things.
To buy: amazon.com, $15
Something Warm and Cozy
Yes, we did say the weather in the Coachella Valley can easily exceed 100 degrees during the day, but at night the temperatures can dip into the 50s. With headline acts starting well after sunset, packing something to keep you warm becomes a necessity.
Tie a flannel around your waist, pack a sweatshirt, or add more style to your look with a velvet green gypsy silk kimono from HippieMassa. The intricate design and light fringe will keep you warm while looking perfectly rockstar chic.
To buy: etsy.com, $68
A Pair of Statement Sunglasses
Do not — we repeat, do not — forget at least one pair of sunglasses. Squinting as you attempt to watch your favorite band play your all-time favorite song in the midday sun is no way to experience music.
“Sunglasses are on the top of my must-have list if you're planning to go to any festival like Coachella,” says WhoCaresWhyNot designer Sam Enriquez. “It protects your eyes and at the same time it makes you look cool and mysterious. And I personally think, the more extra your sunglasses are the better because it sets you apart from the crowd and it shows your bold style and personality.”
Stay classic cool with simple round frames like these, or check out Enriquez’s more adventurous styles at his Etsy shop.
To buy: etsy.com, $30
Some Comfy Kicks
It may seem obvious, but comfortable shoes may be the best advice the Reddit Coachella community provided. Walking from performance to performance, and from party to party, can become tiresome.
Make sure to start your day on the right foot by packing a few pairs of comfortable and sensible shoes. There’s no need to scrimp on style either. Vans will give any Coachella attendee the perfect mix of comfort and SoCal cool.
To buy: zappos.com, $60
A DIY Hangover Kit
Packing a few medical supplies is just plain smart, but there may be a few odds and ends you didn’t think of.
As one Reddit user proudly exclaimed, “Benadryl!!!” should be in your bag in case of seasonal allergies, along with antacids for all the delicious Coachella food choices, and pain relievers in case your ears are ringing by the end of the night (or your head is pounding in the morning).
A Portable Charger
While charging stations are available throughout the Coachella festival grounds, you’ll likely find yourself fighting through hoards of people just to get near a plug.
Instead, save yourself the misery and stock up on portable chargers. These lipstick-sized chargers fit into any bag or pocket and provide hours of charge at a time.
To buy: amazon.com, $12