Coachella Festival Checklist: 11 MUST-HAVES to Bring Along

For many of us, Coachella is a once-in-a-lifetime festival opportunity. So, if you’ve managed to snag tickets to the event, congrats! It’s sure to be a weekend to remember.

Now that you’ve started planning your desert music weekend, it’s time to get serious about your Coachella packing list.

But if you’re wondering what to pack for Coachella, you’re not alone. Packing for Coachella can be difficult, especially if it’s your first time at the festival.

Thankfully, you’re in the right place.

In this Coachella festival checklist, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know before you start packing for your trip. Next, we’ll discuss all the essential items you ought to bring with you to Coachella to ensure your festival weekend is as magical as possible.

1. Water bottles

plastic mineral water bottle

First up on our list? Water bottles such as a Nalgene.

Coachella occurs in the hot Mojave Desert, just outside of stunning Joshua Tree National Park. If there’s one thing that can be said about this rugged landscape, it’s hot and dry. That means dehydration is a real and very dangerous possibility for everyone at Coachella.

So, come prepared. Pack plenty of water bottles to help you stay hydrated during your weekend at the festival. Water fountains are located throughout the festival grounds, where you can fill up your bottles free of charge.

Just be sure that you don’t bring any glass or aluminum bottles, even if they’re for water. Glass, aluminum, and other metal bottles aren’t allowed at music venues, so it’s best to stick to plastic water bottles whenever possible.

Read More : How Much Water Should You Bring to Camping?

2. Hiking backpack

orange hiking backpack

When you leave your campsite, it’s important that you have all the gear you need to enjoy a day at the festival. To carry all this gear, you’ll need a hiking backpack.

The ideal Coachella backpack is relatively small and inconspicuous. Although we hope you don’t have to experience this, theft does happen at festivals, and Coachella is no exception. So, packing a small backpack that’s low-key and not very flashy can go a long way.

You should bring all the gear you need for the day inside your pack. This includes water bottles, Banana Boat sunscreen, sunglasses, blankets, and a spare jacket for when it gets chilly in the evenings.

Also, be sure to have a small amount of cash in your pack at all times. You’ll need a small amount of money to be able to buy snacks and drinks at the venue. But you don’t want to carry around too much, just in case your pack gets lost or stolen.

Read More : How to Pack Light for Your Next Camping Trip

3. Summer sleeping bag

green summer sleeping bag

The Coachella Valley can be a scorching hot place during the middle of the day, but the desert can get surprisingly cold at night.

So, if you want a good night’s sleep at Coachella (and trust us, you’ll need it), packing a quality summer sleeping bag is key. If you tend to get cold at night, we’d also recommend a sleeping bag liner for some extra warmth.

No sleeping bag? No problem!

Pack a bunch of blankets, instead. Oh, and don’t forget your pillow!

Read More : Sleeping Bag Temperature Ratings Explained

4. Camp tarp

white camp tarp covering tent from the sun

While rain is unlikely for your Coachella weekend, sunny days are almost certainly. Since shade can be challenging to find in the Mojave Desert, bringing a camp tarp is paramount.

While you won’t be able to bring a tarp into the actual music venue, you’re welcome to set up as many camp tarps as you’d like at your car or tent camping site.

As a general rule, we recommend bringing at least one tarp to Coachella so you can set up a shaded spot at your campsite for relaxing and napping in the midday heat after the concert.

5. Camping chairs

woman sitting on red camping chair

Unless you particularly like sitting around in the dirt and the dust, a set of camping chairs is a must for any Coachella weekend.

You won’t have picnic tables or any other amenities at your campsite, so having chairs on hand is important. Of course, there are places to sit and eat by all of the food trucks and vendors.

But, if you’d rather relax at camp while you chow down on some gourmet grub, there’s nothing better than a set of camping chairs.

6. Body wipes

wiping sweaty neck with body wipes

Staying fresh and hygienic while at Coachella isn’t always easy. Sure, showers are available in the camping areas, but lines for the shower facilities tend to be long.

So, instead of relying solely on the showers, consider bringing a set of body wipes. You can use these wipes to freshen up each day without wasting precious festival time.

Of course, if you can shower, it’s well worth doing so (don’t forget your towel!). But body wipes can be a great supplement to your daily showers if the facilities aren’t available.

Read More : 11 Backpacking Hygiene Tips to Stay Clean

7. Portable battery packs

portable solar battery pack

Keeping your devices charged and ready to go at Coachella can be challenging. Sure, there are charging stations at the festival, but with up to 80,000 other concert-goers vying for those same outlets, your chances of actually using one are fairly slim.

That means that packing your portable battery pack could be the difference between a fully charged phone and a device out of juice.

Do keep in mind, however, that generators aren’t allowed at Coachella in either the car camping or tent camping locations. You’re also generally not allowed to bring large solar panels, so packing plenty of smaller battery packs is usually the best option.

8. Headlamps

woman smiling with a headlamp

Although you’re not allowed to bring lights to the concert venue, having a headlamp at your campsite is an absolute must. When the sun goes down and the starry desert sky comes out in full force, you’ll need a headlamp to wander around your campsite at night.

Of course, you could use your phone, but doing so is a surefire way to drain its battery. So, pack a headlamp to ensure your journey to the restrooms at night doesn’t become a major epic.

9. Air mattress

blue air mattress outside tent

If there’s one thing we know, sleeping on the hard desert ground isn’t fun. So, packing a quality air mattress to catch some Zzs at night is essential for a successful Coachella adventure.

If you want to keep things simple, a sleeping pad can also do the trick in a pinch. But when it comes to comfort after a long day at the festival, an air mattress is hard to beat.

Read More : Camping Cots vs Air Mattresses – Which is Better?

10. Stoves

gas powered camping stove

As a general rule at Coachella, open flames, such as fires and grills, aren’t allowed therefore, if you want to cook while at your car camping site, you’ll need a quality gas-powered stove to cook up some tasty camping meals.

Do keep in mind, though, that stoves aren’t allowed at the tent camping area. So, if you’re tent camping, you’ll need to venture over to the food trucks for each meal to sustain you throughout a weekend of partying.

That being said, there is usually a free shuttle to the local grocery store, which can be a nice way to save money on snacks and supplies.

Read More : Camping Stove Safety Precautions and Tips

11. Coolers

senior carrying blue cooler ready for camp

No good desert music festival is complete without a cooler. Having the right cooler can be the difference between lukewarm drinks and ice-cold beverages, so you won’t want to overlook this essential part of your Coachella festival checklist.

With that in mind, there are two important things to note about coolers at Coachella.

First and foremost, coolers aren’t allowed at the music venue. So, you’ll need to leave your coolers at the campground before heading to a concert.

Additionally, while ice is available at the general store, it can be quite pricey and tends to sell out quickly, so it’s not a great thing to rely on at the festival.

Instead, we’d recommend bringing some high-quality ice packs for your cooler to keep your drinks as cold as possible throughout the weekend.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.