Coachella Survival Guide:
This would have been my 6th Coachella in a row so I wanted to share and updated version of my Coachella Survival guide. it’s long but easy to read and hopefully super helpful. I hope you agree!
1. Bring a backpack. Every year I am happy and content to bring my backpack, sure I end up carrying a few of my friend’s things, but more importantly, I know I have everything I need and I won’t have my hands full. Having my own backpack also ensures I won’t lose anything by handing something off for someone else to hold. Why not a tote? A tote rarely has the pocket organization you need in a festival situation, generally doesn’t zip securely, and you will be switching it back and forth from one arm to the next all day… a backpack is easy to carry, can be worn on the front if you feel like the person behind you is sketchy, put between your legs while you’re standing in a crowded place and it keeps the weight evenly placed on each shoulder.. I carry a backpack every year and I never lose anything… knock on wood.
2. Carry a small cross body bag. Two bags? Yes. I carry a small cross body or a fanny pack type bag for items I need often.. lipgloss, cash, ID, Phone, Camera, gum, hand sanitizer, etc.
3. Bring a point and shoot camera, extra points if it’s wifi enabled. Phone batteries will drain fast and there is no reason to add to that by using your iPhone as your camera.. a small cheap digital camera is the best because if you lose it, it’s no big deal, and as long as you empty the SD card every night you will have only lost a portion of the photos from your trip. (Professional cameras are not allowed.) You may also want to bring an instant camera too! there are so many cute ones now!
4. Wear closed toed shoes. I am a cowboy boot girl because they have a heel which helps to lift my butt and make my legs look better. Some are content with sneakers but either way, don’t wear sandals if you plan on enjoying yourself. Not only do closed toed shoes offer protection from randoms stepping on you, but they keep your feet much cleaner. If you still aren’t convinced.. keep in mind that straps break… wandering around at the 9th hour in the dark to try to find a $30 pair of the cheapest flip-flops ever is not fun, or cute.
5. Wear athletic (nonslip and/or moisture wicking) socks. I get these, which have arch support and a heel guard. You want socks that don’t slip down inside your boots/shoes because that is THE MOST ANNOYING THING EVER. Don’t even think about going without socks, blisters can only happen where there is moisture, so keep it dry, wear socks. You’ve got a lot of walking to do.
6. Bring extra socks, just in case a friend needs them or yours start to slide. Plus you can save room in your bag by not caring a sunglasses case and use them as sunglasses protection when you put your shades away for the night.
7. Bring Wet Wipes*. I brought baby wipes one year and my ex thought it was such a waste of space… until about 10 minutes into the first day and someone dropped a coke next to him.. sticky sugary syrup all up his legs.. baby wipes also come in handy for port-a-potties missing TP or soap and water. I always try to wash my hands before eating but the bathroom situations don’t always permit that so having a baby wipe (and hand sanitizer) nearby is essential! I also really like these ban refreshing wipes, they have this weird powder silk technology that leaves your skin soft and dry.. they are cooling and will save you mid-day when you just feel hot, gross and sticky! (I love the Costco Kirkland Signature baby wipes bc they are big and cheap!)
8. Bring Band-aids. The only band-aids that stay on and work are the fabric ones. On the grounds, they’re hard to find and expensive if you do find them on site. Stock up ahead of time and bring several.
9. Cash is King. Bringing a set amount of cash and rationing it out through the days will help you save money by keeping you from buying things you don’t need and avoiding high ATM fees. Trust me, you won’t want that crappy $50 Coachella t-shirt next week, let alone in 30 years. The only thing I ever bought at Coachella that I still have is a limited edition blanket… which came in very handy throughout the weekend for sitting on wherever we landed.
10. Bring a scarf. BRING A SCARF. You can use a scarf as a blanket to sit on, or keep warm, and of course… when the dust storm comes, and it always does, you’ll be able to use it as a mask and breath. (ever notice how the staff wears surgical masks or bandanas?) Plus a scarf can be fashionably tied onto your bag or backpack to save space.
11. Bring extra sunglasses. Sunglasses break, they fall off your head, the get sat on, they’re fragile… just bring an extra pair.
12. Wear/bring Sunscreen. Nothing will ruin your trip like a sunburn, we all know how bad sunburns are for our skin and they are so easy to prevent. Just make sure you get your crew on board.. before you leave the house, everyone spray each other, don’t forget the tops of ears and scalps, backs of necks, tops of shoulders, tops of feet (if they show) and the backs of your hands! I always make it a point to reapply after we eat lunch.. SPF only last a few hours so if you reapply every time you finish eating you should be good all day. (I am pretty sure only arosal cans of sunscreen are allowed in, so keep that in mind! I love this one because it isn’t sticky and has 50 spf.)
13. Wear clothes that are your size. Anything too small will get old fast, anything too big can cause chaffing and discomfort. I like light easy fabrics like cotton and linen that allow you to breath. Don’t wear anything you aren’t sure of. This goes for jewelry too.. don’t wear a ring that is too small, your hand will swell and it will get stuck- if this happens, go to a fire department. They will cut it off for free.
14. Bring a jacket/sweatshirt. The desert gets cold at night and sometimes the walk home gets very long. Try to find something that folds up very small to stick in your backpack throughout the day but is very warm at night. Also, make sure it’s soft inside, your skin is actually very sensitized by the end of the day and anything rough or scratchy will feel awful. I really like this one and it comes in several colors!
15. Have a meeting spot. I would tell you to never separate but that’s just not realistic.. pick a spot that everyone in your group knows and can remember. The speaker towers are labeled which helps a lot so maybe you always meet to the right of speaker tower A2.. making the search area much smaller.. Make a plan that everyone leaves together at the end of the night so you can make sure everyone is safe and accounted for. If you all know to meet to the right of A2 it dramatically improves the search and wander situation especially when phones are dead or cell reception is limited.
16. Bring a iPad charger. You know when you buy a phone and it comes with the little tiny square that plugs into the wall to charge your phone? Well, you know how your iPad comes with one too, but the square is bigger? Charging your phone with the iPad charger will make it charge almost twice as fast. Bring it and thank me later. (any phone that uses a USB cable can be charged with this)
17. Bring a mobile charging device. Either a charging case or a jellyfish box, you plug into, an on-the-go charger will come in handy- just wait to use it until you really need it, until there are no outlets around.
18. Don’t wear a hat unless you’re sure you want to wear it all day, it fits in the backpack, you’re okay with carrying it around, or you’re okay with leaving it.
19. Don’t wear/bring anything irreplaceable.
20. Bring flip-flops. Once I’m away from the crowd, I usually change into flipflops on the way home just to let my feet breath and get off the balls of my feet (if my boots have a heel.) It’s a good idea to have them also just incase your boots or sneakers start to rub in places they’ve never rubbed before.. I just like to be prepared and a light pair of $3 Old Navy flip-flops can end up being your savior.
21. Bring a small flashlight. You’d be surprised how handy a flashlight is at Coachella… there are huge wide open spaces with no lighting and finding your group in the crowd of the headliner is tough without some light.. you can shine it on your feet while you are standing still so other people see you and avoid stepping on you. Not to mention the long walk home, you can scare animals away if needed and find anything you accidentally drop… I know your phone has a flashlight, but again… it’ll probably be dead. I like this one best because it has a really bright LED light and uses only 1 AA battery, plus it’s water resistant.
Let me know in the comments section if you have any other tips I may have missed! Have fun!
Please consider pinning one of the below images if you found it helpful and check out my shopping guide at the bottom of this post!
Coachella 2017 Shopping Guide: