How to Survive Camping at the Coachella Festival

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Plan ahead to survive Coachella.
Plan ahead to survive Coachella. (Image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Every April, thousands of people head to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for an epic two-weekend party. During those two weekends, the town of Indio, California, is alive with music, from surging guitar-driven rock to funky electronic dance music. Many attendees choose to camp at the fest, and if you want to join these overnighters, you'll need to do some smart preparation to ensure your time is enjoyable.

Luxury Camping

If you want to survive in style, shell out some extra money for an upscale camping experience. Coachella offers luxury teepees and tents for two or four people at the Lake Eldorado campsite, which comes with more amenities than your average patch of grass. Lake Eldorado perks include private access to bathrooms and 24-hour concierge service, and all teepees and tents come with cots, sleeping bags and pillows. For an even more deluxe camping experience, reserve a safari tent. These furnished and air-conditioned tents come with an on-site concierge, bathrooms and showers, breakfast and snacks, private security, free parking and golf cart transportation to the music stages.

Roughing It

Coachella offers tent camping spots as well as car camping spots, where you sleep in or next to your car. You will have access to free bathrooms and showers, but the rest of it is up to you. Bring whatever you need to sleep comfortably, such as sleeping bags, pillows and blankets, and keep in mind that Coachella forbids the use of metal tent stakes. Pack a cooler with food and drinks, but leave glass bottles at home; they're also on Coachella's forbidden list. If you forget anything, don't despair: Coachella has a food court, farmer's market and general store where you can get everything from air mattresses to soap and cigarettes.

Plan Ahead

A satisfying Coachella experience involves the same planning necessary for any successful camping trip. Space inside is limited, so buy your tickets and reserve your camping spot as soon as possible. Before you leave home, make a checklist of all the items you'll need. If you reserve a luxury teepee or tent, come early to get a prime spot, as these are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The camping areas open on the first Thursday of the festival at 9 a.m., and the lines to get in can be daunting, so bring snacks and drinks to keep you nourished during the wait.

Essential Items

The Coachella party probably won't stop, so if you want to get some sleep, use earplugs to block out the noise of late-night revelers. Bring a hat or bandanna and plenty of sunscreen to survive the hot California sun, and plan ahead for cool nights by bringing a sweater and a blanket. Pack antibacterial hand sanitizer and wet wipes for trips to the bathroom and soap and towels for the showers. You'll also need sunglasses for daytime and a flashlight to get around at night. Stay hydrated with plenty of water; bring a few gallons for washing off and a refillable plastic bottle for drinking. And finally, throw a first-aid kit in with your camping supplies, just in case.

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