Guide to Coachella Prep

List of essentials and top tips for Coachella newbies (and experts who want to brush-up)

PHOTO: Courtney Mitchell.

PHOTO: Courtney Mitchell.

In just a couple weeks I will head to Indio with thousands of the wristband-clad from all walks of life for my second Coachella experience. I’m lucky I had uber veteran Colleen by my side to show me the ropes last year, but if this is your first time as well don’t fret… Something Catchy has your back. I chatted with my girlfriends who’ve frolicked Coachella Valley more than a few times and gathered top tips (including ways to save money) and an essentials packing list to help you plan your weekend more efficiently. If you’re camping, we have a special must-read section just for you. With our Coachella prep guide, there won’t be nobody dope as you… You’ll be just as fresh as the veterans dancing without a care in the Sahara Tent.

Coachella Prep

PHOTO: Mor Weizman.


  • Cross-body bag or backpack
  • At least 2 pairs of supportive, comfortable closed-toe shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty
  • All the sunblock you have
  • An abundance of deodorant
  • Sweater or jacket; the desert “can get painfully cold once the sun sets” (Mor)
  • Baggie flasks: “Drinks will end up costing you more than your wristbands. Your bank account can’t possibly take another blow after all that shopping you just did for your festival wardrobe.” (Megan)
  • WATER all the time. Don’t get dehydrated! There are free water refill stations.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Healthy snacks like almonds or trail mix
  • Bandaids
  • Phone case with extra battery
  • Aspirin for the morning after
Coachella prep

PHOTO: Steph Fox.


    • Know that your body will hurt for at least a week post-Coachella. Day 1 is intense. Day 2 is worse because you’re sore from Day 1. Day 3 you don’t give a damn and and can’t feel your body anyway, so it’s better than the first two days. But it all hits you once you come back home.  – Mor
    • Pack healthy snacks and meals for the house. You’re already abusing your body enough, so fuel it right. Eat tons of fruits and veggies. I brought ingredients for Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie and had it every morning before we left for the grounds.  – Megan
    • If your friends split up to see different artists, have a meeting place and time before an artist everyone wants to see. Phone reception is awful since there are so many people in a place where there is usually none. The different art installations make good meeting places. – Steph
    • Go with the flow! You’ll have artists you want to see, but the reality is you may have to skip them if you want to stay with your friends. I left my friends a couple of times to go to shows, and it was impossible to find them again. Coachella alone sucks. – Steph
    • See artists you haven’t heard of or normally wouldn’t listen to. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. – Jamie
    • If you’re dusty, dirty, sweaty and gross (and you probably will be), check out the “refresh stations.” They had one next to the Sahara tent where you could get wipes, deodorant, hairspray and other essentials to make you look (almost) good as new. – Steph
    • Soak up every moment of Coachella, because it will be over in the blink of an eye. – Jamie
A Word on Wardrobe
    • When you’re shopping for Coachella, buy things you could easily wear again. Don’t buy that tie dye, neon racer bank tank with a smiley face on it. Opt for the gypsy desert goddess look instead. – Megan
    • As cute, trendy, obnoxious, “L.A.,” hippie glam, etc. as your outfit is, be sure it’s COMFORTABLE. None of that will matter when you’re standing in 110 degree weather, your short shorts are riding up your booty, and your feet are covered in blisters. – Megan
    • DO NOT wear a one-piece and/or jumpsuit. Getting fully naked in a porta potty is something from a nightmare. – Mor
Coachella prep

PHOTO: Courtney Mitchell.


  • Leave your electronics, hairdryers, curlers, and narrow-mindedness at home.
  • Be prepared to be somewhat dirty at all times.
  • Some essentials: baby wipes, shower shoes, extra clothes to change at least 2-3 times a day, sweats or long johns for sleeping (it gets cold at night!), deodorant (that’s a given, but can’t stress it enough), a big mirror to do your makeup if you decide to wear any, lots of sunblock, and extra hair ties. Healthy snacks and water; while you can bring your water bottle to fill up at the stations, it’s nice to have your own water at your campground. 
  • Experience everything. The campgrounds have tons of activities including an arts and crafts section, roller-skating rink and yoga. Try it all!
PHOTO: Chariss Ilarina.

PHOTO: Chariss Ilarina.

The fun doesn’t stop at music and clothing. There are tons of experiences around the festival grounds that can keep you hydrated, cool, and occupied between artists. Aside from the iconic ferris wheel, think free photo booths, a water tasting bar, an H&M custom dressing room, and Sephora touch-ups. As Steph says, “it is paradise on earth!” Soak it all in, and share your memories with me.

What is your top tip for newbies?

Originally posted on The Single Diaries.

Shout out to Tara, Megan, Steph, and Mor for their insider tips and special thanks to Jamie Ng for the camping section!

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