Coachella. It’s that wonderful time of year when fashionable teens, attention-starved celebrities in pursuit of PR opportunities, and jaded hipsters flock to an otherwise unknown region of California in an attempt to out-trend each other (and maybe listen to some cool music too). Each year the renowned music festival garners around 50,000 attendees— and among those, there’s sure to be multitudes of USC students who are just waiting to show off their newest neon sorority fanny packs (guilty as charged) and obnoxiously spirited USC apparel (Fucla t-shirts, anyone?). If you are one such student, you most likely know (or at least, we hope you do) that you can’t just show up to a weekend-long festival in the desert without being somewhat prepared. Here’s a list of the ten Coachella essentials you should make sure you pack before you make your trek out to Indio:
Unless you want to come out of Coachella looking like a tomato, some form of protection from the sun is recommended. If you don’t want to carry a lot of weight, bringing a giant bottle of spray-on is probably not the best idea. Apply that before you head out each day, and then bring a travel-size tube with you (any drugstore will have this). Your back will thank you.
Bring these for the sake of UV protection for your eyes, and also for the sake of not feeling painfully mainstream. God forbid you show up to Coachella without cliché Ray-Bans! Multiple pairs could be useful.
Between all the dust and the wind blowing into your face throughout the weekend, your lips are going to feel like sandpaper. Bring either Chapstick or some form of lip balm, or forever regret your decision. Packing an extra one would probably be a good call as well— who knows if you’ll drop your first one in the dust, or simply run out.
4. Mini-wallet or money clip
Make sure to hide this in some kind of secret compartment in whatever bag you chose to bring, and DON’T just bring your regular wallet. Pack just a credit card, form of ID, and some cash, and call it a day— if your entire wallet gets stolen, you’ll lose everything all at once. And really, you don’t need your Yogurtland rewards card when you’re listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
5. Phone Charger
This will come particularly in handy when you’re lost in a bustling crowd of hipsters, unable to find your friends, and your phone is dead. Coachella was thoughtful enough to provide a cell-phone charging station, but just in case you can’t find your way there, having a charger on-hand will make your life easy— just find the nearest outlet, and you’re good to go.
6. Light Sweater
Although you’ll be sweating buckets during the day, come nighttime you’ll wish you were wearing a North Face (or not, considering no one in California bothers to care about that brand’s existence) at night. Consider packing a light sweater that won’t be too heavy and will fold easily to fit inside your small bag.
If your iPhone runs out of battery (leaving you with no photo-capturing device) or you just want better-quality pictures, you might want to bring a camera along with you. Unless you want to shlep your quintessential Nikon around with you (not recommended), you should probably take a more compact digital camera. Or, if you’re scared of getting that stolen (very likely), buy a cheap disposable camera from your nearest drugstore and take that instead. Rest assured that it will be left alone— no one will have any interest in your gritty, sepia-toned selfies.
The days are long, you’re probably going to get dehydrated, and the food trucks there carry an assortment of exotic and potentially smelly meals. Do everyone a favor and pop some gum before you yell enthusiastically into concert crowds. Your neighbors will thank you.
Very mini. Remember that you don’t want to carry around a lot of weight! A key-chain sized one is all you need for when night falls and you need to navigate your way to different tents (not EVERY part of the festival grounds is well-lit).
10. Small bag
You’re going to need somewhere to put all of the above in— guys should consider a small cinch-pack (another outlet for obnoxious USC pride), and girls could go with a small/medium sized bag or purse or, of course, the quintessential fanny pack.