If I missed something send me a PM and I can add it.
I know the FAQ questions on the main site can be a little overwhelming. So in the interest of avoiding a 1001 threads about the same topics, lets use this as a guide to planning your camping experience. With a little foresight, the camping experience is, in my opinion, not to be missed.
1. Checking In
If you are arriving early Thursday expect long line and waiting in the heat. Waiting until after sunset to arrive makes waiting in line much more bearable. The trade off to this is that if you get their early you are more likely to get a good spot (close to bathrooms/entrances/food/showers/etc). You can think of this way. Starting Thursday afternoon and going until Friday morning, the quantity of good camping spots proportionaly decreases over time. So, Thursday afternoon = your pick of the litter. Thursday night/Friday morning = slim pickens.
2. Getting Your Stuff From the Car to Your Tent
Think about how much stuff you are going to have. Lay all out before you leave and understand you will have to haul this stuff at least 200 yards. Whether you do this in one trip or two is up to you. There will be a temporary unloading area near the check in gate where you can drop your stuff off then park your car. But it wont really work this way when its time to leave. Last year I brought a dolly and trucked everything in one trip then just made the return trip to put the dolly back. Others bring wagons or other devices with wheels. Of course, you could just bring enough stuff that you can just carry it.
There are onsite food vendors similar to what is in the festival. They are open for breakfast and open late night and all day as well. You have the option to bring your own food or you can buy food from these guys. If you bring food, don't bring anything too complex. Trail mix, sandwiches, chips, and other snacks are your best bet. Chances are when you get back at night you will be hungry but too tired to bother with anything that takes longer than 2 minutes to prepare (unless you walk to the food booths). In the morning you might have more patience.
Expect to drink at least a 1 gallon of water per day. If anything, you can use the water to wash your hands or whatever you need it for. But at least a gallon of water per day is a good base. Plus bring whatever else you would like to drink. You can keep your drinks cool by freezing them before you leave for Coachella and keeping them in your cooler. Not only will they help keep other perishables in your cooler chilled but the water stay cold all weekend.
If you want to shower, brush your teeth, brush your hair, shave, or whatever, there will be all the things you need for this. Be advised that deoderant can melt in the heat so maybe putting it somewhere cool or in a cool while you are in the festival can be a good idea. Bring a flashlight or tent lamp. There are floodlights in the campground but they don't illuminate everything. And the lights go off after a certain hour. Your eyes will adjust but it is still good to have a decent light source. Using the portapotties in the dark is a risk you run otherwise. You are definitely going to want a chair as well. A $10 chair from walmart will be just fine. You dont need some expensive chair.
5. Luxury Items
Don't bother bringing anything you would feel bad if it was lost/stolen/broken.
Do bring your cellphone charger, camera battery charger, or other charger as needed. There will be a main tent that will have fans/computers/generators at the middle of the campground. There will also be lots of outlets. But, finding an open outlet will be tough on Saturday/Sunday days when everyones electronics are running low on juice. You might have to sit and wait for an outlet and you probably want to sit and watch your things while they are charging too. This means you will be sitting in the sun.
6. Ins And Outs From The Campground
You also have in and out priveledges. Runs to the Raley's (is Raley's or Ralph's I forget) are not uncommon. You can also go and get some food as well if you dont want to eat the onsite stuff or your own stuff.
There are no Ins-Outs from the festival. Even for campers.
Everyone wants a shower. They feel oh so good in the morning or at night. Not only is it hygenic but it is a great way to cool off. The problem is that everyone wants to shower at the same time. But do not be fooled by long lines at the showers. If you walk the perimeter of the campgrounds there is a good chance you can find a shower with little or no wait. Or, if you cant find one and do not want to wait, then you will have to wait until later in the day for the crowds to die down. There is no time limit on the showers so the speed at which the line moves is varied.
Bring your own toilet paper. Bring paper toilet seat covers. Just do it.
9. Leaving The Campground
Come Monday morning everyone is pretty much going to be leaving the same time. There will be traffic. You will have to haul all your stuff in the heat to your car. Even though it is a pain in the ass, I suggest you take all your non necessities to your car Sunday night so that you have less to carry on Monday.
B. Fighting The Heat/Finding Shade
1. Tent Shade
I repeat what has already been discussed in detail. But, if you don't cover your tent it will heat up fast and you will be up at 7:30am wondering what to do. There are two critical things that need to be done if you want to sleep at least until 9: create shade and maintain airflow.
The first thing you need to do is create shade for your tent. A canopy works very well. But stringing a tarp over your tent is a good move. But you don't want to create a cocoon that will trap heat. Simply draping something over your tent can make all the difference in the world. Canopy's are cheap at walmart and other outdoors/sporting good stores right now. Another alternative is creating your own canopy with PVC and tarps if you do not want to buy one.
The second thing you want to do is create airflow. This can be best achieved with a tent fan or other battery powered air device.
Having airflow will help keep things at least a few degrees cooler.
These are also highly recommended: http://www.graphicice.com/index.php/...emID/171458890
2. Hanging Out Shade
Probably .002% of the campgrounds are shaded and those are taken quickly. If you do not make your own shade you will be sitting in the sun hating life. If you figure you will probably wake up around 8 and the festival gates wont open until 11, you have at least 3 hours to kill. If you aren't planning to go until 3-4 when acts actually start then you got serious time to kill. Hanging out shade will make things alot more bearable for you and your friends while you wait to get into the festival. The best way to do this will be with either another canopy or one of those beach umbrella's or almost anything. Pretty much sky is the limit for hanging out shade, the more the merrier.
3. Other Ways To Cool Off
Another option to consider is heading out to your car and sitting in the AC. It is not uncommon for people to nap in their car with the engine and AC going. Your call though. Or, if you are 21+, you can get into the festival as early as possible and head to the Heineken Oasis to sleep. But, you may forego your ability to get back in without waiting in line if you have to go the bathroom or want to get something to drink. The line for the tent gets long fast.
C. Alotted Space Big Groups
There are alotted spaces for each camper. Groups arriving early can claim spaces next to each other so that everyone can camp together. If you arrive late and your friends couldn't save you a spot you may have to set up shop somewhere else or find a space next to them. Generally, the festival folk do not like you having your tent or stuff encroaching into the walkways for fire safety reasons. Someone may even come over and tell you to move your stuff. But, they aren't going to rake you over the coals if people can reasonably get by your setup. Plus you dont want people stomping on your stuff if it is in walking aisles anyways. So, if you are in a group or are meeting people, be careful about planning arrival times as adjoining spaces can be hard to come by unless you are going to camp away from the showers/toilets.
There is no alcohol allowed in the campground and drugs are illegal. If you feel like you need to bring alcohol in be warned that your stuff will be searched (to a point). This isn't prison. There aren't full body cavity searches and there aren't guards patrolling all areas. If you have a 12 pack of soda they aren't going to open it up. They aren't going to scour to the bottom of every cooler full of ice, drinks, and food. They aren't going to stop everyone from throwing stuff over the fence to their friends.
Do not deal drugs. There are undercover cops on site. If you feel the need to do drugs just be cool, keep it in your tent, or at least low key and everything will be just fine. Cops aren't out to bust you if you are minding your own business. Especially late at night, things are much more relaxed. Just. Don't. Deal.
E. What To Expect
Expect to meet alot of really cool people. Everyone will be very excited. Alot of people stay up late drinking, talking, or whatever. Sometimes there are drum circles. The staff will do their best to keep things quiet afterhours but I have stayed up till dawn on plenty of nights. If you want to party, expect plent of people who will party with you (especially on Thursday night). If you do a good job of taking care of the basics, it will go a long way towards improving your weekend.
2. Camper's Only Festival Entrance
Sometimes it is a win and sometimes it is a loss. Yes, there is a dedicated entrance to campers but that does not mean you have to use it. Sometimes walking around to the main entrance can be faster. It depends on when you go. There will be alot of people who do not have shade in the campground who will want to get into the festival to find something. Expect long lines from 11-3 at least. The main entrance is usually wide open at these times as most people who are staying in hotels don't have the same motivation to seek shade and thus will show up at their leisure.
Here is the clusterfuck that was getting into the festival Friday of last year around noon: http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f2...0/IMG_3468.jpg
3. Bringing Stuff Into The Festival
Expect to get searched somewhat. If you have ever been to a concert in your life then you know what the search will be like. As far as getting in bottle of water/alcohol I guess it really depends on the security guard and the day. For example, Friday of last year was way lax. But Sunday (with Rage playing) security was alot less lenient. For the most part, you will not be bringing in anything liquid unless you hide it well. If you get to the entrance and are found to have a banned item then you will have to either A) Go put it away B) Hide it better and get back in line and try again.
There will be separate lines for men and women so be sure you get in the right line from the start. When the lines get mixed up and it isn't clear who is in exactly what line, you can get mixed up.
Thanks to: M Sparks, Ill_eagle, psychic friend.