I've got a single army duffle bag that holds my entire campsite. One tent, queen airmatress, airpump, sleeping bags, pillows, etc. It flies as checked baggage and I've never had a problem. Anything else you need can be bought cheap on the way in or the general store.
I'm in the same boat, which in this case is a plane.
We're renting a car so will to stop off at a Walmart or something and buy most off it there.
Stuff like airbeds, pump and pillows are cheap and disposable, I won't be taking them home.
Packing is a tough, especially when you have to keep a watch on the weight of your bag!
I had some friends that flew in last year, I picked them up and we rented tents and equipment at REI. Might be cheaper than walmart and def cheaper if you get charged extra baggage fees! The extra things they bought from target and walmart they just left with me for this year =)
I live in SD so I don't fly in, but regarding the sleeping bag: you won't need it for warmth, more for padding on the ground. The fields are nice in the sense that there's no rocks or roots in the ground, but it's still not that awesome to sleep directly on for an entire night. I'd suggest bringing a blanket in addition to your sleeping bag if you can fit it. Doesn't need to be anything super warm ... it's literally 90+ degrees by the time the sun comes up. Blankets are easy to kick off when you get hot but will keep you warm enough at night (it really doesn't get that cold at night ... in a tent, on a sleeping bag and under a thin blanket I was more than fine last year and most often times didn't even use the blanket).
I usually fly and end up buying a cooler and couple of camp chairs on the way in to leave behind (stuff gets donated.) I think the biggest challenge for flying campers is some sort of shade canopy. Pop-up ones are too pricey for me to leave behind and too heavy to fly with, and the really cheap ones that are not free standing are just not worth the hassle. Last year I bought a lightweight Kelty Shadehouse (12 lbs) and it worked OK but the material is pretty thin and lets a lot of sun through. I had no cooler, chairs or canopy the first 3 years and did not die but they are really nice to have.
I've flown with camping equipment before (but not to Coachella), and the best advice I can give is pack only what is essential to your comfort and is not easily purchased cheaply or even better, borrowed. You are camping with thousands of other people (including your immediate camping friends), so an airpump should be an easy thing to leave behind. Sleeping bags are cheap (under $15) at Walmart. I pack things like my air mattress, blanket and pillow because I know if I have them, I can sleep anywhere. Coordinate with people you may be camping with, and borrow any gear they might have and can bring for you.
Consider the checked bag fees for your airline and whether it is cheaper to pay for extra bags roundtrip, or to buy the stuff when you arrive. Better yet, fly Southwest and your bags(2) fly free. I paid slightly more to do this for an East Coast camping trip, but the $20 in airfare was worth the $100 I saved in baggage fees. I borrowed a tent, bought cheap tarps, a cooler, rope, light and sleeping bag, but packed my shade cloth. Comfort is key, so choose wisely.
Originally Posted by TomAz
This is why you're a semi-employed cheetoh-munching fucktard.