It’s possibly the least rock and roll thing to say, but Coachella is even more fun when you’re as prepared as a suburban mom. Take our advice—we’ve come by it honestly through trial and error—and pack your pack right. Here’s a rundown of what’s in my bag for Weekend One as we aim for that all-important balance of fashion and function.
1. Sun protection
If this is your first time hitting the Empire Polo Club, we cannot overstress that the sun is cheerful, bright, and completely out to get you. Half this battle is hydration, and half is proper skin protection.
Pictured: Broad-spectrum SPF 60 sunscreen fluid, shades, wide-brimmed hat. Even this Sun Bum lip balm has SPF 30. Our secret weapon, though, is the light layer that reduces direct sunlight to the skin without adding warmth, such as a kimono or an ultra-thin scarf.
2. Sand protection
Men and women: Don’t leave home without a bandana. The Coachella merchandise tent will sell out of these quickly, especially if the breeze starts to pick up. If a sandstorm hits, you’ll look like Butch Cassidy, but you’ll feel fantastic.
3. Things to keep you fresh
We prefer to keep makeup simple, so just some powder and lip balm are perfect to have on hand. Keeping with the natural look, dry shampoo is a must for hair in between washes. Guys, you can use it to minimize the oil on your scalp, too. Lastly, practice the Golden Rule with some deodorant wipes and travel-sized fragrance of choice.
Pictured: Make Up Forever Pro Finish powder foundation, Batiste dry shampoo, Crystal Essence mineral deodorant wipe, Elizabeth James roll-on perfume, and Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip and Cheek Creamy Oil.
4. Antibacterial products
We weren’t kidding about packing like a mom (also note the adhesive bandages and Advil in the bag). By the time Sunday rolls around, those porta-potties are less than fresh. These items don’t take up much space, but they’ll save you in a big way.
Pictured: Dr. Bronner’s Magic hand sanitizing spray and Wet Ones wipes.
No napkins for your Spicy Pie pizza? Did you get hit by a flying cup of Heineken? No problem. Most importantly, though, you can’t un-see the things you’ll witness while peering into a dozen vacant restrooms until you find one with a single, wispy scrap of toilet paper.
6. Portable phone charger
Throw in your smartphone cord — there are a few charging stations with plugs on the grounds. If those are all full, it doesn’t hurt to have a small external power bank in case searching for reception leaves you in a pinch.
7. Compact camera
Eclipsed more and more by ubiquitous smartphone cameras, point-and-shoots are optional at best these days. But if you enjoy taking photos, there’s something to be said for the quality these pocket wonders can boast, especially in lighting where smartphones falter. Many of these cameras include Wi-Fi now, so you can pair the camera with an app on your phone and still post your photos.
Pictured: Fujifilm X30, but most hobbyist cameras on the market today will handily turn out a nice framer if you and your friends bump into Jared Leto. Alternatively, Polaroid cameras or Lomo cameras are just plain fun.
We love being right up against the stage for our favorite artists as much as the next person, but we know we’re slowly wrecking our hearing. Foam earplugs, though, muffle sounds and make you look like a neon Frankenstein. Protect your hearing in the long run with some acoustic filters instead.
Not pictured, but recommended: DUBS earplugs are premiering in welcome boxes, gift bags and booths around Coachella this year. Backed by Tiesto, Quincy Jones, Hans Zimmer and more, they cut 17 decibels of sound without muffling it, and this version of DUBS acoustic filters is designed specifically for music. After wearing them for a few hours, I found they’re comfortable and sleek, to boot.