Tips & Guides | February 2021

How to Car Camp at Music Festivals: Coachella and Beyond!

The party doesn’t have to stop at the end of the setlist! Car camping at music festivals allows listeners to connect with fellow music lovers in a unique outdoor setting while also saving money. (Something we are exceptionally appreciative of after those $12 beers sink our bank account.) Here are a few of Luno's best car camping tips and tricks for an affordable music festival experience!

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Know the rules of the game

Most festivals have strict rules in place to keep the event safe for all music lovers. Be sure to check out a festival’s website before pulling up to car camp, as there are often detailed regulations for on-site camping. We recommend you take note of important policies that cover the coming and going of vehicles. Different festivals have different rules when it comes to vehicles leaving the campsite site. Sometimes there is a re-entry fee upon a vehicle’s return and other times leaving your spot means losing it. Such is the case when car camping at Coachella, where vacating a spot means forfeiting the right to the site and the items left behind. 

The last thing you want is to be busted on a technicality from the rule book. Being familiar with the rules for the festival you’re attending is good practice for smooth sailing. A quick review of regulations will often cover information for saving spots, camping together with friends, and any strict arrival and departure times to abide by. While this bureaucratic slop may seem like a drag, it’s a worthy investment of your time for fun and safety in the future!

Location, location, location

While the rules of car camping may differ between festivals and the wilderness, one thing remains the same—it’s all about location. We’ve found that the perfect spot for festival car camping is close to the bathrooms and stages for easy access, but also far enough away to not be disturbed by any wandering sounds and smells. That sweet spot for peaceful convenience is sure to fill up fast. If the festival you’re attending works on a first-come, first-serve basis (which most do), you’re going to want to get there early to stake a claim of prime real estate.

Always be hydrating

An accurate and incomplete list of things you’re guaranteed to see at every music festival: 

  1. Fanny packs
  2. Lost phones
  3. Dehydration

Staying hydrated is a camping essential for any outdoor trip. Causes of dehydration are always lurking at music festivals. If it’s not the hours spent under the blazing sun, it’s the sweat you break while getting jiggy with it or the adult beverage (or two) you drink in the afternoon. All of these inevitable festival happenings involve a serious drain on your body’s water supply. 

The hardest part of staying hydrated is actually remembering to drink fluids; it’s easy to forget just how much water your body needs to replenish when you get wrapped up in the fun of your favorite artist. An easy way to remember to stay hydrated is by drinking water every time a new artist comes out on stage. This typically means that you’ll be drinking water roughly every hour (plus it gives you something to do during all those set changes).   

Double the coolers for double the fun

A cooler is an obvious festival necessity. But why stop at one when you can have two? That’s right, we recommend you take TWO coolers for twice the fun in the sun. Having double the ice chest space is a confirmed game changer when it comes to food preservation. One cooler can be used exclusively for food and another solely for beverages. This way, the cooler with the food inside doesn’t have to be opened every time someone reaches for a cold one. The less frequent opening will keep your ice icy and your food fresh for far longer so you can sip and snack until the sun comes up. 

Be a friend to make a friend

We think of music festivals as giant backyard parties with thousands of our newest friends. Striking up a festival friendship is incredibly easy since you’ve got at least two points of shared interest, music taste and a love of a good time, with everyone there. So cheers with a stranger or rock out with a neighbor to meet someone new! The more friends you make, the more people you can enjoy the music, camaraderie, and outdoors with. 

Whether you’re in the heat of Coachella or just jammin’ in your trunk, we hope that you can rock out and rest easy with these hot tips for car camping at any venue!

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