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15 Best Coachella Car Campsites

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/22/2015 Edward Loh, Robin Trajano

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival wrapped up Sunday night, and our photographer Robin Trajano was there (with a Lamborghini, but that’s another story -- ( #MTLambo ).

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Located at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California, Coachella draws a huge crowd every year. (More than half a million people attended in 2014.) Hotel accommodations are scarce, so car camping is a popular option. Tens of thousands of campers pay $85 for a three-day camping pass that provides access to the campgrounds and such basics as portable toilets, showers, a general store, and Wi-Fi coverage in some areas. Here are 15 Coachella car campers that went a step beyond:

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Take a Honda Odyssey minivan, add paint, wings, antennae, and some cardboard cutouts, and what do you have? A beautiful butterfly. Bonus points for the fat tire campground cruiser.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Escape Campervans of Inglewood, California, rents this Ford E150 van with a pop-top tent that seats/sleeps four. Other features include a dual propane gas range, compressor refrigerator, sink with tap and drain, and groovy paint that fits right in.

Coachella was built for VW buses such as this early pop-top version.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Ford E-series vans were a popular choice. This road warrior version sports a solar panel array ahead of the rooftop storage container and a solar shower on the opposite side.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Sportsmobile, the off-road van outfitter, equipped this red beast with an integrated popup tent (with additional storage). We’ve seen a lot of clean versions roaming around Southern California, so it’s great to see one actually being used properly.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Nothing wrong with taking your Benz G-Wagen to Coachella, though we’re curious about the sleeping arrangement since the seats don’t lie flat.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Small cars and CUVs work well for car camping, especially if you’re willing to improvise. Coachella camp authorities allow no hammers, nails, or power tools, so these inventive folks built the entire structure using predrilled wood beam and nuts and bolts. The tarped structure was used for eating, showering, and sleeping, and supposedly all fit in the Fit.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list We weren’t the only ones to bring a high-performance sports car to Coachella, as you can see. But this new BMW M4 owner had backup — the Dodge Grand Caravan next to it is a rental from Jucy Rental Campervan that seats five, sleeps four, and comes with a sink, fridge, and dual-burner stove.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Sun protection is essential. The Coachella music festival is located deep in inland California, where cloudless skies and warm temperatures are the norm.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list While Ford and VW dominated Coachella’s van scene, we did see a few outliers, such as this Deadhead’s toothy GMC full-size Vandura.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list One of our favorite setups from Coachella 2015: this Toyota Tundra TRD Pro equipped with a safari tent. It was totally, um, “awesome” — a euphemism for what the windshield sign said.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Vintage VW buses dominated, but there were a few modern ones, as well, including this Go Westy-equipped Eurovan (aka Transporter T4). Eurovans were sold from 1992 to 2003 in North America and can fetch a pretty penny if in good condition.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Carpool-chella in a Chevrolet Traverse? Why not?

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list Even Lyft drivers need a weekend away.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list You don’t need much to have fun car camping at Coachella. You just need a vehicle, some friends, shade, and love. Oh, and liquid chalk markers.

2015 Coachella Car Camping list© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Coachella Car Camping list
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