I am planning on going to Coachella this spring and car camping. I would like to bring my film camera, but I am concerned the heat may affect the quality of the film. It will likely be Kodak gold 200 or Kodak Ultra Max 400. The festival is 4 days long and temperatures may exceed 100 degrees F. What advice do you have? Is there a way to store the film that will keep it preserved? Is there better film to use? Thank you!
All films are suspectable to heat damage. The light sensitive goodie is salts of silver. These are crystals that will undergo a chemical change when hit by only a few photons. This happens when you snap the picture. These same silver salt crystals will also undergo a similar reaction if exposed to excessive heat. You will probably be ok carrying your camera in the desert. The real danger is leaving your camera / film in a hot car. The good news is, Kodak Gold is quite robust, your pictures likely will turn out ok. I advise -- have the film developed promptly when you return home. If you must store your film in a car, place it in a zip-lock bag in an ice chest.
People (relatively) new to film seem to think that film will spoil as quickly as milk. It's not that drastic, but try not to store the film somewhere that will heat up more than the ambient air temperature - don't leave it in direct sunlight and if you can't remove it from your car/campervan, then try to pick somewhere that isn't a heat trap like a glove compartment. A few days in sub-par conditions won't have any real noticeable effect on your film, especially consumer-grade colour negative film, used for personal photos. I would say stop worrying and just enjoy the experience.
Kodak and other film manufacturers were/are quite aware that film often sat on store shelves and indeed inside people's cameras for many months without any special storage considerations, and so consumer films are designed to withstand these situations to some degree. You can read more here:
KODAK Color Films: The Differences Between Professional Films and Films for General Picture-Taking
See also this related question:
Does film (get a chance to) degrade before sale?