Burning Man Packing List
Burning Man Packing List
The first thing to check when preparing for Burning Man is the official Survival Guide:
What do you need to survive at night?
Basically, at Burning Man there are two primary reasons why you want lights for the night:
1. To keep yourself visible. You will probably be up late partying and/or chemically altered and when you are on the dark streets, you want to be seen so then you don't get hit by a bike or art car.
2. Fashion. EVERYONE ELSE HAS lights. Seriously, you can make yourself look cool and design entire costumes around these lights. Some people put them on their hats, some people put them on their bodies, some in their hair, all put lights on their bike. Finger lights and light gloves are fun to play with. El Wire is great to put around youself and bike. Glow sticks and glow necklaces are fun to give out and play with. I made the mistake of not having enough lights when I first went. There is no way to have too many lights. It makes the whole thing more fun and weird.
Ever been to a Burner party? Everyone is wearing lights.
Look cool and be safe!
Camping, Theme Camps & Other Stuff to Bring
In addition to lights, here is other stuff you need in your Burning Man packing list. See the 'Resources' section for other links to other sites, including the Burning Man site (http://www.burningman.com/preparation/), with how to prepare. This is my version and a bit simpler. You are still responsible for your own preparation but this guide is meant to help you.
A lot of people who are going for their first time also wonder how they should do it. Should they join a theme camp or just camp on their own with friends?
If it's your first time, I recommend joining a theme camp. It is more fun to join one and will help you integrate better into the Burning Man community.
What exactly is a theme camp?
Basically, a theme camp can range from just a few friends that band together and register themselves as a theme camp and do not allow outsiders to join it all the way to large multihundred person camps that accept applications from strangers and charge camp dues. There are theme camps that have pretty much every theme you can think of - yoga, music, tea, spirituality, sex, contact dance, the Big Lebowski, communist Russia. Camps generally do activities, workshops, and events around their theme and try to create a sense of community within their camp. Some offer lots of amenities so to speak like food, water, a shade strucutre, shower, dance floor, etc. while some offer less like only water or only shade strucutres for their members. The dues also vary from camp to camp - from free to $350 or more (you pay before you get to Burning Man, there is no exchange of money there).
Burning Man has an explanation here: http://www.burningman.com/themecamps/
Ok, I'm sold on a theme camp. How do I join one?
The official 2012 theme camp list is here at: www.burningman.com/themecamps/themecamps.html. You can comb through that and email camps that you think are interesting. Bigger camps tend to have websites. You can also go to the Burning Man forum, here: http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewforum.php?f=283. There you can see camps that are actively recruiting people. The sooner you reach out the better because some of them may fill up fast.
If you do decide to camp on your own, there is a lot of space for people not in camps to just show up and put up your tent, car, etc.
Other Stuff to Bring
-Water. A gallon and a half a day is recommended. You'll typically use a gallon for drinking and the rest for cooking or showers. You can just bring those big water drums that they use in water coolers. To keep it cold, buy the ice from the Center Camp. You can also put water in one of those big Gatorade coolers, which will be easier to put ice into than the water cooler jugs. When you are roaming around the playa, you definitely want to have water with you so either bring a Camel Pak or what I did was use two steel water bottles and filled them with water when going around.
-Snacks & food. You can't buy food at the event so you should bring your own. Some theme camps provide food but you will have to ask them. Bring generators and a
fridge if you want stuff that needs to be refrigerated. Some theme camps provide food but others don't, so you'll have to ask them.
-Propane stove for cooking. If you want to bring some perishables that need to be cooked such as hot dogs, bring one of these. They are super helpful.
-Draw string bags: those ones that you take to the gym. I had one of these and it was perfect for transporting water, snacks, etc as I explored around the playa.
If you are showering, you need to build an evaporation pond, like here: http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/grey_water.html
Some theme camps provide these already.
-Bike. This is absolutely essential for the playa. The playa is huge and it will take you forever to get anywhere if you are on foot. Do not bring a nice bike - bring a not so nice one that works. Make sure it has fat tires - either a hybrid or mountain bike, not road bike tires. People often like to decorate their bikes too, by putting bike lights, spoke lights, fur or El Wire on them. I definitely recommend putting bike lights & El Wire on it so it is visible at night and personalized. A U-lock is recommended if you want to feel safe about it - your camp may have a bike rack or when you are out, you can just put the U-lock through your tires so that no one can ride it.
I also recommend bringing a patch kit and spare inner tubes and whatever other tools you need to change the inner tube. There are bike repair places on the playa but the availability of spare inner tubes is kind of random and the repair places are usually only open from around 10-6 ish.
Bring a bike pump if you have one. If you don't have space in your car or you're flying in and don't want to bring it, don't worry about it too much. Other people there will definitely have one and the bike repair places will have one too (though again, they're usually only open from 10-6).
If you want to put fur on your bike, here is a video that shows how to do that: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-fur-bike-for-Burning-Man/
-Headlamp. The kind that you use for camping that you can wrap around your head as a flashlight so both your hands are free. The playa gets pretty dark at night and when you are biking around it is good to use as a headlight. Furthermore, if you are in a camp it is easier to find your way to your tent at night if you have one of these and you are much less likely to lose or misplace this than a flashlight.
-Goggles: Dust gets everywhere and these will prevent it from getting into your eyes. Use any kind of goggles that are sealed and won't let dust into your eyes - not the kind you use in science class. I used swimming goggles. While it worked, they were pretty uncomfortable. A lot of people get steampunk type goggles or machinist goggles, those work well and are usually cheap.
-Bandana: Dust gets everywhere and bandanas are the easiest way to prevent it from getting too much into your nose and mask. Get one that looks cool since you'll
be wearing it a lot. I had a tie dye one that was pretty neat. Some people wear dust masks but I feel like this makes you look like you are one of those people that is worried about getting SARS.
-Vinegar in a spray bottle: This is one of those things that sounds completely ludicrous & unnecessary. Trust me, it isn't. My feet especially were super cracked and almost bleeding and normal moisturizer isn't that helpful in relieving this. If you have some vinegat and put it in a spray bottle, you can spray it directly onto your hands and feet
to prevent them from being cracked and bleeding.
-Boots: Sturdy boots are extremely common around the playa. It's dusty, windy, & hot. Boots are going to last and be tough in this environment, unlike your Converse. Get cool looking ones to go along with your costume. A lot of men have military style boots while women have a lot of decorative yet functional ones, like Camel by Demonia boots.
-Ear plugs: will be helpful if other people in your camp are loud at night or if you happened to be placed near a big sound dome.
-Tent: You are camping. You need a tent. Simple as that. Yes, it will get hot but that's why you get/make a shade structure.
-Shade strucutre: There are a few different ways to do this. You can use a parachute if there are a few tents in your group. Some people use EZ Ups though if it's a weak one, they can get destroyed in high winds. Another pretty popular thing to use as a shade strucutre is a monkey hut, and it is pretty simple to put together. Here is the link to it:
http://www.chromatest.net/Lovemonkey/. If you're in a theme camp a lot of people have chill domes that you can sleep in. Military parachutes are good as well, especially if you can find a way so then they dont just sit on top of your tents but is instead above your tents. If it just sits on top of your tents it's not going to be very protective.
-Sleeping pad: If you have ever camped, you know how much of a life saver these can be. Super helpful to have under your sleeping bag to make it more comfortable.
-Pillow - it makes sleeping a lot easier.
-Sunblock: put this where you need and also put it in your nether-regions. The playa is white and sun can reflect off of it so if you're wearing something open, you can get burned down there unless you have sunblock.
-Rebar - 1/2 inch. You don't want to use the small tent stakes that come with your tent, you want to use these. These are big ass steel rods that you get into the ground using a sledgehammer. You just hammer then down like you would the tent stakes and then candy cane them as seen here: http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/securing.html
-Tennis balls to put over the rebar or Rebar capsT. These are extremely important since a pretty common injury there is people stepping on rebar without shoes on. Sound painful? Get something to put over your rebar. The above link also has info on what to put over your rebar so you don't hurt yourself.
-Sledgehammer/mallet: to pound in the rebar
-Toilet paper: Bring 1 ply toilet paper. They do have porta potties that are refilled every day but I feel it's always a good idea to have one of these just in case and especially
at the end of the festival it gets a bit less reliable.
-Hand Soap: They have hand sanitizer outside of the porta potties. However, if you are cooking food then you should definitely bring some hand soap.
-Toiletries - tooth brush, paste, floss, etc.
Utensils - to eat
Ziploc Bags: Whatever you want to keep protected from dust like electronics should definitely be put in Ziploc bags. These can be a real life saver. I personally put my camera in these to help keep them safer.
Garbage bags - Burning Man is a Leave No Trace, pack it in & pack it out event. Have these to store your garbage & bring your garbage in the car. If that sounds gross, don't worry too much. When you leave, on the highway out of Gerlach, there are some Native American tribes that will dispose of your trash for around $10 or $20 per bag (lines may be long though).
Costumes and Accessories: It's kind of weird to see someone at night walking around in jeans and a t shirt. Bring stuff that you think is fun. Victorian themes are popular, steam punk is popular, furry stuff is extremely popular. Things that are designed by independent designers or that you find at a costume store that look whacky are also good. For night, you'll want stuff that is warm and for the day you'll want loose things since it's pretty hot out there. The idea is to find stuff that is functional (good for hot or cold) but looks cool as well. You could walk around in a t shirt and jeans but there will be very very few others doing that. Look up 'burning man clothes', 'burning man fashion', 'burning man costumes'. Think of it like Bay to Breakers or Halloween - everyone is dressed up.
It gets pretty cold, down to the 30s or 40s Farenheit, so bring cold wear. It gets pretty hot too, around 100 Farenheit, so bring stuff that will be good in that weather too.
Camera: Just like any other event it is good to bring a camera. If you are worried about getting dust in it, a lot of people put them in Ziploc bags and cover the lenses with Ziploc bags to prevent this.
Optional but Helpful
Hats - super helpful, especially if you sunburn easily. It gets hot and this is a good way to have shade wherever you travel.
Bedding cover: put over your bed to prevent dust from getting on it.
Generator if you want electricity or a fridge or anything along those lines
Refrigerator to keep your food in
Cooking ware - if you bring your own food, you should bring stuff so you can cook it.
Ride Sharing site: burningmanrides.com. Get rides from others in your area to Burning Man. Super easy to use, clean interface.
Green Tortoise: http://www.greentortoise.com/adventures/burning.man.art.festival.html. Very expensive though.
Leaving No Trace: