ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Travel Tips & Preparation

Burning Man Packing List

Updated on July 7, 2016

Packed for Burning Man

All packed and ready to go to Burning Man.
All packed and ready to go to Burning Man. | Source

Have More Fun at Burning Man

Burning Man is a great event. It is held once a year in Nevada, in the Black Rock Desert. It is a festival devoted to art, outrageousness, fire, and being who you are. It is also in a very difficult environment. This means what you normally pack for camping just won't cut it.

Not everyone should go to Burning Man. Many people think it is all about partying, but most party people can't handle the requirements to attend. They should just go to a club or other type of festival instead. It'll be cheaper and easier and they'll have just as much fun.

While attending Burning Man you have to bring every single thing you will need to live in a harsh environment. There is no neighborhood store to visit when you run out of toilet paper or water. You need to use your brain and plan ahead.

If you want to attend though, I'm here to help, and to share what you need to bring to 'That Thing in the Desert'.

Carrying What They Need

All packed and ready to go to Burning Man.
All packed and ready to go to Burning Man. | Source
These Burners are lined up, ready to enter the playa and they are bringing everything they need. You will need to do so as well.
These Burners are lined up, ready to enter the playa and they are bringing everything they need. You will need to do so as well. | Source

Use This List As Guidance

Pick and choose what matters most to you from my list. Bring less and plan on suffering a little. Bring everything and live in sorta comfort. What you need will be unique to you, so just take what's on my list as suggestions.

Bring Everything You Need With You

If you will need something at Burning Man, bring it. You can't just run to the store if you forget something. Once you park, you are not allowed to move your vehicle and there is no place to buy anything anyways.

The only things for sale at Black Rock City are ice and cups of coffee. If you forget sunblock, you are out of luck unless someone takes pity on you, and since one of the emphasized elements of Burning Man is self-reliance, I wouldn't count on that if I were you. If you need something, you better bring it.

Using This List

Several things are listed multiple places. These are very important items and ones I want to make sure you don't forget.

Have multiple chapsticks, sunblocks, water, and other items because you will use more than you think and they should be waiting at camp as well as in your backpack with you. Sunburn can ruin your fun and chapped lips can quickly begin to crack and bleed. Be smart and have multiples of easily lost and important items, and have them in multiple places so they're always handy.

Bring Your Own Water

There isn't even water available on the playa, so you need to bring even that. Plan on about 2 1/2 to 3 gallons per day per person. You should be drinking a lot more water than you normally do and you'll need it for washing dishes, playa dust-coated feet and bodies. And if you are bringing a portable swamp cooler or mister, plan on a bit more.

A Handy Water Jug

Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container
Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container

This is the most commonly used type of water container. Each one holds 7 gallons of water. They are square so they pack nicely. And they have a spigot to make it easier.

 

Black Rock Desert

Burning Man is held in the Black Rock Desert, on Black Rock Playa. This is located a few hours northeast of Reno, Nevada, the closest big city.

The Playa is a smooth, dry lakebed where dust storms are common, you will get stuck in the mud if it rains, and hot and cold can easily sweep down from the mountains on either side. You need to prepare for the weather.

Deserts = Weather Extremes

Many people think deserts mean hot and dry and while Black Rock Desert is that, a more accurate description is deserts are places with extreme weather. The lack of vegetation means that they is nothing to soften whatever weather is sweeping through. So when it's hot, it's very, very hot. When it's cold, it's very cold. Nothing blunting the wind sweeping through means it picks up massive amounts of dust and pummels you with the sharp pieces. When rain does fall it falls heavy and fast, creating massive muddy puddles that will try to suck you in.

The weather at Burning Man can vary a lot. It can be over 100* Fahrenheit in the day, and go down to the 40s in the night. Rain is rare, but it's happened on several different years. Dust storms happen almost every year.

What does this mean to you? You have to prepare for the heat and the cold, the possibility of rain, and the almost certain dust storms!

A Good Burner

A smart Burner should never be without a good sunhat, sunglasses, and his hydration backpack. In that pack he also has goggles and a dust mask in case that dust devil turns into a dust storm.
A smart Burner should never be without a good sunhat, sunglasses, and his hydration backpack. In that pack he also has goggles and a dust mask in case that dust devil turns into a dust storm. | Source

Black Rock City and Other Nearby Cities

show route and directions
A markerBlack Rock City -
Black Rock City, NV, USA
get directions

Where Burning Man is held. A temporary city that forms for a couple weeks a year then melts back into the Black Rock Playa.

B markerReno -
Reno, NV, USA
get directions

The closest and best place to get supplies.

C markerFernley -
Fernley, NV, USA
get directions

If you're coming from the east Fernley is a good place to get supplies.

Planning on the Weather

Get a Good Sunhat

Sun Protection Zone Unisex Booney Hat, Lightweight, Adjustable, 100 Spf, Color: Khaki
Sun Protection Zone Unisex Booney Hat, Lightweight, Adjustable, 100 Spf, Color: Khaki

Get a hat with good coverage and a chin strap. Something simple like this can then be decorated and made into a fun and wearable art piece.

 

It Gets Hot on the Playa

The best way to avoid getting heat stroke is to avoid the sun. Hang out at camp during the hottest parts of the day. Don't walk around a lot at the hottest parts of the day.

Drink lots of water, especially water flavored with some lemon juice or coconut water.

I'm fair skinned, so I wear sunblock, a sunhat (something with a strap so it doesn't blow away), and often carry a parasol when walking in the sun. And during the hot parts of the day, I take a nap, especially since Burning Man is so much better at night and I usually don't get a lot of sleep then.

  • Lots of Water
  • Good Sunblock!
  • Cool Clothing (or go without)
  • Sun Hat
  • Sun Parasol/Umbrella (helps more than you think)
  • Sunglasses
  • Carport (to set up over your car or tent)
  • Shade Cloth
  • Portable Swamp Cooler
  • Personal Mister or Fan

Label Your Stuff

People are generally pretty cool at Burning Man. Theft of things other than bicycles is fairly rare and if you lose something most of the time people will want to return it to you. But they can't if they don't know where you are, so make sure you label your stuff.

Mark on your stuff your name and phone number so you can get your things back after the Burn. Adding your camp information makes it a better chance you can get it back during the Burn itself.

When It's Hot, Kick Back

When it's hot out kick back and relax. Don't fight the heat, it can take you.
When it's hot out kick back and relax. Don't fight the heat, it can take you. | Source
Stay at camp, take a nap, play some cards, make some art. Take a break from roaming when it gets hot.
Stay at camp, take a nap, play some cards, make some art. Take a break from roaming when it gets hot. | Source

Fake Fur Hat

Trixy Xchange White Fake Fur Mink Hat
Trixy Xchange White Fake Fur Mink Hat

Get things that do double duty. A cute furry hat will be fun and be a great addition to your costume and it will also keep you cozy and warm.

 

It Gets Cold in the Desert

Most people think of the desert as hot, and it definitely can be, but many people don't realize deserts often get very cold at night. You need to be prepared for very cold nights.

Have a few warm costumes to wear when it gets chilly, and make your tent into a cozy nest with a warm sleeping bag and lots of pillows and blankets. You'll probably also want a blanket to sit around camp in too.

  • Warm Sleeping Bag and Blankets
  • Warm Clothing
  • Faux Fur Coat
  • Warm Hat
  • Socks
  • Camping Hand Warmers

Make Your Own Fur Costume

Fake Faux Fur 3-Tone Spike 60 Inch Fabric by the Yard (F.E. (Pink Purple Spike on Turquoise)
Fake Faux Fur 3-Tone Spike 60 Inch Fabric by the Yard (F.E. (Pink Purple Spike on Turquoise)

Available in several colors, including an awesome flame-looking red-orange tipped yellow.

 

Faux Fur is Warm and Fun

Faux fur Burning Man costumes.
Faux fur Burning Man costumes. | Source

Prepare for Rain on the Playa

2014 Burning Man had rain so bad on opening day that no one was allowed to go on the playa. And 2015 Fourth of Juplaya had a rainstorm so heavy that cars were stuck in the playa weeks later. A section of plywood under each tire can help prevent this problem.

Rain on the Black Rock Playa causes the dry lakebed to swell rapidly and it will suck things down. Driving or walking on the wet playa with cause massive amounts of mud to stick on and not come off.

When it rains, go out and play in it, but be cautious of the slippery mud and do not attempt to drive anywhere!

Prepare for the Rain:

  • Pieces of Plywood
  • Rain Jacket

Sun and Rain Parasol

kilofly Anti-UV Folding Travel Parasol Vintage Floral Rain Sun Shade Umbrella
kilofly Anti-UV Folding Travel Parasol Vintage Floral Rain Sun Shade Umbrella

Protect yourself from the sun with this cute folding parasol, and also have it handy in case of rain.

 

Burning Man Rainstorms

The rain fell heavy and early in 2014.
The rain fell heavy and early in 2014. | Source
Some people are prepared for the rain. This lovely lady in 2014 certainly did.
Some people are prepared for the rain. This lovely lady in 2014 certainly did. | Source
Don't drive on the wet playa!
Don't drive on the wet playa! | Source

Dust Mask

ATV Tek BDMBLK Pro Series Rider Bandana Dust Mask - Black
ATV Tek BDMBLK Pro Series Rider Bandana Dust Mask - Black

A good dust mask is a must. Don't go cheap. Get something you'll be able to breath through, that will hold up well, and that is comfortable. This is something you need to invest in.

 

Burning Man Wind and Dust Storms are Notorious

Wind is fairly common on the playa. It is a broad, flat area with little to divert the wind. This means there can be really strong winds hitting your camp at any time. Do not leave things laying around that will blow away. Tie down your camp really well.

When a dust storm comes up, find a place to hunker down and wait it out. Dust storms can leave you battered with eyes and mouth full of grit and abraded skin. Do not travel in dust storms.

Always carry with you a dust mask and your goggles. You don't know when a dust storm is going to hit and most likely it will be away from camp. Goggles should be without vents and fairly decent ones. If the ones you get have vents, just tape them off.

  • Goggles
  • Dust Mask
  • Bandana (bring this too)
  • Strong Tent Stakes (preferably 2' pieces of rebar bent into candy cane shape)
  • Clamps and Ropes (so nothing blows away at camp)

Just a Little Dust

Between dust storms.
Between dust storms. | Source
A snapshot in the dust. These are fun, but be careful of dust clogging your camera.
A snapshot in the dust. These are fun, but be careful of dust clogging your camera. | Source
Hunker down and ride out dust storms. Don't travel in them.
Hunker down and ride out dust storms. Don't travel in them. | Source
The wind in the Black Rock Desert can rip apart anything. Looks like this camp was hit before they could completely secure themselves. Get set up quickly to avoid damage.
The wind in the Black Rock Desert can rip apart anything. Looks like this camp was hit before they could completely secure themselves. Get set up quickly to avoid damage. | Source

Cooling Wipes Make You Feel Good

Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths Energize, 10 Count
Ban Total Refresh Cooling Body Cloths Energize, 10 Count

These cooling body cloths will make you feel cooler and the light citrus scent is energizing. They even make your skin feel softer. Perfect for a midday pick-me-up.

 

Backpack, Your BM Buddy

Hydration Backpack

Military Hydration Backpack with 2.5L Water Bladder and 2 Additional Pack Pockets. From MonkeyPaks (Tan)
Military Hydration Backpack with 2.5L Water Bladder and 2 Additional Pack Pockets. From MonkeyPaks (Tan)

This is the perfect size backpack for wearing while wandering the playa. It's not so big and awkward that it will be uncomfortable or too heavy, and it's big enough to fit all your important items. Plus, it's a hydration pack, which is super important.

 

Burning Man Backpack Necessities

Most of what you bring to Burning Man will be the stuff you use around camp or the stuff to set up camp. But many people, even those who are good at camping, forget that there is a lot of area to cover at Burning Man. This means nearly every person has a backpack they carry around with them.

The backpack should have all your supplies you'll need for hiking several miles in the sun and through the night.

Black Rock City is big!

You'll spend a lot of time away from camp roaming about. You may even decide to spend the night at someone else's camp or get lost. Plan on it. Bring plenty of water, your goggles, snacks, the stuff you'll need.

A hydration backpack with a decent sized water reservoir is the best. Personally, I think a hydration pack is pretty much a requirement. You will need to drink a lot of water out there and they make it easy to do so. Always fill your water reservoir whenever leaving camp too. Even a short walk can end up turning into a long wandering ramble.

Also, don't forget to bring your cup with you. Burning Man camps do not advocate disposable society, so if they are passing out drinks, you'll likely need a cup to put it in. So, always keep your cup with you. Try to find a plastic cup with a handle and attach it with a carabiner to your backpack. There is debate about lids or not. I prefer without since it makes it easier to clean after it booze residue has been sitting inside for 4 hours, but others like a lid so they can easily take it with them without spilling. I guess it depends on how fast you drink and how much.

  • Backpack (Be picky! Hydration packs are best.)
  • Cup (that will attach to your backpack and won't break easily)
  • Chapstick
  • Sunblock
  • Sunglasses
  • Granola Bars
  • Notepad or Scrap Paper
  • Pens (permanent markers are good)
  • ID (in case of accidents)
  • Camera (disposable waterproof are great. Label with your information)
  • Glowsticks (light yourself up at night and don't get run over)
  • Battery-powered Lights (don't be a darkwad) and Batteries
  • Small Trash Bag (there shouldn't be any trash, but pick up any trash you see)
  • Toilet Paper (the porta-potties are relatively good, but bring some tp in case)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Baby Wipes
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Goggles
  • Dust Mask / Bandana
  • Condoms
  • Lube

Remember how when you were little mom used to write your name and phone number inside your backpack in case you got lost? Yeah, it's a good idea to do that once again. Inside your backpack have a tag written out with your name, camp information and location, and home information as well. If you get hurt or the bag gets lost this information can come in handy.

Retractable Chapstick Holder

Zip Stick Retractable Lip Balm Holder (Single- Assorted Colors)
Zip Stick Retractable Lip Balm Holder (Single- Assorted Colors)

Definitely comes in handy! Keep your chapstick within reach with this useful little holder. It can clip right on your strap or backpack or wherever so you won't lose your chapstick or have to search for it every five minutes.

 

Prepared Burners

Notice these Burners with hats, hydration backpacks, shading hat, goggles, warm clothes, chapstick, glow sticks, and other necessary supplies.
Notice these Burners with hats, hydration backpacks, shading hat, goggles, warm clothes, chapstick, glow sticks, and other necessary supplies. | Source
This Burner has her goggles, dust mask, flashlight, backpack, and cup. She's ready.
This Burner has her goggles, dust mask, flashlight, backpack, and cup. She's ready. | Source
Some people forgo the backpack for a belt. It works for some people who like to run light.
Some people forgo the backpack for a belt. It works for some people who like to run light. | Source

Light Yourself Up

Get a Glowman Costume

Glowman Costume - Medium
Glowman Costume - Medium

Have fun at night on the playa with this glowing costume. It looks awesome wandering around in the dark!

 

Don't Be a Darkwad!

The playa is dark. It is very, very dark at night. No streetlights (except the few some volunteers set up and manage) mean that in the areas without camps it is very difficult to see anything. Add in super-bright lights on some of the camps and artcars, and you have a combination of very dark patches with glaring light that makes it difficult for people to see.

So, do not walk around at night, especially in the central part of Black Rock City, without lights. Make sure you have lights on your front and your back so artcars driving on the playa or people riding their bikes can see you before they run you over.

If you don't light yourself up enough we're going to call you a darkwad and assume you want to get run over. Don't be an idiot darkwad, bring lights and enough batteries to work them.

Use whatever light-up stuff you want. Glow sticks aren't especially bright, but they work okay. Bring lots. There are all sorts of glow items out there. I really like el wire. It's a thin length of wire that when plugged into batteries will glow brightly. It's easy to wrap it around whatever you want to light up. Make sure you get el wire with an attached battery pack though for instant plug and play.

  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Glowsticks
  • Light-up Stuff
  • El Wire

Get an El Wire Lined Top

Electric Styles Light Up Bra - Hypnotized-Multi-Colored-36D
Electric Styles Light Up Bra - Hypnotized-Multi-Colored-36D

This fabulous top is a fun way to look great and show up at night! It's already fitted with several colors of el wire to light you up.

 

El Wire for the Win

A cephalopod coat featuring cute octopi el wire creatures.
A cephalopod coat featuring cute octopi el wire creatures. | Source
El wire wrapped bike to make it more fun and easier to see at night.
El wire wrapped bike to make it more fun and easier to see at night. | Source
Fun El wire costumes. El wire cannot make an sharp turns, but you can still make all kinds of shapes and when you add it to sweatsuits you can make fun people.
Fun El wire costumes. El wire cannot make an sharp turns, but you can still make all kinds of shapes and when you add it to sweatsuits you can make fun people. | Source
El wire can make any outfit awesome.
El wire can make any outfit awesome. | Source

El Wire is Fabulous!

Biking Black Rock City

A Nice Cruiser

Burner Bikes

A bicycle is a fairly essential piece of Burning Man equipment. Black Rock City is big, and a bike helps you get around it. Once you get there and get to your camp, there is no driving allowed except by art cars approved by Department of Mutant Vehicles. This means to cross the city you either need to walk or ride your bike.

Most people decorate their bikes because Burning Man is an event all about participating. The playa is harsh on bikes though, so plan accordingly. Bring hex keys, wrenches, lube, whatever you need to keep your bike in good shape.

  • Bicycle
  • Extra Tubes (you will likely need at least one)
  • Repair Kit (the playa can screw bikes up quickly)
  • Decorations
  • Lights - pedal lights, headlight, taillights, decor lights
  • Bike Lock (sadly, there have been bike thefts)
  • Bike Rack (to get the bike there and back)
  • Mirrors
  • Canopy
  • Basket

Burning Man Bikes

Biking around Black Rock City. Notice someone using a handcart as a trailer to go get ice from Artica.
Biking around Black Rock City. Notice someone using a handcart as a trailer to go get ice from Artica. | Source
This bike has some fun faux fur and a cute tail.
This bike has some fun faux fur and a cute tail. | Source
Fun costume and bike.
Fun costume and bike. | Source
Make your bike a fun ride. Some people spend a lot of time and effort on their bikes before the Burn.
Make your bike a fun ride. Some people spend a lot of time and effort on their bikes before the Burn. | Source
Of course any bike will do when you want to joust.
Of course any bike will do when you want to joust. | Source

Not That Everyone Uses Bicycles

Pony play couple playing around on the playa.
Pony play couple playing around on the playa. | Source

Dressing Up for Burning Man

Light Up Unicorn Hood

Light-up Glow Fur Unicorn Hood - 8 color settings
Light-up Glow Fur Unicorn Hood - 8 color settings

The best costumes are ones that light up and are warm and comfortable. This would be awesome out there.

 

Get a Light Up Fur Coat

Light-up Fur Coat with Color Control LEDS (large)
Light-up Fur Coat with Color Control LEDS (large)

Warm and cozy and light-up. Perfect for Burning Man, especially with the unicorn hood above.

 

Costumes and Clothing

You do not have to wear costumes at Burning Man. It's all about being who you are, and costumes are often a fun way to express that, but they are not a requirement. That being said, costumes are a great way to contribute.

Burning Man is not a spectator event, that means no standing around gawking as it parades by to entertain you. Burning Man is all about participating. You have to participate. If you like dressing up, costumes are an easy way to participate and contribute to overall fun for everyone.

Don't worry about gender either, wear what you want! A friend of mine, he likes to wear mumus out there. Another guy I know wore pasties. Lots of guys rock kilts. I know I adore men in sarongs. Don't let society's notions influence what you want to wear. This goes for ladies too.

  • Clothes for Warm Weather
  • Clothes for Cold Weather (things you can layer are best)
  • Costumes
  • Socks
  • Good Shoes (some people recommend ankle-high boots)
  • Another Pair of Good Shoes (you'll do a lot of walking)
  • Storage Bins (good ones to keep the dust out)
  • A Clean Outfit Sealed Up (wearing clean clothes home is handy)

Nude is Good Too

Quite a few people run around Burning Man naked, and that's fine. No one cares. If you plan on doing it at least part of the time though, plan ahead. Bring a towel with you to sit on. No one wants your bare balls sitting in their seat. And you might want to consider being particularly picky about your bike seat cover.

Also, expect sunburns and skin irritations. The playa dust causes friction burns easily, so without clothing to pad areas you'll be more prone to it and sunburn. I'm usually naked whenever possible, but I even wear clothes at Burning Man since being a red lobster does not have much appeal.

Rock a Sport Kilt

Damn Near Kilt 'Em Men's Sport Utility Kilt Medium Brown
Damn Near Kilt 'Em Men's Sport Utility Kilt Medium Brown

One of the hottest guys I spotted at Burning Man was wearing just boots and a sport kilt, and walking out of Math Camp. Gotta love a smart and manly man.

 

Packing Costumes

Deciding which costumes to bring for what night. And no, no actual kitties are allowed at Burning Man, no matter how they try to blend in with the faux fur.
Deciding which costumes to bring for what night. And no, no actual kitties are allowed at Burning Man, no matter how they try to blend in with the faux fur. | Source

Get a Rainbow Bustle

Burning Man Costumes - Simple, Fun, Cool, or Awesome

I thought it was amusing to wear a white gown to my virgin year at Burning Man. Especially since they make you roll in the dust when you first get there.
I thought it was amusing to wear a white gown to my virgin year at Burning Man. Especially since they make you roll in the dust when you first get there. | Source
Easy and cute costume.
Easy and cute costume. | Source
These guys are absolutely adorable dressed up for Tutu Tuesday!
These guys are absolutely adorable dressed up for Tutu Tuesday! | Source
Several common Burning Man costume pieces here. Faux fur coat, skirt, tulle, robe, goggles, and dusty knees ;-)
Several common Burning Man costume pieces here. Faux fur coat, skirt, tulle, robe, goggles, and dusty knees ;-) | Source
Really fun costumes!
Really fun costumes! | Source

Imagine a Camp Full of Pink Bunnies!

Anim-(2 pieces)Unisex Kigurumi Pajamas Costume Animal Couples-Pink rabbit-S*L
Anim-(2 pieces)Unisex Kigurumi Pajamas Costume Animal Couples-Pink rabbit-S*L

Get 2 bunny rabbit pajamas, because we know you do it like bunnies.

 

Hanging Out at Camp

You'll spend a lot of time at camp, make it a comfortable one. Shade structures are important, set your tent under them, bring some chairs, set up your kitchen. All under the shade.
You'll spend a lot of time at camp, make it a comfortable one. Shade structures are important, set your tent under them, bring some chairs, set up your kitchen. All under the shade. | Source

Make Your Camp

Set Up Your Campsite

Whether you plan on sleeping in a tent, a car, on the ground, or in an rv, you need to plan out your camp well.

Setting up a carport over your tent or car will make it so you can actually sleep inside. Double or even triple layers between your abode and the sun keep the sun off of you. Tents and cars become little ovens in the sun, and the carport keeps them much nicer. Many people add sides to their carports to provide more shade and protection from windstorms. If you need to, tarps make okay sides to carports. Make sure to hang them securely, then pin the bottoms to the ground out at an angle, not directly straight down.

Tying down the camp is also majorly important. I like paracord, it's cheap and easy. Don't use those useless tent stakes that come with your tent. Either pick up some better ones or preferably use rebar. Rebar is available at Home Depot in shorter lengths, either use it as is with caps on top, or much, much better(!) bend the 2' lengths into candy cane shapes so they aren't dangerous to those walking around camp and come out much easier. I cannot say this enough, candy cane shaped rebar is the best.

Do not start setting up camp or tearing down without wearing your work gloves. The playa dust will rip your hands to shreds and it is on everything. Clean your hands off, add lotion, then put on your gloves before doing any work.

Bring your campsite supplies in a couple milk crates, then when they are unloaded you can use them to keep your cooler off the ground. Air circulation around your ice chest will keep it cooler and it will also save your back.

  • Carport
  • Tent / Poles / Rainfly
  • Tarps (including a tent groundcloth)
  • Tie Downs
  • Zip Ties (Don't let these become trash on the ground. Keep them picked up)
  • Tent Stakes (rebar preferably)
  • Rope
  • Milk Crates
  • Heavy Hammer or Sledge (get those stakes in the ground)
  • Pry bar (get those stakes out)
  • Assorted Tools (screwdriver, wrench, hammer)
  • Table(s)
  • Chairs
  • Step Stool or Ladder (to get tarps fastened up high)
  • Lanterns
  • Lantern Fuel or Batteries
  • Headlamp
  • Assorted Fasteners - Clamps, Carabiners, Bungee Cords
  • Duct Tape
  • Buckets with Tight Fitting Lids (for trash cans)
  • Trash Bags
  • Work Gloves (several pairs)

How to Simply Bend Rebar into Candy Cane Shapes

Overhead Tarp with Running Rigging

This overhead tarp has running rigging to keep it from being torn apart by the wind. The entire frame has guylines going out at an angle to rebar stakes to keep it affixed to the ground. Notice the side, shade tarp hanging at an angle from zipties.
This overhead tarp has running rigging to keep it from being torn apart by the wind. The entire frame has guylines going out at an angle to rebar stakes to keep it affixed to the ground. Notice the side, shade tarp hanging at an angle from zipties. | Source

Make Camp More Fun and Comfortable

Little touches can make your camp more comfortable. Loop a bungee cord around the carport frame to hang your backpack off the ground. Make a bike rack so you aren't tripping over bicycles. Some people bring collapsible furniture. Our camp had a big round table surrounded by chairs. Perfect for playing cards and eating dinner.

Don't forget to decorate your camp. Curtains and decorative lights make your place one that everyone will want to hang out at and be easy to find when you wander home drunk.

  • Furniture
  • Hooks or Bungee Cords
  • Rug
  • Bike Rack
  • Decorative Lights
  • Curtains

Comfy Lounge

An inflatable pool filled with cushions and pillows makes for a lovely place to laze.
An inflatable pool filled with cushions and pillows makes for a lovely place to laze. | Source

Backpack Hanging Up at Camp

One backpack hanging off the ground at camp, with another bungee hanger available for another backpack.
One backpack hanging off the ground at camp, with another bungee hanger available for another backpack. | Source

Other Options

Feel free to go without a tent, but at least bring a good shade structure. Then add some shade cloth or tarps to keep the sun from coming in the sides.
Feel free to go without a tent, but at least bring a good shade structure. Then add some shade cloth or tarps to keep the sun from coming in the sides. | Source
Instead of tents or vehicles, some people build hexayurts for the playa. There are plans available online.
Instead of tents or vehicles, some people build hexayurts for the playa. There are plans available online. | Source

Eating Well

Camp Kitchen

At Burning Man most people either eat a lot more or a lot less than they normally do. It really depends on upon the weather and the person. You also may not want to do a lot of cooking, so plan accordingly.

Some people get MREs, but these are extremely high in calories and salt, plus are really expensive, so I don't recommend them. Some of the camping foods are good. A lot of people just go with canned ravioli and the like. Try to eat things that will keep you hydrated.

Ice chests are an important thing to consider when getting ready for Burning Man. I like to have two, one full of drinks that I open often and the other for food that is only opened when I am going to use some. Ice is for sale on the playa, but no one wants to spend their Burn standing in line in the heat, and getting blocks of ice back to camp is a hassle. Keeping the ice chest a little off the ground will allow air to circulate around it and keep it cooler.

I like to bring bottled water in addition to the jugs of water for cooking, washing, etc. While wandering the playa, I use my hydration pack, but I noticed that at camp I tend not to drink enough. The bottles of water are easy to keep track of to ensure I'm staying hydrated. Also, it's easy to add lemon concentrate or powdered flavor to them. Usually I just bring a few and refill them for less waste. Keep several filled in your ice chest.

  • Camping Stove
  • Fuel
  • Lighter
  • Wind Break
  • Table
  • Pots and Pans and Lids
  • Griddle
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Strainer
  • Spatula
  • Wooden Spoons
  • Tongs
  • Potato Peeler
  • Plates, Bowls
  • Mugs / Cups
  • Silverware
  • Knives
  • Can Opener
  • Coffee Pot
  • Cutting Board
  • Cooking Spray
  • Salt, Pepper, Spices
  • Dishpans
  • Dishsoap (if you didn't bring multi-use soap)
  • Scrubbie
  • Towels and/or Paper Towels
  • Pot Holders
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Barbeque
  • Ice Chest(s)
  • Food (the less needing refrigeration, the better)
  • Snacks (meals are often too much hassle, snacks to the rescue)
  • Pickles (really refreshing on playa)
  • Bacon (considered the ultimate playa food by many)
  • Fruit (keeps you regular and hydrated)
  • Drinks
  • Waters

Camp Kitchen

A well set up camp kitchen makes the entire week easier. Keeping at least some of the dust out is important.
A well set up camp kitchen makes the entire week easier. Keeping at least some of the dust out is important. | Source

Getting Clean

Cleaning Up

The playa dust gets everywhere, so plan on getting grubby. Luckily, the dry heat of the playa means most people don't really smell even after several days without showers, but we still all want to feel clean.

Most people set up a small, camping shower set up. But you cannot just let water run onto the playa, if you make a shower set-up you need to dispose of the water properly. This means either hauling it back out with you, or making a gray water evaporative system. It is simplest to take the water back out with you, but it is not difficult to build a small evaporative pool to let the water evaporate naturally.

To make a very simple evaporative pond, staple some black plastic to a 2x4 frame to make a shallow basin. The black will make any liquids inside the basin get warm enough to evaporate. Make sure water inside the small pond is never more than an inch deep. Then every few days or so you can take a shower over the basin. This system is not for massive amounts of water each day, you'll need to go with a bit more complex system for that.

  • Shower
  • Shower Curtain and Frame (or just wear a swimsuit or go nude)
  • Something to Stand On (a small pallet works nicely)
  • Gray Water System
  • Biodegradable Soap
  • Shampoo / Conditioner (or use all in one soap shampoo)
  • Leave in Conditioner (the playa is drying)
  • Towels
  • Baby Wipes (A necessity for me! I love them to wipe my hands, my face, it makes me feel so much cleaner)
  • Lemon Juice (mix with water and wash your feet to prevent playa foot)
  • Spray Bottle (for water and lemon juice mixture)

Dr. Bronner's Soap

Dr. Bronner's Magic Pure-Castile Soap, Value 40 Ounce Bottle, 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint
Dr. Bronner's Magic Pure-Castile Soap, Value 40 Ounce Bottle, 18-in-1 Hemp Peppermint

Dr. Bronner's Soap is biodegradable, all-natural, organic, vegan, has no foaming agents, and is not tested on animals.

It's also available in several varieties:

Peppermint, Citrus, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Rose

 

Camp Shower and Evaporative Pond

A shower stall set up over top over the evaporative pond.
A shower stall set up over top over the evaporative pond. | Source

Lemon Juice versus Playa Dust

The playa is alkali, this means to combat the playa dust that can irritate your skin and choke your voice, you need something acidic to combat it. Cue lemon juice.

Concentrated lemon juice mixed with water to wash your feet keeps them healthy. The playa dust will cause something called playa foot, where you feet get raw and crack. I wash my feet with lemon juice in water at least every day since I like wearing sandals and going barefoot.

Adding a bit of concentrated lemon juice to your morning water clears out any dust you may have swallowed that will end up making you hoarse. I just kept a bottle of lemon juice concentrate in my ice chest and added a skirt to my morning bottle of water. Easy-peasy.

Vinegar also works well, but lemon juice concentrate ends up handier for me.

It's Dusty on the Playa

Lemon juice or vinegar will help get that dust off.
Lemon juice or vinegar will help get that dust off. | Source

Get a Pee Funnel

Jobar International JB5793 P EZ Travel Urinal for Women
Jobar International JB5793 P EZ Travel Urinal for Women

Stand up to pee so you don't have to sit on icky porta-potties.

 

Toiletries

Minor annoyances at home can turn into problems on the playa. Dry skin can crack and bleed, hangnails can lead to infection. Pamper yourself a little and feel better. It will make your Burn better.

If you are cis-gendered female, bring tampons and pads just in case. The stress of getting ready and attending Burning Man can throw your body out of whack, so you may start your period unexpectedly or at least spot. And you can't just run to the store if it happens, so plan ahead just in case. Bring some ziplocs or diaper disposal bags to toss away the trash too. Do not put them in the porta-potties! Remember, you have to cart all trash home with you.

Also, the porta-potties are typically fairly clean for a festival, but they don't clean them constantly. Most ladies bring a pee funnel so they don't have to sit on the icky seats. There is even a Pee Funnel Camp where they make pee funnels out of cups and give them away as gifts. And since the porta-potties are usually fairly far from camp, most people keep a jug handy in case they need it in the middle-of-the-night. Remember, all alcohol that goes in, has to come out.

Wash the playa off and smooth on lotion before bed each night to keep your skin from cracking and drying out. Use good, quality lotion.

  • Hair Brush
  • Hair Ties
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Chapstick
  • Lotion (good stuff!)
  • Nail Clippers
  • Contacts, Case, and Contact Lens Solution
  • Spare Glasses (the dust irritates a lot of lens wearers)
  • Eye Drops
  • Nasal Spray (playa dust in your nose is no fun)
  • Vaseline (in case lotion just isn't enough)
  • Birth Control
  • Tampons or Pads and Sealing Bags for Disposal
  • Baby Wipes (don't throw them in the porta-potties!)
  • Toilet Paper (single-ply is safe for porta-potties)
  • Pee Funnel
  • Non-Translucent Jug (a spray-painted Sunny D one works well)
  • Hand Sanitizer

BRC Potties

The Fabulous Black Rock City Bathrooms.
The Fabulous Black Rock City Bathrooms. | Source
Rows of porta-potties are scattered across the city.
Rows of porta-potties are scattered across the city. | Source

Keeping Healthy

First Aid and Feeling Good

The Burning Man world is not sanitized for your protection. If you act stupid, you might get hurt. In fact, they have a disclaimer on the back of the tickets because you are likely to get hurt if you act like an idiot. Don't be an idiot. But bring a good first aid kit and some medications just in case.

Most people get hurt falling off of sculptures, stepping on tent stakes, tripping on guylines, or the common camping mishaps. You will likely at least cut your hand or smack it on something, so be prepared with some minor first aid equipment.

If you are seriously injured go to the Center Camp medical facility. Don't try to fix your own broken arm or something stupid.

Bring what you need. Everyone has different health needs. Burning Man stress can upset even the most well-behaved bodies, so some meds are a good idea.

  • Aspirin / Tylenol / Ibuprofen / Migraine Meds
  • Pepto Bismal Tablets / Antacids / Heartburn Remedy
  • Cough Syrup / Decongestant
  • Antihistamine
  • Gas Relief
  • Imodium
  • Stool Softener
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • IcyHot or Body Ache Cream
  • Alcohol Pads
  • Antiseptic
  • Neosporin or Antibacterial Ointment
  • Skin Seal or Super Glue
  • Bandages (regular, butterfly, knee, fingertip, wound closure)
  • Ace Bandage or Two
  • Gauze
  • Paper Tape
  • Any Braces You Need (knees, ankles, wrists)
  • Tweezers
  • Safety Scissors
  • Knife
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Instant Cold Pack(s)
  • Moleskin (get a blister, don't stop walking, use moleskin)
  • Talcum Powder (boots get bad after several miles in the heat)
  • Chafe Cream (chub rub or just clothing friction, chafe cream can help)
  • Hand Sanitizer

Being Hurt Sucks

Blistered and patched feet from walking around the playa.
Blistered and patched feet from walking around the playa. | Source

Health Supplies

Neosporin, band-aids, Excedrin, lotion, Pepto Bismal tablets.
Neosporin, band-aids, Excedrin, lotion, Pepto Bismal tablets. | Source

Prevent and Relieve Chafing

MONISTAT Complete Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel 1.5 oz ( Pack of 3)
MONISTAT Complete Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel 1.5 oz ( Pack of 3)

Don't let the label fool you, this stuff is great for guys and gals. It's a smooth, non-greasy powder gel that you can rub on any areas experiencing friction to prevent chafing. So, if you get chub-rub or haven't worn your new shoes enough to break them in, or are planning on wearing a backpack when you don't normally, you should get this stuff. It's especially great during the heat at Burning Man while wearing costumes that may rub unexpectedly. I always carry some with me.

 

Talcum Powder with Calamine

Anti Monkey Butt Powder with Calamine - 6 oz.
Anti Monkey Butt Powder with Calamine - 6 oz.

Sounds funny, right? This stuff is like talcum powder but with calamine in it and it will make you feel great no matter how hot and sticky you get. Add it to your boots, add it to your butt, no matter where you need something to clear up sweat and prevent friction and irritating, this powder is good for it.

 

Get Some Rest

Sleeping at Camp

No matter how many No-Doz you take, at some point you'll need sleep. Make a cozy and warm nest and get lots of rest.

Getting enough and good enough sleep is one of the most important parts of enjoying yourself at Burning Man. Try to skimp on rest and you will become irritable and end up blowing your lid at some point. Get rest!

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Stuff Sack
  • Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress
  • Air Pump for Air Mattress
  • Pillows
  • Extra Blankets
  • Ear Plugs
  • Sleeping Mask
  • Camp Shoes (easy on shoes for half-asleep trips and hanging at camp)

Have Some Fun

Get a Fun Little Toy

Sexy Times

The playa dust gets everywhere, so make sure to plan ahead in case you end up wanting to have sex with someone.

Have baby wipes handy to make sure you're both clean and comfortable.

Good lube is very, very important in such a dry environment. Don't forget the condoms.

Make sure all toys are not going to get contaminated by playa dust.

Condoms should be kept in a cool spot so they don't melt.

  • Baby Wipes
  • Condoms
  • Dental Dams
  • Lube
  • Toys (waterproof and battery-operated preferably)
  • Water (for dusty throats)

Sex Is Often Just Hanging Around

Sex phone booth at Burning Man.
Sex phone booth at Burning Man. | Source

Other Items

Even Police on Playa

There are law enforcement officers all around the playa and even on it. Have your ID available in case they bother you.
There are law enforcement officers all around the playa and even on it. Have your ID available in case they bother you. | Source

Oft Forgotten

There are some things that will really hurt you if you forget them, and most people forget to put them on their lists.

First of all, remember your ticket. If you don't have your ticket, you won't get in. Someone once suggested that you take a picture with your ticket just before leaving home. It's a great memory, and you know you have your ticket.

Plan on being pulled over. Cops are focusing on harassing Burners, so expect to be pulled over. Have your ID, your insurance, and registration handy and easy to get to. This also means, if you have any drugs, you will likely get in trouble. And no, medical marijuana cards are not considered valid.

  • Burning Man Ticket
  • Identification (carry with you throughout event in case of accidents)
  • Car Insurance
  • Car Registration
  • Health Insurance Card (in case you need to be airlifted to Reno hospital)
  • Spare Car Keys (people lose them often)
  • Cash (for ice from Arctica and coffee from Center Camp)

Got My Burning Man Ticket

The van is packed, I have my Burning Man ticket, let's take a picture and get on the road.
The van is packed, I have my Burning Man ticket, let's take a picture and get on the road. | Source

Addictions

Smokers be prepared to deal with your butts. You cannot throw cigarette butts on the ground. No trash allowed! Don't even use open-topped ashtrays at camp because if a wind comes up and makes a mess, you will have to clean it up.

Most smokers carry around small, metal mint containers such as those from Altoids to use as sealable, portable ashtrays.

Bring more alcohol than you can drink because sharing is caring at Burning Man, and if you bring people back to camp, you share what you have.

If you bring bacon you better plan on sharing that too!

  • Metal Mint Container
  • Cigarettes
  • Lighters
  • Beer
  • Booze
  • Bacon

The Table at Camp

The table at our camp holding all the necessities, backpack, water, cup, booze, rope, cigarettes, bungee cord, and squirt gun.
The table at our camp holding all the necessities, backpack, water, cup, booze, rope, cigarettes, bungee cord, and squirt gun. | Source

Other Supplies

Keep all your supplies in good storage bins with tight-fitting lids. Dust will work its way into everywhere, but good storage bins will help keep most of the dust out.

I like to keep things in large ziploc bags, then keep them in storage bins for extra organization and protection.

  • Storage Bins
  • Ziplocs
  • Art Supplies (color pencils, paper, markers)
  • Books (a little relaxation time is nice)
  • Games (Cards Against Humanity, Uno, cards, board, whatever)
  • Music - iPod, Headphones, Speaker
  • Guitar or Other Instruments
  • Phone Charger
  • Inverter
  • Camera
  • Camera Plug
  • Gas Can (it's a long way from easy gas stations)

In Bags then in Bins

Keeping things in bags keeps them clean and organized. Keeping the bags in bins makes everything easier.
Keeping things in bags keeps them clean and organized. Keeping the bags in bins makes everything easier. | Source

Burning Man Gifts

Finger Lights Make Great Gifts

Burning Man Gifts

One of the principles of Burning Man is that it is a gifting economy. That means you can't sell or buy anything while at Black Rock City (except for the ice and cups of coffee for sale from a couple select places). A gifting economy means that giving people things is encouraged. So, many people bring small items to gift to others when they feel like it.

Good ideas for Burning Man gifts are: chapstick, condoms, candy, bacon, cigarettes, sunglasses, pretty hair clips, necklaces, glow sticks, henna, blinkie toys, tampons, food, yourself, your time, your art. On hot days ask people if they want to be misted with cooling spray.

Don't just do junk that is going to get thrown away or that nobody wants. Give carefully and considerately. And absolutely do not expect gifts. No one has to give you anything.

  • Chapstick
  • Condoms
  • Candy
  • Bacon
  • Cigarettes
  • Blinkie Toys
  • Whatever

Some Burning Man Gifts

Assorted goodies from 2011 Burning Man : The Rites of Passage
Assorted goodies from 2011 Burning Man : The Rites of Passage | Source
Handing out treats to passersby.
Handing out treats to passersby. | Source
Giving a bottle of wine to someone making the Burn happen.
Giving a bottle of wine to someone making the Burn happen. | Source

Camp with Others

There are a lot of supplies you will need at Burning Man. Make things easier on yourself by camping with a couple other people. Everyone contributes and brings some of the supplies, and since vehicle passes are getting difficult to get, you can even carpool. Most of what you need will be about the same whether for one person or a few, so make things easier by sharing the load.

Now Get Ready

A Burning Man camp checklist.
A Burning Man camp checklist. | Source
Getting some supplies together.
Getting some supplies together. | Source
Supplies all in one place so they can be packed.
Supplies all in one place so they can be packed. | Source
A wonderfully organized Burner preparing carefully.
A wonderfully organized Burner preparing carefully. | Source
All together and ready to get loaded.
All together and ready to get loaded. | Source

Enjoy Your Home Away From Home

A nice set up. Tent under a shade structure with all supplies in storage bins to keep them handy and clean. Other items are handy on a shelf.
A nice set up. Tent under a shade structure with all supplies in storage bins to keep them handy and clean. Other items are handy on a shelf. | Source

Time to Go Home

Be prepared for everything needing to go back into your vehicle and it all to be covered with playa dust.
Be prepared for everything needing to go back into your vehicle and it all to be covered with playa dust. | Source
After the Burn.
After the Burn. | Source

Remember, Everything Will Have to Be Cleaned

There are many reasons most people consider Burning Man difficult, and one of the greatest problems even for people who regularly attend is that every thing you take will have to be cleaned and prepared and packed again for next year. So, plan on it!

© 2015 Alisha Vargas

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Kimberly 19 months ago

      Your list is AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing all this! :)