A Virgins Guide to Burning Man
Burning Man is an amazing experience, (pause for effect) if you are prepared! Preparation is essential for BRC (Black Rock City). This is not an event with loads of vendors waiting to take your dollars. This is an experiment in community and self reliance. We showed up not expecting anything, no preconceived notions and to be completely self-sustainable. We were blown away by the generosity, acceptance and sense of community that we experienced.
Here are a few tips to make you seem like a veteran on your virgin burn! This doesn’t cover everything so please read over the Burning Man website.
We brought 50 Gallons in our Windy the RV’s fresh water tank (this is for 2 people) for showering and cleaning. 20 gallons of filtered drinking water (again for 2 people) this lasted us for the full 7 days. Bring more water than you think you need, you can always gift it to other camps.
Pre-Make as many items as possible to reduce dishes: Tuna, Boiled Eggs, Pasta Salad, etc. Nuts, dried fruit, and bars are great items to keep on you while walking or biking around. Eat soft fruit in the first days: Plums, Bananas, etc. Save apples, melons, etc. for the last few days.
Don’t worry about renting a bike if yours is in good condition. Prepare your bike in the days prior by cleaning and lubricating your chain/parts. When you leave BRC give your bikes a good washing. Expect to have your bike serviced after Burning Man at a cost of $50-$125 (if your bike is 2 or more years old and hasn’t been serviced, it should be serviced anyway!) If you have a small seat you should consider purchasing a fat seat for this event for a more comfortable ride For the creative types: build a shade structure over your bike, it’ll keep you much cooler on the playa. Lights are a MUST! Put enough lights on your bike so you can be seen at night from the front, side and back. The more lights the better! Solar lights are your friend! If you park your bike leave your lights on so people/cars don’t run into it.
Cover your body in lights. As you are walking around or if you happen to pass out in the playa at night & you’re dark you can get run over. General – BYOC! Bring your own cup everywhere you go! Preferably choose an insulated cup with a lid to keep your beverage dust free and cold! Costumes can be as simple as fun glasses/goggles, crazy hats, the full Monty, or a themed outfit. Our Where’s Waldo outfit was the hit of our trip, thank you Waldo Camp (did we mention that there is a camp for just about everything). A fun costume makes it easier to interact with people, exchange gifts, get drinks, and get lots of high fives. If you’re not a costume kind of person don’t despair, just prepare to be heckled.
Solar is awesome out in the desert! Solar can keep cell phones and other small electronics going for you. You are out in the middle of the desert, there are no outlets. If you want power, you have to bring it yourself.
We suggest arriving in the early AM (first light) so you can see to find your camp and not burn up while waiting. Once you’re on the dirt road to BRC make sure you follow all traffic laws: 5 MPH, don’t drink & drive, keep your headlights on, seatbelts required, THE BLM POLICE WILL PULL YOU OVER! Don’t be a jerk in the arrival line, stay in your lane. Cutting people off because they move slower than you is totally uncool.
If you are joining a theme camp, get the exact location of that camp so you can find it. If you’re arriving and don’t have a camp your joining, look at the map and decide where you want to park. Talk to others in line and once you are inside for suggestions. There is a camp for just about everything. From music, dancing, film or families, there is a camp for you! In general the further away from the esplanade the more quiet. If you want to people watch (or heckle passer byes) park with your door facing the street. The closer you are to a street the more dust from cars, and the louder your camp will be.
Double check your site for MOOP (matter out of place), and be a good neighbor and pick up any MOOP left over from your neighbors. If you’re in no rush to leave, BRC could use your help, stop by the information tent to volunteer, also there are a few special events for those who stay to help. You’re gonna sit in line anyway! If you have extra water, food, beer, etc. there are a few donation spots in the exodus line where you can hook up the people who have to stay at BRC for breakdown. We left Monday at 7:45am. The wait was 7 hours, traffic moves at a snail’s pace. Same traffic rules apply from arrival. With traffic ‘pulsing’ you drive a few hundred feet then you park for 1hr. Apparently it helps keep things “moving” in the exodus line.
BRC has rules! Make sure you understand and follow these rules otherwise your burn could end sooner than you expected. No Pets! Some people decided to bring their pets and the outcome was not pretty. BRC is serious about this rule, so don’t risk it. Drugs are illegal in BRC so don’t walk around and show off your personal choices, there are police in BRC that will arrest you. Don’t drive your car unless it’s a registered art car. When you get to BRC park your car and leave it there till exodus! MOOP – Don’t leave your trash anywhere, ever, for any period of time. It will blow away, get covered in sand, etc. MOOP is an insult to everyone, so don’t do it!
If you don’t know what Burning Man is or just want to watch an awesome video of our experience check out “The Burning Man Experience“.
If you are planning on having an RV at Burning Man check out our post, Stuff to know BEFORE you take your RV to Burning Man and Keeping Cool at Burning Man.