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THE BEST Burning Man Guide EVER

the best Burning Man GuideLast year was our first time going to Burning Man and honestly, we had NO IDEA what we were in for. We were Burning Man “Newbies”… pioneers even! None of our friends or family members had gone before us – we were exploring unchartered lands… or should I say “Deep Playa.” While knew we needed bikes, crazy costumes and tons of water, we were pretty much shooting in the dark beyond that.

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burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man camera dslr tips, best burning man tips, burning man guideNeedless to say, WE LEARNED A LOT after our first burn – about ourselves, about each other, about the dust and about what it takes to truly be prepared for an event as EXTRAordinary as THIS:

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burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man camera dslr tips, best burning man car, burning man rvburning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man camera dslr tips, best burning man car, burning man rvBefore we get into the details of BRC, let me just mention the fact that we had been adventuring across America in our #RollingHome for nearly 7 months by the time Burning Man had arrived, and while we had seen a number of incredible sites… nothing, and we mean NOTHING, could have prepared us for what awaited us THERE…burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man camera dslr tips, burning man there arrowOne thing you’re going to want to get acquainted with (because it’s hilarious and surprisingly useful) is the officially unofficial  Burner terminology, our fave? MOOP aka. “Matter Out Of Place” aka. Litter. Debris. Rubbish. Why is this one so important to know? Because Leaving No Trace is arguably Burning Man’s most important principle.

burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man couple, giant dream letters burning manSome antiMOOP habits to adopt: Carry around a reusable cup/thermos at all times. Unwrap all packaging prior to making your journey to The Playa and try your best not to use anything disposable. You will want to have strong + sturdy garbage bags at your camp. We kept our garbage bags and coolers in a separate little supply tent (below) – this worked out GREAT.

burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man camera dslr tips, best burning man car, burning man rvOk, back to the GETTING THERE part. The journey to Black Rock City lead us through the tiny, desolate town of Gerlach where a “population of wanted” relies of the business brought in by Burners. We stopped here for a bite to eat and browsed the collection of incredibly-tempting, last-minute accessories, ie. neon lights, brightly-colored faux-fur coats, used playa bikes and tons of other super cool gadgets that made us question whether we were truly prepared or not… Note: Being that it’s THE LAST resort, things sold in Gerlach are usually sold at a premium, but it DOES go towards helping build a community.

GERLACH nevada, where is burning man, BRC, what is burning man, burning man tips, best burning man supply listGETTING SUPPLIES. Like I said, we knew needed bikes, costumes and tons of water… but beyond and within those guidelines the possibilities are truly endless. Orange, fuzzy Caddy anyone?

orange fuzzy car burning man, burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man gearLet’s start with the BIKES. Think big and create an “Art Car,” aka mini art studio on wheels, or think HUGE and engineer a “Mutant Vehicle,” aka. incredible dream-like structure that will make jaws drop, hearts stop and heads roll… on wheels.

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burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man bikes, the playaDURING THE DAY: You’ll want your bike to have its own unique look. Imagine trying to find your dust-covered bike that looks like every other dust-covered bike, in the middle of a giant sea of… DUST:

burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man bikes, the playaThink strips of cloth, silk flowers, feather boas, stuffed animals… you can even transform it into a unicorn! The more unique, the more FUN!

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NEON BIKE LIGHTS BURNING MAN, BURNING MAN SUPPLY LIST, BEST BURNING MAN TIPS, THE PLAYA AT NIGHTNEON BIKE LIGHTS BURNING MAN, BURNING MAN SUPPLY LIST, BEST BURNING MAN TIPS, THE PLAYA AT NIGHTTHE BEST lighting options: LED solar powered fairy lights and neon electroluminescent wire rope. We had one per bike + Monkey Lights on each of our back tires. Be sure to bring zip ties, duck tape or a thin rope of some sort to fasten your lights and other decor with. 

NEON BIKE LIGHTS BURNING MAN, BURNING MAN SUPPLY LIST, BEST BURNING MAN TIPS, THE PLAYA AT NIGHTOther bike supplies worth mentioning: A bell, a cup holder, a basket (front or back), a lock and a sweet helmet if you fancy one:

NEON BIKE LIGHTS BURNING MAN, BURNING MAN SUPPLY LIST, BEST BURNING MAN TIPS, THE PLAYA AT NIGHT, burning man bike helmetNow that we’ve got the bikes taken care of, WHAT ABOUT YOU?!

moop, leave no trace, burning man guide, burning man supply list, burning man costumesCLOTHES aka. COSTUMES. Think 80’s music video, meets techo DJ, meets daisy field full of hippies, meets closet full of sweet threads from the thrift shop, meets the circus:

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burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man weather, the playaTip: Sleep after sunrise until early afternoon, then go off exploring and return to camp for dinner + change into your Arctic gear. The Playa is absolute MAGIC at sunset and sunrise… and everywhere in between.

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You’re also going to want to carry around a day-time bag with all your essentials. Be sure it’s something you don’t mind looking like this at the end of the day: #JanSportlove

burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man couple, best costumes burning manIMPORTANT GEAR: Be sure to have goggles (non-tinted so you can wear at night) + sunglasses + breathing mask (honestly, just decorate the simple paper ones – in the end they were the most comfortable and convenient – BUT be sure to fortify the straps) + WATER BOTTLE (Nalgene is always our fave) + carabiner (to easily clip your water bottle to whatever) + close-toed shoes (some form of boot with socks is ideal). Why boots? We’re at The Playa aren’t we?! Yes, but the sand on The Playa isn’t your average sand… in fact, it’s not sand at all. Read about “Playa Foot” here.

burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man couple, best costumes burning man, playa dust, playa foot burning supply list, how to pack for burning man, how to prepare for burning man, how to get tickets to burning man, burning man dust cameras, burning man couple, best costumes burning man, playa dust, playa footOther precautionary measures, since you most likely won’t have a shower (though you may find a talking shower…) to rinse any of that magic dust off: Baby wipes – buy a box from Costco and use them on everything.  Lotion – apply after the baby wipes and before bed only, never apply it before going out on The Playa unless you are really determined to be one with the dust. Chapstick – also only apply when you’re done with The Playa for the day. Eye drops, nose spray and apple cider vinegar (take a swig each night and each morning for good measure). Those sturdy garbage bags I mentioned earlier, use one for dirty clothes and another for storing your dusty gear. Playa dust is SERIOUS stuff. Here we are in the middle of a “White Out” in “Deep Playa” below:

burning man deep playa, dust storm burning manCAMERA.

We read a lot of very concerning blog posts that really scared us about what happens to cameras on The Playa… and images like the one above don’t really help ease any concerns. BEST ADVICE: Make a custom DIY camera case using a giant ziplock bag + electrical/ duck tape + rubber band around the lens. Helpful article here. Or you can always go the full-proof route and just use your GoPro + waterproof casing. We are happy to report that none of our cameras suffered from any injuries 🙂  best burning man camera gearLIVING QUARTERS:

best burning man housing, burning man tents, burning man carsVan, Truck, RV, tent, giant pod of umbrellas?! We recommend choosing your shelter based on the amount of time you have to prep before Burning Man, how much time you have to clean up after, your budget and how much you are willing to be one with the dust.

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best burning man housing, burning man tents, burning man carsbest burning man housing, burning man tents, burning man carsCrazy?!:

best burning man housing, burning man tents, burning man carsCooooool:best burning man housing, burning man tents, burning man carsNOTE: Many car/RV rental places will NOT let you rent one of their vehicles for Burning Man. Either rent from afar and make an epic road trip out of it, or be prepared to CLEAN. We spent 10 hours cleaning our #rollinghome post-playa. Think Clorox wipes, Armor all, white vinegar (to cut the alkaline dust), a vacuum (under the hood and EVERYTHING) and a bucket to soak your vinegar rag and other various dusty accessories in (goggles, phone case, whatever).

burning man cleaning, post playa clean, burning man guideFOOD + WATER:

burning man food and water, giant fork burning manThe simpler the food, the more likely you will eat it because when you’re out in the middle of The Playa and the dust is blowing with nowhere to hide, you’ll be grateful you have a PBJ and a (reusable) plastic bag to hide your face in.

burning man deep playa, dust storm burning manMost meals will take place at your camp, the PBJs and granolas are just necessary fuel for when you’re out adventuring on The Playa.

FOOD/COOKING GEAR:

Tupperware – this is what you put your food in after you take it out of the packaging, before you arrive to BRC so you don’t create MOOP

Two big coolers (we were 3 people for 6 days)

Ice blocks – not cubes, they will melt, our ice blocks were still frozen after 3 days

Portable stove top/Jet Boil – you will be happy to make a cup of tea, hot cocoa, cook a hot meal, etc.

Grill

Camping plates made out of metal or thick plastic that you can take home (have everyone write their name on one to reuse) + Sharpie, paper towels

FOOD:

Granola Bars

Nuts

Lots of FRUIT. Apples, bananas, pineapple and grapes were all a hit

Sandwiches – pre-make them if you are car/tent camping – PBJ’s were clutch

Food for grilling – people also brought sausages and s’mores to cook over the burning embers of The Man on Saturday night and Sunday morning!

Finger food, ie. veggies + hummus + crackers + cheese – remember think simple

WATER:

Two gallons per person per day is plenty

GIFTS: This is a fun tradition you will want to be a part of.

Make/bring something unique to share with others☆ For our first time, we didn’t really know what this meant so we brought lollipops… Next time I would like to actually MAKE something. Think BRC bracelets, a cool pendant made out of recycled materials… or OMGosh… a Burning Man smashed penny machine!! We’re gonna have to figure that one out. Fortune cookies are another great idea! Whatever you do, just have fun with it! And always remember, tis better to give.

burning man gifts, burning man supply list, burning man tipsOTHER FUN + RANDOM SUPPLIES:

Light-up, strobing hula hoop

Notebook and pen for writing/sketching

Polaroid camera!

Solar powered lantern

Toilet paper

Prayer flags/lights to decorate your camp

Blanket to sit on for watching the sunset/sunrise/The Burn

Fanny pack (I used this at night, instead of our backpack)

Camelbak vs. water bottle

Post cards + stamps to send from The Playa! (we made ours out of MOOP)

burning man post cards, burning man moopBurning Man is all about being open to what The Playa gives you. A final “peace” of advice: EMBRACE THE DUST. Find magic in all the uncertainties, trust in every outcome and dance with everything in between. May our guide help lead you exactly where YOU are meant to be.

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7 Comments

  1. Reply

    Donna

    April 9, 2018

    You had earlier mentioned nothing disposable, but then you recommended plastic plates. The playa is brutal to plastic. Bring camping plates made out of metal or thick plastic you’ll take home, but thin plastic, of any kind, will break. I’ve been going for 18 years and it amazes me how much people are willing to lug garbage back and forth from the playa. Great job with sharing your life!

    • Reply

      Brittany Rouille

      April 12, 2018

      Great point!! Thank you for catching that, can’t believe I didn’t realize that contradictory advice actually- I’ve gone ahead and edited the post accordingly 🙂 And for 18 years! Incredible. We’ve still only been this one time, but we truly are already looking forward to the day our path guides us home once again. Blessed to share the journey with you. xoxo

  2. Reply

    Wrangler

    August 22, 2016

    Great article. However I disagree with your suggestions for costumes with feathers or glitter. Those items are high on the MOOP factor. Did you know there is a group (DPW) that not only creates the infrastructure of Burning Man a month prior, they stay to clean for 3 months after. EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF MOOP IS PICKED UP. That includes sequins that fall so easily. And lots of feathers (those were actually banned up until last year.). If you come again, stop by Kostume Kult (located on esplanade) and we will give you hugs and help you find a great costume!!

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      August 23, 2016

      Well said! Honestly we hadn’t thought of the mop factor brought on by feathers and sequins. As first timers we didn’t even know what mood was until we were told to create a postcard out of it 🙂 We look forward to visiting Kostume Kult the next time we’re at The Playa, sans feathers and sequins 😉

  3. Reply

    Indy

    April 10, 2016

    Wow, that photo of the sunset over the mountains just blows me away. What stellar photography, it’s crazy to see all that dust in action!

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      April 10, 2016

      The dust was half the magic 🙂

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      April 18, 2016

      It’s one of our favorites too :))))

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