Shilo’s Virgin Burning Man Guide by Tricia
Last year Tricia wrote this guide for me so I would not die in the desert. It is delightful. Read it, take it to heart, and if this is your first year to go to Burning Man, talk to everyone you can who has been there before.
Please feel free to leave your own tips in the comments section at the bottom!
~The Burning Man Survival Guide: READ IT! Read everything you can on the BM website. Twice. Thrice. Memorize it.
~Google Eplaya it’s a discussion forum for burners, there is an unbelievable amount of info on here, you just have to dig.
~If you have time Tribe.net is a really good source of info, they usually have a Burning Man virgin group for every year, but if you just browse through the past couple years of virgin groups you should find everything you need, they also have a good search engine for random things like how to make furry legwarmers…
*GOGGLES!!!!!!!!! Bring as many pairs as you can find and afford because you will lose them and they will break and you will be incapacitated and blind if you are caught in a dust storm without them. Or at the very least incredibly uncomfortable. You need ones for day (dark colored) and ones for night (clear or very light). Also sunglasses.
* Dust masks!!! Get the round kind that medical professionals wear, they are ugly and uncomfortable and most of the time a bandana works fine and looks way more badass but always have several in your pack because you will need it to breathe if a dust storm happens. On that note bring lots of bandanas they are very useful and good playa gifts to give to people (“Ahh I have the perfect bandana that goes with your outfit!”) Seriously.
*Tent: be prepared to have your tent destroyed. The dust ruined the zippers on my tent. (luckily I was able to return it to REI COVERED in dust, I literally left a pile of dust in front of the counter) a little water and some lube (no joke) will help with the zippers. Bring garbage bags and tape to tape over the vents in your tent, the dust just comes right through otherwise. It will be hot but at least everything won’t be covered in a layer of dust, including yourself while you are napping. It’s also a good a idea to do this whenever you are leaving for a long period of time. It’s best if you can set up your tent behind some sort of wind barrier, use your car and/ or any other structure that you can at camp. Bring enough tarps, strong twine and rebar stakes to make your own shade structure from your car just in case, shade is so freakin vital!
*SPRAY SUNCREEN! Parasol or umbrella, (I’m just going to decorate an old umbrella) Really it’s so hot it’s hard to go out during the day but sometimes you have to and sometime you want to so be prepared.
*Layers. Bring lots of layers, it does get pretty freakin cold at night, but bring layers that you would be willing to lose, I lost an awesome furry vest last year that I really wish I still had…bring lots plan on losing at least one every night…not that I think you are going to lose everything but there are just SO MANY people and so many things going on its hard to keep track of things.
*Backpack: bring a small backpack or camelback, you can get a platypus water holder and a hose for a lot cheaper than a camel back and that can just fit in any backpack. Also, always have water (of course) sunscreen, warm layers (including legging or tights!) dust masks, bandanas, chapstick, baby wipes! (bring lots of baby wipes) candy and some snacks. Even if you are just going to get ice or going to visit someone at another camp or going to a playa bar bring all of this stuff, there is so much cool shit going on that you won’t want to have to trek back back to your camp to get your essentials. I know you know all of this but I am writing it it anyway partly to remind myself and also just to remind you that people do die and get really fucked up every year at Burning Man because they didn’t have what they needed. Holy shit I am getting really excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*LIGHTS blinky lights, raver lights anything, even glowsticks if that’s all you have. bring lots, they will break, you need enough blinky lights to light up yourself and your bike if you bring one. LED string lights works really well, the ones with the little balls like Christmas lights or EL wire although it is probably too late to buy that online and I makes a really high pitched sound that I can’t handle to have on my body, but it does work well for bikes. Get some glowsticks just in case everything else breaks so at least you are somewhat lit up. People get hit by art cars, like I said, the drivers of the art cars are more than likely just as fucked up as you are (or more) the more lit up you are the less chance you have of being hit. Same for bikes and bikers, have a headlight on your bike if you bring one and light it up! Also on the bike note, bring a lock, sadly people do steal bikes on the playa, people also “borrow” them. There are a couple hundred communal bikes to be found on the playa, I think they are green, if you find one feel free to use it.
*I LOVE YOU!
*WATERWATERWATERWATER bring more than you think you will use, it is good to gift to people and someone may let you use their shower if you want to if you have your own water to use. Also, it creates a lot of trash but a bunch of plastic water bottles are really handy to have strewn about everywhere in your tent and car just so you always have water readily available
*FOOD also bring more than you think you will eat… you will be hungry, also good to have on hand to share…lots of snacks, easy to eat things…
*Cooler: bring one, there is ice available for cash on the playa. Limit the amount of glass you bring. PBR!!! Lots of it.
*Shoes: Most people wear knee high or calf boots, even during the day, they don’t let any dust in and look good with any costume. If you wear sandals be prepared to get “playa foot” big painful cracks in your feet (the dust is really alkaline) that have to be soaked in vinager. I wore boots the whole time last year and never had any problem with my feet…they did get hot during the day but I looked good and never got cracks in my feet. Bring lots of socks. If you bring zipper boots lubricate the zippers everyday (even just with water). Bring a couple pairs of shoes just in case.
*I am sure I will think of more things in the next couple of days…but this is the main shit. Just remember that there will be more than 50,000 people it is the 3rd largest city in Nevada for the week, watch your back there are a lot of assholes, just like any city not everyone is cool…there are definetly sleazeballs that go there just too look at hot scantily clad girls and hook up with them by whatever means possible…don’t accept drugs, water or alcohol from anyone you don’t know. Be careful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ’m so fucking excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still have so much to do to get ready!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
THE END (for now)
Jabba the Frog photo by me all others by Sudapop who loves TRANCE