Friday, June 29, 2012

Burning Man tips V2.012

Burning Man Tips v2.012

First and foremost, if you haven't read it already:
The Survival Guide-

Goggles- many unwary burners are seen out and about without
their goggles or dustmasks available for rapid deployment. If you are
the truly hardy type then maybe you'll be fine but just know that
60mph duststorms can blow in at any moment day or night, and last for hours.
2010 and 2011 were VERY quiet weatherwise during the week of the burn, but do not be fooled. Anything that you leave outside your tent/RV will be GONE and transformed into awful M.O.O.P. if the quite common 70mph wind gusts kick up. And of your tent isn't heavy enough, it might be gone too! I have seen entire camps blowing down the street.
Nighttime dust storms are
infrequent but one happened at the Temple Burn recently and
caught many veterans unprepared. If this happens you're blinded until it blows over. If you use dark lens goggles at night you are also essentially blind, so having a couple pair of each type is best.

Dustmask- Do not use the ones designed for painters. They quickly get
nasty and are quite uncomfortable for long term use. A cheap, easy, and
comfortable solution is to use cotton t-shirt material bought at a
fabric store. Cut into the shape of an edge-on view of the "flying saucer shape", around 6" to 8” wide in the middle part. Comfortable enough to wear for days on end.

Day vs. night temperatures- The playa will start to get much cooler as
the night wears on past 10p, especially if it has been a cloudy day making the
radiation from the ground much less pronounced that night. If you are
still wearing a skimpy outfit you may want to change into
something warmer unless you are one of those lucky people that don't
get cold. Consider bringing warmer clothes with you so you don't have
to go all the way back to camp.

Playa weather:

Bike lock- one of those long skinny cables and the lightest cheapest
combination lock are all you need. Bike theft is an unfortunate
possibility in BRC. Being able to lock a bundle of stuff at your bike is also useful so
you can use it as a sort of locker so you don't have to carry everything around once you
get somewhere. Also good to stash clothes for the night.

The Law: If you are tending bar you MUST card people that you think
may not be 21, there are verified accounts of camps getting busted for
serving minors from sting operations. There are also many credible
stories of strangers in cheap halloween costumes vaguely asking various
things that should send up immediate red flags.

Shopping may be difficult/crowded/sold out in Reno, so if possible get
stuff in other cities, especially for things like rebar for tent

Cover the tops of tent stakes as they are quite a
hazard, especially in the dark. Some people use stuffed animals, and
tennis balls work as well. Also tie things to your tent guy wires
so they don't get tripped over in the dark.

Elwire- use ,they have wire that is 30%
brighter than everyone else. Don't be a Darkwad, you may very well get hit from behind.
With thousands of sober-challenged people on bikes and art cars chaotically riding
around you really do want to be lit up from both the front and back.
E-6000 is an amazing glue that bonds elwire to clothing very easily and stays flexible after it dries. has tons of stuff.

Pace yourself- partying/laboring day after day in Death
Valleyesque conditions will be more taxing than you realize or can even understand until you go through it. Maybe plan on chilling out during the hottest part of the day. Also
realize that it can be hard to sleep past 9am or so as the sun says HELLO.

Visqueen (plastic sheeting)-  Cut a piece large enough to completely
drape over all four corners of your bed/sleeping bag area, and any other areas of stuff you care about. Mark one side of the visqueen with tape or something so that you know which side is going to be Up all week. After you get up immediately cover everything you care about in your
tent. When it is time to sleep you will be amazed at the incredible amounts of lovely playa dust that
will have collected on top of the plastic even if there was no dust storm
that day.

Some of the first things you should do upon arrival at the camp is cut pieces and cover:

-the front end of your vehicle. This will keep 7 days or so of high velocity playa dust from blowing directly into the engine compartment/radiator. Also weigh some down under the engine compartment to keep nasty fluids from getting onto the playa.

-the entire front dashboard area. This will save you quite a bit of hassle and time during cleanup, as playa dust is hard to clean off of dashboard plastic. It is far easier to spend a few minutes covering it right after you arrive at camp because it will only take minutes until it is covered in dust.

Post Burn Cleanup- if you try and use just water or any regular cleaners on playa dust it turns into an icky mess. Make a 10% vinegar solution and use that and it is much easier. Baby wipes also work well to wipe the insides and floor of vehicles down. Don’t worry too much about cleaning the inside of an RV during the week, after you get up to highway speeds after leaving the playa much of it will blow out of any windows you leave open (not the roof openings as they may break in high wind).Covering the floor of your RV with plastic or something will save some cleanup time.

Go Bag-  There are times you might want to leave very quickly, and will have no time to spend gathering all the things you will want with you out on the open playa because the group
is walking off or the art car is leaving. Before leaving home pre-prepare what you are going to need ie: water, small bottle of spare sun screen, lip balm, snacks like an unmelty granola bar,
a few band aids, notepad/pen (for when someone tells you the address of
some great event or party, or that new friend's phone number), water,
goggles, dustmask, headlamp, blinky stuff for when it gets dark, camera/batteries, etc.

Camping Cup/spork- always have these or the equivalent, there are
many many opportunities to eat/drink something amazing out there, but
you have your own item to eat /drink it out of. Many places won’t even
serve you if you don't have something like this.

Gaffer's tape-  It doesn't leave any nasty glue residue like regular
duct tape does. INDISPENSIBLE at Burning Man.

Bike- A one speed cruiser works best, the playa delights in
destroying mechanical moving parts so the simpler the better. Bring a
basket and attach it to your handle bars with zip ties (bring
LOTS of zip ties). Lighting the bike up and leaving the lights on after you
park it makes it not a walking/driving hazard, while also making it
MUCH easier to find in the dark when there are hundreds of other bikes
laying around. Bring spare tubes and tools to change the tires. Repair
kits are worthless because of the playa dust, just change the tube.

Paper parasols work really well for lightweight and mobile
sun/wind/open playa windstorm protection. If the wind is right they
also are great bike sails!

Figure a way to keep track of where various stuff is located to avoid
losing precious, precious Burn Time looking for that damn screw driver,
scissors etc. Wasting too much time looking for stuff while Burning Man is happening all around you can get annoying!

Sun Screen-  All Terrain brand "TerraSport" spf 30 is great, it is broad-spectrum as well as PABA and Paraben free.It is specifically designed to not irritate your eyes when it
inevitably gets in them.

Shoeless vs Shoed- a small percentage of people are blessed with feet that can
withstand being submerged in playa dust all week with no ill effects. Most
others are not so lucky and get the dreaded condition known as Playa
Foot. Do not let this happen! From the truly excellent link :

"Going barefoot on the playa is not a good idea. But it happens, and
often, the result is "Playa Foot" --a painful drying, cracking, rash
caused by prolonged contact with the alkali lakebed. Nothing seems to
better prevent, or relieve, Playa Foot better than a liberal coating
of Dr. Bronner's Soap. Use it straight from the bottle; once a day to
prevent Playa Foot or several times daily to cure it. Most cases heal
up within a day or two after treatment begins."

Saturday night after the Man burns all the street signs disappear
along with many familiar landmarks, so don't expect to be able to use
them as visual guideposts after that. Have multiple landmarks memorized, as
"where the heck is my camp/the bathrooms/my bike/etc?" confusion happens starting Saturday night every year as various things begin disappearing.


Classic videos you must see if you have not already:

Burning Man planning Hitler style:

do you think burning man will be fun? (NSFW language)

Cool documentary from around 1996 (warning NSFW)

1 comment:

  1. These are awesome! Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge.