Keep on Person
GOOD Sunglasses (warning)
Good UV-blocking sunglasses are essential even in the shade,
because the playa reflects intense light.
WARNING: Cheap or just stylish sunglasses can be really
dangerous. They cause your pupils to
dilate, letting in more UV, which can sunburn your retinas without immediate
Sun Hat with strap
The wind whips off your hat if it isn't strapped down.
Neckerchief dust mask
A sunscreen called NoAd is highly recommended, cheap and
good, from retailers like Safeway; look on lower shelves for it.
Drinking water bottle
At any moment you may be offered a drink at a party. If you have a cup, less trash! One with a belt loop is cool.
Bike lock key
Put your car key and bike key on a secure thong around your
neck, or whatever. Put away all your
other keys for when youre home.
A plastic card-holder (like the ones for convention badges)
is handy for cards and little slips of paper.
On a necklace chain, you can also use it for your bike lock key
regardless of costume.
Very often you need to check the time, to synchronize with
friends and not miss events.
It can be fun to keep various Radio Burning Man stations
tuned in for announcements.
Keep in Backpack
Backpacks are uncomfortable to wear in the heat, but easy to
put in a bike basket.
You are gonna get enormous boogers called Nose Tators from
the dust. (They got their name when
someone painted out two letters from the NO
SPECTATORS sign.) Before you
come, trim away all the nose hairs that would anchor them.
Spray water bottle
Really handy out in the sun.
For Burning Man news, announcements, and safety alerts
Shampoo for sudden water
When the road-watering truck rolls by, I like to jump into
the spray for a quick shampoo with a little hotel size bottle. Clean hair!
Swiss Army knife
Butane Cig Lighter
Better than matches
If you need fire in the wind. Only $3 at Bonanza Surplus.
Safety Glasses for night use
Essential when the wind blows dust, let alone cinders and
sparks, fireworks, or sharp pointy things.
Dont get locked out.
Pen and paper
In a Ziploc bag with all the other little slips of paper you
get from other camps.
for party emergencies, or use your Swiss Army knife.
for costume emergencies
Laser Pointer Toy
If you have a Walkie Talkie set, train yourself with it and
give it to your partner before departing.
Meeting up at Burning Man is tough to manage. The message board is huge and chaotic; agree on a VERY
distinctive set of signs (more than one copy) such as diffraction-grating
plastic or a bold logo in color. Plan
to leave messages on windshields when you finally find their car.
Smokers Ash Tin
Keep on Bicycle
If it doesnt have one, get it.
2nd Drinking water bottle
Your bike needs a headlight to avoid obstacles.
A lamp on a headband is great in other ways too.
Make sure you are lighted with at least a light stick to
avoid being hit by a bike in the dark.
Bike Tool Kit
It may break on the Playa!
Tire Patch Kit
Keep in Car Cab
Your $200 Ticket
If your Burning Man ticket is not in the glove compartment
right now, right next to your registration and insurance certificate, go put it
there now. If you have an Oh My God
moment you will not pass Go and will not collect $200.
First Aid kit
Ear plugs & muffs
Small drink cooler
Mountain Dew, Coke with
Foam sleeves on the cans
Burning Man Info Kit
LOTS of them for cameras, flashlights, whatever.
For checking the air temperature outside the car, I use a
Polder oven thermometer, which has a sensor probe on a wire.
I carry these, along with tambourines just for laughs
Keep in Car Tailgate
(always accessible during the road trip)
Big water bottles
I fill these up in Reno after going over Donner Pass.
Garden hose fragment
For easily filling water bottles in place, from faucets that
are often in an awkward place.
I use a 3-gallon bottle to pour from more easily.
(for emergency too)
First Aid Kit
First Aid Booklet
2-inch and 4-inch
3-inch by 4-inch
3 inch by 15 feet
3 x 18
Instant cold packs
A rescue mask for CPR.
Also available: CPR Microshield ® Barrier
Cotton tips, sterile
Eye wash solution
Eye pads, sterile
PVP iodine swabs
Digital only, no mercury!
35mm kit bag
Extra Polaroid Film & 35mm
Maps and guidebooks
Knot reference books
More toilet paper
Liquid soap (pump bottle)
Wet Ones dont smell
Bath sponge or cloth
Toilet bucket and seat
Just in case.
Loose, lightweight drawstring pants
Wear without undies for maximum comfort in heat
Warm sweat pants
Warm ski gloves
Yes, it can get bloody cold!
Sandals let in dust and invite stubbed toes, but wear
slip-in shoes so you can courteously drop them outside tents.
Safety Toe Boots
In camp, remember that what you eat affects body odor
(garlic) flatulence (beans) and maybe diarrhea or toilet urgency (varies by
Beer in cans
Guiness Stout etc.
Becks is in cans at the Beverages & More stores. You may find that cheap beer (called lawn
mower beer in the trade) is OK on the Playa
Tonic Water in cans
It glows under black light!
Safeway has a cheap brand.
Soda in cans
This (or equivalent) is used for avoiding and treating serious
Fruit juice in cans
for cocktails and other tart drinks. Free from friends trees, they need no
Liquor in 20-cl hip flasks
Plastic bottles are safest.
Too bad good wine is always in glass.
Sweating people need lots.
Salted nut meats (no shells!)
Olives (no pits!)
They keep better than sliced bread.
Oh all right but keep it cool!
But please pack it out.
Vitamins C and E
Salt & Pepper
Ramen soup packs
8-oz canned fruits and vegetables
The small size is easiest for a single eater.
Keep dry or even OUT OF the cooler; or else the paper
wrapper gets slimy
A bit easier than spaghetti
Cans: Pork N Beans
Milk in pints
Unopened pints keep well if always on ice. Small plastic milk bottles (Chugs) with
screw caps are expensive but close securely, unlike cartons. I make café au lait if the café is closed or
the line is too long.
Mozzarela single- packs
String cheese is easy to eat, doesnt dry out or spoil
in small plastic packs
Corn on the cob
Bacon (keeps well)
Cut the whole slab in half
Eggs in plastic egg box
Big Drink Cooler
Bottled water, frozen
Freeze plastic bottled water at home instead of Blue Ice. No mess, more to drink later. At Burning man you can buy ice daily. Square plastic water bottles dont roll away
in the wind and pack together in less space.
for coffee, soup or cold cereal. Take it to the Café instead of getting a paper cup of Joe in the
Serve drinks to guests in flat-bottomed heavy tumblers such
as Arcoroc - they wont break or blow away in the wind like stemware or
Steel Pie plate
Sturdy fork & spoon
Serrated steak knife
A few of the soft plastic ones make re-corking easy.
Grill or hibachi
A Weber BBQ is big, clumsy and inflexible. Much better is (1) adjustable-height
chimney-starter that doubles as a stove, (2) tiny hibachi (3) a tripod-mounted
fire-dish and suspended grill that folds into very little storage space.
Lights charcoal SO well!
Fire Starter Chimney
Coffee Pot for water
Coffee Plunger Pot
Fine coffee strainer
Fry pan & cover
Tent stakes made of rebar
Read Rebar 101 about bending the ends over.
4 lb Single Jack hammer
A steel handle is better than a wooden one.
Stake covers: tennis balls
Inferior to using bent rebar.
Rope for guy lines
The cheapest good stuff is ¼ polypropylene, about 3 cents a
foot at surplus stores. Its slippery,
so you need to tie it carefully with good knots. Get the yellow, not the blue, so its more visible at night.
Mylar glitter tape
(for marking guy ropes) If you cant find scraps, garden
supply stores sell it for scaring off birds.
Scrap bike inner tubes
(perfect shock cords for tarps)
These are less noisy and better-looking than the common blue
Leave shock-cords in the grommets.
Support poles and framework
Other Camp Site Gear
Camps away from the Center need a daytime flag and
night-time reflector as landmark beacons.
The Bubble Tower had an amazing searchlight beam; a 12v headlight might
do it, on a good battery.
Xmas lights (12 v)
Tie them down firmly and try to collapse them before the
wind catches them. Never leave them up
Folding Beach Chairs
Hammock and A-frame rig
Pup Tent in its bag
This makes a handy storage tent for stuff that would clutter
up the car.
Plastic floor mats
Gray water collector
This can be a simple wading pool, or a heavy plastic sheet
laid under a foot platform, with the edges held up. Scoop out the water and sprinkle it in the dusty road. Dont dump it or let it make a mud puddle.
AstroTurf for shower area
Nice place to dry off.
First Aid Posters
Little Tool Box always in Car
Ratchet wrenches, ½ & 3/8
½ extender, 3/8 adapter
24mm socket, deep sockets
Crescent wrench 6
Wrenches; Box/Open End
Torx wrench set
Hex (Allen) wrench sets
Pliers, heavy, needle nose
Scissors, tweezers, knife
Steel baling wire
Screwdrivers-shorty flat & Phillips, folding T-handle, offset, multi-
Church key beer opener
Plastic Steel Epoxy Cement
Awl=fid for knots
Seam ripper tool
Paper drill bit
for punching signs, fabric
Feeler gauges (!)
Big Tool Box (bring sometimes)
Tape measure (25 ft)
Yellow lumber crayon
Straight-Claw hammer, 20 oz
Monkey wrench to pull stakes
Measuring Vernier caliper
Liquid-Lube for Bike Chain
WD-40 water-displacing lube
Rope, ¼ and ½
Dental Floss for strong thread
Duct tape, glass tape
Staple gun and 3/8 staples
Power drill 3/8 & Portalign
Hand drill and bit sets
Wire brush, grinder bits
Box cutting knife
Wood chisel, 1 inch
Hacksaw & blades
Rasp/File for shaping
Neon voltage tester
Hose clamps, all sizes
Great for tarps, hat straps.
for holding things down.
Nuts, bolts, all sizes
Nails: 6d roofing, 16d box
Gripper claw tool
Magnet for pickup
Xerox copies of hiking maps
Topo Maps in flat portfolio
Snorkel and Fins
For hot springs, ponds, lakes
for wading or around camp
for wading or around camp
Sticky press-on labels
Large quadrille tablet
Post-It in 3x5 size
Very handy for laying out a scale model of a big camp site
Area Rugs 52x27 (qty 8)
Site Marking sign on a T-stake
Nylon yardage in colors
EMT fabric for streamers
Lumber (2x4, plywood)
Pipe (steel, ABS, PVC)
Structural steel, fasteners
55-gal drums (steel, plastic)
Fluorescent Black Lights
Power strip outlets
Extra light bulbs
Mylar aluminized roll
Sailboard masts, PVC & metal
Burning Man Special
For night & day location
Gifts to dispense
Lockable storage chest for tools
Yellow CAUTION marking tape
Large wall thermometer
Just so you can boast later about how much you are
High-powered air blower
If you have AC power, its cool, especially with a
Sold for hot climates.
You can run one with a 2-gallon garden sprayer. Aimed into a fan airstream, its heaven.
Mirrored bath cabinet
A discarded bathroom cabinet is a handy way to have a mirror
that can be packed more safely, and it serves as a storage box for make-up
Spray paint, fluorescent
Paint and brushes for signs
Sign board matl
They are safer than stakes and easy to move.
Kerosene in jugs
Rubber stamps for passports
Cool camps have a rubber stamp for visitors who got a
passport from the Artists Republic of Fremont.
Burning Man logo decor for tailgate
Wave to other Burners on the highway!
Solar Battery charger for 12 V toys
For making sand-cast or Playa mud negative letter forms.
Things Left To Buy
Fill in your own stuff
Read the Web site
Its great. What
little I have to add is the following:
Label all containers
It gets confusing up there.
Start out organized.
Use Transparent containers
Ziploc bags (1 gallon size) are great for little things like
flashlight batteries and Band Aids that you need to find in a hurry.
Pack messy things together
Changes in air pressure caused by driving from sea level
over Donner Pass can make flexible containers leak or crush. Put them all
(sunscreen, mustard, syrup, hand lotion, shampoo, etc) in a plastic tub. Ideally, open them partially and prop them
all upright. Keep them away from other
Mark your tools
Anything that is likely to get borrowed or mixed up should
Dust is Everywhere
When you reach the playa, close off the air vents from the
outside. Next time you use them be
prepared for a blast of nasty dust. It
will be in the nooks of your dashboard, your radio, everywhere.
Often the wind around the
rear of a car creates negative air pressure that can draw dust (and
exhaust fumes) into the tailgate, so go slow.
The dust is like raw cement. It contains a lot of alkali, the opposite of acid. It attacks metals just like acid when it
gets damp or wet. Its hard on skin and
eyes and makes sticky mud.
On the playa, never leave car doors or windows open. Cover all you can. Put everything away out of the wind if possible.
Use dust-proof boxes
Plastic bags are annoying and empty ones blow away easily.
Put things in Tupperware or those square plastic buckets (with lids) that some
kitty litter is sold in, and also restaurant supplies such as frozen eggs. Plastic lunch pails are great
Dont Follow Cars
Stay back; youll be glad.
Wash your Bike
As soon as you get home, if you dont wash your bike it will
be horribly rusty. Just look around you
for examples. When the chain jams, the
bike is unusable.
Plan your Trucking
You can fit a surprising amount in a 14-foot rental truck if
you plan ahead. Warning! The companies are unreliable and may not
honor your reservation. The cheaper
short-haul trucks are the older ones that are more likely to break down in
Install Tie-down points
If you have a smooth car, figure out how you will secure a
roof load and protect the cars paint.
Tie padding well
If it flaps it will shred and/or blow off the car on I-80.
Learn to Tie Good Knots
Its handy and fun anyway.
Camping in windy areas, it turns into a critical skill.
Keep Food Simple
Heat reduces the need for food, and cooking is a hassle
unless you really love it no matter what.
Personally, while I love to cook and share meals, I bring easy food to
Burning Man. Single-serving canned
fruits and vegetables are SO much easier than fresh. I treat ice as a dispensable luxury for cold drinks, not a
necessity to keep my broccoli from turning to stinky mush. I cant plan slow meals when incredible
events may occur without notice. Your
mileage may vary.
Cover your coolers
Keep them in the shade, up off the muddy playa. Use your sleeping bag to insulate them from
Allow 8 hours to drive from SF
Leave by noon to get to the playa before dark. Earlier is better, especially because the
Central Valley gets hot.
A good food stop is Ikedas fruit stand and burger joint
just east of Auburn at the Bowman Rd exit.
A good gas stop is Sierra Sids at Exit 19 in Reno. Just up the street (East McCarran) a few
blocks from Sierra Sids is a big 24-hour Safeway for your last minute ice,
Plan your departure
The highway can take only 450 cars/hour, or 10,800 in a
24-hour day. The rush hour Sunday
just has to last for many hours.
Pull over and sleep
Dont risk driving drowsy.
Not on the Playa, but be very careful at roadside
stops. In August 2000 the US has almost
no supplies of anti-venin in hospitals.
In the surrounding desert, watch out for little ones.
No problem on the Playa.
Danger to Eyes
Going without sunglasses can sunburn your retinas, a very
painful and dangerous injury. At night,
wear clear safety glasses against dust and sparks blown by wind.
In many camps, people are welding metal to fix bikes and
build things. NEVER look at a welding
arc. Be alert; a welding flash could
happen without warning. Look away if
you see any kind of a flash.
Burning metal (magnesium, titanium, aluminum) can make light
that is dangerous to look at. Some
people use it in fireworks displays.
Dont stare at it.
The people running powerful lasers at Burning Man have
promised to take all possible safety precautions, but be alert for accidents.
Got any suggestions? Send them to [email protected]
Original document by Ray Bruman. Thanks Ray