Figuring out to bring for Burning Man can be a confusing and intimidating exercise. You can significantly over prepare and have to figure out the logistics of getting everything into the desert, having used very little of what you bought or under prepare, putting yourself at risk for a bad burn, or hoping the playa will provide every and all things.
"Burning Man is an event that occurs once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance." Burning Man Event
Being prepared for my first burn made a huge difference, allowing me to focus on immersing myself in the burning man experience without worrying too much on my needs and survival. Here is my personal detailed shopping list for recommendations on what to bring to burning man. Includes price estimates, rank on expensiveness compared to other similar items and an importance scale. Each item is playa tested! You can expect to spend between $500 - $1500 in preparing your personal supplies budget._Note: Not all these items are required. My camp has adequately prepared and lifted some of the burdens of items I personally needed to bring. So remember to choose items context specific to your situation, preferences, and budget.
Disclaimer: I am a part of the amazon associates program and purchases made help support the No Boundaries Burning Man Camp to cover camp expenses and make the camp more accessible to people in need.
Price Estimate: $19.95 Expensiveness: $$$ Importance: 5/5 Even more so than food, from what I witnessed, there are a ton of camps that gift alcohol and or other non-alcoholic drinks and having a cup on hand is a must as they do not provide cups for you.
Price Estimate: $11 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 4/5 A safe investment for a quick refuel and jolt of energy to bring with you on your long bikes across the playa.
Price Estimate: $19 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 3/5 Energy Replenishment and Management are key out in the playa. I sweat like a mad man and ended up losing a lot of salt and electrolytes. Added this Electrolyte mix to my Camelpak water and other drinks helped me to last 10 days in the blazing sun without running on empty.
Price Estimate: $8.99 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 3/5 Having a collapsible water container can be really help conserve space and ease the burden of hauling huge empty containers. If you travel by Burner Express, they have a Water add on (5-Gallons) for 7.50 + fees which works well with the 20L/5 Gallon collapsible container. If you’re traveling with a camp that provides water, this container may not be super essential. But could be a good backup or used for washing water like cleaning feet, brushing teeth or quick wipe downs, or if you’re too lazy to go fetch water frequently.
Price Estimate: $12.00 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 1/5 A collapsible dish tub is great if you're camp does or doesn't have a designated shower area or if you want a quick wipe down, or place to brush your teeth. Not super essential, but it can enhance your experience and it won't take up much space.
Price Estimate: $13.45 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 3/5
Price Estimate: $9 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 3/5 It's safer to have a bowl and spoon/fork on hand as you're traveling as a number of camps might have additional food they might treat you to, but might not have enough utensils and plates on hand.
Price Estimate: $559.99 Expensiveness: $$$$ Importance: 5/5 A high quality tent is one of the most important equipment you’ll have besides your camelbak and bike. Investing in a good tent is vital if you won’t be camping in an RV or one of those silver reflective hex pod thingies. You’ll want a Tent that with minimal mesh as the sand will invade your tent, or at least flaps to cover up the meshes. A slightly bottom heavy tent or a extra spikes will be needed so your tent doesn’t blow away. I find the Kodiak tent material to be some of the best for desert like conditions and had no fears of my tent getting blown away and had minimal dust invasion issues. There are slots build into the tent for easy ventilation that let air in to cool down the tent without getting too much sand in. This tent will last you many years, so it's great for those looking to reuse the tent multiple times.
Price Estimate: $99 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 2/5 If you want a high quality budget tent, the Coleman Instant Cabin is your pick. It's a trusted choice among many burners. It's lightweight, ease to setup and enclosed(non-mesh).
Price Estimate: $18 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 2/5 A portable stool to rest by your campsite. I had my stool inside my tent for most of the burn and it was a nice subtle addition to my in tent experience when I didn’t want to lie down in my tent.
Price Estimate: $45 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 5/5 A sleeping bag is another essential item to bring. The temperature at night can get pretty low, around the 35°F, you’ll want a sleeping bag that can handle low temperatures, but is also compact has room to sleep comfortably inside.
Price Estimate: $23 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 3/5 I found this great compressible pillow, the size of a bread, to go along with my sleeping bag to aide in getting some good rest during the burn.
Price Estimate: $25 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 3/5 Escaping the heat can be difficult. Having a tent fan can help cool down your tent. I prefered to use batteries to power it, but it also has an ac adapter. When I used the AC to micro-usb input, as I have multiple portable power packs, I found the power output was low and the fan was less effective compared to battery or direct AC to an outlet.
Price Estimate: $7 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 4/5 Despite the vastness of the Black Rock City Desert, it can at times(night time) get very loud as the sound camps blast their sets and the flame throwers unleash through the playa. Bringing Ear Plugs is a very clutch move for your burning man resting experience.
Price Estimate: $30 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 3/5 With all that biking and adventuring, the body gets sore and stiff. I was fortunate to discover a yoga camp that I periodically visited to relax and keep my body nimble. Most of the yoga camp require that you bring your own yoga mat, so remember to get yours.
Price Estimate: $19.50 Expensiveness: $$$$ Importance: 2/5 I wanted to pack light and knew the playa sand would probably make regular socks difficult to reuse. I was able to wear these Merino Wool socks for multiple days without drying or too much smell. You can get by without these socks, just be sure to pack extra.
Price Estimate: $9 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 5/5 Goggles are another essential item. All the foot and vehicle traffic breaks up the sand and the wind bikes it up and after enough accumulation, the naturally occurring dust storms occur more frequently. Having goggles to protect your eyes is a must have.
Price Estimate: $13 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 5/5 You wouldn’t want to brief in too much of the fine dust either. Having a face mask can make your rides through the dust more bearable.
Price Estimate: $8 Expensiveness: $$$ Importance: 2/5 If you sweat a lot, like I do, having a head tie can be a nice to have out in the playa.
Price Estimate: $20 Expensiveness: $$$ Importance: 4/5 A compact travel towel can save a lot of space and aide in drying up quick if your a lucky one who can shower while on the playa. You don’t want to be lugging a big towel with you. I got myself a large for body and a medium for my face.
Price Estimate: $250 Expensiveness: $$$ Importance: 4/5 The Black Rock Desert’s sand make some bike tires partially sink when threading across soft sand. With a lot of bike and foot traffic on the land, it breaks up the ground over time. Occasionally, the Burning Man officials have water tanks with sprinklers attached on the main roadways to water the group to have it re-harden upon drying. Unless you’re pedaling with some added speed, you will feel a lot of resistance biking on the playa. Having a fat tire bike adds more surface area to speed across the playa sand for a more powerful and quicker biking experience.
Price Estimate: $87.50 Expensiveness: $$$ Importance: 5/5 A camelbak is one of the most important items you’ll have besides your tent. Stock up on water at your camp or other friendly camps as you head on your playa adventures.
Price Estimate: $10 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 2/5
Price Estimate: $8 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 3/5 I found having another quick access pack to be helpful, as I wouldn’t have to take off my camelbak to fetch items or if I had on clothing without pockets.
Price Estimate: $25 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 2/5
Price Estimate: $32 Expensiveness: $$$ Importance: 2/5 Traveling compact and tight will enhance your experience on the road. I used a travel organizer to plan out my clothing schedule and have more room in my luggage for other important essentials.
Price Estimate: $23 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 3/5 I probably road over 10 miles a day and my ass was sore. This item is a desperate new addition learned through experience. Your ass will thank you.
Price Estimate: $17 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 3/5 I used the power bank to power my phone, bike lights and other usb rechargable electronics as well as power my tent fan with a USB to AC Power Adapter, although I found batteries to be more efficient for that case.
Price Estimate: $17 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 4/5 A bike lock is an essential if you're bringing a bike. Having your bike unintentionally claimed is not uncommon or if it’s late and someone is deep in playa and needs a way to get back to camp, they may see your bike as a gift. A bike lock with illumination helps at night to see the combinations if you don’t have a flashlight with you.
Price Estimate: $16 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 5/5 A headlight is an essential item to have. Nighttime Burning Man can be pitch black dark when your away from the body lights or vehicles. Bikes are often zooming past you in the night and it can be dangerous if you don’t have lights on you so you’re identifiable in the dark. Having a headlamp that has a redlight mode is also another safety feature as the bright white-lights can obscure vision if directed at someones eyes, which wouldn’t be blinding with redlight mode on.
Price Estimate: $25 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 4/5 Having a bike light can be another great item to bring as you can use your bike light as your primary in transit light and conserve your headlight for when you’re on foot at night.
Price Estimate: $17 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 4/5 Do you like searching for shit in your tent in the dark? I don’t. Get a lantern. It’s small and this pair will light up your whole tent.
Price Estimate: $10 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 3/5 I had these pack of D Cell batteries to power my tent fan. They last the whole burn, powering multiple fans.
Price Estimate: $12.99 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 4/5
Price Estimate: $10 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 4/5 A good powerful flashlight is an essential if you don’t have a bike light or lantern.
Price Estimate: $8.50 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 4/5 The dry weather and sun will chap your lips. Remember to bring this simple and small item.
Price Estimate: $8 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 5/5 You’re going to the desert. The sun will be beaming down. Bring sunscreen.
Price Estimate: $7 Expensiveness: $ Importance: 3/5
Price Estimate: $17 Expensiveness: $$$ Importance: 4/5 You won’t get much opportunity to shower out in the playa. If you want to tidy up, bringing wipes is a good move. Regular wipes I found to be good for the hands as face and bringing bathing wipes is good for the full body wipe down.
Price Estimate: $12 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 4/5 Burning Man is a very touch positive place and you’ll meet all sorts of people hugging and shaking hands. Welcome the love, but remember to minimize the risk of spreading germs by bringing a hand sanitizer.
Price Estimate: $10 Expensiveness: $$ Importance: 3/5 I wear contacts and this mirror was a site saver in helping me put in my contacts. It’s small and compact and has a cover to keep it safe. It’s also good to have if you’re putting on face decorations or checking yourself.
If you have any questions about any of the items listed or need advice on anything you're considering purchases to bring to burning man comment down below.#burning man #general