How exactly does one prepare for a week of partying and self-expression in the middle of a burning hot desert? What's the best way to ensure that you bring home nothing but awesome memories and while leaving behind nothing but footprints?
The answer is to be prepared, and to take some notes from those who've danced by the light of the Burning Man and lived to tell the tale. Here, cleaned from various Burning Man resources and the experiences of seasoned Burners, is a list of the 23 most important things needed to be "radically self-reliant" on the Playa.
- A Good Tent. On the Playa, there's nothing to protect you from the elements other than the shelter you bring. Make sure your tent is sturdy and can be buttoned up against dust storms and rain. Don't forget the ground sheet either, because yes, it does rain.
- A Second Tent. Remember, you're going to be living in the desert for a week. Even if you'll be sleeping in an RV, a second tent can be used as a walk in closet/changing area/food storage compartment.
- An Inflatable Mattress. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to rough it at Burning Man. Treat yourself to a good night's sleep so you can wake up invigorated and weirder than ever.
- A Solar Shower. In the land of dust and wind, nothing will help you stay energized like being able to wash it all off every now and then.
- A Large Tub, bucket, or box lined with trash bags to catch your shower water. Big puddles of muddy shower water are totally uncool. Remember, there won't be any grass to soak up your spills.
- A Camelback or similar portable hydration system. Water bottles are easy to lose. Might as well strap that H20 to your back.
- A Dust Mask. Did we mention the desert is dusty? Save your lungs by bringing something to protect your nose and mouth.
- Goggles. See above. (Also they can make a great addition to your costume!)
- Sunblock and aloe vera. You shouldn't be the Burning Man. Cover your delicate skin with plenty of eco-friendly sunblock. Use the aloe after your shower to help rejuvenate any pink skin.
- Duct Tape and Bungee Cords. Black Rock City doesn't build itself! You'll be surprised how many uses you'll find for these simple tools.
- Ziplock Bags and/or Reuseable Storage Containers. Dust, dirt, and water can ruin clothes, food, and lots of other things. Protect your stuff by storing anything and everything you can in an impermeable bag or container.
- Camping Chairs. No one wants to sit on the hot ground. It also makes your site feel campy and welcoming!
- A Mirror. Why? See #14.
- A Kick-Ass Costume (or maybe three!). Everything at Burning Man is art. Even people. Decorate yourself in the wildest way you can possibly imagine, and you still won't have the craziest costume there.
- Several Small Coolers. It's much easier to keep food and drinks organized and chilled if you don't use one gigantic cooler. Make sure to keep it elevated off the ground if possible.
- Reuseable, Non-Breakable Dishes and Cutlery. Burning Man is a "Leave No Trace" event. Every bit
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of trash you generate has to be stored and leave with you. Wash and reuse whenever possible.
- A Big Pitcher for mixing up drinks. You'll make plenty of friends, and who wants to be mixing up individual margaritas?
- Good Shoes. This isn't your average festival. Your feet will take a beating. Flip flops aren't gonna cut it.
- The Biggest Hat You Can Find. Or an umbrella. Or better yet an umbrella hat. See #9.
- A Headlamp (or Lantern). Who wants to navigate the port-a-potty in the dark with a flashlight in their mouth? No one, that's who.
- Work Gloves & A Shovel/Rake. The clean-up part of Burning Man is almost as intense as the set-up. Bring the right tools.
- Lots of Comfy Skirts. Even you guys out there. Trust me, nothing helps keep you cool like proper crotch ventilation.
- A Bike. See more of the Playa in style when you bring your own wheels. Plus
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