Burning Man 2013 Packing Tips

Packing is never easy: there’s always the somewhat irrational fear that you’ve forgotten something, and will be left stranded on vacation without your favorite shirt or shoes that you had been dying to wear. In many cases, this fear is an unnecessary precaution, because chances are you did remember to pack everything you needed, and if not, you usually have access to local outlet stores where you can pick up everything you could possibly want for really cheap.

However, this isn’t the case with Burning Man. Black Rock City is 90 miles away from the nearest town, and the only store you’ll have access to is the general convenience store that offers minimal supplies for exorbitant prices. So properly packing for Burning Man is the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for Black Rock City. Here are the five most important things to remember to pack:


  • Don’t forget your tickets! It’s an extremely long drive to get to Black Rock City, and if you forget your ticket, you will not be admitted into the playa (no negotiating). This means you’ll need to either purchase new ones, or go back home and get your original tickets.
  • Aside from that, don’t forget to print out directions so that you don’t get lost in the great Nevada desert, driving around aimlessly while looking for the place. Don’t rely on a GPS or cell phone, because they can easily die or lose satellite reception.
  • Along these lines, bring extra cans of gas for your car. Cell phone reception is poor to nonexistent in many spots along the road, so if you break down along the way, getting more gas for your car will be nearly impossible.

Essential Supplies

  • Black Rock City is your home for the week, so everything you need to survive must be brought with you. The number one most important item for you to bring is food and water. This doesn’t mean grab a bag of chips and you’re good to go—plan day-by-day and meal-by-meal exactly what you will eat, and make sure you bring food that isn’t easily perishable. If you’re bringing meat, consider grilling them beforehand and storing them in airtight ziplock bags inside coolers filled with ice. Pack enough water for you to drink a gallon a day—out in the middle of the desert, staying hydrated is your number one priority. If you plan on snacking on salty foods, bear in mind that you will need to consume extra water to counteract that. Remember there are no garbage cans or dumpsters in Back Rock City, so everything you bring with you must either be eaten or taken back home. Pack enough food to get you through the trip, but not so much that you’re left with piles of rotting fare that must be thrown out only after you drive through the desert . Extra ziplock bags are your friends: use them to store your food to protect them from the dust, and then use them as garbage bags to throw away your garbage. If you’re really innovative, try using your refuse as fuel for your fire and dispose of it that way!


  • Everyone wears costumes at Black Rock City, so pack something extravagant that will make you stand out! Goggles are a great idea because they serve a dual purpose: you can incorporate them into a fabulous steampunk ensemble, and they protect your eyes from the high winds and dust storms that are frequent out in the desert.

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