My tips and tricks for Burning Man

I'm not going to tell you how to do your Burning Man, because everyone has their own burn. But read on if you want to learn what I've learned from my four (4) trips out there, and found to be effective for me.


  • DO google and talk to other people about their experiences and advice for Burning Man. BUT also realize that your burn will be unique.
  • DO go there with expectations and plans. BUT also realize that much of it will blow away with the first dust storm.
  • DONT despair! Your burn is what you make of it. Something not going to plan? Its OK. Happens to everyone there.


  • Bring a little. Bring a lot. Whatever you feel comfortable doing. You might think that everyone dresses fabulously, but thats just the photographs you see.
  • DO bring a clean change of underwear for every day you plan to be there (and a couple more). Also bring wet-wipes. Wiping away built up dust and sweat from all the cracks and crevices in your body and donning clean underwear will make you feel like a new person, and you need to do that daily.
  • DO bring two pairs of socks for every day you plan to be there. Walking around in dust-filled socks/shoes is not fun. Your feet will thank you.
  • Pretty much everything else you can shake out and wear again. It is really hot out there, but the dry air and dust means basically nothing will get stinky.

Food and Water

  • Approximately 1 gallon of water for every day you plan to be there for drinking, cooking and cleaning up. If you are showering, factor that separately.
  • Unless you have a really good (expensive) cooler, expect your food to be submerged in ice-melt at several points during the week. Dont bring food in packages that will allow water in. Make sure the containers or baggies you have are firmly sealed.
  • Minimize heat loss by keeping your canned beverages in a separate cooler (if you’re only bringing one, work out a sharing plan with a camp-mate). Food in the other cooler.
  • Keep your coolers in the shade, dont leave them out in direct sunlight.
  • Raise your coolers off the ground if possible.
  • Fresh veggies and fruits are amazing and can revive you when you’re feeling beat down. DO bring stuff that wont perish instantly in the heat.
  • DO bring foods that are quick and convenient to eat. There will be times when you just wanna eat and dash.
  • DO bring some comfort food you enjoy and warm it up when you need a break and just wanna kick back and enjoy.


  • I love whiskey but I find its hard to drink under the desert sun. However one of those cold nights atop an art car, its great. Fill a flask, and make sure you share.
  • Margaritas are my favorite thing when the heat is way up. Squeeze some limes, add a bit of agave, stir in some ice and pour some tequila, cover with your hand and shake it up a bit.
  • Mojitos need a lot of prep and fresh fruit, but can make you feel especially baller.
  • DO be aware that with the combination of intense daytime sun, the heat, and alcohol can have you feeling all kinds of awesome for a bit, and then completely wiped out the next. Make sure you’re in a good place or with friends who can look after you.


  • IF you must do drugs –
  • Yes. Its Burning Man. But all laws regarding drugs still apply. You are on federal land in the state of Nevada. There will be federal and state law enforcement personnel all around.
  • If you have prescription medicine with you, make sure you bring it in the original container with the prescription label, and it must be in YOUR name. Any other way - it may be viewed as controlled substances taken illegally.
  • DONT do drugs in the open.
  • DONT do drugs with people you didn’t know prior to the event. (Yes, there are cops dressed up as burners).
  • DONT sell or give drugs to people you don’t know.
  • DONT lead cops back to your camp, or tell them where your camp is. They could use your arrest as pretext to search the camp.
  • DO keep in mind that your tent is considered safe space and subject to all regulations reagarding search and entry. Keep any drugs hidden, and your tent zipped up and closed at all times, otherwise visible drugs are evidence of crime and LEO can enter your tent.

  • It’d really suck to get arrested and thrown off playa, after all the trouble and expense you put in getting there! Play it smart.


  • Bring wet-wipes and body-wipes (search for adult bathing wipes). Use wet wipes for spot cleaning and body-wipes for cleaning yourself head-to-toe when you need it.
  • They can be used for cleaning dishes and utensils as well.

Gate Road (Arriving at BRC)

  • Gate opens on Sunday. Expect to spend hours, possibly the entire day on Gate Road if you arrive on Sunday. So come prepared. Do you have easily accessible water in the car? Food?
  • Going through Gate is much quicker on Monday and the following days. If you don’t absolutely need to be there Sunday, consider arriving on Monday or Tuesday. You’re not going to miss that much, trust me.
  • If you’re waiting on Gate road and you need to go use the bathroom, pay careful attention to where your vehicle is. Note which lane it is in, the vehicles in front and behind you, especially note vehicles that are large or have unique loads - those are easier to spot from a distance.
  • You can easily get sidetracked (you might run into friends, or encounter an improtu party, or someone might gift you something and you spend time making friends or everything!) or lost coming back from the portapotty and spend a lot of time looking for your vehicle. I also suggest walking away from Gate (towards Gerlach) to the next bank of potties, instead of walking towards Gate - even if that bank is closer to you because when you come back to your vehicle from the potties, you can just walk directly from the bathroom to the lane your vehicle is in, then turn towards Gate and walk in that lane, and your vehicle will have to be somewhere ahead of you. (The opposite might not be true, if you are with someone else and that person moves the vehicle forward as Gate traffic advances.)
  • STRICTLY FOLLOW THE POSTED SPEED LIMIT, GODDAMN IT. You’re going to be there for a whole week. Does it REALLY matter if you get to the campsite 10 minutes earlier at the expense of annoying everyone, wrecking the road, and potentially subjecting yourself to being pulled over by the cops. I get it, we’ve been in the car all day, the party is ahead of us, and we’re all anxious to get there NOWWWWW. But just take a breath, relax, go easy on the gas and zen the fuck out, dude.

Gate (Ticketing)

  • Gate people are awesome, but they have a job to do, and they’re standing under the sun all day. Don’t make their jobs any more difficult.
  • Be prepared to open up your vehicle doors. If you’re driving a rental truck, be ready to open the rear gate.
  • Keep in mind that they collect all tickets first before searching your vehicle. If they find a stowaway, all tickets are voided and your vehicle and entire group will be told to leave. You don’t want that – its your responsibility to ensure that you don’t gain a stowaway, either by purpose or on accident.
  • Gate people aren’t interested in looking for that little baggie of weed you have. They’re looking for stowaways and other stuff that shouldn’t be on playa. But don’t make their lives complicated. Put that baggie away out of sight.
  • Gate people love gifts. I’ve made a habit of bringing a 12-pack of beer and a bag of fresh fruit for them every year.
  • I don’t affix the vehicle pass sticker to my windshield until I’m actually at Gate. The reason for this is because if your vehicle (or rental vehicle) breaks down en-route to BRC and you have to change vehicles, you’ll be glad you didn’t affix that sticker just yet.

Exodus (Leaving BRC)

  • After a week in the desert, you’ll be ready to GTFO.
  • You still have at least 3 hours of driving to do before you get to Reno. Honestly appraise yourself and your physical and mental state. Are you rested? Are you coherent? Are you alert? The single-lane road from Gerlach to the highway (I-80) goes for 70 miles with many speed limit changes, often has no shoulders, the road is narrow, theres a great deal of traffic on it. You have almost no margin of error if you were to doze off for even a few seconds. Don’t become a news story, or worse, a fatality. If you need to take a nap before leaving, please take one.
  • You’ll be sick of playa dust at this point. Everything you wore at BM is going to be covered with playa dust. Do you really wanna drive home in clothes that are caked with playa dust? I don’t think so. Pack a complete set of comfortable clothing for driving (including underwear, shoes, socks). Put it all in a ziploc bag - seal it up tight, label it “GOIN HOME CLOTHIN”.
  • Dont put those clothes on when leaving your camp! Chances are that during Exodus you’ll want to get out of the car, especially if there is a long wait at Gate Road - and you’ll just get dusty again.
  • I usually wait until I am driving through Gerlach, then I pull over in one of those open parking lot spaces and change clothes there.
  • Have some wet-wipes handy.. strip down, clean yourself up with wet-wipes, put on your GOIN HOME CLOTHIN and you’ll be feeling like a million bucks once you resume your drive!