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What I Did During My Summer Vacation: Burning Man Edition

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the first-thing-you-need-to-do dept.

News 228

Bennett Haselton writes: "While nothing can really 'prepare' you for your first time at Burning Man, there are a few simple steps that can eliminate a lot of the stress. Unfortunately it can be hard to get information out of the 10-year veterans about how to do things the easy way (some of them probably view the 'easy way' as 'ruining the whole point'). So here's some advice instead from someone who just got back from their first time, and who likes to take the path of least resistance." Keep reading for the rest of Bennett's Burning Man advice.

If you get nothing else out of this article:

  • You can fly to Reno Airport and take the Burner Express shuttle to Burning Man, instead of driving.

  • You can rent a bike from one of the other camps at Burning Man rather than bringing one yourself. (Bringing one might be the easier option if you're driving there, but not if you're flying.)

  • You can pay dues to a camp that will provide food, water, camping space, a place to store your trash (if you didn't know, there are no communal trash dumpsters at Burning Man), sometimes electricity, and sometimes access to a shower, rather than trying to arrange for all of those things yourself.

  • If you just need space for one person to sleep, you can buy and bring a single-occupancy tent. You don't need to build a home-made shade structure out of PVC and tarp.

  • If you have lower-than-average heat tolerance, buy ice from the ice vendors to make your own ice water, and carry a water spray bottle.

These points should be taken in conjunction with a more comprehensive guide to preparing and packing; I'm not writing a full guide to getting ready for Burning Man. These just happen to be the points where I wasted the most time going down the wrong path during preparation, taking advice too literally from the website and/or grizzled veterans who thought that you honor the event's heritage by doing things the hard way, before realizing there was a much easier option. (I would have liked it, for example, if the Burning Man website had told me you can just rent a bike once you get there, instead of pointing me to a long list of other options that are much more hassle.)

Generally speaking, for more details on how to prepare, you should talk to someone who has been before -- but it's has to be someone who doesn't take themselves too seriously and will give genuinely usable advice. We all know people who give you the kind of advice that you can actually use because it closely corresponds with what people actually do; and we also all know people who give you the kind of advice designed to "make a man out of you" (regardless of gender) by steering you through an ordeal that will make you appreciate how hard they had to work, but which may not actually be useful. Burning Man attracts a disproportionate number of people from the second category, but you need to find and talk to someone from the first group.

In particular, one lesson learned the hard way: Do not ask a male Burning Man veteran how to do something, in front of a girl that they might be trying to have sex with later. Because you'll get an answer designed to impress her, not to help you -- something along the lines of hunting your own deer with a crossbow and then using the bones to construct a tent frame across which you stretch the fresh deer skin for shelter.

All right, I'm exaggerating, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that the first three people I asked about what kind of tent and shade structure I needed to bring, all of them suggested following directions from the Internet about how to build your own from PVC pipe and tarp from Home Depot, or how to build something called a Hexayurt. (Seriously, the Hexayurt sounds like an honest-to-God brilliant idea, but is kind of overkill, and realistically eliminated as an option if you're flying to Burning Man.) Really, you can get buy with a storebought tent.

A few other meta-points about how I got this information:

  • I'm sure some people think that making it "easy" for people to survive at Burning Man will ruin it for the veterans, but I think that the less time you have to worry about practical details (such as your week's food supply running low or your home-made tent blowing over in the wind), the more time you can spend actually participating. I'm writing this because I had a good time, and I'd like to make it easier for other people to go, and once they get there, to have more time to contribute using whatever special skill they happened to bring with them.

  • I'm erring on the side of paying a little bit more money for a little bit less hassle.

  • Notwithstanding the foregoing, I consider these fallback options which cost a little more money but are guaranteed to work -- for example, pre-paying to rent a bicycle at the event. If you know someone who can bring a bicycle for you in their truck, great; but you have to find someone who is driving there, who has room in their truck, who is willing to do you a favor or let you reimburse them, who is not going to flake out and sell their ticket at the last minute, etc. I've always found that when you are looking for cheaper alternatives, it's a lot less stressful if you have a more expensive option you can fall back on, that you know will definitely work if the cheaper options fall through.

So, back to my list:

You can fly to Reno Airport and take the Burner Express shuttle to Burning Man, instead of driving.

Now I did say that most of my "simplifying strategies" were hard to find through the official channels, but this is an exception to that general rule, in that this option actually is promoted prominently on the website, not least because the Burner Express shuttle service is operated by the corporation that runs Burning Man. The Burner Express shuttle costs $60 each way and runs from the Reno Airport to Burning Man, allowing you to get from the airport to the event without having to rent a car or coordinate a ride. That might sound expensive if you were planning to rideshare from the airport for free, but you also get to bypass a five-hour line of cars waiting to get in to Burning Man through the entrance gate, and bypass another five-hour line again on the way out. That works out to paying about $12 an hour to avoid sitting in a line full of hot cars, which sounds worth it to me. (There is also a Burner Express shuttle that runs from San Francisco to Burning Man.)

The major constraint that this creates is that you have to fit everything you're bringing into two suitcases per person, which is the maximum allowed by Burner Express, unless you pay extra to bring a third suitcase. (That's still plenty of space, but it does rule out things like the hexayurt.) You can use the extra-large luggage allowance to pay to bring a bicycle on the Burner Express bus, but that means you have to somehow get your hands on a bicycle at the beginning of the bus ride. That's not easy, since you would either have to leave Reno Airport, rent a bike somewhere in the city, and bring it back to the airport before the bus leaves -- or else fly with your own bike on the plane to Reno Airport, which is expensive. Which leads to the next simplifying strategy:

You can rent a bike from one of the other camps at Burning Man rather than bringing one yourself.

I rented mine from Playa Bike Repair camp for $200. If I'd reserved it earlier it would have been $150. (I don't know how many camps there are that rent bicycles to burners, but Hammer and Cyclery is at least one other one.)

This was the one point on which I wished the website had pointed me in the right direction and saved me a lot of aggravating time chasing dead ends, since their website has three separate pages about bikes at Burning Man -- what kind to bring, where to get them, how to transport them, how to return them -- without mentioning the option of renting them from other camps. (This seems like such a big omission, that it made me wonder if part of shouldn't be organized as a wiki, so that users can submit edits if the organization doesn't have time to maintain it. A link to the bike rental camps, is exactly the kind of thing that probably would have been added to a page about "bicycles at Burning Man", if it had been wikified.)

The Burning Man website does link to places you can rent a bike in Reno -- some of which are much cheaper than the $200 to rent from Playa Bike Repair -- but they were all booked out by the time I started looking a few weeks before the event. Also, if you're flying in to Reno and renting a bike from a shop there, you'd have to figure out how, after you arrive at the airport, you're going to go and pick up the bike to bring it back to the airport before the Burner Express bus leaves. All more reasons why I figured a bike rental camp was much simpler.

You do have to pre-arrange and pre-pay for a rental from a bike rental camp. Playa Bike Repair had no walk-up rentals available at the event, and I doubt the other bike rental camps would either, since they have to know in advance how many bikes to bring with them, based on reservations.

And speaking of Playa Bike Repair camp --

You can pay dues to a camp that will provide food, water, camping space, a place to store your trash (if you didn't know, there are no communal trash dumpsters at Burning Man), and sometimes access to a shower, rather than trying to arrange for all of those things yourself.

"Camps" at Burning Man are groups of campers who often pool their resources so that, for example, one person can drive in with a truck carrying a week's worth of food for everyone, instead of everyone bringing in their own food. Some camps have consisted of the same group of friends for many years and have completely closed their membership, so that even close friends of the existing members can't join. Others outright sell camp memberships to the general public. (My camp was in the middle of the open-ness spectrum; it wasn't open to the public, but two of the campers were guys that I had met a few times, so I got in by paying $200 and doing a share of the camp chores.)

One Burning Man participant, who had done more research than I did on the types of camp memberships that were open to the public, said that they varied widely in the value they offered for the dollar -- some charged up to $300 for almost nothing, while others charged under $100 for everything including food, water, and showers. He said that in order to find a suitable camp, he wrote up a "Burner Resume" describing his skills, and contacted various camps while putting out a request on the Burning Man forums. You might find some sweet deals that way, expanding your options beyond those camps which straightforwardly sell memberships to the public through a shopping cart interface right on their website.

Playa Bike Repair is in fact one camp that sells public memberships and gives you a discount on your loaner bike if you camp with them. (But read the fine print; they also ask you to work four 4-hour shifts (16 hours total) for the camp during the week.)

I can't vouch for any specific camp that has open membership; I'm just saying that as a general strategy, it's probably easier to pay money into a camp that will take care of these details for you, rather than worrying about everything yourself.

If you just need space for one person to sleep, all you need is a single-occupancy tent.

Originally, after reading the Burning Man Survival Guide for 2013, I was under the impression that you needed to bring a shade structure to the desert in addition to your tent. Basically, they recommend a tent to protect you from the elements, and then a separate layer on top of that to cast a shadow over the tent, to prevent overheating. (Obviously, the opaque fabric of the tent already creates "shade" inside, but if the tent is directly in the sun, the air trapped inside the tent will heat up like an oven. So you need a second layer above the tent, to create shade while still allowing the air to circulate between the roof of the tent chamber, and whatever is above it casting the shadow.) And this is where I got a lot of Bear Grylls types telling me how to build my own shade structure out of PVC pipe and tarp.

It's probably simpler than that. Basically:

  • If you're sleeping in a single-occupancy tent and you won't be sleeping in it during the day, a regular camping tent is fine.

  • On the other hand, if you might be sleeping or resting in your tent during the day, you'll likely want a tent that has a built-in shade canopy, or a separate shade structure.

  • In either case, you should anchor it to the ground using rebar, rather than the stakes that come with the tent or the shade structure.

  • But, in neither case do you need to build anything yourself out of PVC and tarp, unless you really want to save money. You can get tents and shade structures at REI or Sports Authority, and I think it's worth it to have one more thing that is built by professionals and that much less likely to have something go wrong with it.

Now here's where I may have gotten away with an easy approach because of my particular circumstances. Originally I brought a 12-foot-square shade structure that I had planned to set up over my tent. But I either caught a cold on the plane to Reno, or was hit with dust allergies as soon as I got to Burning Man (I still don't know which), so I was taking heavy doses of Benadryl every evening. And that meant I was usually out cold by midnight, and that meant I was usually up by 8 am the next morning and well out of my tent before the sun started heating up the trapped air inside. So I didn't even need my shade structure and never set it up.

On the other hand, if you plan on sleeping or resting in your tent during in the day, then you probably need shade. You can buy tents which have an extra layer of fabric separate from the roof of the tent, to let the air circulate while still providing shade, or you can get a separate shade structure. Most experienced burners say that an EZ-UP shade structure is not suitable because it can be too flimsy and likely to blow away in high winds; a burner in your city can help you find a sturdier shade structure that you can buy.

Remember, a flimsy tent or shade structure might merely be crumpled by high winds, so it's up to you if you want to take that chance. A tent or shade structure that is improperly secured, however, creates a hazard to other people, so it's your obligation to other burners to make sure your tent or shade structure stays attached to the ground, whether it crumples or not. That's why you should use rebar instead of the standard stakes which come with the tent (which are too short to anchor securely in the desert sand), and then cover the cops of the rebar with bottlecaps or tennis balls so that people won't impale themselves if they trip and fall onto one of the stakes.

One final note on that: I didn't set up my shade structure, but I did bring an electric fan that I turned on full blast to circulate the air in and out of my tent the one morning that I did sleep in for a bit. If your camp provides electricity to plug in a fan, that may work just a well for you, and be a lot simpler than a separate shade structure.

If you have lower-than-average heat tolerance, buy ice from the ice vendors to make your own ice water, and carry a water spray bottle.

Bags of ice are one of the few things that are sold at Burning Man, by the event organizers. Most days I would go to the ice vendors and buy my own 10-lb bag of crushed ice, bike back to the camp with it in my backpack, and empty it into my plastic water jugs. This got me only about two hours' worth of ice-cold water, before the ice was all melted -- but during the two hottest hours in the middle of the day, I considered it to be well worth it. On my definite packing list for next year: a cooler (small enough to fit in a suitcase) which I can use to store my own private ice supply and make it last all day, and a thermos to carry around ice water and keep it cold for as long as possible. (Almost everyone I saw was drinking lukewarm water from a camelbak or simple water bottle instead of a thermos; I'd gladly spend the extra 10 seconds screwing and unscrewing the thermos, to get ice-cold water instead of room-temperature. Besides, for hydration purposes, cold water is better for you.)

A water spray bottle, besides being a good way to deal with the heat, can also function as an icebreaker -- I didn't bring my own spray bottle, but many times I walked past strangers who said Hi and gave me a nice misting with water, sometimes scented with a flavor like lavender. Surprisingly, given how refreshing the spray bottles are, most people seemed not to have one, so everyone was always happy to see the person who had the spray bottle. Everyone at Burning Man is expected to contribute one way or another, and if you don't know how to juggle flaming chainsaws and you don't have boobs that you can walk around exposing everywhere, carrying around a bottle to mist people with is quite sufficient.

Of course spray bottles are not the only resource you can share for the benefit of the community. Next to every row of porta-potties distributed throughout the city at Burning Man, there was a wooden stake in the ground with two with two hand sanitizer dispensers attached to it, but the dispensers were almost always empty when I tried to use them, so I started carrying around my own hand sanitizer bottle. On my last morning there, since my personal hand sanitizer bottle was still 80% full, and since I had just spent a week snarfing up every piece of free food that was offered to me, I figured the least I could do was to stand by the hand sanitizer post for a few minutes and offer free hand sanitizer to anyone who wanted it, after they discovered that the official dispensers were empty. Nice way to give back to the community and say Hi to a few people, although not a great way to pick up the ladies since you're meeting them in the context of helping them wipe off bacteria from their own shit. Have fun!

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Happy Monday from The Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925233)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Monday from The Golden Girls! (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#44925263)

A cosmonaut!?

Re:Happy Monday from The Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925445)

Being that Bea Arthur looks a lot like Brezhnev, cosmonaut is appropriate.

Re:Happy Monday from The Golden Girls! (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about a year ago | (#44925453)

As I recall, the actual lyric is ". . .and a confidante. . . "

Which, unfortunately, I learned from a co-worker had the theme as her ringtone. . . . 10-15 times a day. . . .

Re:Happy Monday from The Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925521)

I recall that you are a fucking moron.

Who is this author? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925285)

And why do I care what you have to say?

Re:Who is this author? (1)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44925509)

Some people go to Burning Man, so those people might care.

Also, why should I care whether you care or not?

so why do people go into the desert? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44925289)

i did it twice while in the US Army. two trips to the national training center in the california desert. i hated it. both were pre internet

it takes like 15 minutes to read the day's newspaper and after that, nothing to do
the radio stations played the same 10 songs every day, all day

WTF is so awesome about dumping technology and living like a caveman for a few days? try it for a month.

i came back and first thing i did was drink, watch TV and listen to music i hadn't listened to for weeks

Re:so why do people go into the desert? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925355)

Attactive women in a consquence free environment. Find something to do? Find someone to do.

Re:so why do people go into the desert? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925399)

Consequence free? Burning when you pee is a consequence.

Re:so why do people go into the desert? (4, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | about a year ago | (#44925611)

Not if it burns to pee beforehand. Remember, burning man is about sharing.

Because... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925371)

They're a bunch of hipster douchebags who want to relive the hippie days, but having allowing the country to fall to such a level of nanny-ism, the only place they can go and do it without being arrested is out in the middle of some podunk desert in the ass end of the U.S. where nobody cares enough to budget surveillance apparatus to watch them other than perhaps for calibration purposes :)

Re:Because... (4, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44925525)

Ah and here we go with the Burnin Man hating folks. Anyone who wants to do something different for vacation than go on a cruise or sit on a back porch drinking a crappy beer...yeah, those people are douches.

Of course you know hipster-hating is the latest careful about following the latest might turn you into a hipster.

Re:Because... (2)

Deadstick (535032) | about a year ago | (#44925777)

Anyone who wants to do something different for vacation than go on a cruise.

This. What could be more doucheful than paying piles of money to be waited on hand and foot by a legion of poverty-scale Third Worlders who get fired if they aren't sufficiently servile?

Re:Because... (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#44925969)

Ah and here we go with the Burnin Man hating folks. Anyone who wants to do something different for vacation than go on a cruise or sit on a back porch drinking a crappy beer...yeah, those people are douches.

Of course you know hipster-hating is the latest careful about following the latest might turn you into a hipster.

I think the amount of hate towards a group of people that pack up and leave town for a holiday weekend to be with other like minded folks is more of a "Hey, look at me, I'm so cool that I hate Burning Man and everyone that goes there" reaction. There's a similar group of people that say "Burning man sucks now, but I used to go when it was cool", where "when it was cool" varies from 1986 to 2 years ago, depending on when that person last attended burning man.

Burning Man isn't my idea of a fun weekend, but I enjoy hearing the stories (and seeing the pictures) from those that do attend.

Re:Because... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44926301)

Can all the hipster douches just shut the fuck up and get back to posting pictures of naked women wearing body paint?

You know your purpose; now serve it! >:-(

Re:Because... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926547)

What makes Burners douches is they act like its something more than it really is. If you just said "My summer vacation was doing drugs in the desert for a few days" people wouldn't really care all that much.

Re:Because... (1)

Garridan (597129) | about a year ago | (#44925635)

Fun fact: hipsters [] existed before hippies [] .

Excellent question. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about a year ago | (#44925409)

And more to the "why do people do things the hard way" theme of TFA, why did Bennett Haselton decide to go Burning Man?

The "why" of why you go will also determine the "how" of how you do things there.

There is a HUGE gap between the people who go and construct their art and participate in the gift culture and those who go so that they can say "yeah, I went to Burning Man".

Re:Excellent question. (2)

xanie (446372) | about a year ago | (#44925753)

I think he is what is called a "tourist".

This was my first year as a virgin, and I did a lot of prep before hand. "The Journey" made the destination that much more rich and filled with, as I already had sweat and emotional equity into the thing.

I couldn't have replaced that for $200 in convenience by paying a camp to do it for me. I learned about building a hexayurt with a could of other virgins and one vet, learned about solar energy, and I learned a lot about myself.

Re:Excellent question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926539)

On the other hand. I learned all that shit before I was 14. Hearing about adults stumbling through and figuring that shit out is just hilarious.

Re:Excellent question. (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#44926209)

If you want to have it easy, just take this [] or take this []

Re:Excellent question. (4, Interesting)

curunir (98273) | about a year ago | (#44926505)

Moreover, there are many different Burning Man experiences to be had and I think he had a different one than I've ever had or ever want to have.

For one, most of the fun happens at night...the day is too hot. I rarely return to my sleeping area before 5am and in those rare occurrences I'm usually not alone. Without a tent with a pretty serious sun shade, sleeping past 7am is almost impossible. I'm not sure how others deal with 2 hours of sleep per night for an entire week, but I can't function that way. I've realized that it's just easier to rent the RV so that I can sleep comfortably until noonish.

Second, his experience seems far more solitary than mine. I usually bring an outdoor sun shade, but I mostly don't use it. During the days, I tend to go around the event wandering into other camps making friends. It's my favorite part of going there...I love the randomness of not knowing whether I'm walking into a situation where it's clear after 2 minutes that I should leave or I'm going to have a pleasant hour-long conversation or even if it's the start of a serious friendship/relationship. The pleasant hour-long conversation is, by far, the most common, but I've had quite a few of the other two as well.

Third, I cannot fathom going out there without being sure that I have enough water. Flying into Reno just doesn't seem like an option since I can't bring the 3 5-gallon containers I feel I need for the duration of the event. Also, painting a cheap bike can be fun and make it really easy to identify yours in a crowd of other bikes. It also makes it really hard to steal (either intentionally or unintentionally) if it has a very unique look. Every few years I get a new cheap bike and put my own artistic imprint on it...I'd rather do this instead of renting both because I feel it's more in the spirit of the event and because it's annoying to have to constantly lock up your bike.

I get the distinct feeling from his post that he went because he was interested in it but basically wanted to blend in and observe. That's fine, but experienced burners will give you advice to based on what you should do to participate, not just watch. Had he followed the advice to build a hexayurt with PVC from home depot, people like me might have spontaneously stopped by to say hello...not so with his single-occupancy tent.

Re:so why do people go into the desert? (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year ago | (#44925677)

I guess the point is there's nothing there except what people bring to it. No accumulated cruft, of whatever sort.

(And what they do bring is pretty different than an Army encampment).

Re:so why do people go into the desert? (5, Interesting)

Shoten (260439) | about a year ago | (#44925945)

i did it twice while in the US Army. two trips to the national training center in the california desert. i hated it. both were pre internet

it takes like 15 minutes to read the day's newspaper and after that, nothing to do
the radio stations played the same 10 songs every day, all day

WTF is so awesome about dumping technology and living like a caveman for a few days? try it for a month.

i came back and first thing i did was drink, watch TV and listen to music i hadn't listened to for weeks

Burning Man is not like being at the NTC. For one, it's a social event rather than simulated warfare where you're trying to stay "alive" and not get "killed" while trying to "kill" others. (Quotes because, for those of you who aren't familiar, the NTC is a large area where our military does extremely realistic military training using laser-triggered sensors on otherwise extremely real weaponry. Think of it like military hardware configured to fire blanks, with laser tag attachments on them.) Following this logic, pretty much any situation would be boring...going to a shopping mall wouldn't be fun, because instead of shopping or seeing a movie, you'd be just practicing MOUT inside the mall with no ability to do any of the fun things that would otherwise be available to you.

I get why you'd be bored if you had nothing to do. But at Burning Man, there's a ton to do...starting off with simple socialization. There are tons of people there, each with their own things to talk about. Yes, some of them are total raisincakes...but that can be entertaining too. (I will gloss over the profoundly commonplace nudity, as the entertainment value of that fades after a while.) And in the meanwhile, the absence of contact with the outside world, for the most part, means that you are instead more motivated to look at the immediate community around you. There's art, there's interesting debate, there's a blending of people from many walks of life...and what makes it really neat is that at Burning Man, they have largely shed a lot of the things that would clue you into what they were like in normal life. (Which one of the people with the body paint is the dot-com success who holds several patents, and which is the guy who works at a surf shop?)

There's music to hear, art to look at, performances to goes on and on. Not at all like being at the NTC. And it's only for a few days, as you pointed out...if it went on all month, yeah, that'd be a bit much. So what? The same is true of almost anything else. You can't say that something is pointless because it'd be awful if it (insert unrealistic and non-reality-based condition here).

Re:so why do people go into the desert? (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#44926265)

You did time at Ft. Irwin? I salute you sir.

I was up there for a rip-roaring 3 days as a contractor, and was bored silly. I have no idea how you managed to do a full stint.

Here's the deal (1)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44925291)

. . . without photos of Elon Musk, I stopped reading. Might as well be a Chamber 'O Commerce blurb.

The only winning move... (2)

zawarski (1381571) | about a year ago | (#44925299) not to play.

Re:The only winning move... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44926217)

The burning man doesn't sound like a good time to me.
All the problems with living in a city combined with all the problems of camping.

I much rather go camping away from all the people. Or visit a City where there is an infrastructure to make sure I can survive well.

nice guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925305)

>> I figured the least I could do was to stand by the hand sanitizer post for a few minutes and offer free hand sanitizer to anyone who wanted it, after they discovered that the official dispensers were empty. Nice way to give back to the community and say Hi to a few people.

Awww. Such a nice guy.

How about this? (5, Insightful)

realmolo (574068) | about a year ago | (#44925331)

Don't go to "Burning Man".

"Burning Man" is for pretentious douchebags.

Re:How about this? (1, Redundant)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44925529)

Be careful about your hipster-hating ways... hating people who want to take a fun vacation in the desert is the latest trend, you know. And following the latest trends might make you...a hipster.

Re:How about this? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925873)

Well, at least you didn't deny the truth: hipsters ARE pretentious douchebags, brainwashed with the liberal leanings of their parents, they go out into the world making socialist demands on everyone else, calling THEM the douchebags if they refuse to comply.

Re:How about this? (1)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44925965)

Bullshit. Hipster is a meaningless word; it's a word used to describe anyone who does anything trendy nowadays. If you are a square and young, and pretty much do anything that statistically a majority of the population is doing, such as drinking a bud-light rather than a craft beer, or wearing a button up shirt on a regular basis rather than a t-shirt with an obscure rock band logo on it; then you are not a hipster. Everyone else, well, get ready to have to deal with all the hipster-hating crap people such as you spew all the time. Pretentious douchebag.

Re:How about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926077)

"craft beer"

"t-shirt with an obscure rock band logo on it"

Oh crap. Apparently I'm a hipster.

Re:How about this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926493)

Who's the real douchebag? A person attending a gathering to enjoy themselves or a person running from website to website posting comments calling people liberals and socialists.

Re:How about this? (1)

Herder Of Code (2989779) | about a year ago | (#44926231)

I don't know if it was on purpose but "Burning Man fucking sucks, don't come" is like the oldest joke on the playa. The more people there are, the harder it is for veterans to get tickets, good spot etc so yeah since I want my tickets too: Burning man sucks, stay the fuck away.

Re:How about this? (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#44926315)

Be careful about your hipster-hating ways... hating people who want to take a fun vacation in the desert is the latest trend, you know. And following the latest trends might make you...a hipster.

Fully agreed! So disappointing to see a backlash against something as a fashion. I'll wager those hating it have never been.

Keep that attitude. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925933)

Yes, I met sooo many pretentious douchebags there every year I went. It's nothing but frat boys and chavs as far as the eye can see - they even make you do a kegstand on entry to prove you can "hang with the heavies".

It's helped me get in touch with my inner Broseph, and pop my collar year after year. After all, Pauly D was headlining this year...

Re:How about this? (2)

Shoten (260439) | about a year ago | (#44925959)

Don't go to "Burning Man".

"Burning Man" is for pretentious douchebags.

That seems a rather ironic thing to say, since you're posting it in response to a guide for how to make it easier for people to attend, in direct contravention to some of the pretension that the OP calls out.

Re:How about this? (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#44926081)

One million percent agree.

It's an "open" festival for the most "open minded" of counter culture crusaders...who end up forming their own elitist clique of snobbery, grossly ridiculing and excoriating newbs pretty much for "being new" and whose experimentalist outlook really pretty much ends up with smoking weed, not bathing, and convincing women that showing us their tits is "freedom of expression", not simply indulging adolescent male impulses.

Re:How about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926307)

two out of three aint bad? lets take care of the bathing thing

Re:How about this? (2)

kolbe (320366) | about a year ago | (#44926253)

^This. I once opted to attend this and contacted several individuals to offer my services. About 2 months into being part of the planning E-mails I realized just how bass-ackwards the organizers were and backed out of helping them.

The only people who go to this are those wanting:

a) Drugs, Art and Music
b) Drugs and Sex
c) Drugs, Sex and Music

Just say no.

so cool ya know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925353)

cool stuff stops being cool when everyone and their fucking grandmother are doin the trendy cool stuff, ya know? All that's missing is for someone to say how burning man was "so epic"

god i wish all you burners would just stay there (1)

ebubna (765457) | about a year ago | (#44925375)


Re:god i wish all you burners would just stay ther (2, Informative)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44925549)

And they wish you'd stay away, square.

Normally... (4, Insightful)

tocsy (2489832) | about a year ago | (#44925407)

Normally I hate the people who make this comment, but this time it's actually true:

How is this either a)news for nerds, or b)stuff that matters?

Re:Normally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925495)

Yea this is ridiculous. Nerds != hipsters, there may be overlap, but they're not one and the same.

Re:Normally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925555)


Try furries and woks.

But yes the overlap thing.

Re:Normally... (4, Informative)

mcoletti (367) | about a year ago | (#44925543)

I proffer the following syllogism:

I am a nerd
I go to burner events
I have not been to Burning Man
I want to go to Burning Man
I found some of the advice useful
Therefore this was useful news that matters to me, a nerd

Re:Normally... (2)

Phylarr (981216) | about a year ago | (#44926483)

By the same logic, news about my cat belongs on Slashdot because I am a nerd and it would matter to me.

Re:Normally... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926543)

As a different nerd, I approve of stories about cats. I've been looking at photos of clouded leopards to cheer myself up on this Monday.

Re:Normally... (4, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44925569)

Because it turns out that a large portion of people who go to Burning Man are in the tech field. Many are from Northern California, and Burning Man is a place where a lot of folks with tech experience come and put their knowledge to use by cobbling together interesting technical devices for fun. It's not just camping in the desert, although it is that at a bare minimum.

Re:Normally... (2)

travdaddy (527149) | about a year ago | (#44925577)

Hipsters go to Burning Man. A few years ago hipsters thought it would be cool to be nerds. Apparently it has caught on enough now so that there is a loose association between Burning Man and nerds.

Hipsters ruin everything.

Re:Normally... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925661)

Well, I for one found this useful. Who knew it took so much planning to do drugs in the desert?

Re:Normally... (1)

Garridan (597129) | about a year ago | (#44925697)

Burning man is essentially the Pennsic of the maker community. There are a lot of nerds that go to burning man. Lotsa arduinos projects and hackers of all stripes. It's not just a drug scene.

Re:Normally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926557)

you forgot to put lots of Americans of European ancestry,

some crowds consider going to Atlanta, Georgia during the summer as an amazing activity,

I am of neither group

Re:Normally... (5, Informative)

ForCripeSake (932432) | about a year ago | (#44925899)

Good question!.

As a nerd I am extremely interested in Burning Man because it is one of the largest non commercial technical and logistical collaborations on the planet. If slashdot's collective boner Re: Makerdom, hacking, 3d-printing is an genuine, then there is no fucking way you shouldn't care about Burning Man unless you are coming from a standpoint of ignorance.

Mechanical, civil, software, and probably a dozen other fields of engineering are exercised though the creation of art installations, mutant vehicles, A/V LED displays, pyrotechnics, welding/sclupting etc. Things get made PURLEY FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING SOMETHING THAT SOMEONE MIGHT LIKE TO LOOK AT instead of the tedious bullshit someone pays you to make at the 9 to 5. Makers are out in force at Burning Man and related events, and if you think that this is just some hippy bullshit you are parroting the collective "wisdom" of a handful of internet know it alls, or (and I'm sorry if this is the case) you seriously ran with the wrong crowd. I've gained more meaningful and applied technical experience preparing for events like these than many of my formal technical classes have ever offered. Hell, I got to play with Arduinos, Kinects, and picked up some basic EE for free thanks to art grants.

Yes, there are hippie types. Yes, there are douchebags. Maybe that is true of all events with a population of >40k participants? I am really disappointed at Slashdot's attitude towards events like these because we are using our supposedly vast technical intellect to be dismissive and small towards something that is right up our goddamned alley. We are giving bad advice, plain and simple.

Re:Normally... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925943)

Because Burning Man was born out of techie geek nerds? Do you not know the Burning Man history?

Re:Normally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926567)

Why did you bother even reading this if it were not a subject you deemed suitable?

Best advice for Burning Man: (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44925415)

Sunblock. Lots of sunblock.

What a waste of time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925431)

I'd rather just go camping in the woods. If you want crowds, stay in the city.

Re:What a waste of time (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44926477)

To say nothing of the fact that Burning man now bans 'private' explosives, dogs and guns. I'll admit that dogs were a bad idea as they get scared and run away.

Uh...wasn't Burning Man last month? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year ago | (#44925433)

>> While nothing can really 'prepare' you for your first time at Burning Man

Uh...wasn't Burning Man last month? Why the hell would anyone care NOW?

Re:Uh...wasn't Burning Man last month? (1)

mcoletti (367) | about a year ago | (#44925571)

Because Burning Man is a recurring annual event, and many on here, such as myself, have not been, but want to go, and so found some of the advice useful.

Re:Uh...wasn't Burning Man last month? (2)

DriveDog (822962) | about a year ago | (#44925831)

Now's an excellent time to start thinking about next year's.

The fullness of lame. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925447)

Burning man was cool.... The first couple of years.
And then. Just like EVERY COOL THING EVER... It became to be about the money and got all corporatized.
And now. it's a bunch of 'hipsters' spending a fuckload of money pretending they're different.

Damm sad.
The man got burnt by greed.

Re:The fullness of lame. (1)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44925599)

And of course, its the same comment every year...Burning Man has jumped the shark; it's no longer cool....people were saying that 15 years ago. And every year people have to point out to people like you that the event keeps getting bigger and bigger and yet advertisements are STILL banned at Burning Man.

Careful with your hipster-hating attitude. Hipster-hating is the latest trend. And a slavish attention to the latest trends...well, that makes you a hipster.

Re:The fullness of lame. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925687)

So both following the latest trends and hating the latest trends makes one a hipster? Crap...I guess we're all douchey hipsters then.

Re:The fullness of lame. (1)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44925993)

If you are hating on hipsters, you aren't just following the latest are actively engaging in it.

By the definition of the hipster-hating morons who frequent these boards, that makes you a hipster.

Re:The fullness of lame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926141)

If you are hating on hipsters, you aren't just following the latest are actively engaging in it.

By the definition of the hipster-hating morons who frequent these boards, that makes you a hipster.

As you have established yourself as an arch-hipster, I can see how the hipster hating trend is difficult for you. On the one hand, you are a devout hipster and must embrace all trends until they become "mainstream," on the other hand, this trend is to hate you for being a hipster. As such, you caught in a hipstercritical self-loathing until you can either end or mainstream the hipster hatred trend. So long as it remains a simple condescending response from people who do not live by trends, it is too much a trend to ignore and too little a trend to be mainstream.

On the other hand, most of the people who scoff at hipsters are not bound by the hipster code and can utilize or ignore trends at their leisure. So your attempts at attacking the hipster-hatred trend are bound to fail because of a different core outlook on life. Some of the more inherently malicious non-hipsters may, in fact, act to intentionally keep the hipster-hate at the proper level of obscurity to perpetuate self-destructive behavior among the devout hipsters and doubt among the casual hipsters.

Re:The fullness of lame. (1)

Herder Of Code (2989779) | about a year ago | (#44926279)

I'm not sure where the whole "Burning Man is for hipsters" thing comes from but it's so far from the truth it's hilarious. Yes, some people could be considered hipsters, I guess, but really you have so many subcultures there or just plain ordinary people like me who go there for a week to have a blast, build some great art, meet interesting people etc.

Re:The fullness of lame. (1)

foma84 (2079302) | about a year ago | (#44925679)

Rainbow gatherings didn't.

Re:The fullness of lame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925797)

Did you create every comment here about hipsters and how burning man sucks? Because they're all the exact same. Lame.

Thanks for the advice (5, Informative)

mcoletti (367) | about a year ago | (#44925499)

I've only been to a regional burn, Playa del Fuego, but I realize that's but a shadow of the real thing. (I think of it it as a training camp.) Given the expense and distance of Burning Man, one might look to going to a local regional burn first to get a flavor of the real deal. As a plus, you might befriend folks that are going to Burning Man and be able to camp with them.

Fortunately I'm already going to heed part of your advice when I do go. I've got a slot available to me with the Irish pub, The Dusty Swan. Seems they're a little short on bagpipers, and I'm all too happy to fulfill that role. And I met the proprietor of The Dusty Swan at Playa del Fuego, so there ya go.

tl;dr (2, Funny)

neo-mkrey (948389) | about a year ago | (#44925515)

There, I just had to say it, now I feel better, thanks.

The building is half the fun (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925623)

I went to burning man many times before I had kids. My buddies and I like to build things so for us it was fun to build a geodesic dome and try our hand at a fancy evap pond for our camps grey water. If you are going alone then I recommend joining a camp and its ok to pay camp dues as it costs money to bring all of that shit out there but pick your camp for its theme and because you like the idea for the camp and/or the people and not just on the services they provide to you. The whole point is to try to be a part of the camp and not to just be a customer of the camp. So if you like to play bocci find a Bocci camp. You think that the barbie death camp is hilarious try to see if you can camp with them. Or better yet find a artist that needs some help before or during the event (having worked on several large installations myself over the years that I attended I highly recommend it) and volunteer some time (they always need the help). Maximize your chances for making friends as burning man is way more fun with friends.

Grizzly 11 year veteran out

Is this what burning man is about these days? (2)

PSXer (854386) | about a year ago | (#44925639)

>pay money for services
>pay money for services
>pay money for services

Wait, how is this different than spending a week in the city? I mean, other than the fact that you get to tell people you went to BURNING MAN, of course. I survived in the desert- by paying a lot of money!

There are still a lot of good campsites in the US. Most of them don't have porta-potties.

Fail = Your radical self-reliance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925701)

So your radical self-reliance which is a keystone of Burning Man is to completely rely on other people by means of PAYING them for transportation, lodging, food, water, electricity, even a bike. And your search and reading comprehetion must be zero because you were unable to find the Newbie's Guid to attending BM which is on their site and repeatedly mentioned and refered to for first timers. And the cherry on top is after a week of scarfing free food from everyone else you think handing out anit-bacteria lotion for a few minutes by the porta-potties is "giving back to the community" - leaving your bottle the first time you saw it was needed would be giving -- what you did is just self-centered egotistical worthless crap.

You are lucky you posted this on /. instead of BM website as they don't full their punches -- you would be told you're a f*ckard and should go off and die!

Re:Fail = Your radical self-reliance (1)

xevioso (598654) | about a year ago | (#44926029)

Only some people go to Burning Man and engage in "radical self reliance". Some people just go to party, and having to bus out your own trash and cook for yourself is a minor inconvenience. People go to BM for different reasons. Doing the self-reliance thing is fun the first time, but it gets tedious; I personally don't want to spend a ton of money to go do that. I go to BM for other reasons, just like tens of thousands of other people.

Re:Fail = Your radical self-reliance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926177)

I think it boils down to going there to be there and see the sights, and going there to participate. Standing around and gawking at everyone else's awesome is the former. Being awesome yourself is the latter.

The key is that the latter need to not antagonize the former, because honestly most people aren't awesome the first time.

From a 7 time burner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925821)

The info in the article is a bit basic and can be found in more complete form elsewhere. With this being a site of News for Nerds I would have hoped to see more about some of the ingenious tech that people employ to do cool things on the playa. Swamp coolers that can give you 60 degree temps in a hexa yurt when it is around 100 degrees outside. Fire breathing dragon art cars, buses converted to sail boats with working sails and sound systems to rival the best dance club in your town, Some of the great minds in tech are out there and mixing with some of the great minds in art with no goal other than trying to blow your mind. Article doesn't do the tech justice.

If you are interested in seeing my humble offering of photos from the event they are here: .

If you want to see better photos Burning Man photos look up Trey Ratcliff's photos up on Stuck in Customs or on Google+.

Re:From a 7 time burner (2)

dentin (2175) | about a year ago | (#44926027)

I went with a 'family' camp of 6-8 people, with only one veteran burner, two single-year ladies, and everyone else newbies. As one of the noobs, I built a couple of cooled hexayurts, one for me and one for the veteran. They were totally worth the time we put into them, if for no other reason than naps in the dark at 2 pm.

I can safely say that we relied on nothing but ice and portapotties from others while there. Our spot is also green on the moop map. I'm not sure how I feel about going as easy as the OP. I'm sure it would make some things easier, but the experience would be so vastly different that I'm not clear it would be the same festival.

You 'rented' a bike for $200...? (2)

knarf (34928) | about a year ago | (#44925951)

Let me guess: you have an iPhone. Just an assumption, but your actions seem to fit the pattern.

'Renting' a bike for $200 is... not exactly cost effective. Why did you not buy a bike for that price instead? Donate it to charity if you don't need it afterwards. Why line some unscrupulous bike shark's pockets?

You can buy a bike at Burning Man for $200? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year ago | (#44926299)

They sell bikes at Burning Man for $200? Or perhaps you meant to buy the bike at home and pay several hundred dollars to ship it as close as you could get to burning man and then rent a car to go pick it up and drive it to Burning Man. Or maybe you just like the idea of a thousand mile ride to Burning Man on a sub-$200 bike with all your gear strapped to your back.

He sounds more like someone with a job than an iPhone (though, to be honest, you do need a job to afford an iPhone so maybe you're onto something). Those of us with jobs in the "real world" appreciate that sometimes time is money, and with the limited time we have we'd rather not spend it all on logistics when someone else offers it already done. If you bill $100-$300/hr (or more), spending $1000 to get as much as possible out of a once-a-year event doesn't really seem that excessive.

Re:You 'rented' a bike for $200...? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about a year ago | (#44926475)

I'm glad to see that you thoroughly skimmed the summary. The issue raised is the difficulty in getting a bicycle from a bicycle store to the burning man event. It is estimated that the additional cost of transporting a bicycle (compared to the planned mode of transportation: catching a plane then a bus) would exceed $200. This leads to a potential business venture to economically transport bicycles from bicycle shops more efficiently than people could on their own, and then charge them somewhere between what it costs to transport bicycles on mass and what it costs to transport bicycles individually. Welcome to capitalism.

Re:You 'rented' a bike for $200...? (1)

Herder Of Code (2989779) | about a year ago | (#44926527)

Well it's almost worth it. Note that I NEVER rented but here's how it works if you buy: If you fly in, there's a few problem with bringing your own bike, which I faced. I was in Reno, mind you: -Bikes disapear crazy fast in Reno, even walmart for those sub-130$. -You're renting a car, you need to buy a frigging bike rack now. You then have the added stress of scratching the rental car with the bikes hanging from a super cheap bike rack. Note that the bikes won't fit inside with 2.5 gallons per person per day with 3 people in the car plus food, tent etc. Note that we flew in with all our equipment except the food, if you're efficient you can pack everything in a your luggage and still be withing you weight allowance. -The bike is destroyed at the end of the week and it's probably full of spray paint anyway and you can't bring it on a plane. The big money saver here is to buy a Burning Man bike from the Reno Bike Project. They take trashed BM each year and make them playa worthy again and sell them back to you for very cheap. They will even take them back afterward. PS: Walmart bikes have a reputation for dying on day 2 on the playa, I witnessed that myself several times. I must say the guy who wrote his experience is much more wealthy than me, I usually DO NOT HAVE A bike because I can't afford to bring one. I actually walk, which is pretty crazy if you've been there. I just scrape together the money for 1) Plane tickets 700$, 2) BM tickets 300$ 3) Car rental split with others 500$-1000$ depending on rental outlet 4)Food: whatever is left :). I mean fuck, two years ago between us we had 50$ left for 2 days in Reno for food and everything after the burn. We agreed to bet everything on the red in roulette, yes we won :).

Re:You 'rented' a bike for $200...? (1)

Herder Of Code (2989779) | about a year ago | (#44926541)

Err crap all my formatting disapeared and I have to go, sorry :P

Nature finds a way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44925967)

Watching from the sidelines, I get a kick out of how things get commercialized. It's just like Jurassic Park where they thought they had reproduction all prevented by cloning females... then parthenogenesis occured. Capitalism is just like that. It finds a way.

Nevermind that Burning Man is a corporation and people actually work for it. (What's the interview like there?). They've got people conducting trade outside the venue by selling these camp memberships. That's a new one on me; but it's not surprising.

No, no, just fly in. (4, Funny)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44926071)

No, the way to do Burning Man is to fly in. Burning Man has its own temporary airport, and six charter operators are authorized to use it. If you come in on a charter flight, fly in, or charter your own aircraft, you avoid the traffic jam. Not only that, the airport has its own VIP entrance gate with no line. Send your people on ahead with a truck, so your camp is all set up and operating when you get there. That's the way to do it.

Consider the advantages of fractional jet ownership.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926121)

This article should be titled "Rain Man's guide to Burning Man."

I mean, come on. How hard can it be. I do not need a 4 page article to learn how to bring some basic camping supplies. Yet another list of the obvious from Bennett Haselton.

A crossbow?! (3, Funny)

doggo (34827) | about a year ago | (#44926145)

A crossbow?!

Why don't you just go on down to Home Depot and buy yourself a pre-killed, pre-skinned deer.?! Jiminy H. Cricket toasting over an open fire!

Crossbows are for wussies. What you want to do, see, is make yourself an atlatl, and atlatl darts. You'll need to knap yourself some obsidian atlatl dart points. While you're knapping the atlatl points you should knap yourself an obsidian skinning blade too. Then after you kill the deer, you can use the antlers and gut to to mount the skinning blade.

'Course the atlatl darts would be better if you used gut to lash the points to the shafts. But that pre-supposes that you already got a deer... which ideally you should have... by taking a club, ambushing a deer, running it down and beating it to death (be sure to apologize to the deer spirit for taking one of its brothers).

With all this hide & gut, you've got the makings of a good travois, which you'll need to haul your gear out to the playa, 'cause they ain't no deer on the playa. An if you got a lotta gear, yer gonna need to go and capture you a mustang, and break it, to pull the travois. So, better put that on your to-do list.

A month later... (2)

maas15 (1357089) | about a year ago | (#44926187)

I think the most important aspect of this article is that people who went to burning man are still talking about burning man.

wow, someone who went ot burning man (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44926219)

wants to talk about burning man? And let everyone know they HAVE to go becasue, wow, man.

color me shocked.

Or maybe Portland has made me jaded.

So, you're missing the point. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926293)

It's not that doing things the hard way encourages you to enjoy the event anymore. But, encouraging people to do things the easy way discourages people from doing things to help participate in the event.

If you're looking to bring a suit case and a tent, how are you going to add to burning man. It's not just a festival. It's a participatory event. The fact that I do things the hard way means I show up with the experience, tools and (in my case) extra equipment to help the other people around me set up.

Plus, the advice you're giving for your second and third bullet points are just patently terrible. First off, the rent on site bikes are generally set up for burners who come from a long way (East Coast, International, etc). If you're encouraging new people to get it, it's taking away resources from people who really need it more. People with the means to bring things out should do so, so the people who can't can take advantage of the resources on playa.

As far as your third point. It's perfectly valid. But most people aren't going to be able to take advantage of it unless they're living in a city with a theme camp which they're interested in camping with. If you're only local option is the local gay poly mature camp, then most people probably wouldn't want to go down that route. Some camps will bring people in who aren't close enough to do pre-event set up. But, they also ask you to do shifts for whatever their theme camp is doing. As a new person and someone who didn't set up before hand, it could be shit jobs like de-mooping dance floors at night when you'd rather be out having fun. You could be sitting around washing dishes in the highest heat of the day. And since there's no running water, you'll be dealing with stinky dirty water the whole time. You could be the person running the hydration station during the time of the day when no one is out and you're basically vegging out for 4 hours when you could really be spending the time doing something more interesting. These things need to be done. But, be well aware that you can't just pay to get into a theme camp and have them take care of everything for you. And if you're the kind of person who would commit to this and "quit" when you decide it's not worth your time, then you're really not understanding what this event is about.

Sure it's much easier to set up for this event than most people make it out to be. But, that's not the point, you want to be prepped to the point where you don't have to worry about things when you get out there. If you have your bike, you don't have to worry about renting one or finding a yellow bike if you want to go out into deep playa and enjoy all the random art out there.

If you have a great shelter, you have a home base to retreat to if you're camping somewhere without better shelter.

You don't NEED about 80% of what the guide lists besides the transport, food and water. But, it makes the event 1000x better if you're prepared. And the advice you've given is really not an option for a lot of people. The danger is that they don't do any work and about two weeks before the event, they try to set up what you mention and they either decide they can't go or they show up woefully under-prepared.

Good advice. (1)

justfred (63412) | about a year ago | (#44926353)

This was a fine article; I'm a long-time burner and I see no problem with your methods (or your posting here!). I can't imagine getting everything I needed into three suitcases; I usually bring a trailer! Hooking up with an existing camp is great advice, also because you've got a built in set of default friends. Hooking up with an art project, like the CORE groups, is even better! Burning Man is best when you become one of the creators, not just one of the consumers.

With one exception, that is still ancient Burner lore: rebar. Don't use rebar. It's hard to get in, hard to get out, and injury-prone. Buy large stakes from Home Depot -the yellow/orange plastic ones - or 12" nails, if they have them. Or buy large spade stakes (10" or so) at the surplus store. And be sure someone in your camp has a small sledge to drive them in (and lever to remove them).

This article confirms what I thought about BM (3, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#44926367)

It's officially a tourist trap for yuppies. Bike and camping gear rentals???

I miss JonKatz (2)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | about a year ago | (#44926443)

Bennett Haselton makes me miss Jon Katz.

I know.

Question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44926469)

So are bike rentals one of the few forms of commerce that are allowed then?

Ignore this article completely (2)

ZuchinniOne (1617763) | about a year ago | (#44926531)

If you actually have any interest in Burning Man other than to say "I went" you should disregard pretty much everything this guys says.

Burning Man is an experience ... not a place you visit. The city is built by the people who go ... INCLUDING YOU. So go with something that you want to share with everyone else! Show people how awesome you are and teach people about things they didn't know.

You will get out of burning man exactly what you put into it. And if you do what this guy suggests, you sadly won't get much.

One more note ... the people who go are a VERY diverse group. My camp included a neuroscientist, an astronomer, an author, a person who works at the White House, several business owners, an opera singer, an android developer, and people from Russia, Brasil, Japan, Mexico, and the US.

The gifts I made to give away were necklaces that I hand carved and polished out of a piece of stromatolite (3.5 billion year old fossilized algae) I bought.

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