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Everything You Need For Burning Man 2017: The Last Minute Amazon Prime Guide

Burning Man at Night

This guide covers everything you need to get for Burning Man, and it’s all via Amazon Prime so you can get it delivered at the last minute.

Your Day Bag

CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack
CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack

No one wants to spend time at Burning Man re-organizing and searching through their stuff. That’s why I recommend getting two Camelbaks, one for day and one for night. Then the switch from day to night is as simple as switching backpacks.

Here are the day-specific items you’ll pack:

  • Sun Goggles x2 — Protect your eyes from sun and dust.  As with all essential items, get at least 2, because you’re bound to lose things at Burning Man.

    Pyramex V2G Sun Goggles

Your Night Bag

Fill your night time Camelbak with these necessities:

  • El-Wire x3  — Sew this amazing glowy wire into your night bag so you can be seen at night.  This is a matter of safety as well as fun.  This El-Wire has 3 modes (solid, slow blink, and crazy fast blink) so you can signal that you’re rave-ready at the drop of a dime.
    Lychee 15ft Neon Light El Wire
    Lychee Neon Light El Wire
    • El-Wire requires AA Batteries to work, and you’ll need to replace them a few times throughout the week.

Stuff That’s Always On You

DLAND Carribeaners

You need some stuff on you day and night.  Either store it in your Camelbaks or clip it to your waist with a Carribeaner:

Your Sleeping Area

There are lots of options for sleeping quarters, but let’s assume that like most Burners you’re getting a Tent. As with your Shade Structure, you need to use Rebar (rather than tent stakes) for securing your tent against the wind.

Get at least a 4-Person Tent, even if it’s just you in there, so you have breathing room and space to store your stuff.

Coleman 4-Person Instant Tent
Coleman 6-Person Instant Tent

Consider getting a 6-Person Tent if you can, because they’re large enough that you can stand up straight inside of them.  That extra convenience matters a lot when you’re going in and out of your tent several times a day.  Above all, make sure that your chosen tent can keep the dust out.

All of your bedtime stuff will go inside your Tent:

Your Kitchen and Food

Some camps have extensive communal kitchens, while others require you to provide your own food and drink.  I’m going to assume here that your camp provides a daily meal or two, but that you need to provide much of your pantry, such as:

Make sure that you have real hot meals either provided by your camp, or that you cook for yourself.  Just snacking it for a week is not healthy or enjoyable.  If you’re doing your own cooking, get the necessary cooking materials like a Stove and Cooking Utensils.

Your Chill Space

Here’s what you should have on hand for your camp’s chill communal spaces:

All-purpose First Aid Kit
All-purpose First Aid Kit

Leaving No Trace

Leaving No Trace on the Black Rock Desert means disposing of any MOOP and gray water you create.  Your camp may have a waste plan already in place, but the bare minimums are:

  • For MOOP, bring Garbage Bags.  Be a good Burner and also use them to cleanup random MOOP that you run into on the Playa.
  • Gray Water can be dealt with using an Evaporation Pond, built from a dark plastic Tarp and 2X4s.  People hate on this approach, because it’s often messy/gross, but better methods like the Evapotron are harder to setup.

Your Bike

A Bicycle is a must for getting around Burning Man. Get one with wide tires that can handle the terrain.

If you’re getting this bike just for Burning Man, I recommend renting from Playa Bike Repair.  They even offer a delivery service, where you can pick your bike up and drop it off at their camp .  That means less packing, which is always a win.

However you end up getting your bike, make sure to get these accoutrements for it:

Your Gift

Cool Glow LED Flashing Rings - Assorted Styles 24ct
Cool Glow LED Flashing Rings – Assorted Styles 48ct

Last but not least you should have a Gift for your fellow Burners.  I’ve always found that these Glowy Rings go over well at Burning Man, or anywhere else for that matter.

Packing It All Up

Rubbermaid’s Storage Containers are worth spending the extra dollar on, because they’re incredibly durable and easy to stack and pack.  I’ve stored all of my stuff in these things in my 3 years on the Playa.

Rubbermaid Roughneck Storage Container, 14-gallon
Rubbermaid Roughneck Storage Container, 14-gallon

Am I missing anything? Let me know in the comments below and I can update this guide accordingly. Have a great Burning Man!

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How to Prepare For Bugs at Burning Man 2015

Bugpocalyspe at Burning Man
Source: Toovia

Update: According to the official Burning Man Blog, the bugs are almost entirely gone

It’s all over. You can resume your packing. Sure, throw in some bug spray, because you never know, it could happen again… Always be prepared when you come here. It’s called radical self reliance.

The Everything You Need For Burning Man Guide left out a major thing for 2015 — the Bug Problem.

Again, we’ve got you covered.  The stuff listed here is cheap and useful even in the no-bugs scenario.  And it’s all via Amazon Prime, so you can prepare for bugs last minute.

So what exactly is going on?

Bugs at Burning Man
Stink Bugs and Seedbugs. (Source: BRC Champagne Lounge)

As of Thursday there were 3 types of bugs on the Playa:

  1. Green Stink Bugs.  Whether you actually find them stinky will vary based on your personal preference.  Some people like the smell, others can’t stand it, and in Laos they frequently eat them.
  2. Nysius Seed bugs that have been feeding on Mustard Seed.
  3. Mosquitos that are in close range to West Nile Virus occurrences.

A recent article in Gizmodo explains how it happened:

Due to unseasonably wet weather, the grass on the hills is unusually verdant, and that’s resulted in more bugs showing up in the desert than usual. There are green beetles called stink bugs (so-called because they emit a coriander-like odor when disturbed), mosquitos, and gnat-like seed bugs called Nysius

Current word on the street indicates that the problem has mostly died down.  However, I wonder whether the giant light explosion known as Burning Man could bring forth another bug exodus from neighboring areas, because all of these bugs are drawn to light.

The Challenge

Bugs on the Playa
Bugs on the Playa as of Monday. Source: Bryan Warner

These are not easy bugs to handle. The Stink Bugs are resistant to most insecticides.  People are reporting rashes from the Seed Bugs because of the noxious mustard oils they’ve been eating.

Now, if this were a normal festival, the bugs wouldn’t be too hard to deal with.  We could spray-kill and glue-trap the fuckers and call it a day.  But this is Burning Man, which means that we have to Leave No Trace and respect the natural environment of the Black Rock Desert.  Quite a challenge, but Burners are up to the task.

Keeping Bugs Away With Scents

Indigo Wild Lavender-Mint Aromatherapy Spray (4 fl. oz)
Indigo Wild Lavender-Mint Aromatherapy Spray (4 fl. oz)

Stink Bugs don’t like the smell of Lavender or Mint.  But Humans do!  So get yourself some Lavender Mint Water.

They don’t like Cedar Oil either, but it isn’t powerful enough to work outdoors, and a lot of people don’t like the scent.  And don’t get me started on Garlic Spray.  That’s just making yourself smell worse than the stink bugs. These bugs love fruity smells, so leave the strawberry perfume at home.

Repelling the Mosquitos is a solved problem.  Just get yourself a Mosquito Repellant Wristband and you’re set.

Mosbug Mosquito Repellent Bracelets, 5 pack
Mosbug Mosquito Repellent Bracelets, 5 pack

Dressing for the Occassion

These bugs have a preference for Blue and UV Light over other colors.  I figure this is the year to rock Orange El-Wire and let the bugs chase the hapless Blues around.

Onite 16ft. Orange El-Wire
Onite 16ft. Orange El-Wire

Also, the bugs prefer dark clothing to light, presumably because dark crevices are where they hunt for water.

Dealing with Rashes

Early Arrivals on the Playa have been reporting rashes, thought to be caused by the mustard seed the seed bugs are eating.  Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera are natural remedies for burns and welts of this type.

Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera ~ 12 oz
Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera ~ 12 oz

Just make sure that whatever you get, it doesn’t have a fruity smell to it.

Going Hardcore

Whether or not you think Bugpocalyspe is a possibility this year, you may want to go hardcore and bring a vacuum-powered Bug Zooka.  It’s 10X more powerful than a regular vacuum but costs only $23. And if the bugs aren’t a problem this year, you still have it for cleaning up MOOP.

Wyers Bug Zooka
Wyers Bug Zooka

P.S. Wired, are you seriously recommending that everyone bring a regular vacuum to Burning Man?  Ya’ll crazy.


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Setting up a Carport Shade Structure for Burning Man

You need to shade your camp from the powerful sun of the Black Rock desert.  Otherwise you’ll start each day with a wake-and bake at sunrise. Nobody wants that, especially not after a night of partying.

Carport Frame
10 x 20 ft. Carport Frame

There are several options for shade structures, but the one I’m going to recommend here is Carports, because they’re reliable against strong winds and easy to setup.

Caravan Canopy Side-Wall Kit
Carport Side Wall Kit

Amazon separately sells a 10×20 ft. Carport Frame and matching Carport Side Wall Kit that are known to work on the Playa.  The Side Wall Kit comes with Bungee Balls that attach it to the frame, but it never hurts to get more for backup and other uses.

Securing Your Carport

Securing your shade structure against the desert winds (which can go as high as 75mph) is essential.  If you don’t do this, your shade structure will shake noisily in the wind, or even fly off entirely like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz.

Rebar is the established way of securing shade structures (0r anything else) to the Playa.  Tent-stakes aren’t strong enough, so don’t rely on them.

You can buy Rebar from any home improvement store on your way to Burning Man. It’s one of the few items you can’t get last minute from Amazon. Get 18″ rebar that’s bent at the top so people don’t injure themselves by falling on it.

18″ J Hook Rebar
Gorilla Tape
Gorilla Tape
Ratchetable Nylon Straps
Ratcheting Nylon Straps

To secure your Carport, Saran Wrap its legs around adjacent Rebar stakes. Then, wrap Gorilla Tape around the Saran Wrap.  When it comes time to teardown your camp, you can simply cut the wrap/tape off.Attaching the Carport legs to Rebar is not enough, though.  You should “guy-line” each corner of your Carport for extra stability.  Use Ratcheting Nylon Straps for extra stability, and easier setup/teardown compared to rope.


Rain-Proof Floors


Aside from the Sun and the Wind and the Dust, you also have to be concerned with the possibility of Rain.  That’s why you should get Tarps to create floors and protect your camp from mud that might form during a storm.

Tools for the Job

Open Finger Work Gloves
Open Finger Work Gloves

None of this is possible without the right tools for the job.  A Mallet and a Crowbar will be your main tools for installing and removing Rebar.  Also get some Open Finger Work Gloves to protect your hands while still keeping your fingers free.

Swiss Army Knife
Swiss Army Knife

Lastly, no Desert badass should go without a Swiss Army Knife.