The last in-person Burning Man took place in 2019. Months later the world was hit with the unexpected COVID plague and Black Rock City was literally deserted. Finally, Burners can start dusting off their gear and packing up their yellow-tops because Burning Man 2022 is on! From August 28 – September 05, 2022 thousands will return “home” to Black Rock City, NV. If you managed to secure a ticket, you’ve probably started planning for your adventure. While our last guide focused on simple packing hacks, this year we revisited and updated our original Burning Man Checklist. Read on for all the tips and tricks I learned from two trips to playa. See you in dust! ⨰
Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In this crucible of creativity, all are welcome.”burningman.org
Home Away From Home
One huge difference between my two trips to BRC was my tent upgrade. My first go around, I bought a cheap one-person pop-tent and carried it onto the plane with me. Transporting the tent was easy and assembly a cinch, but one-person tents are too small for one person at burning man. This is your home away from home and not just for sleeping. You need enough space to store and organize your belonging too. In 2019, I upgraded to a 4-person tent with an “annex”. I used a blowup mattress in the main area and used the annex as storage. This time I’m nixing the mattress and laying a sleeping pad in the annex to create a makeshift bedroom. This should free up more space for storage and lounging around.
Prioritize Your Packing
My first attempt at Burning Man was in 2015, and I definitely over-packed. In addition to luggage and a carry on, I shipped three bins of supplies and a brand new Schwinn bike ahead of me. Two attempts at Radical Self-Reliance later and I learned what was essential, a waste of time, and what I regretfully forgot to pack.
One of Burning Man’s 10 Principles. Radical Self-Reliance states: “Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources. The Burning Man 10 Principles were written by Larry Harvey, at the request of the other Burning Man founders, in 2004 to help support the demand of the growth of the Burning Man Regional Network. They were written to be *descriptive* not prescriptive. They are not intended to be dogmatic. They form a cultural guide map that is aspirational, not absolute.”journal.burningman.org
Updated from our 2019 Guide to Burning Man, download and keep a copy of our Burning Man Checklist handy while you shop for supplies.
A few notes on those strange items on the list:
- LED/Blinking lights for clothes & bike
All those LED lights and EL wire sure look cool at night, but they serve an important purpose. Prevent getting squished by an art car by adding a few (or a lot) of blinking lights to your outfit, backpack and bike. As soon as the sun sets it can become impossible to see and for people to see you in deep playa. When it comes to lighting up, there’s never too much. I even stick a blinking pin on my tent before leaving camp for the day, so I can find my way back in the middle of the night.
- Balls//Toys to cover stakes and kickstand
Have you ever been rendered incapacitated by stubbing your toe? Be a good neighbor and stick a few stuffed or rubber balls on top of your tent stakes. You can also put one on your bike kickstand to protect our precious playa.
- Tutu for Tutu Tuesday
If you’re a newbie, just know —
on Tuesday we wear tutus.
- AM/FM Radio for updates & tunes
Black Rock City may be pretty unplugged, but it still has its own radio station. Tune in to BMIR 94.5 FM for updates and news about the event, and some groovy tunes. Occasionally they’ll grab a random Burner and interview them in the station’s tent. It’s worth tuning in to during meal breaks.
- Zip Lock Bags and Portable Ashtray
Don’t forget that everything your bring in, you bring out. This includes your trash and cigarette butts. Make sure to throw a few ziplock bags into your backpack. These will act as your trash bag while riding around and can be tossed in the real trash when you get back to your tent. If you smoke, don’t stomp out your smokes on the playa! An empty mint tin can act as an ashtray and emptied back at camp. I like to decorate mine with nail polish and rhinestones.
You won’t really need this until after Burning Man. Vinegar works wonders on all that dust. If you’re planning on crashing at a hotel before your trip back to the default world, get a head start on some cleaning. Fill a bathtub with water and vinegar, then soak anything you plan on wearing back home (boots, backpack, sunglasses, etc.) overnight. Hang dry in a ventilated area and spray with Febreze or perfume to make sure you don’t stink of vinegar.
Tap Into Your Talents
This is the place where dreams come true. You can be, look, and do as you please (within reason). Don’t forget to be who you authentically are and express yourself. A lot of the fun of Burning Man comes from dressing up in the wildest of outfits, but experience is really everything. Choose one activity to participate in that taps into a deep passion of yours. Maybe now is the time to restart your yoga routine? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to give a lecture on your side-gig passion? You could be like me and have a hidden musical talent. In 2015, I signed up for the Playa Pops Symphony and delighted in joining a performance at the Temple. I decided to dust of the old flute and put my chops to the test again this year. Find your thing at BRC and do it!