75 lessons learned

Advice from (mostly) veteran Burners

Brian Smith says not to forget vinegar and rebar tent stakes.

Brian Smith says not to forget vinegar and rebar tent stakes.


We asked 1,936 of our closest Facebook friends one question: “Hey Burners, what’s your Burning Man advice?” Here’s what some of them had to say. (Some were more talkative than others.)

1-4) Allow the playa to decide some things for you. It will provide. … And if you get braids done, get Scalpicin and braid sheen. … Wear socks to bed with lotion inside. and drink Diet Squirt and tequila … or Vodka Fresca.
—Jill Marlene

5) Stroll through local antique stores for hippest hats & vintage clothing to wear to Burning Man.
—Sharon Nickson Cox

6) Remember to drink lots of water! It’s super dry and hot! And all that dancing, walking, biking and participating dehydrates you.
—Amanda Burden

7) Everyone on the playa runs out of cigarettes, simultaneously, at exactly 2:47 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Plan accordingly.
—Jerry Snyder

8) Don’t be underneath the temple when they burn it. You will die.
—Ryan Goldhammer

9-10) Wet wipes and Immodium.
—Katie Schumacher

11) Can’t stress it enough, WATER, WATER, WATER and more WATER, PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) kind of qualifies as water, but plain old water is best!
—Holly Fechko Plummer

12) Don’t forget your bike!!!!
—Rachel Milon

13) Drop the pretense of a green event, for starters.
—Bob Fulkerson

14-15) Bring a Misty Mate (small pressurized water mister) and a neti pot. Keep cool externally and moisturize the nasal passages.
—Yvette Deighton

16) When you get home, watch Mad Max and marvel at the similarities!
—Alec Binyon

17-19) Earplugs are a must to try and keep out the droning techno-noise! Whatever you do bring, make sure to bring plenty to share with your newfound friends! Sharing people have much more fun on the playa! Another important item(s): Goggles, dustmask/gasmask—if you don’t know why, you will after a good dust storm!
—Jason Lappin

20) Be sure to hit your local Wal-Mart and find the handwritten sign that says “Burning Man Merchandise Here.” Burning Man used to be cool … in 1995. Now it’s like Vegas without the buffets.
—Michael Martinez

21) At our camp, you’ll find buffets. Advice: Bring everything you will need.
—Dennis Farias

22) If you for some strange reason get bored on the playa, go sit by The Man. Entertainment will come to you. Then, go out and share the entertainment. Reciprocity runs the city.
—Jessica MacHutta

23-25) If you smoke, bring a portable ashtray, like an Altoids tin; DO NOT drop them on the playa! LEAVE NO TRACE! That also means that if you see some trash on the ground that isn’t yours, CLEAN IT UP! Always have a bag with you so you can do your part! And please light up your BIKES at NIGHT!
—Jessica Jones

26-31) Take toilet paper. Spray bottles for cooling off. (Note: Don’t use it at noon when it’s blazing hot!) Water, water, water. A bike for getting around faster. Goggles for sudden dust storms. And most importantly, pack your patience! You will be living with some 50,000 other people in a confined space for several days.
—Kellene Stockwell

Jessica Jones suggests that smokers bring something to collect their butts in, like an Altoids tin.


32-43) Excellent shelter from dust storms. Tons of water and ice.

My personal fave, it’s gross, but take a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a lid (or two), fill with powerful kitty litter. (You can scoop the icky parts out. This comes in so handy at night when you don’t want to use those nasty portas! BLECCCHH! haha! They are the ugliest things I have ever seen. …

SUNSCREEN galore. First aid kit. Tunes so you can block out the annoying electronica shit that blasts all night long. Ear plugs. And if you like solace (good advice), park on the outer perimeter of the camp/city. You can always bike in, it’s so close. But I like my privacy. Mommies who are preggies should stay OUT of the sun, obviously. It’s awfully hot out there. Bring a big brimmed hat and some yo-yos!

For those who don’t spin fire, there is a myriad of LED toys out there. I use the Oggs (a name brand), you can purchase them at www.flowtoys.com. They are so cool at night as they have LED lights in them. FUN, FUN!!!!!
—Dianna Sion

44-55) Costumes are optional. Be yourself, that’s not.

Take care of yourself and aid others when you can.

Pay attention to heavy equipment. It’s not art and it can hurt you.

Don’t just bring water, drink the stuff and share it.

Bring a mister. Wet yourself with it often.

Ask permission before wetting others.

Bring your most comfortable shoes. To enjoy the festival is to trek it.

Have three pair of socks for every day. Change your socks after adventures.

Make it easy to respect your body’s needs and plan your nutrition ahead.

Do hot meals, cold meals, no-cook meals, fruit, grains and snacks with vitamins.

And remember guys, No shirt-cocking! DPW [Black Rock City’s Department of Public Works) has a pants cannon and is not afraid to use it.

Oh, and hair stuff? If you have hair, plan to have a detangler or something—leave in conditioner, extra wide tooth comb.
—Michele Ravera, DPW Dispatcher “Detour”

56-64) Baby wipes, ziplock bags and duct tape. A sense of humor, plenty of beer, earplugs, eyeshades, and something to give away to those new you meet.
—Larry DeVincenzi

65-72) Rebar tent stakes, and something to put over the end sticking out of the ground. A carpet scrap to put in front of your tent. Did someone mention socks? Vinegar for your feet to neutralize the alkali. Many lights for the night (Darkwads). Some kind of moop container to put that thing you just picked up off the ground into. Oh and socks (playa foot is the worst). Try to bring no expectations.
—Brian Smith

73- 75) Hydration is key! Try to get a shower every day, you’ll feel better. Don’t be a douche bag. Don’t party too hard, its just not fun to wake up covered in Playa during a dust storm.
—Gina Adams