Ready to burn

It’s time to Prep for the Playa

It takes a lot of thoughtful planning and foresight to make Burning Man the wild, reckless frenzy it can be. That goes for the people who dutifully fill out the permit forms so the event can even take place to the folks building the city and assembling their artwork to you—the person about to step out onto that otherworldly landscape known as the playa. So before the party begins, get your things in order. After all, this is no ordinary camping trip. Whipping winds, dust storms, heat, cold, rain—did we mention dust?—is not only possible but almost certain. And if you run out of something, it’s not like there are shopping centers in Black Rock City.

That’s why we put together this guide, Prep for the Playa, every year. In it, you’ll find advice from veteran burners who have steadily watched the crowds and The Man change year after year, an extensive list of things you must and might want to take with you, a profile of a local group of artists whose fire-breathing creation you’ll see on the playa, and you’ll get to play dress-up with the sexiest paper dolls we’ve seen.

One last survival tool you’ll need—directions to Burning Man: Take I-80 east for about 30 miles. Take the Wadsworth/Pyramid Lake exit 43 to Hwy. 447. Go 1 mile to Wadsworth, and turn left, staying on Hwy. 447. From there, it’s 78 miles to Gerlach. From Gerlach, continue on Hwy. 447 for 1 mile to the fork. Take the right-hand fork, Hwy.34, and continue 11 miles to the Burning Man entrance.