Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

The Ultimate Survival Packing Guide For Burning Man


by Guillema Aragon



Welcome to the ultimate survival packing guide for Burning Man! If you’re planning to attend this iconic event in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, then you’re in for a unique and unforgettable experience. Burning Man is more than just a music and arts festival – it’s a temporary city that emerges from the dust where participants come together to create a vibrant and self-sustaining community.


Surviving and thriving at Burning Man requires careful planning and preparation. You’ll need to pack essential items to ensure your comfort, safety, and enjoyment throughout the event. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what to pack for Burning Man.


From clothing and accessories to shelter and sleeping arrangements, food and water, personal hygiene, first aid supplies, safety and security measures, entertainment and recreation, and various other essentials, we’ll provide you with valuable tips and recommendations to make your Burning Man experience a success.


Whether you’re a first-time burner or a seasoned veteran, this guide will help you navigate the unique challenges and demands of surviving the week-long event. So, let’s dive in and discover what you need to pack to ensure your comfort, safety, and fun at Burning Man!


Planning and Preparation

Before you start packing for Burning Man, it’s crucial to do some thorough planning and preparation. This will ensure that you have everything you need and can maximize your experience at the event. Here are some key steps to follow:


1. Familiarize Yourself with Burning Man: Research and read up on the event. Get to know the principles, rules, and guidelines that govern Burning Man. This will help you understand what to expect and how to prepare.


2. Create a Checklist: Make a comprehensive checklist of all the items you need to pack. This will help ensure you don’t forget anything important.


3. Set a Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on your Burning Man adventure. Take into account ticket costs, transportation expenses, camping equipment, food, and any other necessities.


4. Get Your Tickets: Burning Man operates on a ticketing system, and tickets sell out quickly. Make sure to secure your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment.


5. Transportation: Determine how you’ll be getting to Burning Man. Whether you’re driving, carpooling, or using public transportation, plan your transportation arrangements and consider any necessary permits or parking passes.


6. Join Online Communities: Connect with fellow burners and join Burning Man forums or social media groups. This is a great way to get tips, advice, and recommendations from experienced participants.


7. Pack Efficiently: When packing, consider the limited availability of resources at Burning Man. Pack only what you truly need and choose multi-purpose items whenever possible to save space and weight.


8. Leave No Trace: Burning Man follows a strict “Leave No Trace” policy. Familiarize yourself with the principles of Leave No Trace and commit to respecting and preserving the environment during your time at the event.


By following these planning and preparation steps, you’ll set yourself up for a successful Burning Man experience. Remember, preparation is key, so take the time to plan thoroughly and pack smartly.


Clothing and Accessories

When it comes to packing clothing and accessories for Burning Man, it’s important to strike a balance between comfort, functionality, and expressing your creative self. Here are some essentials to consider:


1. Layers: The desert climate can be unpredictable, with scorching hot days and chilly nights. Pack a variety of lightweight, breathable, and versatile layers that can be easily added or removed as needed. Think t-shirts, tank tops, long-sleeve shirts, hoodies, and jackets.


2. Costumes and Outfits: Burning Man is famous for its vibrant, outlandish, and creative costumes. Pack a variety of costumes, accessories, and outfits that allow you to express yourself and embrace the playfulness of the event.


3. Headwear: Protect yourself from the sun and dust by packing hats, bandanas, scarves, or even an elaborate headpiece. Not only will they provide shade, but they also add a unique touch to your outfits.


4. Footwear: Choose comfortable, durable, and dust-resistant footwear. Closed-toe shoes or boots are recommended to protect your feet from the rough terrain. Don’t forget to pack extra socks and consider bringing a pair of sandals for resting and showering.


5. Eye Protection: The desert sun can be harsh on your eyes. Pack sunglasses and goggles to shield your eyes from the bright sunlight, dust storms, and debris.


6. Dust Masks: Dust storms are common at Burning Man. To protect your respiratory system, pack dust masks or bandanas to cover your nose and mouth during these storms.


7. Accessories: Don’t forget to pack accessories like jewelry, body paint, glow sticks, and LED lights to enhance your outfits and add some extra flair to your Burning Man experience.


8. Swimwear: If you plan to cool off and enjoy the various water-themed art installations, remember to pack swimwear.


Remember, Burning Man is not just a festival – it’s an opportunity to express your creativity and dive into a vibrant community. Pack clothing and accessories that reflect your personality and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the experience.


Shelter and Sleeping

Having a suitable shelter and comfortable sleeping arrangements are crucial for a successful Burning Man experience. Here are some essentials to consider when it comes to shelter and sleeping:


1. Tent or RV: Depending on your preference and budget, choose a reliable tent or RV that can withstand the desert conditions. Ensure that your shelter is sturdy and provides sufficient protection from the sun, wind, and dust.


2. Shade Structures: The desert sun can be intense, so having shade structures like a canopy or shade cloth is essential. Create a shaded area around your tent or RV to keep yourself cool during the day.


3. Sleeping Gear: Invest in a good quality sleeping bag, preferably one rated for cooler temperatures. Consider bringing an air mattress or camping pad for added comfort and insulation from the ground.


4. Bedding: Pack sheets, blankets, and pillows to make your sleeping area cozy and inviting. Keep in mind that the desert environment can be dusty, so choose bedding that is easy to clean or bring a sleeping bag liner.


5. Hammocks and Lounge Chairs: Consider bringing a hammock or comfortable lounge chairs for relaxing outside your shelter. They provide a great spot to unwind, read a book, or nap during the day.


6. Lights and Decorations: Customize your shelter with colorful lights and decorations to make it stand out and easy to spot in the bustling temporary city. Battery-powered LED lights are a popular choice.


7. Dust Protection: Seal your shelter as much as possible to keep out dust. Use duct tape to seal zippers and bring a small broom or hand vacuum to clean up any dust that manages to get inside.


8. Earplugs and Eye Masks: Burning Man can be a lively and noisy place, especially during the night. Bring earplugs and eye masks to ensure a peaceful and restful sleep.


Remember to set up your shelter in a way that promotes community engagement and interaction. Consider creating a communal space around your shelter, where you can connect with your neighbors and share experiences.


By planning and packing appropriately for shelter and sleeping, you’ll have a comfortable and cozy space to retreat to after a day of exploration and celebration.


Food and Water

Properly fueling your body with nourishing food and staying hydrated is vital for your well-being at Burning Man. Here are some essential tips when it comes to food and water:


1. Plan Your Meals: Make a meal plan and create a shopping list before heading to Burning Man. Opt for non-perishable and easy-to-prepare food items that require minimal cooking. Consider packing items like canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, energy bars, and snacks.


2. Bring a Cooler: Invest in a good-quality cooler and stock it with ice to keep perishable items fresh. You can pack items like fruits, vegetables, cheese, and other perishable items that need to be kept cold. Dry ice can be a valuable addition to your cooler to help maintain low temperatures.


3. Cooking Equipment: If you plan to cook your meals, bring camping stoves or grills. Remember to bring ample fuel and cooking utensils, such as pots, pans, cutlery, and plates.


4. Community Meals: Burning Man encourages communal cooking and sharing meals with others. Consider participating in neighborhood or theme camp potlucks, where you can contribute and enjoy a diverse range of dishes.


5. Hydration Station: Staying hydrated is crucial in the desert environment. Bring reusable water bottles or hydration packs and fill them up regularly at the various water stations located throughout the event. Aim to drink at least one gallon of water per person per day.


6. Water Filtration: If you prefer a more sustainable approach, consider bringing water filtration devices or purification tablets to treat water from non-potable sources. This way, you can reduce waste and ensure a clean water supply.


7. Cooking and Cleaning Supplies: Don’t forget to pack essentials like aluminum foil, reusable containers, garbage bags, and biodegradable soap for cooking and cleaning purposes. Proper waste management is crucial at Burning Man, so be mindful of leaving no trace.


8. Snacks and Quick Meals: Pack a variety of snacks and quick meal options that require minimal preparation. These can be a lifesaver when you’re on the go or don’t have much time to cook.


Remember to listen to your body and eat regularly, even if you’re caught up in the excitement of the event. Proper nutrition and hydration will give you the energy to fully enjoy and experience Burning Man.


Personal Hygiene

Maintaining personal hygiene is essential for your comfort and well-being during your time at Burning Man. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:


1. Hand Sanitizer and Wipes: Carry hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes with you at all times. The dusty environment can make it challenging to keep your hands clean, so regular hand sanitizing is crucial.


2. Portable Shower: While traditional showers may not be readily available, you can still maintain cleanliness by using a portable shower system. Look for solar-powered or water-efficient camping showers that are easy to set up and use.


3. Water Conservation: Keep in mind that water is a valuable resource at Burning Man. Practice water conservation by taking quick showers and turning off the water when you’re not using it.


4. Biodegradable Soap: When using soap for showering or dishwashing, choose biodegradable options to minimize your impact on the environment.


5. Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth regularly, especially after meals and snacks.


6. Feminine Hygiene Products: If needed, bring an ample supply of feminine hygiene products. It’s best to pack enough to last throughout the event, as they may not be readily available.


7. Baby Wipes: Baby wipes are a versatile and handy item to have at Burning Man. They can be used for quick freshening up, wiping down surfaces, or even as makeshift showers when full bathing is not possible.


8. Sun Protection: Protect your skin from the intense desert sun by packing and regularly applying sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, and hats to shield your face and neck.


9. Dust Protection: Keep your living space and personal items as dust-free as possible. Consider sealing your personal items, such as clothes and toiletries, in zip-lock bags or waterproof containers.


10. Proper Waste Disposal: Dispose of waste properly by using designated trash and recycling bins. Follow the “Leave No Trace” principle and leave the event site as you found it.


Remember that personal hygiene at Burning Man is a shared responsibility. Practice consideration and respect for your fellow participants by maintaining cleanliness and following the event’s principles.


First Aid and Medical Supplies

When attending Burning Man, it’s crucial to be prepared for any medical emergencies or minor injuries that may arise. Here are some essential first aid and medical supplies to pack:


1. Basic First Aid Kit: Have a well-stocked first aid kit that includes band-aids, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, tweezers, scissors, and any necessary medications that you may need.


2. Prescription Medications: If you have any prescribed medications, ensure you bring a sufficient supply to last the duration of the event. Keep them in a secure and easily accessible location.


3. Pain Relief Medication: Pack over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to alleviate minor aches and pains that may occur during the event.


4. Allergy Medication: If you have known allergies, ensure you bring antihistamines or any other necessary allergy medication to manage potential allergic reactions.


5. Blister Treatment: Walking and dancing for long hours can lead to blisters. Pack blister prevention products such as moleskin or blister bandages to provide relief and prevent further irritation.


6. Sunburn Relief: In the desert sun, sunburns can happen quickly. Pack aloe vera gel or soothing lotions to relieve sunburned skin and reduce discomfort.


7. Eye Drops: Dust and dry conditions can cause irritation and dryness in your eyes. Pack eye drops to keep your eyes hydrated and alleviate any discomfort.


8. Insect Repellent: The desert environment may attract insects. Pack insect repellent to protect yourself from bug bites and stings.


9. Personal Medic Alert: If you have any medical conditions or allergies that require special attention, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or carrying a card with this information.


10. Emergency Contact Information: Keep a list of emergency contact numbers readily available, including the Burning Man emergency services hotline.


It’s also essential to familiarize yourself with the location and operation of medical facilities and services available at Burning Man. Familiarize yourself with the location of the medical tent and emergency services to ensure prompt assistance if needed.


Remember that the desert environment can be challenging, so it’s essential to prioritize your well-being and have the necessary supplies to address any medical needs that may arise during your time at Burning Man.


Safety and Security

Ensuring your safety and security is paramount when attending Burning Man. Here are some important tips to help you stay safe and secure during the event:


1. Personal Identification: Carry your identification at all times. Make a photocopy of your ID, passport, and any other important documents. Keep the copies in a safe place separate from the originals.


2. Communication: Make sure you have a reliable means of communication, such as a fully charged cell phone, two-way radios, or a portable satellite phone. Emergency services and organizers may provide specific channels or frequencies for communication.


3. Buddy System: Establish a buddy system with someone you trust. Look out for each other, especially during nighttime activities and large gatherings. Create a plan to meet up in case you get separated.


4. Lock and Secure Your Belongings: Keep your valuables and important items locked and secure. Use locks on your tent, RV, or storage containers to deter theft. Keep your belongings organized to avoid misplacing or losing them.


5. Fire Safety: Follow all fire safety guidelines set by Burning Man organizers. Be cautious with open flames and ensure proper extinguishing methods for campfires or art installations. Familiarize yourself with the location of fire extinguishers and water sources in case of emergencies.


6. Respect Boundaries: Respect personal boundaries and consent. Make sure to ask for permission before photographing or touching someone. Consent is crucial in creating a safe and inclusive environment.


7. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for extreme weather conditions, including dust storms and temperature fluctuations. Stay informed about weather updates through official channels and take necessary precautions to protect yourself against the elements.


8. Emergency Services: Familiarize yourself with the location and contact information of medical services, security, and emergency responders. In case of an emergency, dial the designated emergency services hotline and provide clear and accurate information about the situation.


9. Look Out for Each Other: The Burning Man community values communal support and looking out for one another. If you see someone in distress or need of help, offer assistance or alert the appropriate authorities.


10. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential in the desert environment. Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-replenishing fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration and heat-related illnesses.


Remember, personal safety is a collective responsibility. By staying vigilant, respecting boundaries, and following safety guidelines, you can help create a safe and secure environment for all participants at Burning Man.


Entertainment and Recreation

When it comes to entertainment and recreation, Burning Man offers a vast array of experiences to engage and inspire participants. Here are some ways to make the most of your time at the event:


1. Art Installations: Explore the breathtaking art installations scattered throughout the playa. These stunning structures are created by artists from around the world and provide unique and immersive experiences.


2. Theme Camps: Visit the various theme camps that offer interactive experiences, live performances, workshops, and more. These camps provide a chance to connect with like-minded individuals and engage in a wide range of activities.


3. Workshops and Classes: Participate in workshops to learn new skills or expand your creativity. From yoga and meditation sessions to art workshops and sustainability discussions, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.


4. Music and Performances: Immerse yourself in the vibrant music and performance scene at Burning Man. Dance to a variety of music genres, attend live performances, and discover emerging artists from around the world.


5. Mutant Vehicles: Don’t miss the impressive mutant vehicles cruising the playa. These art cars are transformed into mobile art installations and often offer unique music experiences or themed rides.


6. Volunteer Opportunities: Contribute to the Burning Man community by volunteering your time and skills. Help with art installations, greeters, or other essential roles that make the event possible. Volunteering allows you to connect with others and create a meaningful impact.


7. Participatory Art: Get involved in participatory art projects where you can contribute to creating artworks on the playa. These collaborative creations often encourage interaction and community involvement.


8. Sunset and Sunrise Rituals: Marvel at the stunning sunsets and sunrises in the desert. Gather with fellow burners to witness these magical moments, participate in drum circles, or engage in sunrise yoga sessions.


9. Explore the Playa: Take time to explore the vast playground of the playa. Discover hidden art installations, stumble upon impromptu performances, and engage in spontaneous adventures.


10. Self-Expression: Embrace the principle of radical self-expression by fully expressing yourself through your wardrobe, costumes, art, and interactions. Be open to new experiences and allow your creativity to shine.


Remember, Burning Man is a participatory event, and the experiences you have are largely shaped by your active engagement. Open yourself up to the plethora of entertainment and recreational opportunities, and be prepared to be inspired, amazed, and transformed by the unique experiences that abound at Burning Man.


Miscellaneous Essentials

In addition to the specific categories mentioned earlier, there are a few miscellaneous essentials that are worth considering when packing for Burning Man. These items may not fit into a specific category but can greatly enhance your overall experience:


1. Portable Power Bank: Keep your electronic devices charged with a portable power bank. This is especially useful if you plan to take photos, use your phone for navigation, or rely on other electronic gadgets during the event.


2. Dust Protection Gear: Protect your lungs and face from the dusty environment with a dust mask or bandana. Opt for a mask that has a high filtration level and a secure fit to keep dust particles at bay.


3. Earplugs and Eye Masks: With the energetic and vibrant atmosphere at Burning Man, it’s important to have a good night’s sleep. Pack earplugs and eye masks to block out noise and light for a restful sleep.


4. Playa Companions: Bring small keepsakes or toys to gift or trade with other participants on the playa. These small tokens of connection can create memorable interactions and foster a sense of community.


5. Trash Bags: Adhere to the “Leave No Trace” principle by bringing extra trash bags to properly dispose of your waste. Be responsible for your own trash and help keep the event site clean and free of debris.


6. Bike and Bike Lock: Bringing a bicycle is a popular choice for navigating the vast expanse of Burning Man. Remember to bring a sturdy bike lock as well to secure your bike when not in use.


7. Warm Clothing: Though the days may be scorching, the desert nights can get chilly. Pack warm clothing like jackets, scarves, and gloves to keep you cozy during nighttime activities.


8. Multifunctional Tools: Carry a multitool or Swiss army knife with various tools such as a can opener, screwdriver, and scissors. This will come in handy for different tasks throughout the event.


Remember, Burning Man provides opportunities for self-expression, creativity, and community. These miscellaneous essentials can enhance your experience and help you navigate the unique challenges that arise in the desert environment.


As you pack for Burning Man, keep in mind that being adaptable and open to the unexpected is part of the adventure. Embrace the spirit of radical self-reliance and come prepared with the essentials that will contribute to a safe, enjoyable, and transformative experience at Burning Man.



Congratulations! You are now equipped with the ultimate survival packing guide for Burning Man. As you embark on this one-of-a-kind journey in the Black Rock Desert, remember that preparation, creativity, and a sense of adventure are key to making the most of your experience.


From planning and preparation to clothing, shelter, food, and entertainment, each aspect plays an important role in ensuring your comfort, safety, and enjoyment at Burning Man. Taking the time to research, pack thoughtfully, and familiarize yourself with the event’s principles will set you up for a successful and fulfilling time at the festival.


During your time at Burning Man, embrace the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the vibrant and self-sustaining community. Participate in workshops, explore incredible art installations, connect with fellow burners, and let your creative spirit shine.


However, always prioritize your safety and well-being. Stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun and dust, and observe the safety guidelines set by the event organizers. Look out for your fellow participants and be prepared to lend a helping hand when needed.


Lastly, remember that Burning Man is a transformative experience that can leave a lasting impact. Embrace the principles of radical self-expression, self-reliance, and communal effort as you interact, explore, and create unforgettable memories.


Now, go forth and embark on your Burning Man adventure. Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere, let your creativity soar, and embrace the magical moments that arise in this temporary city in the desert. Have a fantastic time and enjoy everything that Burning Man has to offer!