6 (Truly Awesome) Burning Man Packing List Hacks

Posted by   Annette on    September 11, 2015

ready-to-burn.jpgGetting ready for Burning Man involves a packing list that reads like free-association poetry.

An armful of EL wire? Check. The free world's largest collection of batteries? Check. A furry monster hat with attached mittens? Check. Enough sunscreen to drown any non-ginger? Check. Even if you think you're sorted down to the rebar, a few hacks will make Playa life way radder. So, my friend: Here's a quick list of the 6 oh-my-god-I'm-so-glad-I-have-this items that saved my dusty butt over and over on the Playa.

spray-bottle.jpg1. A spray bottle full of 2/3 witch hazel and 1/3 liquid aloe.

Keep it in your cooler (or and RV fridge). It feels amazing and does wonders for the health of parched, Playa-baked skin. Off-label bonus: it'll make you a lot of friends. Make the rounds offering playful spritzes to your fellow citizens, and watch the blissful smiles roll in.

2. A satin pillowcase.

This slippery little weapon keeps freakishly dusty Playa hair from going wildly out-of-control overnight. Bonus: it's a great place to stuff your unbelievably filthy laundry upon exodus.

3. Carabiners on your food-sharing kit.

Surprise gift drinks and snacks are everywhere on the Playa, so you'll want to carry a cup and bowl with you at all times to enjoy them. Since there almost certainly won't be a way to clean them directly afterwards, carabiners will allow you to hang them from the outside of your bag. (That way, they won't get the stuff on the inside any mankier than it already is.) Either buy a proper carabiner mug and collapsible carabiner doggy bowl or melt little holes in plastic dishware to make your own.

GobiGear 1_Blue_1_v2.jpg

4. A Gobi Gear Hoboroll.

It's probably an off-label feature, but the two clips on the front of this little wonder (see 'em on the photo up and to the left) give the Hoboroll magic powers: they let the bag convert in no time at all from a front-mounted, multi-compartment bike basket to a shoulder satchel. This bag kept me organized on and off the bike, which saved me a ton of time over the course of the week. It has a little zippered pocket inside to safely keep your bike lock key and ID*. Also: it's super-light. And it didn't disrupt my costumes like a backpack would've, which is, y'know, key. I haven't seen anything like it before, and I highly recommend it to anybody (like me) who tends to leave things behind when constantly switching bags. I am pretty darn sure that this is the perfect Burning Man bag.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 7.33.08 PM.png5. A cheap wristwatch.

You'll get a novel-length schedule of events when you arrive. If you're like me and want to do everything, you'll need a handy timepiece to keep yourself on track. Checking the time on your precious phone in a dust storm really sucks. Spoiler: there's always a dust storm.

6. A pair of knee-high skater sneakers that zip up the sides for easy in-and-out. 

As you may know, getting your shoe game right is the most important thing you'll do when you prep for the Burn. I hit the lottery when I bought this pair of $25 wonders on Amazon. They lasted exactly the week**, and they did the job like they'd been designed for the Playa. Just so you're savvy, here's the deal on shoes: Heels are a bad idea. Complicated lace-ups without assistive side zips are a bad idea. Anything uncomfortable is a very, very bad idea.

7. The right food.

Don't screw up your grocery shopping, or you're in for a world of hurt.

8. Your need to bring everyfrigginthing.

...but roll with it. If it's your first Burn, it's destiny: you're going to laugh at yourself afterward for all your silly overpacking. It's a rite of passage. You'll do better next time.


* ...which you need all the time in BRC to access 18+ workshops and booze, even if you're, like, 50

** From the first time I stepped out of the freshly-parked RV to the moment I traded them for my street shoes, when the right-shoe zipper broke. Seriously.