What to Bring to Burning Man

At Burning Man, you can let your creativity fly! But keep in mind that a lot of the fashion that fuels Burning Man is also quite functional for the weather conditions and circumstances. Below I've created a list of things you'll need and why you'll need them. Starting with fashion and then moving on to supplies.

Bring Protective Goggles for Dust Storms

The goggles you see in all the Burning Man photos are not only for looks, they also have a purpose. There are frequent dust storms out in the desert, so you need to protect your eyes from the all the dirt swirling around if (or rather when) it occurs. Grab some fun steampunk aviator goggles or snowboard goggles to stay safe. They also they are a fun way to amp up your costumes.

Bring Warm Fur Coats for chilly nights

The desert is HOT during the day, and people wear next to nothing, or sometimes nothing. Don't let that fool you, the night's can drop down into the 40s so come prepared with a nice faux fur coat, and something to cover your head with. Fur is comfortable and warm, and the style plays into the Burning Man atmosphere well. ASOS usually has a great selection.

Bring a bike & a Bike Lock

Burning Man was once a small gathering on Baker Beach in San Francisco, but that's no longer the case. The "Playa" is miles long and wide, so the best way to get around is riding a bike. I recommend getting a cheap bike from Wal-Mart or heading to a garage sale to grab an old one. It will get destroyed by the dust so don't bring anything fancy. If you rinse it after and take care of it it can last multiple years on the Playa. Get a bike lock too, as amazing as Burner’s are, bike’s break often and people will often grab someone else’s out of desperation if it’s not locked.

 Add Bike Lights for visibility

There aren't any street lights at Burning Man. You need bike lights and a headlamp and lights on yourself in order for the large art cars and other cyclists and people to see you. You also need them to guide your own path in the darkness.

Wear Body Lights for visibility at night

Find ways to light up your body as well, both front and back. They'll be times at night when you want to park and wander, and if you’re not lit up it’s pretty scary for you and other people who might not see you until the last second. Get body LEDs, a headlamp, a lit up backpack, necklaces or bracelets. Whatever it is, just make sure you can be seen from the front and back so you don’t get hit by a bike or art car.

Body Lights - $17.99

Body Lights - $17.99

Headlamp - $14.95

Headlamp - $14.95

Body Lights - $15.99

Body Lights - $15.99

Carry a “Playa" Cup with you wherever you go

Burning Man is a leave no trace festival. Whatever you bring in, you must take with you. For this reason people bring their own reusable cup or thermos. Different camps have offerings like beer, tea, wine, coffee or water. I recommend a cup with a lid to keep things hot or cold. This also keeps the dust out. I also recommend getting a cup with a lanyard, or bringing a carabiner so you can attach it to your backpack or bike as you ride.

 Bring Bandanas & Neck Gaiters

Neck bandanas and neck gaiters have multiple purposes at Burning Man and are a must-have. First, they keep the sun off your neck during the day. Second, they keep the dust out of your nose and mouth during dust storms. Finally, they are also a cute addition to any playa costume. I prefer the neck gaiters over the bandanas because they’re easy to pull up over your mouth when dust kicks up.

Face Mask Bandana - $20.95

Face Mask Bandana - $20.95

Neck Scarf - $11.99

Neck Scarf - $11.99

Neck Bandanas - $15.99

Neck Bandanas - $15.99

Bandana - $9.95

Bandana - $9.95

Wear Boots

Most "Burners" wear steel toed boots. They'll keep your feet clean, they're easier to ride bikes than open toed shoes, and at night your feet will stay warm. If you find yourself in a crowd, they'll be better protection for if you get stepped on as well. You could purchase a pair or you could find get a great pair from a thrift store to save some bucks.

Wear a hat for sun protection

Hats are a fun accessory to any outfit, but they’ll also keep the desert sun off your face during the days. Here are some great finds you can purchase on Etsy. If you’d rather make your own hat, check out my blog post to DIY your own sparkly creation.

Bring Dust Proof Shelter

You can rent an RV or bring a tent. If you rent an RV, don’t tell them you’re going to Burning Man, they’ll slap on an extra expense. Keep the windows closed to prevent dust from coming in and use painters tape to seal them.

Interior of Shiftpod

If you’re tent camping, you need to consider the elements. Its ridiculously hot during the day, but also there are dust storms. A mesh tent is not a good options for these reasons. A Shiftpod is a more weather resistant option, but they’re pricey, starting price is $899 (2022). I found this Thunderbay Ice Cube Series Pop-Up Portable 2-3 Person Ice Fishing Shelter for just $189.99. I haven’t tried it but it’s look pretty comparable.

  • Bring battery operated fans and extra batteries

  • Bring plenty of body wipes since you most likely won’t have a shower

  • Stake your tent in with industrial stakes, there are crazy wind storms at times and you don’t want your tent to blow away or injure someone

  • Find out where air conditioned domes are in case it’s crazy hot and you need some sleep (some camps have these available). You can find this information in the Burning Man booklet they hand you when you enter.

Pack Plenty of food & Water.

Camps have events that provide free food and alcohol, but water and ice are a hot commodity at Burning Man. Be sure to bring in more water than you need. For each person, I recommend 1.5 gallons a day at minimum. Also take into consideration whether you’ll be using this water to bathe or cook with. Ice is the only thing available for purchase at Burning Man. You’ll need cash and some some patience to try and track down the ice truck.

You can purchase 5-gallon jugs on Amazon or at some grocery stores, and you can purchase an electric dispenser for that to make it incredibly easy to use. You just pop the dispenser onto the jug and then you an fill your cup without having to tip the massive jug over.

Bring salty food items because they help you retain water. Some great easy options are:

  • Mac & Cheese

  • Chips

  • Cup O’ Noodles

  • If you’re in an RV I’d add breakfast egg sandwiches, bacon and eggs (get the bacon pre-cooked) spaghetti and frozen pizzas.

The less you have to refrigerate the better, since you never know when you might have a generator failure. Bring plenty of snacks in case that happens.

Self Care

Body Wipes are necessary for keeping yourself somewhat clean on the Playa, especially if you're staying in a tent and don’t have access to a shower. If you do want to shower, you can purchase a solar camp shower that pretty cost effective.

Some additional items that are nice to have’s are face wipes, face mist or a water bottle with essential oils, argon oil, and/or conditioner. Face mist or a water bottle with peppermint oil is great to carry around for hot days. If you’re overheating, it feels amazing to spray yourself in the face. Your hair will become a rat’s nest at some point, but to help avoid a tangled mess, you can use argon oil or conditioner on dry hair to help comb out any tangles.


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