† = consider buying at Walmart or another store on route to Burning Manred = must bring to stop death, harm or serious badnessblack = should bring to make your trip pleasantblue = optional, but you should consider bringing
Bring as a GroupFor Day
[Keep in separate sealed bag]
For Night
[Keep in separate sealed bag]
For Cleaning Yourself
[Keep in separate sealed bag]
For Sleep & Wake Up
[Keep in separate sealed bag]
For Meals
[Keep in separate sealed bag]
Carry AlwaysKeep at Camp / In Your TentOther
First aid kit
[Just in case. Make sure it has bandages, antiseptics, etc. While death at Burning Man is extremely rare, injuries are quite common. Never forget the Burning Man motto: "Safety third!"]
Sunblock / sunscreen
[Essential. It's ridiculously easy to get a sunburn at Burning Man. I prefer the spray kind because it's so much easier to put on when you're reapplying many times a day. But it also gets used up a lot faster.]
Lights for you body
[Battery-powered LED or EL wire or lightup snap bracelets (which I personally prefer). Nice both for decoration and for staying visible to others. If you aren't visible, you could be crushed alive by a fire truck that's been converted into an enormous rolling rubber duck with a disco ball head. That would be a sad end to come to. EL wire can even be put into the lining of clothing for a neat effect. Though EL wire can get quite tangly and annoying. Note: Reflective garments and glow sticks won't cut it -- if it's not powered by electricity, it's not bright enough. Bring extra batteries.]
Large moistened towelettes / large wet naps
[If you care about being able to wipe your body down quickly, or don't have a "sun shower" in your camp, these are really good. Even if you do have one, these are a very handy shower alternative that you'll probably want to use.]
Toothbrush / toothpaste
[If you're into that sort of thing.]
Cutlery (Fork + Knife + Spoon)
[Essential. Don't expect other people to be able to provide these, even if they are serving food to you. You should have your own.]
Dust mask
[Essential for dust storms. The masks you can buy at drug stores or online work pretty well as long as they are rated properly (P100 rated is best, N99 isn't quite as good but is perhaps acceptable, and N95 is risky). It's really not a good idea health wise to inhale tons of fine particles. "Vogmasks" are a fashionable N99 option. A bandana can work temporarily if you are unlucky and are stuck without a mask (especially if you moisten them to improve efficacy) but don't rely on them long term because they don't filter the fine particles. Note that you should wear your mask more often than you realize at first. If it's fairly dusty you may be tempted to go without the mask, and end up swallowing tons of the stuff which can upset your stomache and could even have long term health risks. Having a second, backup mask is not a bad idea, just in case you lose the first one.]
[each person will need to bring AT LEAST 1.5 gallons of water for EACH DAY he or she spends at Burning Man. So if you're going for 5 days, that means you must bring at least 7.5 gallons. Avoid buying water labeled "distilled", since you want it to have some minerals to replentish what you lose from sweating. Note that to stay hydrated and prevent getting sick from dehydration you should drink water constantly. If your pee is yellow, you need to drink more. Dehydration is very common, and quite unpleasant. You should be drinking way more than seems reasonable to drink.]
[Getting there without a ticket is pretty much on par with death. Some years car passes have been required too.]
Garbage bags
[You need to store your trash in these. Get the strong and thick type. When bags get full, you seal them, and when you leave Burning Man, you bring your trash with you. Without trash bags you're going to be in trouble!]
[Important in the very bright sun. Consider bringing two pairs, since sunglasses can break or get lost easily.]
Lights for your bike
[It can be dangerous biking without lights out in deep playa. It's easy to crash into people or cars if no one can see you.]
Towel [Useful if you ever plan on cleaning yourself with water. On the other hand, you may just want to clean yourself with wet naps instead. Small/thin towels are better in that they take up less space for travel. Some camping stores sell travel/camping towels which are very compact.]DeodorantPlate or bowl
[Essential. you need something to eat off of, and one may not be provided even at places that serve food. Your plate should be metal or plastic, to prevent it from getting broken.]
Goggles [Essential for dust storms. Swimming goggles or skiing goggles work. Even when there are no dust storms brewing, it is easy to get dust in your eyes when it is windy or when you're biking fast. Be careful to avoid goggles with holes near the eyes that are large enough to let in dust. Note that tinted goggles are hard to use at night, so bring one tinted pair and one non, or only non tinted ones.]FOOD
[If you'd prefer not to starve. This should include both full meals and quick snacks that you can grab. Include some salty foods, to replenish all the salt you lose when you sweat like crazy. Remember that money is not permitted at Burning Man, and though trading can happen, it is not common. You should have everything you need to survive.]
Identification / Passport
[You'll need this for any flights you might take, as well as for rental cars, and you may need ID to prove that you are who you're Burning Man ticket claims]
Paper towelsBroad brimmed hat with a cord
[Recommended, as it keeps the sun off your face and the cord prevents it from blowing away. It can really sunny and also really windy.]
Headlamp / Flashlight
Essential -- consider bringing multiple in case one breaks or just to give you more light. Important for getting around at night, and not tripping on things. A headlamp is preferable, as it keeps your hands free. Also, finding objects in your tent at night without a light is ridiculously difficult.]
Soap / Body Wash / Shampoo
[Keep in mind that if your camp doesn't have a "sun shower" contraption, you won't have anywhere to shower. You're also not supposed to let your body water and soap get on the ground. Technically, "grey water" is supposed to be collected and carried out when you leave. You can still wet a towel though, and wipe yourself down carefully, or use wet naps]
Ear plugs
[Burning man can be very loud at night. If you plan on sleeping, you should strongly consider bringing these.]
Hand sanitizer or wet naps / moist towelettes
[To clean your hands before you eat... they'll be pretty dusty!]
A way to carry water
[It's essential to drink a ton at Burning Man, and you'll have to carry this water yourself. Camelbak backpacks are very convenient, but large nalgene bottles work fine too. You need to have a way to strap the bottle to yourself or your bag. Drink water constantly! My preference is to bring both a Camelback backpack AND a plastic 1L water bottle, for maximum versatility.]
A tent that you can stake into the ground
[Essential. To live in if you don't have an R.V. It is also possible to live in the back of a moving truck, or sleep in the back of a car, though the latter won't afford much privacy. Taller tents are more likely to be negatively impacted by the wind. Your tent should be strongly secured to the ground, in case of dust storms and strong winds (ideally using candy cane rebar). It's a great idea to set your tent up such that in the morning when the sun rises it is in the shadow of a big structure such as an RV. Otherwise you will boil in the morning! Also note that tents are often smaller than people realize. For instance, a "6 person tent" is comfortable for 2 people, and absurdly stuffed if you actually try to fit 6 people in it.]
Any medications or medical devices you need
Cleaning products
[In case of spills in cars or bags or tents, etc.]
Chapstick / Lip moisturizer
The dust and sun can be harsh on your lips. Chapstick that contains sunblock is a good idea for the day, and you may want a different one before sleep. Be sure to get one that won't leave a bad taste in your mouth, because some are really gross.
Flip flops
[For brief walks around camp. BEWARE of wearing flip flops around a lot, as the dust on your feet are likely to dry your feet out and may cause them to crack, which can be very unpleasant. Best to use for short/quick walks from your tent only.]
Skin moisturizer
[The dust can be really harsh on your skin, and make it dry and cracked. I really recommend bringing lotion of some kind or vaseline.]
paper towel roll or a cloth
[To use when you eat.]
Small backpack or comfortable bag
[Strongly recommended. If you want to be able to carry stuff around with you easily… a camelbak is even better as it stores water in an easily accessible manner, in addition to acting like a backpack. I recommend getting carabeeners so that you can clip useful stuff (like your dust mask) to the outside of your bag.]
A sleeping bag or lots of warm blankets [Essential. You'll need something to sleep in/on/under. It can get very, very cold at night, and the floor of your tent will likely be hard and uncomfortable. If you have an R.V. with an actual bed, you might not need a sleeping bag.]Plane ticket, if applicable
Duct Tape
[For fixing broken stuff, repairing tents etc.]
A neckerchief or bandanna
[Useful for keeping the sun off of you, and also for covering your mouth during dust storms (when in a pinch). Don't use this as your primary way to keep from swallowing dust though, because fine dust particles will still get through.]
CondomsNight mask
[Some parts of Burning Man have lots of lights, or people walking around frequently, so a night mask may help you sleep. Plus, in the morning the sun is ridiculously bright, so without a night mask it can be really hard to sleep in if you are in a tent.]
[Especially ones that are easy to carry with you that will satisfy a hunger craving, and that won't go bad after a week in both hot and cold temperatures. If you're getting really hungry, it's not fun to have to travel long distances back to your camp before eating.]
Very warm clothing for night
[It can get extremely cold trekking around at night, with temperatures potentially dropping to freezing on some nights. Bring warm things you can cover yourself with -- faux fur is a great option. Layers are essential to bring, so that you can vary it up based on temperature. Seriously, you had better bring really warm clothing or you might freeze your ass off and have a miserable time at night. Typical evening temperatures are roughly in the 50's F but some years it gets below 34 degrees F at night, and generally it varies a lot year to year. See for instance: which has historical temperatures for Gerlach (the closest town), noting that the Black Rock City desert where you'll be living may get colder than Gerlach.]
Flashlight or bright forward facing light that attaches to your bike
[Very useful if you bring a bike. It can get very dark when biking on the playa! So you don't run into someone else or get run into by a flame spouting octopus.]
[Pain killers, Pepto-Bismol, cold medicine, etc.]
[These are things that you can give to others, just to be nice. Don't bring anything to give as a gift that you yourself wouldn't even want to receive. Tasty sealed snacks can make a nice gift, as one example. It isn't a barter economy, it's a gift economy, so trading is seriously looked down on (for good reason). Give without ever expecting anything in return. A lot of the best gifts are experiences, so I highly recommend creating helpful or creative or fun or wacky or silly or wonderful or surprising experiences for others.]
Saline nasal spray or neti pot
[If you have bad sinuses, the dust can be tough on them. In general, lot of dust will get in your nose. I recommend bringing something to help clear your nasal passages.]
A cup that won't break
[You should carry this around, as that way you can accept water or drinks from camps etc. If the cup is collapsible it makes carrying it slightly easier. You can buy a collapsable cup online or at many camping supply stores.]
Clothes that keep you cool
[Clothing is not required at Burning Man during thed ay, though it is quite handy for keeping the sun off your skin. Lightweight, minimalist and/or flowy clothing can be nice during the day since it can get very hot. It's a very dry heat though, which is dramatically more pleasant than humid heat. Typically highs get up to about 90 degrees F but there is great variability, and there have been times when temperatures broke the 100's of degrees F. Remember that dark colors get hot more easily.]
Bike lock
[Highly recommended. While Burning Man has a safe feel, it would suck to have someone "borrow" your bike. I've seen this happen. Even just locking it so the tires don't turn is quite helpful. Combination locks are rather handy as then you don't have to worry about carrying around a key.]
Shade structure
[For hanging out under during the heat of the day]
For a nice day pack illustration with many of the important items, see:
Tampons or other feminine care productsHand sanitizer
[Sometimes the hand sanitizer at the porta potties runs out. And sometimes you just get gross things on your hands or want to feel a little clean.]
UnderwearDecorative glowing items and decorations to attach to your bike (e.g. EL wire)
[Looks awesome, and can also further prevent you from being run over.]
Chairs [lawn chair, bean bag, inflatable, hammocks etc.]Sleeping pills
[If you're into that. Can be helpful on your flights if you're traveling from far away, or if your camp happens to be situated next to an enormous dance party.]
[It sucks to spill something on your body, or have to blow your nose, with nothing to wipe yourself off with but your dusty shirt.]
SocksCostumes / Crazy things to wear [Not absolutely essential, but highly recommended. Many people at burning man wear them. You might feel left out if you don't have anything fun to wear. Some google image searches containing the words "Burning Man" can help you get a feel for the aesthetic. But much bettet than that is to think of what you’ve always wanted to wear, but never had the nerve or the place to wear it, and wear that!]
Extra sunblock / sunscreenPortable mirror
[You can end up looking pretty crazy at Burning Man, if you aren't careful, what with all the dust and lack of sleep. But that's the way it's supposed to be.]
Eye drops
[If your eyes are sensitive to dust though, this can be a really good idea to have. Dust or small particles in the eyes is one of the most common forms of injury at Burning Man.]
[Keep in mind that open toed shoes let in dust, which will dry out your feet and may cause your skin to crack. So non-open toed shoes are recommended. Your shoes should be very comfortable, as you'll be walking a ton! If you have boots, and you're fine with wearing them the whole time, you may not need additional shoes.]
Ziplock bags (large 1 or 2 gallon ones)
[Recommended. for storing food, stuff you don't want to get dusty, grouping objects, etc. I recommend dividing up items you need at different points in the day into different sealed bags. For instance, 1 bag for your day stuff, 1 for your night stuff, 1 for stuff used to clean yourself, 1 for stuff you will carry with you all the time, etc. Sorting through your possessions when they are all mingled together can be really annoying, especially at night. So keep them in separate sealed bags that are labeled!]
Swiss army knife / Leatherman
[If you're flying, can't go in carry ons, only checked luggage]
Flavor tablets / electrolyte tablets for your water
[You can buy tablets that you drop into your water that give it different flavors and add salts which you'll lose when you sweat. This can help reduce the chance that you get sick from dehydration, and make the massive amounts of water you are drinking a bit more palatable.]
Pillow / Something soft to rest your head on
[The ground can be very hard in a tent. Small is good for ease of travel but large is good for comfort. For two people a six person tent is a lot more comfortable than a four person and a two person means you basically don't have room to do anything when both in the tent.]
Extra batteries
[If you're bringing anything that needs them.]
Folding tableA watch
[A watch is very useful to have if you ever want to plan to meet people at a certain time. It should be one that you don't feel too bad about destroying. It will get dust in it. Keep in mind that it's not a good idea to carry your cell phone around to track time. Cell phone reception is generally non-existent at Burning Man, and cell phones are easily damaged by dust and jumping off high objects. On the other hand, it's kind of awesome not knowing what time it is! So consider just doing that.]
Toilet paper [Single ply]
[The porta potties have toilet paper, but occasionally they may run out, so bringing one roll is probably smart. Make sure it is single ply toilet paper, or it will clog the porta potties.]
[Very nice to have, I highly recommend wearing boots most of the time. Dust gets inside sneakers easily, and if you wear sandals the dust will get on your feet which will start to dry them out. Don't go around barefoot. Even if the dust doesn't cause your feet to crack (which it very well might), you're at risk of stepping on a sharp tent stake. Note that you may end up walking WAY more than normal at Burning Man, so very comfortable shoes is important. Bring insoles or orthotics if they prevent your feet from hurting.]
Sun Shower Bag + Gray water basin for evaporation
[These portable camping shower bags can be filled with water and hung up, to give you a makeshift shower. Note that the shower water must be collected and evaporated, or taken out with you when you leave. Much, much easier than using a sun shower is simply bringing a lot of wet naps or moistening a towel and cleaning yourself that way. Also, the very dry air and fine dust flying everywhere mean that people are dusty but way less sweaty and gross than you'd imagine.]
A print out of your official ID or passport
[There are plenty of places at Burning Man that will card you, but often they are willing to accept a copy of your ID rather than the ID itself. I like to print out a color copy and then cut it out and tape over it (with clear, thick tape) to make it fairly dust resistant. You can also then tape it to your cup, so it's right there when you are going to accept a drink!]
A light / lantern to keep in your tent
[This could be a battery powered "push light" that turns on you push on it, or a battery powered bulb or lantern or even broad beamed flashlight that you keep in the same part of your tent at all times. Helps a lot if you wake in the middle of the night, or when you want to find stuff in your tent at night.]
Poncho / Rain Gear
[If it rains, this will make it more bearable]
Battery powered radio
[For listening to Burning Man radio]
[Bonus cell] Spencer's favorite easy to bring and easy to eat snacks for Burning Man: • Lenny & Larrys Complete Cookies (they crumble, but are still delicious!) - • No Cow D's Naturals protein bars - dark raspberry truffle flavor (they don't melt!) - • Cans of chickpeas or black beans (don't forget the hot sauce or pickled jalapenos) • Cans of Amy's soup - minestrone, alphabet soup, vegetable barley, thai coconut - • Pink lady or honey crisp apples (keep surprisingly well in the shade) • Primal Jerky - • Viana Picnicker Veggie Snack Sausage - • Craisins - 50% less sugar dried cranberries - • Next Organics - dried coconut - • Peeled snacks - dried mango - • Twizzlers and skittles • Stacy's Pita Chips - Multigrain • Popchips - Salt and Vinegar flavored or Barbecue flavored • Peanut butter, jelly and whole wheat bread (bread with lots of preservatives is ideal otherwise it will go stale fast) • Pickles - buy from non-refrigerated section of the supermarket, keep in the shade and eat the whole jar the day you open itHeavy-duty tent stakes (ideally 18" candy cane rebar)
[If you have a tent, this will help it stay in the ground, even if serious winds hit. Also, you should bring bottles or tennis balls to cover the ends of the rebar that stick out of the ground, to prevent people from cutting themselves on it (or better yet, buy the "candy cane" variety which is already bent on the end so no one can stab themselves by accident). Stepping on sharp objects like tent stakes is one of the most common forms of injury at Burning Man. Note that you will need a mallet, or something else for whacking, to get these stakes into the ground. If you bring rebar, I recommend bringing vice grips to help you remove them.]
[If you want to take pictures, watch out for dust! I like to stick to only taking pictures that contain me or my friends, with the idea that pictures of really cool sculptures and such things are typically pretty easy to find on flickr, so you can just download them later if you want to make a scrapbook. If you decide to bring a nice camera, keep it in its own sealed ziplock bag, and taking pictures with the lens protruding from the hole in the bag. Perhaps a water resistant camera will hold up best in the dust? You can, of course, use your phone for pictures but it might get destroyed by the dust and will run out of batteries more quickly than a camera. Plus, do you really want to be distracted by your phone at Burning Man???]
Cooking stuff (e.g. pots / pans / cooking utensils / portable cooking stove / cooking oil / matches) [If you plan on cooking any of your own food. Note though that you aren't permitted to create fire on the ground directly. It has to be in a stove or raised off the ground. Another option is to bring and live off of canned foods, protein bars, and snacks.]Air mattress or sleeping pad
[For making sleeping more comfortable. The ground is actually pretty hard. If you bring an air mattress, make sure you bring some method for inflating it, unless it's the kind you can blow into to inflate.]
Containers with tight-fitting lids
[If there is anything that you don't want to have covered in dust, you might want to store them in such containers.]
Tasty beverages, or recreational substances like alcohol and caffeine [Note that alcohol and coffee have a tendency to be dehydrating, which can be a problem in the playa environment where you are constantly dehydrated. So drink tons of water to compensate!]Post it notes + Sharpie
[Useful to use to leave messages in other people's tents/camps]
Bike rack
[If you're bringing a bunch of bikes, or your car is quite is small or full, you may need a bike rack to fit your bikes.]
Small tub or bucket for washing, and/or a spray bottle, and a bottle of white vinegar [If you're not careful in covering up your feet, you may get a mild chemical burn over time from the alkalinity of the dust, resulting in cracked dry skin. Spraying or soaking your skin in a white vinegar/water solution will offset the burn.]Spray bottle
[For misting yourself and others when it's hot. This can be really nice!]
Extra car keys and/or Phone charger for your car
[You REALLY don't want to lose your car keys and have to get your car towed off the Playa. Consider making/bringing an extra copy, and keeping them in separate locations. And having a phone charger for your car can be really useful (e.g. cigarette lighter connector and/or a portable USB battery that you can use to charge your phone or other devices)]