Burning Man Festival: Tips For Surviving the Desert


We took a peek at the Burning Man Website Survival Guide, talked to attendees, and spoke to Bethany Drysdale, a spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Tourism, to create an Ultimate Survival Guide for the week-long festival:

Water: Festival organizers require 1.5 gallons of water per day for drinking, washing and cooking. "It's the desert," says Drysdale, "dehydration is a serious concern."

Gatorade: Drinks such as Gatorade, Smart Water and other thirst quenchers can help because it's "very easy to become dehydrate and not be aware," says Drysdale. Look for drinks with electrolytes when packing up for the festival in the desert.

Headlamp or Flashlight: Attendees can use light to walk around the big, open desert that is Black Rock City. At night there are dark corners, portable lighting devices can help you travel from camp to camp or see your surroundings.

Sit During Dust Storms: During a dust storm visibility can go from perfectly clear to zero in a couple of minutes, says Dysdale. "If it's dark, and a dust storm starts, you want to sit down." Dust storms vary in length, lasting anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour in Black Rock City. "Last year, over the course of the week, we had two really serious dust storms and then little flurries that would kick up," says Drysdale.

First Aid Kit: The Burning Man festival organizers make first aid preparations mandatory. Make sure your kit includes items such as band aids, gauze, ointment and other medical supplies.

Goggles: During a dust storm goggles can help to keep the dust out of your eyes and make it easier to see.

Painters Mask/Dust Mask: "I once used a bandana for protection but I got into trouble when I was stuck in a bad dust storm. [Due to limited protection], I ended up coughing up dust," says Lewin. Remember: Keep a mask on your person.

RV or Tent: Sleeping arrangements are required by the organization. "An RV is obviously much nicer because Burning Man is a leave no trace festival," says Lewin. A typical camping trip allows campers to dispose of normal dirty water on the group but at Burning Man dirty, or grey, water must be retained and disposed of outside of the desert. Unlike a tent, an RV provides holding tanks to store dirty water. If you bring a tent, "take some pop up shades to put over you tent because tents bake in the shade all day," said Drysdale. "Placing something over the tent would help."

Sunscreen:"There is absolutely no shade other than what you bring for yourself," said Drysdale.

Hat: Bring a hat for extra protection from the sun's rays.

Food: Self-explanatory. The dine in or dine out experience is not an option the desert. The organizations survival guide makes enough food and beverage for your group a must.

Baby Wipes: The bathrooms at large scale events can become quite messy. Baby wipes offer a quick solution if you're stay requires porta-potty usage. Also, dirty hands or feet, can be cleansed using these wipes that minimize waste and water use.

A Bike: There is quite a distance between camps. If you're looking for an easy way to transport your goggles, water, and dust mask, a bike is an easy option.

A Portable Bag or Bike Basket: A basket for your bike or a small portable bag to store necessary desert items is a plus. "Burning Man is really, really big," said Lewin. "You can very easily go off and be looking at art and be a couple of miles from you camp. You really need to think through everything you need when you go out. You can't just grab a bottle of water." Wear Socks and Shoes: There's a condition on the camp called Playa Foot, says Drysdale. "Your feet crack because of the dry climate, and the dust can get into your feet and cause an infection," says Drysdale. Wearing shoes and socks as much as possible to keep your feet protected and apply a really rich lotion on your feet at night.

Check-In: Use the camp's intermittent wifi to send an email to friends or relatives.

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