Shopping Burning Man Style

Hard to believe that in 12 days I will be sharing playa space with 40,000+ other so-called Burners in the Black Rock Desert.

For the past few weeks my boyfriend and I have been stocking and shopping and arguing over essentials for our trip.

Later this week our efforts kick into high gear with food shopping. You never really realize how much stuff you need until you make a list and check it twice. And three times and four….

Planning literally takes about two months. Our apartment is in shambles right now thanks to ‘our staging area.’

Luckily, we are almost done. We have leftover tents, coolers, rope, that kind of stuff…

But this year we decided to go all snazzy with solar lights and a screen house which will obviously come in handy with our two tents and borrowed fold-up table.

Also new this year – no rental car. Nope, we’re taking my truck. I keep hoping everything will fit in my bed, but we won’t know for sure until we leave. And if you know me, you know I’m very picky about my bed paint. Brad may be 13 years old now, but his paint is still easy on the eyes. Yes, there are a few scratches and scarred personalities, but I take pride in that; my bed is for show – not for hauling! I only haul ass in Brad! Don’t scratch my bed.

Another thing you may not realize, some specific items are needed for daily life, such as 1 ply toilet paper. The septic tanks do not accept 2 ply.

Everything needs to be self-sustainable so don’t think about bringing up electrical fans or ovens, or TVs (unless you have a generator or RV.) I can’t tell you how happy I was when I found a giant fan that only required batteries! It was like the heavens opened up for me that day!

I keep asking, well, actually more like plead for a RV each year to no avail. But I will tell you this, when that day finally comes, I will bask in the cool air conditioning!

You also need to think about space. If it doesn’t fit in my bed, you didn’t need it anyway!

As my boyfriend says, by year 5 we’ll have it perfect.

Food is a separate issue into itself. How long will it last? Fresher items need to be eaten first, and then we can move onto MRE’s or canned foods. Last year I was treated to a wonderful beef fajita on our third day. I still talk about to this day, so you know we have to buy fresh peppers and meats. Our neighbors were horribly jealous when we cooked bacon on our fourth day. Luckily, most of this food kept in the freezer, but we did up end up with some water-logged meats. My deodorant also melted. Who knew right? So, this year we bought water-tight containers and gel deodorants.

And don’t forget about the water! Each person needs 1 gallon per day. How in God’s name am I supposed to shove all that in bed?! With giant coolers my friends, which we scored at Costco.

Other local stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depots are starting to stock up for Burner customers. Carpets, water jugs, giant boxes and tarps are moved to the front aisles. While it helps us in our shopping journey, Burners must also focus on items like rebar, ropes and shading.

Those three particular items are particularly important for one particular reason – dust storms. Many of our tent poles were bent in half last year by 75-mph winds. You don’t realize how powerful Mother Nature is until you show your parents leftover damage! We plan to tie tarps to my truck. It really is the only way to keep tent sites from blowing away.

Next comes clothing – socks for cold nights and cotton for hot sunny days. And boots – for walking around on the playa.

The list never seems to end huh? And only 12 days to go!


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