Avoid Death in the Desert: 75 Packing List Essentials for Burning Man

August 23, 2019

As Burning Man is upon us, I wanted to share with all of you a packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything. A good friend of mine prepared this list for my first burn and I have been using it ever since.

Some items may not be needed depending on your plan especially if you are in an RV. If you are going the ultimate radical self-reliance route of self-camping, as I do, you must also bring your own food and water. Here are a few options for sourcing water. If you come with the Burner Express, you can simply add the water add-on option.

Camping

Sleeping bag & pillow
Water bottle
Warmer blanket
Tent light decorations
Eye mask (to sleep in tent during the day)
Ear plugs
Cup for drinks at camps
Hand towel + towel
Portable phone charger
Mirror (costumes/fun face things)
Lantern
Big Ziplocs (to seal your post-burn clothes)
Trash bags (take your trash out with you)
Stakes (keep tent from blowing away)
Bungee cords (for tent)
Tarp (underneath/on top of tent – dust)
Electrolyte stuff

Venturing

Backpack 
Bike lock
Camelback
Tissues
Goggles
Sunglasses
Scarf (warmth)
Bandana (dust mask)
Cheap indestructible watch
Headlamp
Batteries
Lights for bike (functional, decoration)

Partying

Lights for self (don’t get run over)
Vitamins
Face paint/face jewels
A gift to offer

Toiletries

Wet Wipes (dust)
Face Wipes
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Hand sanitizer
Deodorant
Dry shampoo
Sunscreen
Face Wash
Small body wash
Brush
Hair ties & bobbies
Rx meds
Other meds (stomach, Advil, **nose spray**)
Makeup remover & cloth balls
**Eye drops**
Toilet paper

Clothing

Warm sleep clothing
Warm coat
Mid layer
Night outfits (warm)
Day outfits (sun)
Chill non-costumes e.g. linen pants
Jewelry/head pieces/fun accessories
Flip flops/sandals (around camp)
Boots
Bag for dirty clothes (dust)
Lots of socks
Hats
Clean PJs, clothes for plane/hotel for hotel (*seal* for after you leave)

Print/bring

Bike rental receipt
Friends’ camps list
Schedules (e.g.; iFeel cruise)
In/out transportation tickets
Camp volunteer schedule

Misc

Cash for goodies
ID
Ticket
Safety pins
Band aids
Duct tape for bike light / zip ties
Scissors

You can also find the list formatted in Google Docs.

A few tips:

  • *Do not forget your tickets* – somehow this happens, and they *will not let you in*
  • Prepare for not having phone service to access any info like flight details or friends’ camp coordinates
  • Be prepared for the dust/dryness: goggles, bandana/face mask, wet wipes, nose spray, tissues, chap stick
  • Bring lights for yourself and your bike (+batteries and a way to attach the lights) – you can rent a bike to pick up on playa here
  • If you’re sleeping outside, a lantern for camp and lights for your tent are super helpful
  • Bring a portable cup if you want to drink at camps
  • Things like scissors, safety pins and duct tape come in handy
  • I’d recommend each having whatever you need individually in your backpacks (sunscreen, water bottle, lights…) in case you end up in a classic “I wandered off for a sec to see what those cool lights were at 11 pm and ended up following this awesome girl I met onto on an art car, headed to the other side of the playa and one thing led to another and now it’s 7am” situation 🙂
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