There are many Burning Man packing lists online however when camping with Discordia there are some specifics that we recommend. As we provide various pieces of infrastructure there are also lots of things you probably won’t need to bring.
The full Discordia packing list is available at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zvAH8AtNJOYexayXDzhym6jEAykCFSt7T0xXuiuBbmE/edit?usp=sharing
Weather at Burning Man can vary wildly.
It’s usually around 30-32’C during the day but has been known to hit 45+. At night it’s usually around 10-15’C but in 2015 it hit 0′ during the Man burn.
You need to pack for all possibilities. Thermal underwear and layers for nights when it gets cold. A big coat if you can fit one (fake fur is great).
Whatever footwear you bring just make sure it’s comfortable and already broken-in. You’ll need to be able to ride a bike, walk long distances (we routinely average in excess of 30,000 steps per day), and climb on and in things.
Some structures and art pieces (such as some of the zip lines) only allow you on if you’re wearing closed-toe shoes.
We generally recommend bringing two different sets of shoes: something light and easy to slip on that you can wear around the camp or for quick trips to the toilets and something more sturdy like walking boots for longer trips out around the playa.
Avoiding playa-foot (and hands)
Some people have been known to suffer from ‘playa-foot’ (also hands and other skin) where your skin gets very dry and cracks, leading to nasty open wounds (which take a long time to heal in the desert).
The best ways to avoid this are to moisturise regularly (at least nightly) with a nice thick moisturiser, soak your feet occasionally (ice melt from your cooler is great for this), and to wear closed shoes and socks if you start seeing any symptoms or generally suffer from dry skin. Buy a bulk pack of socks so that you have a clean pair every day… you really won’t want to be re-using them.
Excessive washing/showering actually removes your bodies natural oils which protect your skin so don’t go too crazy trying to keep clean!
Fighting the dust is largely pointless.
While the yurts provide relatively decent protection against the dust (as compared to a tent) it will still get in everything. Trying to keep it out completely is futile, just embrace it.
90% of the time you’ll be fine with just a pair of sunglasses and no dust mask however if the wind comes up at all then you’ll be a lot more comfortable with a pair of goggles (search Amazon or eBay for ‘Aviator’ type goggles) and a dust mask. Basic masks that you can buy from any hardware store provide enough protection in a pinch but the anti-pollution type often used by cyclists in cities tend to be more comfortable and better filtration.
Burning Man is huge. The only decent way to get around is on a bike.
Technically there is the ‘Yellow Bike’ program which provides community bikes (coloured green, of course) which are for anyone to pick up and ride however it’s very hard to find a free one that isn’t damaged to the point of being useless.
Discordia has a number of bikes that previous camp members have purchased and then donated to the camp that you may be able to rent. Many of these are already decorated in some way however you are encouraged to re-decorate it.
There are literally tens of thousands of bikes at Burning Man (many all the same types) so it’s critical that you can identify your bike in a massive crowd.
Bike theft at Burning Man is also a real thing, sometimes by people who mistake your bike for theirs, sometimes by opportunists and sometimes just by nasty people. Bring a bike lock and use it any time you park your bike anywhere (including in the camp). A combination type lock is best and many are available from Walmart or online very cheaply. If you’re renting a bike from Discordia then we might be able to provide a lock but we generally don’t have enough for everyone.
A seat cover is also good as chafing can occur in hot dry conditions when you’re cycling long distances.
If you’re at Walmart or similar then grabbing a bottle of ‘White Lightning’ bike lube is a great idea… the playa wants to destroy your bike and this stuff is great for keeping things moving without making too much of a mess.
Even with the insane amounts of LEDs at Burning Man the playa is still a very dark place. Don’t be a darkwad (it’s not safe) – light yourself and your bike.
Cheap battery-powered LED strings or fairy lights are a very cheap way to light yourself up. The type which uses 3xAA batteries are great as they will last for days.
Bring a couple of sets for your bike so that you can leave them on when you park your bike anywhere outside camp at night – it’ll help you find it again and help art cars avoid running over it.
Bring another couple of sets for lighting yourself up as a minimum. They’re easily wrapped around hats, bodies, etc.
Yurts are also very dark at night so bring some lights for your yurt too. LED strip lights, LED strings or camping lanterns work well.
Finally, a decent head-torch is essential, especially for visiting the toilets at night.
There are several themed parties and days that you’ll probably want to bring a costume for:
- A tutu for tutu Tuesday
- A mask for the Discordia masquerade party
- Something white for white Wednesday
What NOT to bring
Please don’t bring any of the following:
- Anything with glitter that isn’t totally glued down. Picking up glitter moop really sucks!
- Feather boas or anything else with loose feathers
- Clothing or items with frayed edges that might drop fibres
- Flushable wipes – They aren’t flushable in portable toilets and don’t decompose fast enough. Wipes in the BM toilets are the #1 reason for blockages and problems when the cleaners are trying to do their thing so please just don’t bother bringing the flushable ones. Bring regular baby wipes for having a ghetto-shower and place them in your trash bag but never throw them in the toilets.
- Indian head-dresses. Cultural appropriation isn’t cool.