Your Playa Pack

Burning Man is an unpredictable place, full of marvelous and unexpected distractions. You may go to the porta-potties at noon and not find your way back to camp until nighttime. Your most important resource is a small pack with all of your playa needs. Keep it close at hand when you’re in camp, and carry it with you whenever you leave camp. Consider carrying:


Leaving camp without plenty of water is asking for serious trouble. Water bottles work well, but a hydration pack with a drinking tube works even better. Yes, the mouthpiece will get dusty. No, you won’t care.

Food and related supplies

  • A couple of snack bars in case you’re gone longer than expected.
  • A mug. It’s quite likely that a stranger will offer you a tasty beverage. They won’t offer you a cup.
  • Hand sanitizer. You never know when someone will offer you a strange and wonderful food. It’s a good bet, though, that your hands will be dirty when it happens.

Environmental protection

  • A sun hat.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Lip balm.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Goggles that seal to your face (for duststorms).
  • A breathing mask (also for dust storms). Some people prefer a keffiyah.

Personal supplies

  • Baby wipes (aka playa wipes) have numerous uses.
  • A small amount of toilet paper. The porta-potties are usually well-stocked. Usually. Pocket tissue packs are the perfect size.
  • A small ziplock bag for trash. It’s good karma to pick up any MOOP you encounter.
  • Sugarless gum. Brushing your teeth on the playa doesn’t always happen as often as it should.

Night time supplies

  • A flashlight or headlamp, with extra batteries.
  • Marker light(s). People without lights are called darkwads. Darkwads get run over by art cars.
  • Cold weather clothing.


  • A camera, in a sealed plastic bag. Please ask before taking photos of people.
  • Pen & paper. Pencils work better than pens when things get dusty.
  • A small multi-tool.
  • Pocket cutlery isn’t vital, but it may come in handy.
  • You probably won’t need any safe sex supplies while you’re away from camp. Probably.
  • If you must smoke, a portable sealed ashtray (like a film can or mints can).

Stuff you probably don’t need

  • Bike tools. Your bike probably won’t break. If it does, walking it back to camp isn’t a big deal.
  • Two-way radios. These don’t work nearly as well on the playa as you think they will.
  • A GPS. You won’t need it.