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