Published May 13, 2019by d.light

Must Have Gear for Burning Man

Must Have Gear for Burning Man

Every year, tens of thousands of people around the world would gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for Burning Man. It’s a weeklong cultural phenomenon where participants would be able to experience the most impressive artwork, learn about self-expression and self-reliance, and meet some truly wonderful people along the way.

But as fun as the festival could be, spending a week in this desert environment can be full of annoyances as well. From daytime temperatures that exceed 100 degrees to blinding dust storms, coming to the Black Rock Desert unprepared would be a terrible mistake.

Here is some of the must-have burning man gear to prepare for the craziness of Burning Man for first-time and veteran burners alike.

Water Bottles

Dehydration is extremely easy to accidentally happen in a hot desert like the Black Rock, where the festival will take place. It’s essential to stay hydrated and drink water frequently. You need more water here than you would in other environments.

The average consumption is one gallon of water for a person per day, so stock up on a few tanks before leaving. A gallon per day might be too much, but you’ll need to drink more if you will be doing strenuous activities such as dancing and biking in desert conditions throughout the day and even night. Make sure to have water with you at all times by bringing a water bottle.

Tent or RV 

Besides the toilets, you won’t encounter any amenities such as hotels or restaurants besides a toilet while you’re in the desert. You’ll need to find another place to sleep while participating in Burning Man.

An RV is usually the ideal, especially if you’re attending with a big group. It can be too hot during the day, and your RV has a generator and air-conditioning which can make life easier and more comfortable for you and your friends. It also helps avoid getting sandblasted in a desert windstorm.

Unfortunately, RVs are ridiculously expensive during this week since rental places know about Burning Man. You can either insist on bringing an RV and split the cost between friends or be like most festival goers and just bring a tent. Bring at least an extra tent where you can store all of your stuff as anything left outside will be covered in dust within minutes.

Shade Structure

The afternoons in the desert can get sunny and extremely warm, that’s why it’s important to bring a sunshade or some sort of canopy. A shade structure is as much of a necessity as water. This would be able to keep your site cool while you and your group hang out in between events, eat your meals, and camp out for the festival.

Hat or Umbrella

People at Burning Man should expect a lot of walking or biking around.  If you venture out in the hottest part of the day, staying out of the sun as much as possible is vital to prevent collapsing from the heat. Wear a hat or carry around an umbrella to provide personal shade and keep the sun off.


The desert is known to be extremely hot, so it’s natural to assume to bring light clothing to keep you cool. However, the nights can get extremely cold. The temperature can quickly plummet to 50 or 40 degrees Fahrenheit at the coldest point at night, so if you’re venturing away from camp at night, it’s a good idea to bring a jacket with you.


First-time Burners often make the mistake of underestimating the environment in the Black Rock Desert, but everyone who goes to Burning Man knows how extreme it can be. They might experience at least one major dust storm that blows dust consistently in their faces for hours.

It’s crucial to bring goggles to Burning Man. Getting sand in your eyes from a desert dust storm is worse than an eyelash or a speck of dirt getting into the eye. You will need goggles to protect your eyes and see, especially in case of a dust storm. Dust storms can happen even if the weather appears pleasant, so never leave camp without them.

A Scarf or Dust Mask

Dust and sand should be kept out of your lungs as much as it should be kept out of your eyes. At best, after inhaling dust, you’ll only have to deal with a scratchy throat and lose your voice for by the end and a few days after the festival, which is not a fun experience for anyone. At worst, you might have “playa lung”.

“Playa lung” is an unofficial term for the condition acquired at Burning Man after the inhaled dust settles into the lungs, sets up camp, and never leave. It makes your lungs hurt and cough out a bunch of gunk for months after the event.

Most people avoid inhalation of dust with a dust mask, but a scarf will do as well. Plenty of dust masks on the market have professional filtering that can keep dust and pollutants from reaching your lungs, but many prefer a scarf due to its versatility.

Besides being a makeshift dust mask, scarves can be used to cover heads from the sun, cool down by wetting it down, or as a ground or seat cover.


Burners need a way to get around the Black Rock Desert, and a car is not an option. A bicycle is the most popular mode transportation on the playa and high-priority item to bring to Burning Man.

Burning Man covers nearly 7 square miles of land. A bicycle helps for the overall enjoyment and experience as it would save time and prevent leg cramps for those who want to check out as much stuff as they want and get deep out in the playa.

Many would bring their own bikes, but you can also buy or rent one. Before entering Burning Man, you’ll find several bikes shops selling and renting bikes. Some stands would sell used bikes while others only sell new ones. Some offer rentals, repair services or storage. Some would even accept donations after the event.

Don’t forget bringing along a bike lock if you don’t want to lose your bike. It’s common for bikes to get stolen, borrowed or lost. A bike lock would lessen the possibility of losing your bike and having to walk back to your camp from a mile away. As an added precaution, put some tag information detailing your name and playa address.


The Playa could get dark once the sun goes down. Since it’s a desert, there are no streetlights like you’d find in a city. Don’t make the mistake of showing up without lights. There are plenty of vehicles driving around, even if they’re driving slowly, anyone without any lights can get easily hit.

In Burning Man, lights aren’t just meant to keep yourself visible or the obvious reason of helping you find your way in the dark. Many would often use their light source to set the mood at their group site. Lanterns are typically used to distinguish a group space from hundreds at the festival.

Lanterns are also a more practical solution, especially if they’re solar powered. Solar lanterns are a perfect item to bring in a place without electricity since it doesn’t need batteries or to be plugged in. It can simply be left out in the sun to charge up and be used all night long.

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