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Burning Man Packing: The “Nice to Haves”

We scoured a dozen Burning Man packing lists before our first “burn” last month – and man, we are sincerely grateful to the experts who compile these must-read lists of must-have items for a pleasurable playa experience.

In contrast, below, we offer a list of “nice to haves” – things we wished we’d brought along and would recommend jamming in the trunk/trailer/RV if you’ve still got room. (And for more playa-packing tips, check out Mighty Goods’ tips from 12 veteran burners.)

  • Goggles for Both Day AND Night – Burners recommend getting a clear pair of goggles so you can see during nighttime dust storms. But if you’re “day blind” like me, you need a tinted pair, too, given the glare of the white playa. For an extra $20 or so, it’s worth it to have two pairs.
  • Full-length Mirror – You can’t really see what your getup looks like without one. (But maybe that’s a good thing?!)
  • Box of Tissues – We remembered the paper towels and the baby wipes (don’t skimp here!) but you also need a jumbo box of tissues to blow the playa dust out of your nose twenty times a day and night.
  • Large Plastic Bag for Hauling Ice – If you don’t have room for a wheelbarrow, dolly, or bike trailer, pack a massive, heavy-duty plastic shopping bag – a la Ikea’s blue version – to get your ice from Arctica back to your coolers without freezing your forearms.
  • Misters – For God’s sake, bring anything that makes you cooler. A simple hand fan or a water-spraying mini fan is nice, but bring something that sprays your fellow Burners queued up in the sun for a cocktail, and you instantly become the most popular person on the playa. We saw this fancy personal mister in action, and also an equally effective budget version: an insecticide sprayer that’s water was mixed with eucalyptus oil – bliss! Or go industrial and get one of these big guys to mist your camp (if you can spare the water…)
  • Lighted Bike “Flag” – By Tuesday night, the number of bikes parked at any one party easily hits the hundreds – and it only gets more packed as the week progresses. To make your ride and co-riders easier to find, add a tall, lighted pole of some kind to the back of your bike. Some burners had accessories that looked like these ATV “whip lights” but you could just wrap EL wire around an old-fashioned bike flag or think of something more creative (because, Burning Man…) Just be sure to make it big and bright and you won’t walk miles home from the deep playa at 5am because you lost your bike in the crowd like someone I know.


by Maryann Jones Thompson, September 2017

© ROAM Family Travel 2017 – All rights reserved

Keywords: burning man packing list, packing for burning man, burning man packing, what to bring to burning man


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