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Everything You Need for This Year's Burning Man (Minus the Molly)

A playa packing guide.

A statue of Ganesh.

(1 of 14)

Crystals

(2 of 14)

A flask holder

(3 of 14)

An inexpensive bike

(4 of 14)

Beer

(5 of 14)

Bocce balls

(6 of 14)

Goggles

(7 of 14)

A chair

(8 of 14)

Photos

(9 of 14)

Portable toilet

(10 of 14)

Sandals

(11 of 14)

An electric dirtboard

(12 of 14)

A hydration bladder

(13 of 14)

A tent

(14 of 14)

 

Sure, it’s outwardly anti-consumption. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room on the playa for Camelbak cocktails and electric skateboards. Here, we ask 28 veteran burners to share the items they consider must-haves. Then we tell you where to compile it all. 

 “A small drawstring bag with a crystal and a Ganesh inside. A little old lady at this cramped imported goods store on Haight Street said it would keep me safe.”—Abigail Ayckbourn, 28
From $6 at The Love of Ganesha, 1310 Haight St. (near Central Ave.), 415-863-0999

“An inexpensive bike—because once the dust is in it, you never get it out— plus my headlight and glow sticks for the spokes.” —Claudia Goetzelmann
From $300 at Refried Cycles, 3804 17th St. (near Sanchez St.), 415-621-2911

“My tattered old cowboy boots. Everything gets destroyed out there except coats and things made of leather.” —Caleb Garling, 33
From $45 at Held Over, 1543 Haight St. (near Clayton St.), 415-864-0818

“I usually don’t have pockets at Burning Man, so I use a flask holder that slips on to my utility belt.” —Mikie Graham, 34
$80 at Five and Diamond, 510 Valencia St. (near 16th St.), 415-255-9747

Bocce balls for the Debocceri camp, which features bocce ball courts and a tournament.” —Neal Gottlieb, 37
$60 at REI, 840 Brannan St. (at 8th St.), 415-934-1938

“The Luggable Loo portable chemical toilet. Really. It’s seriously convenient when you don’t want to make the trek to the port-a-potty.” —Tisha Vargas, 43
$25 at Walmart, 8400 Edgewater Dr. (near Hegenberger Rd.), Oakland, 510-430-9606

“My leather water bottle holder, which doubles as a wine bottle holder when I’m walking the city at night.”—Haley Lynn, 33
$36 at Five and Diamond, 510 Valencia St. (near 16th St.), 415-255-9747

“Canned craft beer, because cans—unlike bottles—can be left at Recycle Camp. I like Bitter American from 21st Amendment Brewery, Scape Goat pale ale from Big Sky Brewing, and anything from Caldera Brewing.” —Jay Walsh, 45
From $7 per six-pack at Whole Foods, 450 Rhode Island St. (at 17th St.), 415-552-1155

“An all-white outfit for White Wednesday. I prepack all my clothes in gallon-size ziplock bags.” —Nera Brent
From $137 at Gypsy Streetwear, 1474 Haight St. (at Ashbury St.), 415-948-4158

“There’s a unifying event at the end of Burning Man where they burn the temple. Many of us bring photos or items that remind us of loved ones who have passed.”—Travis Wallis, 28

“A collapsible canvas wagon—not to be confused with a Radio Flyer. It’s really light and folds up easily. Plus, you can sit in it during desert outings.”—Maia Orr, 37
$81 at Target, 789 Mission St. (at 4th St.), 415-343-6272

“Sounds weird, but if you put some Vaseline inside your nostrils, less dust and dirt will accumulate.” —Stevanie Wazna-Blank, 26
$4 at CVS, Various Locations

“An LED slap bracelet. It’s a great way to stay illuminated at night without the wastefulness of glow sticks.”Noah Schnaubelt, 28
$12 at The Container Store, 26 4th St. (near Market St.), 415-777-9755

“Silver Lucy’s jumpsuits are a must-have. Her backless onesies are showstoppers.”—Paige Loczi, 42
$138 at Silver Lucy Design, 1388 Haight St. (near Masonic Ave.), Silverlucydesign.com

“Alcohol-free baby wipes. I use them for makeup removal, in-tent showers, and washing dishes.”—Kyra Bramble, 29
$4 for a 72-pack at Target, 789 Mission St. (at 4th St.), 415-343-6272

“The Sibley 500 Pro. Motor homes are inconsiderate and ugly! For me, it’s all about glamping in a traditional canvas tent that looks like it belongs on the playa.”—Jasmine Hamed, 34
$999 at Canvascamp.com

“Radians custom-molded earplugs. That way, you can get some sleep when the camp next door is blaring house music until sunrise.”—Shaggy Dermody, 40
$20 at Cabelas.com

“My Zero Gravity chair for taking desert naps.”—Sly Williams, 42
$80 at Sports Authority,1690 Folsom St. (near 13th St.), 415-734-9373

“A hat. I’m a ginger, so if I didn’t have one, I would probably melt and die in the sun. Also, a word of advice: Make sure that your costume is amenable to using a port-a-potty. I’ve had some harrowing experiences that involved being tangled in stringy sequins while desperately having to pee.”—Kyle Quilici, 29
From $58 at Goorin Bros., 1446 Haight St. (Near Masonic Ave.), 415-436-9450

“A Singer Stitch Sew Quick handheld sewing machine. The look on someone’s face when you fix their costume with an actual sewing machine is priceless.”—Jason Webb, 30
$13 at Walmart, 8400 Edgewater Dr. (near Hegenberger Rd.), Oakland, 510-430-9606

“Using all 10 fingers to excavate playa dust from your breathing passages remains a questionable Black Rock City social norm. Breathe easy and improve your chances of getting laid with Olbas herbal nasal inhalers.”—Ephraim Schwartz, 37
$6 at Whole Foods, 450 Rhode Island St. (at 17th St.), 415-552-1155

“Cheap goggles that cover my prescription glasses. I like to switch between smoky lenses during the day and yellow lenses at night.”—Jymmi Lindsey, 34
$28 at Distractions, 1552 Haight St. (near Ashbury St.), 415-252-8751

“My Jesus slippers! Custom sandals with a Birkenstock footbed.”—Kai Yamamoto, 27
From $69 at Anthony’s Shoe Service, 340 Kearny St. (near Bush St.), 415-781-1338

“The GeigerRig hydration bladder for carrying water on scorching days and mixed drinks for the all-nighters.”—Sofia Perez, 25
From $125 at Sportique, 808 Sutter St. (Near Jones St.), 415-447-6042

“A portable swamp cooler for those who don’t have the money for an air-conditioned RV.”—Catherine Abad, 29
From $100 at Home Depot, 3838 Hollis Ave. (near 40th St.), Emeryville, 510-601-9400

“An electric dirtboard for cruising around.”—Adam Fisher, 40
$1,200 at E-glide.com

“I brought 576 ice cream sandwiches last year, so I packed about 500 pounds of dry ice.—Neal Gottlieb, Three Twins Ice cream founder, 37
$1.25 per pound at Ben’s Dry Ice, 410 Broderick St. (near Fell St.), 415-735-4423

Spray bottles of white vinegar and essential oils to counteract the dust’s drying effect. I like lavender for refreshment and ylang ylang for its aphrodisiac quality.”—Nera Brent
From $3.75 Common Scents, 3920 24th St. (near Sanchez St.), 415-826-1019

Lip balm with SPF to protect against the sun, dust, and wind.”—Hunter Nordhauser, 26
From $2.50 at CVS, Various Locations

 

Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco

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