How to survive Burning Man cheap and quick.

Burning Man 2008. Me on the far left.

So, I just got done watching this, http://time.com/money/4867493/burning-man-how-much-it-costs/. I’ve been twice. I’ve never spent as much as this video says. Whatever it costs you to get in there, you do not need to spend much more after that.

The vid says $2,348. Over $2k? You can spend half that, or even a quarter, if you don’t mind losing some ego and set aside the guilt of a puritanical “work ethic” before you go. Food is not a big concern. Feel free to mooch from all the wannabe cults that happily put out food to attract new followers. They do it willingly and gladly. Always carry around a backpack with water, a bowl and a spoon. Not even kidding and no one should feel bad about it. Get that “I’m an American. I must take care of my own needs” thing out of your fucking head. No one is “homeless” out there. No. You’re a survivor, a desert warrior now. There are people out there with plenty and if you’re not a dick they will love to have you there enjoying their party. Not to mention, it’s so hot you don’t want to eat that much anyway. You’ll just feel sick. It’s only a week. A can of peaches a day, some beef jerky, and you can do it. If you’re overweight, you just found a great way to lose some pounds.

Water is the only thing you absolutely “need” to survive Burning Man. Two gallons a day total, at the least, for drinking and staying moderately clean. DO NOT SKIMP ON WATER. You may not sweat much due to the low humidity. You may think you are doing fine but you are still losing quarts of water just breathing. Stay hydrated.

Shelter. Risky but there is a probability that you don’t even need to bring shelter. There are plenty of people with room to spare for someplace to crash. You probably won’t stay in one place long anyway. Just be cool, man and PARTICIPATE. Don’t just watch what’s going on, be a part of it. Consider that your “contribution to society” now. No one wants your money short of a barista in the big tent or the ice sellers. You’re in a gifting world now. Come up with something even if it's a poem you just pulled out of your ass. Can you juggle? Sing? Tell jokes or do magic? You just paid for a night of drinks. Maybe the whole week!

Is this the recommended way to be there in style? Hell no. Find some friends and rent an RV or buy a cheap bus is an awesome way to go. An RV is what we did the first time but the next time I only had a tent. If you want to experience the pure love of the place, travel light. Go in with some life stories to share as payment for the hospitality you will receive, whether you even ask for it or not. “Welcome home,” as they say in some parts. Once inside, you won’t need to spend a dime with the proper preparation and attitude adjustment. This is not a vacation. It’s an expedition. Treat it like an old timey trip to Mt. Everest if you want to live. Just flatter and hotter.

The vid above says you’ll need a costume. True. You’ll want to look the part out there, but it need not be expensive. You want a real desert warrior costume cheap? Bring a gas mask, a toga, and blinky lights. You know. Like the ones you see flashing at you at the checkout of Party City or on drunk girls on St. Patty’s day. Definitely wear blinky lights at night. “Darkwad” is the name given to those without. There are huge art cars without headlights cruising the open playa. Its chaos and them seeing you is your problem. Not theirs. You have been warned, noob. Try not to die. Burning Man comes with no warning labels or bubble wrap to protect the stupid.

There’s a ton more to say on this but I did say quick. The last thing I have to say is GO! You’ll never regret it.

OH! PS The toilet thing. Get your body regulated to go in the morning. You do NOT want to enter a porta potty at night or in the middle of a hot day if you can help it. It can be a bad time for lots of reasons. The staff does a better than average job maintaining, but around sunrise is when they can be found most pristine (the staff and the toilets.) You’ll usually hear the trucks doing their thing. Listen for them and soon after enjoy the fruits of their labor. The vid says get an “emergency toilet.” I’ve never needed one of those unless I was sitting at a Denny’s too long. Happy Burn!


Ken D. Orlich

I’ve been a student of technology, politics, science, and entertainment my whole life. Welcome to my dot connecting perspective on it all! Enjoy! Please share. Drop a dime here if you can. Thanks!

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