My first year at Burning Man, I had pretty much nothing in the way of frills. Yes, I had a great tent, which was already part of my camping gear, and I bought a really cheap piece of unedged shadecloth, so I was comfortable. And I had a really nice bike, so I had to spend the few bucks I had on things like silicone and good chain lube to protect it. All I had to light up my bike and myself was a package of crappy glow sticks, an old bike taillight, and an old headlamp. I bought 4 really cheap solar lights for my camp. Three of them still work. I tied my camp together with old pieces of rope and a few old sheets. Those old ropes gave me fits and I vowed to buy myself good rope for the next time.
My second year, I was able to buy a really nice shadecloth, some paracord, some grommets for my unedged shadecloth, a strand of el wire for my bike, 2 hokeyspokes for my bike, a spare tube, a nice bike light, a combination lock, and a package of LED necklaces. Oh, and one package of tent nails to hold down my patio groundcloth. I thought all that was AWESOME, and of course I still have all that for this year.
This year, however, I’ve had a few extra bucks to spend on upgrading my stuff. That includes some LED fairy lights for my patio, some bungee balls to make my shade setup easier, plenty of paracord, lots more tent nails for my even bigger patio floor (with glow in the dark tops, lol), and a portable, battery-operated fan for afternoon naps. And I’ll have even more solar lights for my camp, because my husband keeps buying them for the field trips that are part of his job and then letting me use them. I’m also lucky that I always get to borrow a yeti from his work. All this makes me feel like I’m styling at a fancy condo.
I have one special desire I’m saving up for. I really want to rent a little (the smallest) cargo trailer to carry my bike and cooler. That would drastically reduce the time and effort it takes to pack, unpack, and repack my camp. Packing everything into my little Nissan truck can be a very tiresome game of Tetris, and I can’t really pre-pack a day before I leave Burning Man because everything has to fit in a certain place not related to when it has to be used last. The trailer would eliminate that. If I can save up another $200, I can get the trailer.
I can’t really afford to spend much on gifts, so I bring some extra beer, a few pocket rocks (I’m a geologist), some extra dolls, and a willingness to do some volunteering (hoping to stop by lamplighters a few times this year). Last year I brought some extra canned food for the folks who stay and clean up the city, but I forgot to put it where I could get at it, and it ended up buried somewhere in Tetris Truck. I won’t make that mistake again.
I have a respirator, but last year I couldn’t afford to replace the used filters, so I left it home. This year I’ll get those filters and throw the respirator in. I really prefer just a bandanna, rather than masks or respirator, but it would be nice to have it if we get a really big dust storm.
Overall, I’m very pleased about what I have this year, and I’m looking forward to a fun and comfortable week in Black Rock City. See you in the dust!