Survival Guide


These are some camp guidelines. The more prepared and organized we are ahead of time, the more we can relax and have fun while we’re at Burning Man. We erect a large structure that is open to the public all week as a chill space. This means that anyone can go in and hang out any time. For two in the afternoon, Monday through Saturday, we serve snow cones and french fries to the public (we serve a few hundred people a day). We give lectures and workshops and sometimes show movies. We have a boutique where clothing is gifted to the city. We have art for all to enjoy. Work Arrival Passes (WAPs) are required for set-up before the event The King will post on the yahoo group list when he knows how many passes we have — those arriving early need tickets and APs to get into the event. Early arrival is a work gig – the city is being built, and there are no services or events. Ice sales usually start early, but that’s it. There is a kitchen for Contraptionists to use. The kitchen is equipped with the basics – stoves, pots and pans, cooking utensils, and water. One of the camp members coordinates kitchen supplies and meals before the event. There is a volunteer sign up to provide communal meals. This way, we can all plan for food storage needs and spread out the cooking. Campers may contribute a whole meal, part of a meal, or not cook for the group at all. Spontaneous meals will happen, especially at the end of the week when people are trying to use up food. Campers also use the kitchen to prepare their own meals. The only restriction on kitchen use is during snow cone and french fry serving, when the health department rules state that we can’t have any other cooking going on. Since this is in the mid afternoon, it doesn’t interfere with meals. There is a camp shower that is available for Contraptionists to use. Campers provide their own water, which goes into a plastic trash can on
top of the shower. Grey water is run into an evaporation pond beside the shower. You need to provide your own soap and shampoo — please bring ecologically friendly products to use in the shower (Dr. Bronner’s is popular). The shower is taken down on Monday, which means that all of the water in the evaporation pond has to be evaporated by then. If the evaporation pond is too full by Friday or Saturday, you may be required to collect your gray water in a container and take it home with you or not shower for the remainder of your time on playa. Please don’t shower right before getting into your vehicle to go back to civilization unless you take your gray water with you. Other projects are done by camp members. We ask that the projects be discussed on the yahoo groud so we all have some idea of what will go on in our camp. This is also a good place to ask for help with your projects or bounce ideas off fellow campers. If someone is doing a project you’d like
to help with, speak up.

WATER: Everyone needs to provide enough water to get themselves through the week. This can be done in a few ways: Buy water in disposable plastic containers – plan to take those containers home with you to recycle them. Bring water in your own reusable plastic containers. You still take the containers home with you. Bring your own empty plastic containers and fill them in Sparks on your to the playa. There’s a 24 hour coin operated water dispenser we’ve used before that works well. The business is owned by a burner – check before you head out to make sure they’re still in business. Fresca Waterhouse 1196 North Rock Blvd, Sparks, NV 775-358-9893 more information is on their website. We have a few camp members who bring large water tanks. You may be able to share with them for part of the cost of gas to get it there. Watch the yahoo list for water share info. Containers of water frozen before travel and kept in your cooler keep food cool and become drinking water as they thaw. (Snapware containers are ideal for this.) Crushed ice can be purchased on playa to refill the containers and provide more drinking water as it thaws. A gallon water bottle and funnel are handy to pour off melted ice for drinking. This method also keeps your cooler pristine and reduces gray water production. This probably won’t provide all the water you need, so pack some in with you.

FOOD & DRINK:The more packaging you can remove and leave at home the better. Since all of our food waste has to go home with us, try to use foods with little waste. Buy meat that’s boneless (and skinless if you don’t eat the skin). Trim veggies as much as possible before you go. If you like nuts, get them without the shell. When planning meals, think about how much waste will be generated. If you’re going to have a lot of grease, bring a can to drain it into (it goes home with you). If you’re cooking pasta or boiling potatoes, please use the minimum amount of water needed to avoid filling the sump water container (see the section on sump water below to find out why this is important). Better yet, use that water for a soup — a pot of soup is a welcome sight to campers coming in off the playa in the wee hours. Aluminum cans can be recycled at the event, plastic and glass is hauled out by us. So…consider buying drinks in aluminum cans and cardboard boxes. We know that this limits options, but really, you can drink your favorite beer and wine for 51 weeks of the year – be adventurous for 1 week. There are actually several choices for beer in cans and wine in boxes now that are very drinkable. If you’ll be drinking electrolyte solution during the week, please take a refillable water bottle and powder rather than individual bottles — gatorade and coconut water are readily available in powders.

KITCHEN: The camp has a free standing two burner camp stove and camp members provide 1 or 2 other stoves for general use. Some years we have use of an oven, but not always. The kitchen is pretty well equipped with cooking utensils. Everyone who cooks either contributes a small propane can or contributes toward a big tank if another camper brings one. Everyone is responsible for cleaning up after themselves when they use the kitchen. Communal food/snacks can be put out on the table in the sitting area (an area with rugs, couches and chairs to hang out in). We have a 5 gallon water jug that sits on a stand with a pour spout that is available for all campers to use. Donate water to fill the jug if you use it during the week.

WASTE: There are receptacles in the common are for waste from the kitchen and services only (your personal waste goes home with you). Trash: This is for landfill stuff, and is taken by campers, either home or to the trash & recycle sites in Sparks & Reno (see the Survival Guide for locations). Everyone should plan to take a large bag of trash or recycle out of Black Rock City with them. If you want to use smaller bags to make packing easier, bring some with you. Aluminum cans: This is for aluminum cans only —- they must be crushed, and if they have CO2 canisters in them, the canisters must be removed. The cans go to recycle camp, which is usually open until Sunday afternoon. Any aluminum cans generated after Sunday morning will go into the recycle bin.

Recycle: This is for all recyclable items other than aluminum cans, and is taken by campers to be disposed of at home or at the recycle centers in Sparks & Reno.

Burnables:This is for paper and cardboard only (yes, other things may technically burn, but we don’t release toxic gases in the burn barrels). Paper can no longer go into public burn barrels, so we have to either burn it in camp (in our own burn barrel) or take it home. Compost: Compost containers are in the kitchen. Only compostable material goes here —no bones, no trash. Someone from the camp with a compost bin takes it home. There will be a separate container for coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are available to any gardener to take home.

Sump water: There are containers in the kitchen labeled for sump water only. The container in use has a big funnel in it. Sump water is the stuff that has food in it. Everyone in camp is responsible for keeping an eye on this jug – it is an ugly situation if it overflows. If a container is full, it is capped, removed, and replaced with an empty container. The full containers are taken home for disposal. Campers who take sump water home get double karma points. We all need to do our best to keep the sump water to a minimum.

LEFTOVERS: Whatever you packed in with you and did not consume needs to be packed out with you. Really. Anything you leave behind will have to be dealt with by the last people out of camp, and those cars are already full (and those people know they’re staying late and bring enough food). REALLY! Some years the DPW, who stay on site for weeks to take the city down, will take donations at exodus. What they take varies year to year, so check the survival guide and the material they give you at the gate when you arrive.

MOOP: Moop (matter out of place) is anything that isn’t supposed to be on the ground, but is. Our camp is committed to Leave No Trace, and there are 2 things that help immensely:

  1. Don’t let things hit the ground if they’re not supposed to. This means trash, string, sawdust, fake grass from your favorite hula skirt, glitter,etc.
  2. Pick up and properly dispose of any moop you find when you find it. Even if you didn’t drop it. Even if it blew in from the camp next door. Even if you’re on your way somewhere really important. Even if you’re not in our camp, but somewhere else in the city (carrying a baggie is great for this, or you can get a moop bag from the Earth Guardians).

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS: Here are some handy tips that we’ve figured out on our own or learned from others:

  1. Take an extra large, tight weave sheet to cover your bed during the day. Before bed, fold up the corners, take it outside, shake the dust off. You won’t sleep dust-free, but it helps keep dust down.
  2. Vinegar wipes are your friend. Open a pack of wet wipes, dehydrate them, and rehydrate them with vinegar. They’re great for wiping off feet before bed and faces when you want to feel refreshed and clean (may only last about 30 seconds, but it’s still a good feeling.)
  3. If you’re not good at walking a block (or 4) to the porta-potty in the middle of the night, or don’t want to find one in a dust storm, take a widemouth bottle to keep in your tent. Remember to use one ply toilet paper so you can empty the jug in the porta potty.
  4. If you like milk with your coffee or cereal, take powdered milk and add water as you use it. Regular milk doesn’t last long, even in coolers, and can be messy (and if it gets sour, it goes home with you!). The only exception is if you bring chocolate milk for Daniel — he’ll drink it before it goes sour!

WORK: Everyone is expected to help keep our camp clean and functional while you are there. This means tidying up when needed and keeping track of your personal belongings and making sure they’re cleared out of the public areas by Sunday morning (if something of yours ends up in the trailer you won’t see it until next year). It’s also a good idea to have personal items out of the public areas during when we’re serving the public. There are jobs in camp involving our services and meals. A job sign up will be sent out before the event — first come / first served on shifts. Our public space takes many people to set up, take down and pack it into the trailer. Set up requires early arrival, tear down is on Sunday and Monday at the end of the event. We have space in the camp for art and for gatherings. If you’d like to display art, give a talk, have some folks over for yoga, etc, please put information on your registration form so Daniel can make space for your project.

ICE: We have an ice cart and people volunteer to make ice runs once or twice a day. What this means for each camper is that you don’t have to get ice every day (we do ask that all ice users make at least one run a week). If you have a dirty cooler (ice is not used for drinking water), there are stubbs left from the snow cone shaving that are available for anyone who wants them. We also get block and crushed ice for camper use. Ice is $4 per bag or block, so bring some cash.

DUES: We have voluntary dues of $50 (or more if you wish) per person. This money is used for maintenance and repair of camp equipment and materials for our public services.

POWER: We are in the process of moving to all solar power, but currently use a generator to supplement the solar. The Tower of Change is a tall art installation in the camp that serves as a beacon to guide us home at night — it’s used by the whole neighborhood, so it’s also part of our service to the city. We light the tower and the public space each night. If you need power for a project or for personal use, you need to list it on your registration form. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas speak up — this is your camp.